The 16 Best HBO Series of All Time
Some of the best television in the past few decades has come from the Home Box Office, otherwise known as HBO. The network is well-known for its thematic, violent, and (sometimes too) mature content, but it’s always been part of what makes HBO so great.
In a world where streaming giants like Netflix rule, HBO had to adapt and start-up HBO Max, which has pretty much HBO’s entire catalog of original content (with more on the way). From historical docu-dramas to edgy fantasy and the violent wild-west, HBO has a little something for everyone.
These series below, limited or otherwise, are HBO’s “best of the best,” so check them out and see what you’d like to add to your watchlist.
1. The Sopranos
Often considered not only the best-written series of all time but also the best television series proper, The Sopranos follows Tony Soprano (played to perfection by the late James Gandolfini), a New Jersey-based mobster who works to balance his family life with his role as the leader of a criminal organization. This series is one of the best crime dramas out there, specifically in the gangster genre.
What makes The Sopranos compelling, and not just another gangster story, is Tony’s clinical depression (he has a panic attack and faints in the very first episode) mixed with the constant conflict between his personal and professional lives. This was Breaking Bad before Breaking Bad was even dreamed up. Tony’s relationship with psychologist Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) also serves as an interesting parallel to that of his rocky marriage with Carmela (Edie Falco). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The Sopranos is one of the greatest television spectacles of all time. The legacy of this show continues later this year with a prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark, focusing on Tony’s life as a young man (portrayed by James Gandolfini’s son Michael).
2. Band of Brothers
Inspired by their work on Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks created what has become the greatest war television mini-series out there. Band of Brothers follows the real-life stories of Easy Company, the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division as they travel through Europe during the Second World War.
The series transpires mostly through the eyes of Major Richard “Dick” Winters (Damien Lewis’ greatest role) as the men storm the beaches of Normandy, take part in the Battle of Bloody Gulch, experience shell-shock, discover the horrors of German concentration camps, and so much more as they fight the Nazi’s to end the war in Europe.
The series even has a companion piece, The Pacific, that follows three different Marines from the 1st Marine Division as they fight through the Pacific theater of the war. Band of Brothers is also unique in that each episode begins with excerpts from interviews with actual survivors, with the final episode identifying them by name.
3. The Wire
One of the most interesting series to ever grace our TV screens, The Wire is a crime drama/tragedy series set in the city of Baltimore in which each season covers a different institution or component of the city while still retaining continuity in characters and story. The illegal drug trade, port system, city government and bureaucracy, education and schools, and the print news are all explored faithfully across five seasons and sixty episodes.
Series creator David Simon said that The Wire is “really about the American city, and about how we live together. It’s about how institutions have an effect on individuals. Whether one is a cop, a longshoreman, a drug dealer, a politician, a judge, or a lawyer, all are ultimately compromised and must contend with whatever institution to which they are committed.”
The Wire may not have received much recognition during its original televised run, but in more recent years has been praised as not only being one of the most socially relevant series of all time, but also one of the best.
4. Game of Thrones
Here’s the one you’ve all been waiting for… Based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Game of Thrones is a high-fantasy epic that features an eclectic cast of characters spanning the Seven Kingdoms all hoping to take their rightful place on the Iron Throne. Between insane swordplay and battle sequences, dragons, ice giants (“White Walkers”), and a man literally getting engulfed by molten gold, there’s a lot to keep the audience actively engaged.
The television adaptation has made characters such as Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Khal Drogo (Jason Mamoa), “the Hound” (Rory McCann), and Ned Stark (Sean Bean) all house-hold names in the same vein as Harry Potter or Frodo. In fact, showrunner David Benioff has joked that the series is just “The Sopranos in Middle-Earth.”
Game of Thrones may have one of the most controversial endings out there, but there’s no denying the quality of this fantasy epic that has become a cultural phenomenon.
5. Curb Your Enthusiasm
While Larry David may have been the co-creator of Seinfeld, he may be best known for his role as a fictionalized version of himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm. After an hour-long 1999 special, David started the Los Angeles (and one-time New York City) based series in 2000 and it’s still going strong today (the most recent season was released in 2020).
While the series mainly plays off David’s own cultural or social misunderstandings (situational comedy is David’s strong suit after all), the series also has various supporting characters whose social lives often (negatively) impact David’s, especially when his manager Jeff (Jeff Garlin) is involved. That said, the best dynamic on the series is between David and his on-screen wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines), the “highlight of the party.”
Curb Your Enthusiasm is one of those comedies that you just can’t miss. Larry David is an improv-master who does what he’s best at – being himself. Oh, and yes, there is a Seinfeld reunion episode that will have you in stitches.
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6. True Detective
The famed anthology crime drama originally took the television world by storm when it hit the small screen in 2014. With each season following a different set of detectives on a different case in a different location, these character-driven stories are incredibly attractive to both stars and directors alike, the latter of which have included the likes of Cary Joji Fukunaga (No Time To Die), Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6), Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room), and series creator Nic Pizzolatto.
