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c. 1974

Sean Connery in Zardoz

A rather curious follow-up to the actor's legendary Bond performances

Sean Connery, British actor, holding a handgun while wearing thigh-high boots and red costume, with his hair in a pony tail, standing in a snowy landscape in a publicity portrait issued for the film, 'Zardoz', 1974. The science fiction film, directed by John Boorman, starred Connery as 'Zed'. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

So, its 1973, and you’re Sean Connery. From 1962-1971,  you gave arguably the definitive performance of the suave, irresistible and deadly spy, James Bond. 

In fact, let’s not beat around the bush – the American Film Institute called your Bond the third greatest hero in cinematic history*. 

So how do you follow that?

For Sean Connery, the answer was to put on a red loincloth, thigh high boots and… well, not much else, really.

Quite literally – the writer, producer and director, John Boorman, later stated that he himself didn’t understand parts of it.

This was the costume for Zed, the lead character in the 1974 film Zardoz, and the first film in which Connery was cast post-Bond. (He had cast himself in the low budget movie The Offence.)

It’s difficult to know how to describe Zardoz. Ostensibly a sci-fi post-apocalyptic movie, the plot, such as it was, seemed at times beyond comprehension.

Quite literally – the writer, producer and director, John Boorman, later stated that he himself didn’t understand parts of it.

Set in the year 2293, Connery played an ‘exterminator’ called Zed.  The exterminators control the ‘brutals’, while the exterminators themselves are under the spell of a giant head, made of rock, called Zardoz.  Zardoz later turns out to be derived from the Wizard of Oz.

Make of it what you will. The public didn’t make much of it, and it was a flop.

As for Connery, the New Yorker reviewer commented that he acted “like a man who agreed to do something before he grasped what it was.”

*Atticus Finch and Indiana Jones, respectively, in case you were wondering.

1974
Connery and English actress Charlotte Rampling
20th Century Fox / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
1974
Sean Connery aims a gun
20th Century Fox / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
1974
Sean Connery holding a handgun while wearing thigh-high boots and red costume, with his hair in a pony tail.
20th Century Fox / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
1974
Exterminators worship the God Zardoz
20th Century Fox / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
1974
The giant flying stone head, Zardoz
20th Century Fox / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
1974
Sean Connery captures a ‘brutal’.
20th Century Fox / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
1974
A 23 Century vortex
20th Century Fox / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
1974
People gather to eat in the vortex.
20th Century Fox / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
1974
Sean Connery as the 23rd Century Exterminator Zed
20th Century Fox / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
1974
Brutals are rounded up to be slaves
20th Century Fox / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
1974
Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling walk
20th Century Fox / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

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