top of page

How many James Bond movies was Sean Connery in?

We've lost an icon. According to his family, Sean Connery passed away peacefully in his sleep in his home in the Bahamas on October 31, 2020. He was 90 years old. He had such a prolific acting career it was difficult to decide what my Daily Doodle question would be, but ultimately came down to his breakout roll, James Bond, of which Sean Connery played in six official Bond movies and one "unofficial" movie.

Thomas Sean Connery was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on August 25, 1930 to Joseph and Euphamia Connery. He was the oldest of three, born into a working class family living on the docks. Sean was educated in a public school but dropped out at a young age and joined the full time workforce as a teen. His first job out of school was as a milkman, then at the young age of 16, he enrolled in the Navy where he received his patriotic tattoos like many of his peers. He spent three years in the armed forces where he was kept at a high level of fitness. At the end of his third year in the forces he was released from the services and returned to Edinburgh to try his hand in various labor-based career paths including bricklaying, truck driving, and even as a coffin pusher for an undertaker.

His work in these laboring roles left Connery with an impressive physique. This, and perhaps a stroke of happenstance, lead him to his entry in 1950 Mr. Universe competition. Connery beat out a variety of professional male models to win third place! With a spark of fame and very little of a career elsewhere, the modeling path proved successful for Connery. He quickly won a place in the touring cast of Rogers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific", after attending an audition on advice of fellow Mr. Universe competitor Johnny Isaacs. The aspiring model and actor spent several years on the stage before his television debut in 1956.

While Connery was paving his way as an actor, he was offered a trial with the East Fife soccer club, but declined in fear the career may have been too short-lived.

In 1958, and after various bit parts and chorus roles, Connery landed the lead in the feature film "Another Time, Another Place" in which he played opposite the Academy Award-nominated US actress, Lana Turner. The Lewis Allen directed drama follows the unrequited love affair between journalists.

In 1962, Sean Connery was approached by aspiring filmmakers, Albert "Cubby"Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, who were looking to transform the literary creations of Ian Fleming into big screen action-adventures. Whilst many big-name stars, such as Carry Grant and David Niven were considered for the role of Secret Agent 007, Connery had the rugged looks and naturally confident demeanor to lend to the character of James Bond. Although the film producers were confident that director Terence Young could mould Sean Connery in the ideal image of James Bond, 007's literary creator was not initially comfortable with the casting choice. Fleming felt Connery to be both unkempt and unrefined; Young's task was to convince Fleming and the cinema-going world otherwise.

Terence Young took the relatively inexperienced actor under his wing and trained him in luxury dress, fine dining and gave him the understanding he needed to play his new role in Dr. No. Connery was so successful in his character portrayal that he starred in four Bond movies in four years. Throughout his first four James Bond adventures, Connery's acting skill blossomed and gave fan-favorite performances in "From Russia With Love"(1963) (his personal favorite of the Bond movies) in and "Goldfinger" (1964) - cutting a striking and memorable figure as the British secret agent, and the most campy Connery Bond film, Thunderball (1965). Thanks to James Bond, Sean Connery became a public figure and a Hollywood star.

It was halfway through filming, and on location in Japan for the production of "You Only Live Twice"(1967) that Sean Connery announced to the presses that he would be standing down after his fifth 007 adventure; stating he felt the series to be too formulaic and feeling he was quickly becoming type-cast as Bond.

Free from the mantel and contracts of 007, Connery starred as Jack Kehoe the period piece "The Molly Maguires". Set in 1876 in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, Connery's first breakaway from Bond bombed at the box office - despite later being popular among a cult following for its rich history.

Ultimately, after the standing down of George Lazenby (and a salary offer too good to refuse), Connery returned to the Bond franchise for a sixth outing. It was the flashy Vegas adventure "Diamonds Are Forever"(1971). The now successful 007-actor reportedly donated his entire salary to charity and turned down a five million pound offer to return for "Live And Let Die"(1973).

After his departure, for the second time, from the 007 series Connery's career bloomed when he landed roles in various big-budget productions including Agatha Christie's Poirot mystery "Murder on the Orient Express", war-drama "A Bridge Too Far" and an Oscar-winning role in "The Untouchables". 

On a lighter acting note, Connery agreed to appear in the Python-esque production, "Timebandits"(1981) after a running gag in which Michael Palin scripted his character as "Sean Connery (or someone equal, but cheaper)".

As prolific as his career was, it wasn't until 1988 that Connery won his one and only Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for "The Untouchables"(1987). He was nominated and won several awards throughout the years including the Golden Globes.

1989, Connery played in Steven Spielberg's epic adventure "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". The Scot played the charismatic father of Indy: Henry Jones Senior. The interplay between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery as father and son remains a highlight of this production.

In the 1990's Connery made several blockbusters, including "The Hunt For Red October" (1990), "The Rock" (1996), and "Entrapment" (1999) sealing his mark on Hollywood as both a talented actor, and of course, sex symbol.

Sean Connery was knighted by Queen in 2000 at the age of 69. Shortly before his 75th birthday Connery commented that he had decided to retire from film following the lackluster response to "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"(2003). He reportedly declined roles in two successful trilogies, "The Matrix" and "Lord of the Rings", stating he turned down the offer as he did not understand the scripts

As a long-time political activist, Connery regularly voiced his support for the Scottish National Party. His involvement in the Scottish independence movement was highly publicized and often criticized, as the Hollywood actor had not lived in his homeland for many years. He did, however, regularly contribute to a selection of Scottish based charities, namely SEIT (Scottish International Education Trust) and Friends of Scotland.

Sean Connery's career spanned 7 decades and his mark has been left on film and he will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike.

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page