The first season takes place in rural Louisiana and stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as dectectives trying to solve a 17-year old murder case with occult ties. While this first season is one of the greatest seasons of television ever, the L.A.-based second season (starring Colin Ferrill, Rachel McAdams, and Vince Vaughn) and the Ozark-based third season (led by Mahershala Ali) still hold strong.
True Detective is an intimate case study in human psychology, both that of the criminals and those who hunt them, that consistently asks us the tough questions, and we love it.
7. The Newsroom
From the master of dialogue himself, Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom is what sold longtime comedy actor Jeff Daniels as a “serious actor.” From the very first scene in the pilot where Daniels’ character Will McAvoy dismantles the very notion that “America isn’t the greatest country in the world anymore,” we fully understand what sort of series The Newsroom is going to be, and that’s what makes it work.
The series follows not only McAvoy but a series of crew members from Atlantis Cable News, a fictional news organization that is meant to represent the corporate news media we know today, though maybe with a little more integrity than what we see on our TV screens. And that’s what set The Newsroom apart. It did the work and became almost a spiritual successor to Sorkin’s other series The West Wing.
The Newsroom takes something as boring as the news and makes it a dynamic conglomerate with real heart and soul. It did exactly what we would aspire to see in our favorite news channels today.
8. Eastbound & Down
Created by Ben Best, Jody Hill, and Danny McBride, Eastbound & Down follows Kenny Powers (played by McBride), a former baseball pitcher who is forced to return to his North Carolina hometown to become a substitute P.E. teacher. If that sounds like a balls-to-the-wall idea, then you’ll love this just-shy-of-thirty episode series to death.
According to series co-creator and star Danny McBride, the series intended to “make fun of a South where you could learn an ancient martial art like Tae Kwon Do in a shopping center next to a tanning salon.” Turns out, it does all that and more thanks to a combination of eccentric characters and wild storylines. Plus, the series has a crazy number of hilarious guest stars including Adam Scott, Will Ferrell, Craig Robinson, Matthew McConaughey, and Jason Sudeikis.
Eastbound & Down may not be the most politically correct show, or even the most refined, but there are certainly some gems that may be worth mining for if you’re so inclined.
Speaking of mining, Deadwood is an American Western series set in the 1870s Dakota Territory in good-old Deadwood, South Dakota. Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane star as real-life Deadwood residents Seth Bullock (a Sheriff and frontiersman) and Al Swearengen (a pimp and the owner of The Gem Saloon) in this excitingly brutal western tale that features a large ensemble cast who all consistently pull their own weight.
Constant use of expletives aside, series creator and head writer David Milch (who more recently did some work on True Detective) did his homework to make Deadwood as historically accurate as possible, including guest appearances from Wild West heroes and outlaws such as Wyatt Earp (Gale Harold), Calamity Jane (Robin Weigert), Jack McCall (Garret Dillahunt), and George Crook (Peter Coyote).
Deadwood is one of HBO’s most beloved series (often cited as having ended too soon) and recently got its own film continuation, Deadwood: The Movie, taking place 10 years after the series finale.
One of the greatest miniseries of recent times, Chernobyl is created and written by Craig Mazin and directed by Johan Renck. The historical drama follows Valery Leasov (Jared Harris), the deputy director of the Kurchatov Institute, Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgård), Anatoly Dyatlov (Paul Ritter), and Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson), a composite character based on the many scientists who investigated the incident.
This Soviet drama really gets to the heart of the matter behind Chernobyl and does its homework when showing not just the government agents sent to handle the situation, but the lives of the workers and the innocent civilians as well. It’s a well-painted picture of the lives of some of the lesser-known stories relating to this unnatural disaster, including the stories of the firemen – who were the first responders to the scene – the volunteers, and a team of miners.
Chernobyl is an excellent adaptation of this historical tragedy that pays as close attention to detail as possible. HBO even released a companion podcast in which Mazin provides some historical context and the reason for some of the narrative changes.
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“It’s no place like home.” Oz, created and primarily written by Tom Fontana, is a prison drama set in the fictional Oswald State Correctional Facility’s “Emerald City,” a wing named after the fictional setting of L. Frank Baum’s beloved books. This show is not for the faint of heart and features a ton of violence (including sexual violence) that keeps this writer from even attempting a viewing.
The series follows Warden Leo Glynn (former Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson), idealist Tim McManus (Terry Kinney), prisoner/series narrator Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau), Kareem Saïd (Eamonn Walker), Tobias Beecher (Lee Tergesen), and a host of others (including actors like J.K. Simmons and Dean Winters in main roles) as they navigate prison, gang life, rehabilitation, racism, violence, and so much more.
Oz might not be the prettiest series, but it accurately portrays the horrors of the prison system that are often overlooked by politicians, religious orders, and the common person alike.
12. True Blood
Based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries novel series by Charlaine Harris, and the immediate premise that vampires exist and are able to come out of the darkness due to “Tru Blood,” a synthetic blood product, True Blood follows Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a telepath who falls in love with a 173-year old vampire named Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer).
The series deals heavily with vampire’s struggle for equal rights, facing off against anti-vampire organizations and protesters, as well as Sookie’s personal struggles with her own demons relating to intimacy in her relationships, especially with Bill. This fantasy horror drama is a lot more than you might think as it’s a little more graphic and a whole lot darker than Twilight ever was.
