Sean Bean has to be in running for the actor with the most on-screen deaths. Honestly, only Kenny from South Park has died more times than Bean. His death in film and TV has become such a common occurrence that he is considered a walking spoiler. We thought it would be fun to break down our picks for Sean Bean’s greatest on-screen deaths.
So sit back and relax as we celebrate the master of death.
5. Patriot Games
“Anchoring” our list is Sean Bean’s demise as Sean Miller in The Patriot Games. It’s never a smart idea to go up against Harrison Ford, especially when he is playing CIA agent Jack Ryan. When Miller’s brother is thwarted and killed by Jack, Sean devotes himself to avenging the Irish revolutionary.
As you might guess, things don’t go well for the antagonist. He’s impaled by an anchor during the final showdown before a massive explosion that seals his fate.
We started with Sean Bean as a villain, so let’s bring some balance with Equilibrium. In the world of the movie, art and emotion are outlawed to prevent societal collapse. Sean Bean plays Errol Partridge, a cleric (police enforcer) whose job it is to find sense offenders alongside his partner John Preston (Christian Bale).
After Errol confiscates a book, Preston begins to suspect that his partner has started to feel emotions. This is confirmed when he finds Patridge openly reading the book. Bale’s character has no choice but to terminate his partner who leaves him with a poetic warning:
“Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
What book was Bean reading before his character was killed? It was a book of poems by the Nobel-prize-winning W. B. Yeats. So he was reading “Yeats” before getting yeeted.
3. Game of Thrones
This might just be Sean Bean’s most famous death because it happened on the most popular TV show of all time. You might be surprised to see this as number three, but that’s because a lesser-known death is coming up next. Still, the beheading came as a shocker to fans who thought that Ned Stark was the main character of the show. How could he die in the first season? We were certain that someone would intervene or that Ned would be sent to join the Night’s Watch.
But things took a turn when Joffrey uttered those vile words:
“Ser Ilyn, bring me his head.”
Soon the world went dark as our “stark” reality finally set in. Ned was gone.
2. Black Death
Black Death is an adventure horror film (yes, that’s actually a genre) that takes place in 1348 during the Black Death in Medieval England. Sean Bean’s character Ulric is a Christian hunting down a necromancer played by Carice van Houten (Melisandre from Game of Thrones).
The highlight, of course, is Sean Bean’s death scene at the end of the film. When Ulric reaches the remote village and begins his investigation, his group is captured and drugged after their intentions are revealed by a betrayal.
Ulric’s group is given the option of denouncing God to save their lives. Ulric refuses and has his arms stretched out by horses as punishment. Before he dies, he whispers for his tormentors to open his shirt. As they do, the people of the village are horrified to see that Ulric has the black death. He has brought the scourge to the village, and the people scatter in fear.
“I am death. Vengeance is mine.” Ulric says in victory as he’s dismembered by the horses.
Yes, Sean, you certainly are death.
1. The Lord of the Rings
Alright, I know you’ve been dying to get to this one. Sean Bean’s death in The Fellowship of the Ring is also the actor’s favorite death scene.
Aside from Gimli’s occasional racism against elves, Boromir was the only morally gray member of the fellowship. He had a big heart and a burning desire to bring peace to his people. He also developed a deep friendship with the hobbits and cared deeply for the “little ones.” Of course, this big heart also left him vulnerable to the powers of the one ring. He stumbled from the path and tried to take the ring from Frodo. Boromir redeems himself, taking many arrows as he defends his hobbit friends from the invading Uruk Hai. The character dies, but not before giving a heartwarming goodbye to Aragorn.
“I would have followed you, my brother, my captain, my king.”
Be at peace, son of Gondor.
We have to give an honorable mention to 1995’s GoldenEye. Sean Bean plays a 00 agent who is killed in action during the film’s opening scene, only to come back later in the movie as the villain. Of course, he dies again.
While not the best of Sean Bean’s deaths, dying twice in a single movie shows how dedicated Sean is to the craft of death. While we hope it’s not for many decades, Sean Bean will surely die doing what he loves.