Sean Bean is one of many people’s favourite British actors around at the moment. He’s had so many great film and TV roles, including spearheading the first season of global mega hit Game of Thrones. So today my friend Michael Payne (who can be found on Twitter right here) and I are going to run down our Top 5 Sean Bean films. Before we get into the top 5, Michael has an honourable mention.
Honourable Mention: The Hitcher – Not the first film many would think of when considering Sean Bean’s best roles, but a gripping thriller which sees Sean fulfil the villainous psychopath terrorising the troubled teen protagonists. Sean Bean, as I’m sure you can imagine makes a great villain, again, not only because he’s English. Not an amazing film, but Bean plays his role amazingly and therefore deserves mentioning.
- Shuggie: Black Death – Probably one of the lesser-seen Sean Bean films. Black Death is a kind of horror film set in the 1300s. Bean is obviously notorious for dying frequently on film, and Black Death may just be the most grizzly of these, although not quite as moving as a few of his others. SPOILERS, but he is ripped apart by two horses tied to his limbs. It is a brutal and fitting death in a film where Bean plays a pretty grizzly and brutal man who is hunting a necromancer.
- Michael: Flightplan – A thriller encapsulating every mother’s nightmare: losing a child thousands of feet in the air and no help coming. No one even believing your child existed. A somewhat peripheral Captain, Bean balances his performance in a gripping, emotional film. Deliberately frustrating throughout, but with a cute happy ending (ssshhh no spoilers!!)
- Shuggie: Troy – Now as someone who studied classics and Homer this film is a mixed bag for me. The original Homeric version of the Iliad has played a hugely important role in my life; so seeing the story changed so much upsets me a little. However I think that Wolfgang Petersen actually did some very interesting things with the story and themes, about heroism and legends. Sean Bean plays the role of Odysseus in the film, and that’s a character of huge importance to the mythology, although Bean’s version gets a little less to do. Troy is probably up there as one of the best in the sword and sandals genre from the last 10 to 15 years, and Bean is just a part of a hugely talented cast.
- Michael: Ronin – A traditional recipe for a great action film complete with car chases, intrigue and Russian/US relations. Whilst Sean does not play a major role in this film, he plays the role of ‘Spence’ with his trademark swagger, supporting an all-star cast including Robert De Niro and Jean Reno. A great, quotable film including: “I never walk into a place I don’t know how to walk out of” and ”All good things come to those who wait”. Some could say a token plot to house the action of the film, I’d disagree. Whilst the action is impressive, the plot kept me entertained.
- Shuggie: GoldenEye – I am not the biggest fan of Pierce Brosnan’s spell as James Bond, but I think in this opening film is fantastic, and so much of this is down to Bean’s role as Alec Trevelyan (006). He is probably the only really memorable villain from the later Bond films (until you get to Casino Royale in 2006) and he really plays the former friend and agent who turns on Bond well. Sure the villainous plot doesn’t make huge sense, something about a satellite, but then do they ever?
- Michael: Troy – Troy needs no introduction, a great action film with Bean playing the famed Odysseus supporting the Greek invasion of Troy. Whilst Bean plays a side character, its a character the audience fully identify with. Often acting as the voice of the audience, his continued commentary throughout the war give insight into conflict, both between Troy and the Greeks factions, and internally inside the Greek camp. Bean has none of the badass moments of the film to his name, yet achieves recognition throughout the film, nonetheless.
- Shuggie: The Martian – The Martian is one that is more a great film than a great Sean Bean role. So much of this film is based around Matt Damon’s incredible performance as an astronaut stranded on Mars until help can come. Bean plays Mitch Henderson the mission director. Throughout he butts heads with the cautious NASA Director Jeff Daniels as to how much information the rest of the crew receive and what they can risk to save Damon’s character. Whilst I came away from the Martian mainly remembering Damon’s wonderful performance, Bean does a good job, and this was one of my favourite films of last year.
- Michael: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Bean’s Boromir is that of a conflicted, brave Gondorian who, later revealed, is the favoured son of his father; Steward of Gondor. Taking arrows to mark the breaking of the fellowship, we feel for Boromir’s very human imperfections and struggles to do the right thing. Not the eye catching hero he plays in the Sharpe franchise but still the ever unsung hero. Bean achieves a very real, human character that the audience can condemn and love simultaneously. Personally, as resentment for Frodo grows with each instalment of the trilogy, love for Boromir grows.
- Shuggie: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Guys it is my favourite film ever made so can you really be surprised that it tops this list? Boromir is also, in my opinion, Sean Bean’s greatest performance of his career as well. His story through the film, from hero of Gondor, to a man manipulated by the ring out of his desire to save his people, to eventually find his redemption through his sacrifice trying to save Merry and Pippin from the Uruk- Hai, is so powerful and well done. Bean completely nailed the role of Boromir, and his story really serves to help you understand just how much the ring is affecting Frodo in the later parts of the trilogy. A masterpiece that has changed cinema, and my life, forever.
- Michael: GoldenEye – Bond. Pure gritty Bond goodness. No true bond fan wouldn’t include this film as their top Sean Bean Film. An amazing turncoat villain in a tale of treachery and tanks once again surrounding the US/Russian powder keg. The action scenes are enough to get the blood pumping and, supporting the great Bond Peirce Brosnan, Bean cements his place into the Bond legacy. Great film, great villain (not just because he possesses the required British accent).