True Blood is more than just your average vampire show – it’s full of real characters with real drama and real stakes… including the wooden kind.
Here’s one that might’ve slipped under your radar. Succession is a satirical black comedy-drama that follows the Roy family, who own the Waystar RoyCo media conglomerate. After their patriarch experiences a rapid decline in health, each member of the Roy family struggles for control and prepares to experience life without the influence of their father.
The series stars an ensemble cast that features Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Alan Ruck, Sarah Snook, and many others, including Brain Cox as the Roy family patriarch, Logan. The series takes a comedic approach to the family-business dynamic that keeps you engaged, and maybe a little bit enraged. Will Ferrell and Adam McKay serving as producers certainly help.
Succession is still ongoing, creator Jesse Armstrong has made sure of that, and promises more laughs and family squabbles to keep fans entertained.
14. Six Feet Under
Speaking of family dramas, one of the more quirky shows on this list (but certainly not the most quirky, just wait for the next one) is Six Feet Under. The show depicts a family who is dealing with the passing of their patriarch, the owner of a funeral home called Fischer & Son. The deceased father has bequeathed the family business to his two sons, played by Sports Night’s Peter Krause and Dexter’s Michael C. Hall, who must deal with their emotional turmoil while working together to keep the business alive
As the brothers take on the task, they deal with lots of classical family drama (featuring just about everything from dysfunction to religion) to constant topics surrounding death, including the philosophical, personal, and religious implications of the great equalizer. Plus, consistent conversations with the dead makes for some good content.
Six Feet Under is a surreal, darkly humorous show that tends to be a lot of fun but also doesn’t shy away from the heavier topics.
15. Flight of the Conchords
We promised you a quirky show, and Flight of the Conchords is just that. Starring the real-life music duo (also called Flight of the Conchords) of Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, the two play fictitious versions of themselves trying to make it in the music industry. While the show only lasted two seasons, the 22 episode run is glorious in its own right.
The series follows the shepherds-turned-folk-musicians as they uproot themselves from their homeland in New Zealand to try and make it big in New York City. Rhys Darby also stars as their band manager who keeps them away from their stalker (played by Kristen Schaal). A staple of the series is the duo’s constant breaking into song, sometimes as they sing to other characters, and other times to serve as their inner monologue.
Flight of the Conchords is an incredibly unique series that was canceled far too soon, but still remains one of the finest musical comedies out there.
16. Boardwalk Empire
Former Sopranos writer-producer Terence Winter proved he wasn’t yet finished with the crime drama when he came up with Prohibition-era series Boardwalk Empire. Taking place primarily in Atlantic City, New Jersey during the 1920s, the show follows Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi), the county’s most powerful political figure and crime lord.
The series became an instant classic (the pilot was even directed by Hollywood superstar Martin Scorsese) and features an incredibly talented cast (including Michael Shannon, Kelly Macdonald, Shea Whigam, Stephen Graham, and Michael Kenneth Williams) to bounce off Buscemi’s ruthless gangster. While the series doesn’t strictly follow historical events, it is based on the life of Enoch Lewis Johnson, a real-life criminal kingpin from that era.
Boardwalk Empire had enough flair and gusto to last five full seasons, but it goes by quicker than you’d think.
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The 15 Best Belgian Beers To Try in 2021
Belgian brewing is iconic for its tradition and style, featuring a dazzling array of quality options that are considered the ultimate in craft beer enjoyment. While you’re unlikely to find thirst-quenching, easy-drinking Belgian lager, their beer is famed for its traditional methodology. From old family recipes, sour and fruit beers, and Saison and wheat beer, through to strong ales brewed by Trappist monks and abbeys, there’s a beer for everyone.
If you are a newcomer or beer enthusiast looking to find amazing quality crafted beer, Belgian artistry will be keeping you busy for a long time (and that’s before you get to the Belgian-inspired beer being crafted in the US).
The following collection of the 15 best Belgian beers offers a great roadmap to finding your favorite tastes. There will be some you love, and others you won’t enjoy, but all offer an interesting experience.
1. Brouwerij Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet
If you’re looking to delve deeply into the world of quality Belgian beer, make sure that Brouwerij Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet is right near the top of your list. Launched in 1996 to great acclaim, Brouwerij Tripel is brewed to an authentic beer recipe dating from 1679. A “Tripel” is made with three times the malt in the wort, which results in a markedly higher ABV (8.4%).
Regarded as one of the world’s finest Belgian beer styles, Tripel Karmeliet (Dutch for “Triple Carmelite”) is a golden-colored Belgian beer brewed by the highly regarded Brouwerij Bosteels beer brand. A feature of this triple beer style is the fruity flavor, which is provided by the uniqueness of the yeast. It offers banana and vanilla flavors mixed crisply with citrus aromas.
2. Chimay Grande Reserve Ale
It seems great-tasting beer is the Lord’s work. Chimay makes a commanding argument for being “the Champagne” of Abbey beer and is arguably the most popular Trappist beer in the world. A Trappist brewery does not create a set style of beer. It denotes that the beer has been brewed at a Trappist Monastery. There are only 11 in the world that are entitled to carry the “Authentic Trappist Product” label on their beer.
