He is best known in the United States for his role as the fictional character Boromir in the Lord of the Rings movie series and, in the United Kingdom, as Richard Sharpe in the television series Sharpe. His popularity in the Sharpe series became an in-joke in many of his later films -- he works the word "sharp" into his characters' dialogue whenever possible. The Sharpe series concluded in 1997, but Sean Bean has recently signed on to film another installment of the popular franchise in the autumn/winter of 2005.
Other notable appearances include as an Irish terrorist in the 1992 film adaptation of Patriot Games, as Mellors the gamekeeper in the 1992 BBC adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover and as Alec Trevelyan (MI6's 006), the major villain of the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye. Producers of the Bond film series were looking for an actor who could have played Bond himself for the role of 006. They have claimed to find those qualities in Bean.
He has been married and divorced three times, and has three daughters: Lorna, Molly and Evie.
- He has a tattoo on his left shoulder that reads "100% Blade" in reference to his support for Sheffield United. His right shoulder has a tattoo of the Elvish word for Nine to commemorate playing a member of the Fellowship in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
- During the filming of The Fellowship of the Ring he refused to take the helicopters out to remote mountain locations. Instead he chose to take a ski lift into the mountians and then hike the final few miles, all in full costume.
- His characters nearly always die, in every film role he undertakes. See Patriot Games, GoldenEye, Don't Say a Word, Lord of the Rings and Equilibrium for examples. This is mainly due to the fact that he is British actor in Hollywood films, and therefore is often cast as the villain.
- Provides voices for Bethesda's Elder Scrolls Oblivion Game.
- Silent Hill (2006) (Post-Production) ...as Christopher.
- Flightplan (2005) .... as Captain Rich
- The Island (2005) .... as Merrick
- Pride (2004) .... as Dark
- National Treasure (2004) .... Ian Howe
- Troy (2004) .... as Odysseus
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) .... as Boromir
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) (uncredited) .... as Boromir (extended edition)
- Equilibrium (2002) .... as Partridge
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) .... as Boromir
- Don't Say a Word (2001) .... as Patrick Koster
- Bravo Two Zero (1999) .... as Andy McNab
- Ronin (1998) .... as Spence
- Anna Karenina (1997) .... as Vronsky
- GoldenEye (1995) .... as Alec Trevelyan
- Black Beauty (1994)
- Patriot Games (1992) .... as Sean Miller
- The Field (1990) .... as Tadgh McCabe
- How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989) .... as Larry Frisk
- Caravaggio (1986) .... as Ranuccio
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- The Compleat Sean Bean
- The Bean Pool
- Corner of Bean
- Beanie Lovers