Why is Sean Connery considered by many to be the best James Bond? Perhaps it's because he looks the part as the dashing and suave British agent who is as comfortable seducing a woman as he is exchanging pleasantries with the bad guys. Maybe it's because he manages to wear a tux in a casino as easily as he can pull off a pair of skimpy blue swimming trunks by a river.
The main reason he tops the polls for best Bond though is his ability to ground even the most nonsensical and ludicrous plots with his screen presence alone. Put simply, we invest so much in Connery's Bond that it allows him to get away with being in some fairly naff stories towards the end of his tenure.
Looking back at his films it is remarkable to note that while the quality dipped dramatically throughout the one thing that never faltered was Connery's dedication to the role. Whether he was trying to take down a space laser fuelled by diamonds or face his feline-loving arch nemesis, Connery did so with a natural grace and watchability that has not been surpassed since.
7. Never Say Never Again
There are many things that are incredible about this 1983 James Bond film. For one, it is technically not considered a Bond film as it was not produced by Eon who had their own Bond film released the same year: Octopussy starring Connery's successor Roger Moore. Another is that it was directed by Irvin Kershener who had just finished work on Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
"I hope we're going to have some gratuitous sex and violence" comments Q at the outset of the movie which might as well be the film's mantra. Connery may be no spring chicken with his greying hair and well worn face but every woman he encounters seems to fall in love with him instantly, even more so than in his previous films. Where it may have been believable when he was in his 30s, in Never Say Never Again he is old enough to have fathered most of the women he seduces.
The film feels like it exists purely for its self referential title alone, a nod to Connery's claim that he would never play Bond again after retiring 12 years earlier in Diamonds Are Forever. While Connery does feel past his peak, lured back to the franchise for a record $6 million, the script has some good gags and among its stellar cast it introduced the world to Rowan Atkinson and Kim Basinger. However, the main problem with this otherwise lukewarm Bond adventure is it cannot seem to decide if it wants to dip its toe in the water of parody or be taken as a serious continuation of the Bond films.