All Trappist ales and beers must be brewed in strict adherence to rules established by the International Trappist Association. The beer must be brewed in a Trappist monastery and should be brewed either by Trappist monks or under monks’ supervision.
This bottle is aged for up to five years upright in a cool environment within its Trappist brewery before being bottled and shipped. Chimay Grande Reserve is the premium of Trappist ales (although all varieties are delicious examples of Belgian beer), offering an intense floral aroma, a rich body, and complex citrus notes that move forward into a long, full-bodied finish.
3. Hoegaarden White
Belgium’s most popular wheat beer, Hoegaarden White is popular for aficionados and novice European beer drinkers alike. Hoegaarden White is smooth and creamy, offering a light refreshment at odds with its cloudy appearance. Its sweet yet slightly spicy flavor profile and bubbly carbonation make Hoegaarden a great complement to seafood dishes and sharp hard cheeses.
4. Orval Trappist Ale
Orval Trappist Ale is a sensational beer that rivals the Tripel Karmeliet for overall quality but at a slightly less punchy 6.2 % ABV. Orval is a lovely amber color, with a fruity and slightly acidic aroma. The flavor strongly features the bitterness of refreshing hops contrasted by fruity flavors that yield a long, dry finish.
My advice would be that when you get the chance to try an Orval Trappist Ale, you do so knowing it won’t be your last – it’s one of the best Belgian beers on the market and one you should look at tasating at every opportunity.
5. D’Achouffe La Chouffe Belgian Blonde Ale
This Belgian ale suits many different palates yet comes in at a hefty 8% ABV. It’s similar to a Belgian IPA (India Pale Ale) but less hoppy, crafted by “mythical elves at the microbrewery Brasserie Achouffe in the Ardennes Mountains.”
La Chouffe is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and bottle conditioned. It features a pleasant, fruity flavor spiced with coriander, with only a little hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste. If that’s not enough to get you over the line, the craft beer company’s mascot is a gnome named Marcel who rides a unicycle on the bright yellow label.
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6. Delirium Tremens
Classified as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, this bad boy comes in at 8.5% ABV. This intricate beer is gold in color with a creamy light head featuring a tremendously complex fruity ester (the fruit flavor created in the process of fermentation).
Delirium Tremens (known as the shakes to you and I) is a light, refreshing Belgian Pale Ale for a brew with such a strong alcohol profile. It has a big body, a creamy sweet mouthfeel of caramel malt, and little bitterness in the fruit beer’s aftertaste. DT is a great option for the Belgian pale ale enthusiast seeking hefty alcohol content without the overwhelming hoppiness of an Imperial IPA.
7. Cantillon Fou Foune
This delicious sour beer is different from “normal beer” because it’s fermented through spontaneous exposure to wild yeast (Brettanomyces yeast) and bacteria native to the Zenne valley in Belgium. Cantillon Fou Foune is an apricot lambic beer brewed yearly by Cantillon (bottling usually commences in August), using approximately 300 grams per bottle of organically grown French apricots.
The unique brewing process gives the beer its distinctive flavor: dry, vinous, and cidery, with an extremely tart aftertaste underneath oaky lambic and subtle apricot. While difficult to find at times, the Fou Foune from Brasserie Cotillon is a brilliant Belgian Beer style recommended for the fully committed beer lover to indulge in the very best of sour beer brewing.
8. Duvel Belgian Ale
Duvel is bottled at an ABV of 8.5% and offers a unique take on the popular strong Belgian style ales. Duvel Belgian Ale is blonde in color and refreshes crisply like a Pilsner, yet possesses the flavor, strength, and depth of a more complex craft beer. Pilsner malt is used to create the lovely golden color it pours, while Bohemian hops and a unique yeast strain add character and intensity to the beer.
9. Blanche de Bruxelles
Traditionally, farmers brewed witbier to showcase the quality of their crops. Blanche de Bruxelles is naturally cloudy (not unlike a hazy IPA from your favorite craft brewery) thanks to the 40% wheat content that is used in its brewing. Blanche de Bruxelles possesses the aroma of coriander and bitter orange peels, which are added during the slow brewing process.
The resultant wheat beer yields an unfiltered bottle, re-fermented with yeast and brewing sugar. The orange flavor is also noticeable on the palate of this traditional witbier, which has a markedly lower ABV than some of the others on this list (4.5%).
10. Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze
Drei Fonteinen is the only remaining traditional geuze (also spelled gueuze) blend in Belgium that uses 100% spontaneously fermented lambic beer aged in oak casks with no artificial sweeteners or other additives. Because the young lambics are not fully fermented, the blended beer contains fermentable sugars, which allow a second fermentation to occur and makes for a well-balanced sour ale/farmhouse ale.
Oude Geuze is a beautiful golden beer when poured. The flavor is very sour and tart with notes of lemon, orange peel, and apple which moves into hints of spices and hops through the bubbling carbonated finish. The beer lover new to sour ale is likely to miss out on the subtle layers this Belgian brew offers, but an established sour drinker will fully appreciate the depth of character a traditional gueuze possesses.
