The Many Deaths of Sean Bean
English actor Sean Bean (sadly not pronounced, Seen Bean) has died so many times onscreen that we’re starting to lose count. Whether he’s being shot by arrows, impaled by an anchor, or killed by cattle, Bean nails it every time.
Here are our favorite Bean death scenes from both film and television. Warning: spoilers lie ahead.
The Lord of the Rings
Sean Bean has been well known in the UK for decades, but it was his appearance in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings that made him a household name.
Bean played the noble and indomitable warrior Boromir, heir and protector of Gondor who aids the heroic hobbits in The Fellowship of the Ring, but eventually tries to take the ring from Frodo after being seduced by its power. In perhaps Bean’s most noble death scene, Boromir attempts to right this wrong by defending Merry and Pippin until his painful death at the hands of orc archers. If we were ranking these deaths by number of tears shed, Boromir’s would be number one.
In Jim Sheridan’s 1990 drama The Field, set in rural 1930s Ireland, Sean Bean plays Tadhg McCabe, son of tenant farmer Bull McCabe, played by Sir Richard Harris, who is about to lose the field his family has rented and cultivated for decades.
In this movie, Bean harasses widows, kills donkeys, and is a bit of a jerk, so we’re not super broken up when he comically gets driven off a cliff by a herd of wayward cattle at the end of the film. We were, however, pretty moved by Richard Harris’ performance, which won him an Oscar nomination in 1991.
This 2005 sci-fi action film starring Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor is set in a future where citizens living in a high-tech facility are told the world outside is uninhabitable and that one day they might win the lottery and get sent to “the island,” a contaminant free paradise. However, in reality, the world outside is perfectly fine, and the residents are actually clones designed for organ harvesting.
The Island is your typical Michael Bay film with plenty of high speed chases, messy car crashes, and over the top explosions, so it’s almost disappointing when Sean Bean’s evil Dr. Merrick, who is creating and imprisoning the clones in his facility, dies from a boring old neck wound.