Sean Bean on-screen deaths: all 25 times the Sheffield Game of Thrones actor died on TV

Sean Bean has been a Bond villain, an original member of the Fellowship of the Ring and the Hand to the King of Westeros.

By Ross McIndoe
Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 4:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 4:45 pm

His resume is filled with screen and stage credits of all kinds and he’s generally one of the UK’s most beloved actors – and yet we can’t seem to stop killing him.

Famously, Sean Bean has died on screen in what feels like every role he has ever been cast in.

Here’s a full highlights reel of how the Sheffield-born star has met his end over the years.

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Boromir may go down as Sean Bean's most famous role. Picture: New Line Cinema

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Carvaggio (1986) – Throat slashed

In one of his earliest roles, Bean played a street tough named Ranuccio who catches the eye of the artist Carvaggio (Nigel Terry) and introduces him to his girlfriend Lena (Tilda Swinton).

Both Lena and Ranuccio are caught kissing the artist and become fiercely jealous of one another. Finally, Ranuccio kills Lena and Carvaggio slashes his throat in return.

Bean teamed up with 007 for 1995's Goldeneye. Not the sort of man you want to double-cross, though. Picture: United International Pictures

War Requiem (1989) – Bayonetted

There is something particularly sinister about sticking a knife on the end of a gun. Sean Bean’s unnamed German soldier becomes intimately acquainted with this fact when a British rifle is plunged into his chest in Derek Jaman’s War Requiem.

On a suitably morbid note, this is also the last recorded performance of acting legend Laurence Olivier before he died.

Lorna Doone (1990) – Drowned

Sean Bean's short-lived run as Ned Stark gave the 2010s one of their most iconic moments. Picture: Warner Bros

In this made-for-television adaptation of the West Country novel (which was actually filmed in Glasgow), Bean plays a member of the greedy Doone family who Clive Owen’s John Ridd swears vengeance against, until he falls in love with Lorna.

In the ensuing chaos, Bean’s character finds his way to the bottom of an English mire and does not find his way back out.

The Field (1990) – Death by cow

Playing Tadgh McCabe, Sean Bean becomes embroiled in a bitter land dispute which ultimately drives his father mad. In his unhinged state, he drives all of his cattle up on to a cliff, only for Tadgh to come tearing after him in the hopes of rescuing him.

Instead, Tadgh is driven off the cliff by the cows and meets his death in one of the least dignified ways Bean has been forced to endure.

Clarissa (1991) – Stabbed

In this BBC four-part series based on an 18th Century novel, Bean seduces a young woman away from her family only to betray her trust and abuse her horrifically.

Upon finding out what he has done, his family reject him and his former friends murder him in retribution.

Tell Me That You Love Me (1991) – Suicide

In a similar role, Bean plays a wealthy, handsome man who seduces a young woman after others abandon her. He at first appears to be the perfect man, only to reveal a dark side once she has began to trust him.

Ultimately, his love for her becomes so obsessive that he spirals out of control and takes his own life.

Patriot Games (1992) – Impaled on an anchor

Perhaps the most interesting way a Sean Bean character has met his demise, this one demonstrated the folly of going toe to toe with Tom Clancy’s superspy Jack Ryan (played here by Harrison Ford).

Bean plays an Irish terrorist whose younger brother is killed by Ryan during an attack. His thirst for revenge eventually leads him into a fistfight with Ryan on top of a boat, where Ryan jams him onto the pointy bit of the ship’s anchor.

Scarlett (1994) – Stabbed

This American mini-series was based on a book which was written as sequel to Gone with the Wind.

Bean plays the vicious Lord Richard Fenton who rapes one of his servants. In retaliation, she stabs him to death and Scarlett O’Hara, the protagonist from the original film, is blamed for the murder.

Goldeneye (1995) – Dropped from an antenna

In Sean Bean’s starring role as one of James Bond’s many nefarious foes – his former comrade, 006.

He hatches an evil scheme to rob the Bank of England while posing as a terrorist. Just like in Die Hard.

However, 007 quickly arrives on the scene to take him down - culminating in Bean getting dropped of an antenna and falling a long, long way back to earth.

Don’t Say A Word (2001) – Buried alive

The notion of getting buried alive would be up there with many people’s least favourite way to go but, if you are going to die 25 times, you’re likely going to get to it at some point.

For Sean Bean, it came with Don’t Say A Word – a psychological thriller about a gang of jewel thieves.

After a long series of double-crosses and deceptions, Bean finds himself diving into an excavation machine to recover a valuable gem. Then somebody turns the machine on.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) – Shot with many, many crossbow bolts

One of Bean’s most famous roles saw him playing the great warrior Boromir in the beloved big-screen adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.

After falling under the ring’s spell and betraying Frodo, Boromir makes amends by giving his life to protect the other hobbits. He dies a heroes death, continuing to fight even as he is shot repeatedly with a crossbow.

Henry VIII (2003) – Hanged by the neck until dead

In this take on the historical tale of the much-married King Henry VIII, Bean played Yorkshire lawyer and rebel leader Robert Aske.

Aske, like many, is angered by the King’s decision to break up the monasteries and leads a march to London in protest.

Falling out with King Henry rarely worked out well for anyone, and this proves to be no exception – the King tricks Robert into confessing to a treasonous offence and has him executed.

The Island (2005) – Hanged by the neck until dead after being shot through the neck with a grappling hook

The second time Sean Bean was hung to death proved, unbelievably, to be even more grisly than the first.

In the sci-fi thriller, The Island, Bean plays Dr Merrick – a man of science who presides over a society of people who are taught that they must never leave.

When one of the residents finds out that the Doctor has been less than completely truthful with them, he kills him in the gorey manner mentioned above.

Far North (2007) – Froze to death

Set in the arctic expanse of Siberia, this harsh film tells the story of two young women’s quest to survive in such a hostile environment and the dark prophecy that hangs over one of them.

They meet a man almost frozen to death and nurse him back to health. He falls in love with one of them, the other becomes jealous, kills her, steals her face and tries to win him for herself.

When he finds out what she has done he flees, naked, into the frozen tundra.

Black Death (2010) – Torn into quarters by horses

This medieval tales sees a group of warriors set out to capture a priest who has been accused of performing the dark arts.

When they travel to the village in question, the locals drug them and being executing them one by one.

Few meet a worse fate than Bean’s character – who is torn apart by horses – but he has the last laugh when he reveals that he has been carrying the black plague and that they are all now infected.

Game of Thrones (2011) – Decapitation

Bean played Ned Stark in the very first season of Game of Thrones – the esteemed Warden of the North who is ferried away to King’s Landing to serve as Hand of the King.

When a new king takes over, he quickly finds himself demoted to the chopping block.

Game of Thrones became renowned for its willingness to off popular characters unceremoniously – Ned’s death made it clear right from the start that nobody was safe.

Various (1998 – 2011) - Shot

Many of Sean Bean’s death have been pretty spectacular but sometimes a single shot has killed him. Here are all the films in which Sean Bean has been taken out with the pull of a trigger:

Airborne (1998)Essex Boys (2000)Equilibrium (2002)The Hitcher (2007)Outlaw (2007)Red Riding: The Year of our Lord (2008)Death Race 2 (2010)Ca$h (2010)Age of Heroes (2011)