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11. Westmalle Trappist Dubbel
Westmalle Dubbel is a classically dark, reddish-brown Trappist beer that’s had a secondary fermentation in the bottle (hence the name Dubbel). It’s attractive in the glass, with a creamy head and the fragrance of malt. It’s rich and complex on the tongue, featuring a soft mouthfeel augmented by herby spices and a fruity yet slightly bitter finish. If you are looking for a quintessentially Belgian dark beer made by Trappist monks, this quality bottle is hard to go past.
12. Saison Dupont Farmhouse Ale
Saison Dupont has been an integral seasonal beer for the famous Dupont Belgian brewery since it was first crafted in 1844. It’s a lovely coppery blond in color, strong in yeast and malt aromas, with a hint of grasses and lemon on the palate, and an ideal amount of bitterness at the tail. Considered a benchmark seasonal beer, Saison Dupont is a top-quality Farmhouse Ale made for thirst-quenching refreshment.
13. Leffe Brown Ale
Leffe Brown is an authentic dark abbey beer that rivals any of the brown ale popularized in the United Kingdom. It offers a rich, slightly sweet flavor that comes from the use of darkly roasted malt in the brewing process.
There are the enjoyable flavors of caramel, chocolate, and a hint of coffee in the lush flavor profile, and Leffe Brown Pours creamily into a traditional chalice. While it’s not a beer style where you will wish to drink 10 of them in a sitting, it’s easy to appreciate the tasty dark flavor of Leffe Brown as an after-dinner sampler.
14. Gouden Carolus Classic
Named after King Charles V, this unique dark beer could almost be classed as a stout, yet is categorized as a Belgian Strong Ale bottled at 8.5% ABV. Gouden Carolus Classic is fresh and enjoyable, particularly when paired with a variety of strongly flavored dishes, cheeses, and pate.
Its richness is contrasted nicely by the bitterness of hops that helps augment a slightly sour profile. While not my style beer of choice, Gouden Carolus Classic can certainly be a great companion for feasting or enjoyed after dinner with a nice cigar.
15. Pauwel Kwak Belgian Ale
Pauwel Kwak Belgian Ale gets its name from a famed 18th-century innkeeper and brewer who crafted a beer for carriage drivers. These days the beer is brewed by the Bosteels brewery in Buggenhout.
This complex Belgian strong ale is amber in color with beautiful foam and a slightly sweet malt character. The sweet yeasty aromas are enlivened by the taste of coriander and a glimmer of licorice flavor on the palate. You’ll often find this Belgian beer served in the tremendous hourglass style glass and wooden frame first created by Pauwel Kwak, so it makes for an impressive experience at a bar or restaurant (or if you are a devotee enjoying the beer at home).
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The 15 Best Sean Connery Movies of All Time
Sir Sean Connery, best known for his role as the original 007, worked in the film industry for over 50 years. His career, and legacy, have been the envy of many Hollywood actors and filmmakers. Between an Academy Award, multiple BAFTA awards, and three Golden Globes, Connery is not only a fan favorite but a favorite of critics as well.
Known as “the Greatest Living Scot,” Connery has worked with some of Hollywood’s most talented filmmakers, such as Alfred Hitchcock, Sidney Lumet, John Huston, Steven Spielberg, Brian De Palma, and many more. So without further adieu, here is our list of the 15 greatest Sean Connery movies of all time!
1. Dr. No (1962)
The original James Bond motion picture, based on the Ian Flemming novel of the same name, Dr. No sparked the secret agent genre that prospered in the 1960s. Connery slipped into the role of 007 as easily as Bond slips out of his clothes.
The trademark 007 “gun barrel” sequence, as well as the classic Bond theme, all began here with Dr. No, a film that set up and launched the entire franchise. Connery would go on to play 007 for the next 20 years (with a 12-year break between his penultimate and final performances), and to this day is still regarded as the best Bond by movie nerds. Dr. No is the film that not only launched the 007 series but also propelled Connery into the spotlight as an action hero and leading man.
2. Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (1989)
While some consider Raiders of the Lost Ark to be the ultimate Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford, Star Wars) film, others say that Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade is better, largely due to Sean Connery’s role as Indy’s father, Henry Jones, Sr. Connery is so well cast it makes you wonder who else could’ve even attempted to pull it off.
The Last Crusade sends Indy into the path of the Nazis as he searches for the original Holy Grail, which his father devoted his entire life and career to finding. Watching Ford and Connery bicker back and forth is part of this film’s charm, making us wish they could have starred opposite each other at least one more time. Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade is not only arguably the best Indiana Jones film, but also one of the greatest adventure crusades of the past 50 years.
3. The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
A technicolor adventure film adapted from a Rudyard Kipling novella, The Man Who Would Be King follows ex-British Army sergeant Daniel Dravot (Connery) as he and Peachy Carnehan (Sir Michael Caine, The Dark Knight) set off to explore 19th century British India, only to end up elsewhere when one of them is taken for a god and made king.
This film is completely wild as Connery and Caine (who play masterfully off one another) explore jungles, fight incredible battles, travel through the various elements, before finding themselves in an unknown land where their lives change forever. Oh, and Christopher Plummer (Knives Out) plays Rudyard Kipling himself!
