If ever there was a man who looks happier striding around in a jerkin and breeches than modern dress it’s Sean Bean. Since his early appearances on the small screen in Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Sharpe, Sean has carved out a distinctive career path for himself as the go-to guy for swashbuckling roles. Whether he’s brandishing his musket as the intrepid Richard Sharpe or swirling a sword as Boromir in The Fellowship of the Ring, Sean is the ultimate hero on horseback. We love his rugged good looks, steely gaze and the way he wears a uniform. He most definitely will derring do…
Picture credits: Rex Features and Getty Images
Sean Bean: Caravaggio, 1986
After graduating from RADA and touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company for two years, Sean landed his first film role playing Ranuccio Tomassoni in Derek Jarman's Caravaggio.
Sean Bean: Patriot Games, 1992
Sean started the process of breaking America with a part in Patriot Games, which saw him playing an Irish Republican terrorist. While filming a fight scene, Harrison Ford accidentally hit Sean with a boat hook, giving him a permanent scar over his eye - a war wound which he's emphasised in subsequent roles to add authenticity to his characters.
Sean Bean: Sharpe, 1992
Sean is most closely associated with the character Richard Sharpe from the TV series Sharpe, but the role wasn't originally his - Paul McGann had been cast as the maverick British soldier fighting in the Napoleonic wars, but a leg injury meant he had to pull out of the show and Sean stepped in. Lucky for us...
Sean Bean: Lady Chatterley's Lover, 1993
Sean won plaudits for his portrayal of Mellors in the BBC's adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover, which included some infamous sex scenes with Joely Richardson, who played the lady of the manor.
Sean Bean: Sharpe
For no particular reason, here's another gratuitous shot of Sean looked dashing in his uniform in Sharpe (you're welcome...)
Sean Bean: Black Beauty, 1994
In 1994 Sean played the part of Farmer Grey in the TV remake of the iconic Black Beauty.
Sean Bean: Sharpe's Gold, 1995
In 1995 Sean picked up his musket to play the now Major Richard Sharpe in Sharpe's Gold.
Sean Bean: When Saturday Comes, 1996
A childhood accident prevented Sean from pursuing his ambition of becoming a professional footballer, but he was able to realise his dream of playing for his club, Sheffield United, when he took on the role of Jimmy Miur in the 1996 film When Saturday Comes.
Sean Bean: The Fellowship of the Ring, 2001
Movie roles don't get much better than the bitter, conflicted - but ultimately honourable - Boromir in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Sean brought his usual authenticity to the part and made us feel empathy for a character who was on first appearances quite unsympathetic.
Sean Bean: Macbeth, 2002
Sean returned to his Shakespearean roots when he took to the stage in London in the lead role in Macbeth alongside Samantha Bond.
Sean Bean: Henry VIII, 2003
In 2003 he donned doublet and hose once more to play Robert Aske in ITV's Henry VIII.
Sean Bean: Troy, 2004
It seems like no Hollywood movie featuring warriors and battlefields is complete without Sean, looking grizzled, carrying a sword and shield - and that's fine by us. Here he is as Odysseus in the 2004 epic, Troy.
Sean Bean: Cannes, 2004
Sean happily poses at Cannes in 2004 with his Troy co-stars Diane Kruger and Rose Byrne.
Sean Bean: Cannes Troy premier, 2004
Sean was reunited with his Lord of the Rings co-star Orlando Bloom (aka Legolas the Elf) in the 2004 movie Troy. Here they are with Eric Bana on the red carpet in Cannes.
Sean Bean: Flight Plan, 2005
A clean-shaven and buzz-cutted Sean is almost unrecognisable in the tense 2005 thriller Flight Plan which saw him playing pilot Captain Rich opposite Jodie Foster.
Sean Bean: Flight Plan premier, 2005
Larking about with Hollywood icon Jodie Foster? That's our Sean...
Sean Bean: The Island premier, 2005
He might hobnob with Hollywood A-listers like Scarlett Johansson these days, but Sean has stayed true to his roots and has never lost his Sheffield accent.
Sean Bean: North Country premier, 2005
In 2004 Sean played the role of Kyle Dodge in North Country, a film that was based on a true story and saw Charlize Theron's character Josey Aimes filing a sex discrimination lawsuit against the local iron mine.
Sean Bean: Outlaw, 2007
Sean doesn't just play intrepid heroes in days of yore - in 2007's Outlaw he took on the part of Danny Bryant, a soldier who joins a group of vigilantes to fight the crime wave that is blighting his home town.
Sean Bean: Sharpe's Peril, 2008
We rejoiced in 2008 when Sean reprised his most famous role as Lieutenant Colonel Richard Sharpe in Sharpe's Peril, which saw him leading his motley crew of battlescarred mistfits across India.
Sean Bean: Red Riding, 2009
He can get away with a mullet, he can carry off a slightly sketchy white polo neck (here in Red Riding), heck the man even looks good when covered in someone else’s blood and gore on the field of battle. Mr Bean, we salute you.
Sean Bean: with Viggo Mortensen, 2009
The friendships forged on the set of Lord of the Rings are unbreakable; here's Sean (Boromir) with his brother in arms, Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn).
Sean Bean: Black Death, 2010
If your village was trying to escape the bubonic plague, wouldn't you want Sean Bean on your side? In Black Death Sean played the Knight Ulric opposite Eddie Redmayne's monk Osmund, roaming the medieval, plague-ridden countryside to try and find a necromancer who can bring the dead back to life.
Sean Bean: Game of Thrones, 2011
The roles Sean has played in his career have actually mirrored the path of a real soldier, rising through the ranks from a youthful Sergeant and then Lieutenant Colonel in Sharpe, then ascending to the position of the grizzled and battle-scarred warrior Lord Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones.
Sean Bean: Game of Thrones, 2011
Game of Thrones was particularly bloodthirsty, even for Sean.