The Sean Connery Genre Films Ranked

As we reflect on the film legacy of the late, great Sean Connery, who recently passed, his contributions to genre films must be recognized. Of course, not all of them were classics, in fact, some of the films were very substandard. Still, Connery shone in his appearances in those flawed films, and was the highlight. Here are the Sean Connery genre films ranked:

12. Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959)

A pre-Bond Sean Connery appeared in a supporting role in this Disney film about an old man in an Irish town and a leprechaun king. It’s strictly for the kids, but Connery got to demonstrate his fine singing voice.

11. Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)

A very disappointing sequel to the classic fantasy film about immortal warriors was doomed with its clumsy script and retcons. Needless to say that Connery stole the film whenever he appeared.

10. Time Bandits (1981)

Connery only had a brief role as King Agamemnon in this Terry Gilliam fantasy film about a boy who joined a band of time traveling little people. Not as funny as you would think, the film had a grand epic scale with imaginative scenes and Connery lent a gentle gravitas to his performance.

9. Zardoz (1974)

This is just bizarre, but unforgettable. Sean Connery starred as this brutish warrior in a post-apocalypitc future who disrupted an elitie society of immortals. Seriously, Zardoz was one of those weird non-sensical sci-fi films from the ’70s, but Connery was Connery even though he was outfitted in a strange, futuristic loincloth.

8. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

The film that convinced Sean Connery to retire from acting was an OK adaptation of Alan Moore’s comic book series about famous literary Victorian-era heroes and real-life persons who teamed up to fight a supernatural threat. Connery played Allan Quartermain and even in his advanced age, he was able to pull off a convincing and charasmatic action hero.

7. Dragonheart (1996)

Sean Connery provided a dignified vocal performance as Draco, the last dragon, who formed a friendship with a not-so-noble knight. As one of the better fantasy films from the ’90s, Dragonheart was elevated by the lead performances, especially Connery who injected character and wit into Draco.

6. Meteor (1979)

Meteor was one of the last, all-star ’70s disaster flicks. You know the kind whose film poster featured headshots of the entire cast. Connery played a scientist who has to coordinate international efforts to destroy a world-killing meteor that was approaching our planet. Meteor was dumb, loud, but glorious with all the scenes of destruction.

5. The Hunt for Red October (1990)

This adaptation of the Tom Clancy book can only be considered semi-sci-fi and more of a Cold-War thriller. Connery turned in one of his best performances as a Russian submarine commander who decided to defect to the U.S. with his experimental stealth submarine. As the first Jack Ryan film, it still is one of the best.

4, Outland (1981)

This underrated sci-fi gem was a sci-fi remake of the Western High Noon with Connery playing the role of the noble lawman in the future. Assigned as a marshall to a mining colony on Jupiter’s moon, Io, Connery soon ran afoul of his fellow marshalls and boss who operated an illegal drug ring. Although some of the science was wonky and having an aesthetic clearly inspired by Alien, Outland was buoyed by Connery’s subtle performance and action scenes.

3. Highlander (1986)

Sean Connery played an immortal warrior who mentored a fellow immortal on how to survive against other immortals. Frankly, the Scottish actor stole the film with his boisterous and eloquent performance, even as he took part in some of Highlander’s well-staged fight scenes.

2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

The third Indiana Jones film received a jolt of creativity when it showcased Sean Connery as Indiana Jones’ father. The irony in his casting was that the Indiana Jones films were patterned to be American versions of James Bond films. Connery played against type and delivered a memorably funny performance as a slightly goofy professor who had a soft spot for his son.

1. The James Bond Films (1962-67, 1971 and 1983)

What else would be at the top of the list other than the film series about the British super spy launched by Connery? Sure, many of the James Bond films, especially the early ones, do not have any sci-fi elements, but some of the best Bond films like Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice have these elements with their doomsday plots and fantastic gadgets. While they added flavor to the films, Sean Connery’s groundbreaking performances were the true standouts and paved the way for the suave and tough action hero we love in films.

RIP Sir Connery



7 comments on “The Sean Connery Genre Films Ranked

  1. So sad this week to hear the news Sean Connery passed away. He was, and always will be my favourite Bond, but he had a brilliant film career after Bond as well. His iconic role in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was brilliant. I really like the Hunt for Red October as well. The Name of the Rose is another favourite of mine. Great to see Outlander get a mention on your list as well, that really is a underrated sci-fi gem! RIP Sean Connery, a screen legend!

    • He certainly was a screen legend. It’s too bad he decided to stop acting after LXG considering he was courted to come back in the 4th Indy film. But he did leave behind an impressive amount of work.

  2. What a legend with such an impressive list of credits…I’d actually forgotten about most of these! He wasn’t my first James Bond (that was Roger Moore) but although I discovered him a little later he instantly became my favourite (breaking the general rule that your first James Bond or Doctor Who should be your favourite).

    Anyway, what a great list – I never actually thought about the slight sci-fi element to the excellent “The Hunt for Red October” before, but of course, it’s right there in the centre with the advanced submarine stealth drive!

    I’ve also recently just seen “Outland” for the first time, another overlooked gem from Peter “2010” Hyams! Connery was great in that (the influences from Alien extend to the Jerry Goldsmith score), but then, he never delivered a sub-par performance even when what he was appearing in was totally ridiculous.

    • Roger Moore was my first Bond too, But once I saw Connery I never looked back and all the others aside from Craig could compare to him.

      Outland was a well done sci-fi crime thriller that seems to have been forgotten, but I remember it received solid reviews and of course Connery got a lot of praise. Unlike his other films, he played a low-key, everyman type that you and I could identify with. And we rooted for him because he was just trying to do his job though everyone, even his family, did not support him. This was why the end felt so satisfying.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. I adore the Bond franchise, with Connery’s Bond being the best! I need to watch some of the clunkers on this list. He had a somewhat uneven career but is a legend.

    • Many of the films on the list are real clunkers but Connery always brought his A game to each of them.

      It’s also incredible to think of the genre films he turned down like Lord of the Rings and The Matrix. Who knows how his career would have taken him if he did accept them? Maybe he would not have been so disgruntled, not retired and had more work to his filmography beyond LXG.

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