The Man Who Would Be King is an unusual tale filled with danger, suspense, and lots of adventure, making it one of Connery’s trademark films.
4. The Untouchables (1987)
Based on the book of the same name, The Untouchables tells the fictionalized true story of 1930s Prohibition-era Chicago in which Bureau of Prohibition agent Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner, Yellowstone) works alongside Connery’s Jim Malone to take down mob boss Al Capone (an incredible Robert De Niro).
This masterpiece features some of the greatest performances you could ask for from Costner and De Niro, but it’s Connery who steals the movie as “Jimmy” Malone, a cop who adamantly opposes all the Prohibition-era corruption. One criticism is that Connery’s accent is too pronounced, but this writer would say that’s part of his charm. The Untouchables is an exciting thrill ride that will keep you wanting more, especially more Connery, even as the film closes out.
5. The Hunt for Red October (1990)
James Bond isn’t the only government agent-led spy franchise that Sean Connery sparked into existence. The Hunt for Red October is the first in the Jack Ryan series of films based on the spy novels by Tom Clancy. While Connery doesn’t play the famed agent himself, he does portray Captain Marko Ramius, the CO of the Red October.
Set during the late Cold War era, the film follows CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock) as he deduces the motive of a defective Soviet naval captain (Connery) in order to prevent an all-out war. Connery’s Captain Ramius is probably the most interesting character in the film, with a cloaked motivation that keeps the plot moving. The Hunt for Red October not only launched the Jack Ryan film series but also pushed Connery back into the spotlight as the 90s began.
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6. Time Bandits (1981)
The first in Terry Gilliam’s (Monty Python) “Trilogy of Imagination,” Time Bandits is a British fantasy film about a young boy, Kevin (Craig Warnock, To The Lighthouse), who accidentally joins a bunch of time-traveling dwarfs as they search for treasure to steal from different historical eras. It’s a trip.
Connery’s role as the Mycenaean-Grecian King Agamemnon is unlike any secret agent or spy we’re used to seeing the actor portray. The fierce warrior-king not only adopts the young Kevin after the 11-year-old saves his life, but he also fights a horse-headed man to the death, which is worth watching the film for. Time Bandits is a charming feature that captures the realities of childhood with plenty of laughs.
7. The Rock (1999)
From Transformers legend Michael Bay, The Rock stars Sean Connery, Nicholas Cage (The Wicker Man), Ed Harris (Apollo 13), William Forsythe (Raising Arizona), and Michael Biehn (The Terminator) in an action-thriller that follows an ex-con and a chemist as they lead a counter-strike against a renegade general on Alcatraz.
Known as not only one of Michael Bay’s best pictures, but one of Connery’s as well, The Rock has Connery and film legend Cage face-off against Ed Harris with some of the most extensive and impactful action sequences and explosions that are trademarks of Bay pictures.
The Rock is one of Connery’s best non-Bond action roles out there. Not to mention, when else have you seen Connery sing in a shower?
8. From Russia With Love (1963)
Speaking of Bond, the second film in the 007 series (released only one year after Dr. No), From Russia With Love follows Bond as he is sent to Turkey to protect a Soviet consulate clerk (Daniela Bianchi, O.K. Connery) who has defected, all the while SPECTRE has set their sights on Bond after the events of the first film.
This picture did even better financially and critically than the first film and helped seal the character of James Bond in the cultural consciousness. Plus, in this one, Bond actually boards the famed Orient Express (coincidently, Connery would later star in a Sidney Lumet adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express in the 70s). From Russia With Love is one of the most beloved James Bond pictures and features some of Sean Connery’s greatest work.
9. The Name of the Rose (1986)
Did you know Sean Connery starred in a historical mystery drama where he plays a fictional Franciscan friar named William of Baskerville? Well, he did just that in The Name of The Rose, a film based on the book of the same name. As the friar, he is summoned to solve a deadly mystery in the medieval abbey.
The deaths surrounding this mystery relate to the signs mentioned in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation and the plot of the film also deals with accusations of witchcraft, poisoning, false confessions, and so much more. Connery’s role as the friar may be a little unconventional, but it works and manages to be one of his best. The Name of The Rose asks and answers the question, “who, in the name of God, can get away with murder?”
10. Finding Forrester (2000)
One of Connery’s last leading roles before his retirement from acting, Finding Forrester follows a young, black teenager (Rob Brown, Coach Carter) who befriends a reclusive writer, William Forrester (Connery), who helps him refine his writing and makes him come to terms with his own identity.
Directed by Gus Van Sant, Finding Forrester feels a lot like the director’s greatest hit, Good Will Hunting, in that a young man is mentored by an elder who sees potential in him that his peers cannot. In one of Connery’s most profound roles, one cannot deny the power and impact that taking an interest in someone may have on their future. Finding Forrester is a heartfelt look into the life of a young man who needs direction, and an old man who needs a purpose.
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11. Goldfinger (1964)
The third Bond film, both in the series proper and in Connery’s filmography, Goldfinger is often considered the greatest (or at least one of the greatest) of the Bond films. The plot follows Bond as he investigates a gold smuggling ring led by the titular villain (played by Gert Fröbe, I Killed Rasputin).
