Sean Connery may have retired from cinema 12 years ago (his last film was the sadly unextraordinary The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), but like all true stars he continues to emit light and fascinate long after he supposedly disappeared from view.
Connery turned 85 this year, and to celebrate the life of the “Greatest Living Scotsman”, BBC Scotland produced a fine documentary in which luminaries such as Terry Gilliam paid tribute to his outstanding career. He's both the definitive James Bond and a remarkable character actor who had graced half a dozen or more other masterpieces, often playing roles that were as far removed from the iconic secret agent as one can possibly imagine.
Connery’s legacy has also been discussed this autumn with the release of two major films in which he was almost an off-screen presence, so powerfully did they remind audiences of him. First, of course, there was the new Bond film, Spectre, during the promotion of which Daniel Craig, arguably the best Bond since Connery, openly talked about wanting to do non-Bond roles once his time as 007 is up, which of course was what Connery excelled at.
Secondly, there was Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth, which prompted memories of the greatest film version of Macbeth never made. Connery actually did play Macbeth in a Canadian TV movie in the early 1960s, but apparently he had always dreamed of giving the play the big-screen treatment. A decade later, at the height of his Bond fame, he planned not only to star in a film of Macbeth but to direct it himself. However, he was deterred when Roman Polanski announced his post-Charles Manson, post-apocalyptic version of the play. It is a great shame, of course, that Connery never got to make his Macbeth, as it would have been a version of the Scottish play featuring the Scottish actor.
Nevertheless, Connery’s non-Bond cinematic career is at least the equal of his career as Bond, which is the ultimate accolade. Here are his Top 10 non-Bond films.