Or maybe it’s not a problem, because he’s really good at it. At any rate, he dies a lot. It’s such a common occurrence that you can easily find dozens of lists of all the movies where he dies, rankings of each death and YouTube video compilations where he shuffles off his mortal coil repeatedly. A friend of mine recently described him as “a walking spoiler” because if he’s in a movie, there’s an excellent chance that he’s going to get shot, stabbed, beheaded or poisoned before it’s all over.
But surely, I thought, there must be some films in his acting credits where he doesn’t have a dramatic death scene. And there are! But not many.
I found a mere seven that most people would have actually heard of. Naturally, this list contains spoilers of a guy not meeting his maker.
Jodie Foster stars in a mystery/thriller where her daughter disappears and maybe never existed at all. Hasn’t that happened in a lot of different media? The Forgotten with Julianne Moore had the son who never existed. The Lady Vanishes features a lady vanishing. There’s an old urban legend about the lady in Paris whose mother disappears. Apparently it’s a whole genre. But anyway, Jodie Foster is out to solve the case of her missing daughter on a plane captained by Sean Bean. But come on! Sean Bean is almost always the bad guy!
Except this time he’s not. When the real bad guy threatens to blow up the plane, Sean Bean and the rest of the crew get off and don’t figure into the plot for the rest of the film. He doesn’t get blown up or shot. He just walks away, free to pilot another day, much to our confusion.
6. Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
In this, the inaugural film in the Percy Jackson series (which does not have a promising future, since it’s a YA series that wasn’t an immediate and massive hit), Percy and his friends are on the hunt for Zeus’ missing lightning. Since Zeus is played by Sean Bean and he threatens war if he doesn’t get the lightning back, it seems like a final showdown where the Father of the Gods gets his ass kicked seems likely…
But nope, it never happens. They find the lightning and return it, Sean Bean says thanks, and doesn’t show back up for the sequel. Maybe he would’ve died in that one. Who knows?
5. National Treasure
Okay, here we go. Sean Bean is the bad guy in this one. Nicolas Cage has to steal the Declaration of Independence (but only for noble purposes, of course) before Sean Bean can do it. They race and fight and backstab and trick each other, and finally, at the climax of the movie… Sean Bean’s right-hand man dies.
Nicolas Cage fools Sean Bean with a fake clue and sends him running off to Boston, then calls the FBI on him afterward. Sean Bean gets arrested, but after that, nada. Once again, he didn’t appear in the sequel, so if he died, it was offscreen and no one mentioned it.
4. Black Beauty
If you’ll cast your mind back to 1994, you might remember Black Beauty, based on the book of the same name. And since it’s a serious family film about animals, you know what that means – one emotionally overwrought scene after another, with plenty of humans (and horses) dying sad little deaths. Terrible things happen constantly to the narrator-horse, the eponymous Black Beauty. He goes through shitty owners, dying owners, nice owners who have to sell him due to extenuating circumstances and so on.
And his original owner is, of course, Sean Bean. He’s a kind owner, so you’d expect him to suffer some terrible accident and die, but he’s only in the beginning part of the film, and he quickly sells Black Beauty off to a string of tragic people, which leaves Sean Bean to… keep being a farmer, I guess.
The not-even-close-to-faithful 2004 adaptation of “The Iliad” features Brad Pitt as Achilles, Eric Bana as Hector and Orlando Bloom as Paris. Also, in the briefest of cameos, is Sean Bean, who plays the Greek hero, Odysseus. As in the Greeks who eventually win, but also get the shit killed out of them for quite a while first.
But, if you’ll recall, Odysseus goes on to star in his own story, “The Odyssey.” And it’s way better than “The Iliad.” Dear Hollywood: Make a big budget The Odyssey starring Sean Bean and all will be forgiven.
2. Silent Hill
Silent Hill, the film adaptation of the first entry in the video game series, has essentially the same story as its namesake. Parent crashes a car in a town called Silent Hill, young daughter goes missing, parent must find them. If it had happened on a plane, it could have been called Flightplan.
But its lead character, Harry Mason, is gender-swapped into Rose da Silva, while Harry (played by Sean Bean and called Christopher da Silva instead) hangs around back at home. Even still, just because you’re not in Silent Hill doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you.
Luckily for Sean Bean, it doesn’t. He manages to make it all the way to the end of one of the most screwed up horror franchises there is. Of all the movies where you’d totally expect Sean Bean to die horribly, he doesn’t. It could only be weirder if…
1. Silent Hill: Revelation
…he lives through the sequel, too. And the entire premise is that he’s kidnapped by cultists and kept captive in Silent Hill until his (now grown) daughter comes and gives birth to a dark god. But, against all odds, she actually rescues him. His video game counterpart (spoiler for the games) totally dies, and yet Sean Bean lives once again. And he decides to stay in Silent Hill. Why not? He’s apparently immune to its evil anyway.