This one also features Bond opposite Goldfinger’s personal pilot, the famed femme fatale Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman, The Avengers television series), who has become infamous among the 007 fandom. As always, Connery delivers as Bond, whose tongue-in-cheek humor eventually became a staple of the series. Goldfinger is a classic that, while dated, manages to withstand the test of time. Plus, it’s the first Bond picture to win an Oscar, so that’s pretty cool.
12. Highlander (1986)
An adventure fantasy film, Highlander is an 80s classic that follows the adventurous Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes) as he becomes “The Highlander,” one of the immortals who are part of a never-ending war throughout time.
Sean Connery co-stars as another immortal, Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez, Connor’s mentor who teaches him the ways of the Quickening. It’s the only role outside of James Bond that Connery has played more than once, although the sequel is only for die-hard fans.
Highlander is a fantasy epic that has spanned generations, in no small part due to Connery’s own excellence.
13. Outland (1981)
A soft remake of the 1950s Western High Noon but with a science-fiction twist, Outland stars Connery as Marshal William T. O’Neil, a lawman who has discovered a drug-smuggling conspiracy, only to find himself marked for murder, with no help from anyone else.
Instead of taking place in the Wild West, Outland takes place on a mining colony on Jupiter’s moon of Lo. The suspenseful atmosphere (or lack thereof) of outer space makes for some gripping action, character work, and timeless lessons of loyalty, truth, and what it means to do the right thing. Outland reminds us that even in the deepest reaches of space, the ultimate enemy is still man.
14. Medicine Man (1992)
Connery teams up once more with director John McTiernan (The Hunt for Red October), this time following him to the Amazon rainforest. After a pharmaceutical company sends a biochemist, Dr. Rae Crane (Lorraine Bracco, The Sopranos), into the Amazon to find the reclusive researcher Robert Campbell (Connery), things get a little dicey.
While Medicine Man might sound like a straightforward picture, there are enough surprises, subplots, and dramatic conflicts to keep you engaged as Campbell and Crane make their way through the indigenous lands in search of a miracle cure for cancer. This journey is heightened by the fact that they are racing against the clock to find the cure as commercial loggers attempt to destroy the area it’s believed to originate from. Medicine Man reminds us that industry and progress can often ignore the small miracles that we can find in nature.
15. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
This is Connery’s final Eon Productions picture as James Bond, although not his last, with the Scot returning to the famed role in the non-Eon movie Never Say Never Again some 12 years later. This film features Bond as he faces off against his archenemy Dr. Ernst Blofeld (Charles Gray, You Only Live Twice), whose plans include using diamonds to build a space-based laser weapon to destroy Washington D.C. and hold the world at ransom.
Seeing Connery’s Bond face off against the head of SPECTRE one final time is a real treat. Diamonds Are Forever is still one of the most memorable 007 films, even if its campy tone has been heavily criticized.
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The 50 Best Hobbies for Couples To Enjoy
Finding new hobbies as an adult can be challenging. Chances are, by the time you reach adulthood, most of your interests have been pretty well established. And finding hobbies that you can pursue as a couple? That’s even harder.
Yet every strong couple needs shared interests. You need to find things you’re both passionate about, and perhaps just as importantly, things you both enjoy. Having fun together is one of the best ways to keep any relationship going strong.
If you and your partner are looking for ways to deepen your connection, to enjoy each other’s company, to share an adventure, or pursue a common goal, these are 50 great hobbies every couple should consider.
Getting out in the great outdoors is a source of renewal for many of us. For couples, it can be a way to bond in a wild setting and to share a mutual passion for the outdoors. A lot of couples make camping at a favorite destination an annual tradition, and there’s something really cool about getting to share it year after year.
Whether you’re a “tent couple” or an “RV couple,” there’s nothing quite like a campfire and a night out under the stars to keep the romance alive.
Few hobbies are as beneficial to your mind, body, and spirit as yoga. It’s a perfectly good solo hobby for anyone, but for couples, it’s an even greater opportunity to share not only your fitness goals but your mindfulness. Yoga is also a great tension-reliever and stress-reducer, which is something every relationship needs from time to time.
Gardening is fun, calming, and stress-reducing. Gardening as a couple is also a great exercise in teamwork. It’s an opportunity to work on your communication and enjoy the satisfaction of working toward a common goal. I would offer up a metaphor about how tending a garden requires the same care and attention as a relationship, but I think you get the idea.
Plus, a well-tended vegetable garden can produce an abundance of healthy, home-grown food, which brings us to our next hobby…
A lot of great bonding happens in the kitchen. Cooking for your significant other is romantic in and of itself, but cooking together can be even better. Cooking as a couple is a way to work on your teamwork. It helps you focus on the simple joy in your life, and gives you some great memories to look back on.
You don’t have to cook together every night, of course, but try doing it once a week. If you’re both adept in the kitchen, consider taking turns being head chef and sous chef, so you each get a chance to take the lead.
Learning to draw can be a great activity for couples. It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to be a great artist or even want to be a great artist. It’s more about harnessing your creative energy as a couple and sharing an experience together.
