The iconic film character that immediately comes to mind when discussing Sean Connery is, of course, James Bond. He was the perfect Bond -- for most of us, the "real" Bond, whose testosterone-drenched shoes have never quite been filled by the parade of Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan and Craig. Sir Ian Fleming may have created Bond in his novels, but Connery fleshed him out as a smart, sexy, self-aware creature of utter cool and confidence, and he set the bar quite high for those who followed.
But Connery's Bond films -- he made six between 1962 and 1971, then returned for the "unofficial" Bond flick Never Say Never Again in 1983 -- are a small fraction of the films he's made in a career that's lasted for over five decades. In his 30s during the Bond years, Connery hit his stride as an actor (and, arguably, as a fully matured sex symbol) in his 40's in pictures like The Wind and the Lion, Zardoz, The Molly Maguires, Robin and Marian, and A Bridge Too Far, playing complex, world-weary men who were as marked by their weaknesses as they were by their machismo.
Granted, a number of those films were far less impressive than Connery's performances in them (a charge that could be leveled at most of the actor's choices throughout his career, actually) but smack in the middle of that uneven stretch of the '70s, Connery starred opposite Michael Caine in John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King (1975) -- playing one of his oddest, most compelling characters in a masterful picture that's as much a farce and a satire as it is a romantic lad's adventure.