To many people there is one Bond and one Bond only: Sean Connery. The Scottish actor earned at least part of this renown for launching the 007 films with Dr. No, starring in six franchise-defining Bond films as well as the less-official Never Say Never Again.
Connery was not the first choice: the producers considered asking Clarke Gable, but knew he’d never agree to more than one film. Roger Moore was also approached, but he was tied to The Saint television series. Connery came to their attention because one of the crew worked with him before. Several people had their doubts, including Bond author Ian Fleming. But Connery shined (with no little thanks to the mentorship of director Terence Young, who honed the rough Connery into a suave secret agent.) Fleming was so impressed by Dr. No that he altered the novel Bond’s biography to reflect a part-Scottish heritage.
Connery, with Young’s tutelage, moulded the on-screen Bond. He was an action-man that operated by the skin of his teeth. Always a charmed and seducer, deep down Connery’s Bond only cared about the mission and beating the bad guy. Zealously over-confident (which always led his enemies to underestimate him), Connery’s Bond became the blueprint for the film version.
Alas, the Scottish actor was not a fan of the series. Yes, it made him rich, but he never felt quite at ease with the character or the resulting fame. After four movies Connery happily hung up his gun belt. But after the sudden exit of George Lazenby, Connery was lured back for one more movie (at apparently a record salary). He would also later reprise Bond in the non-EON remake of Thunderball, Never Say Never Again.
To this day Connery is Bond and, in classic Connery style, he’s held himself to have been the best Bond. Many fans agree, sparking endless arguments around the topic.
Last Updated: November 24, 2015