Doing a little sketching together around the house or out at your local park can be a great starting point, but consider taking a drawing class together. Life drawing is a great creative outlet. If you want to spice things up – or maybe just have a good laugh, depending on your drawing skills – you could even draw each other.
Chances are, there’s a local watering hole near you that hosts trivia night each week. Participating will keep your brain sharp, and more importantly, give you and your partner an excuse to hang out, laugh, and have a few drinks. Trivia also makes for a great double-date if you know another couple who are into it.
7. Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is a great hobby for adventure-seeking folks, but it also doesn’t have to be a high-risk activity. Indoor rock gyms seem to be everywhere these days, offering you and your significant other an opportunity to have fun, get some exercise, and hone your rock climbing skills in a safe environment.
Few things feel better than helping others. That makes volunteering a great hobby that costs you nothing but brings rich returns. Talk to your significant other to find out if there’s a cause you’re both passionate about. There’s a good chance the experience of volunteering as a couple will bring you closer together, and make it an even more rewarding experience than volunteering on your own.
Putting together jigsaw puzzles is an activity that’s most enjoyable when shared. It’s a very couple-friendly hobby that keeps you sharp and gives you the satisfaction of completing tasks together. Maybe share a glass of wine and make it a puzzle night! Or, if you’re just interested in wine and don’t care much for puzzles, here’s another suggestion…
10. Wine Tasting
Going wine tasting is always an enjoyable way to spend time together as a couple. It’s a way to reconnect over some great wine in a beautiful setting, and it always offers an opportunity to shake off the cobwebs and break away from your routine.
If you don’t happen to live in an area where there are wineries nearby, you could always pick up a respectable bottle of wine at the store and have your own wine tasting at home. Or maybe head to a local craft brewery and sample a couple of beer flights instead.
It’s always hardest to stay active in the winter. It’s the season when most couples retreat into watching Netflix and eating snacks, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a simple solution: go play in the snow! Skiing and snowboarding are great couples’ activities for folks who like to stay active and don’t mind a little snow and cold. Plus, you get to cozy up with some hot cocoa or spiked apple cider afterward.
12. Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is thrilling, relaxing, romantic – seemingly everything that you would want in a couple’s hobby, all rolled into one. If you happen to have a stable nearby, it shouldn’t be too hard to book a riding trip. Even if you’ve never done it before, horseback riding is a surprisingly accessible sport for beginners. You might just get hooked.
Investing isn’t as complicated as a lot of people think it is. It’s an enjoyable and potentially lucrative hobby for anyone, but for couples, it also offers an opportunity to pool your resources and work on your financial future together.
Keep in mind, you can start small. Investing doesn’t require a huge amount of cash to get started, and it doesn’t have to be high risk. Some couples use investments to fund future vacations or even their retirement.
14. Board Games
Games can be competitive, or they can be cooperative. Either way, they’re a lot of fun and a great date night option for couples looking to spend some quality time at home.
It’s worth keeping in mind that there are an incredible variety of board games out there that go way beyond what you played when you were a kid. You can choose from a great variety of board games for adults, including some that are… shall we say, a bit on the steamy side.
Maybe you’ve found a partner who’s as devoted to their physical fitness as you are. Or maybe one of you is a dedicated runner, and the other… needs a little motivation. Either way, running or jogging as a couple is an awesome way to spend time together and help each other stay on top of your goals.
Stargazing makes for a perfect date night. For some couples, it ends up being a full-blown infatuation. Of course, you can get a pretty simple (and inexpensive) telescope and some star charts to start out with.
Stargazing is also a great opportunity to spend some time outdoors. Parks and preserves far from the city offer the best views of the night sky with minimal light pollution, so don’t forget a tent and a two-person sleeping bag!
17. Interior Decorating
I don’t want to pigeonhole all you guys into your gender roles here, but interior decorating isn’t most dudes’ strongest suit. That being said, decorating a home you share with your partner really shows that you’re equally invested in the space and in your relationship.
It can be fun too! And taking an active role in decorating also means you’ll probably get to choose more cool dude stuff in your house. So there’s that.
18. Museums/Art Galleries
Touring local museums as a couple is a great way to invest in your mutual interests. Maybe you’re a history buff and your partner is an art lover, or maybe you’re lucky enough to already share some of the same fascinations.
Either way, you’ll have a great time exploring museums together. You can even start booking vacations around galleries and museums you want to visit of far-flung destinations.
From walks in your local park to heart-pounding ascents to remote mountain peaks, hiking can be almost any kind of experience you want it to be. Ultimately, it’s an experience best shared with someone you care about, which is why it’s such a great pastime for couples. If you both love spending time outdoors, then you can’t go wrong with a good hike.
Whether you’re already an accomplished photographer or you want to start learning photography together, this can be an engaging new passion and interest. There are countless ways to approach photography as a couple.
Start a joint Instagram account to show off your photos. Take turns being the photographer and the subject. Plan trips where you can shoot unique landscapes. The possibilities are endless.
Sure, you can always go kayaking alone. But your car has room for two kayaks on top, so why not take full advantage of it? Kayaking is a great hobby for couples who enjoy relaxing in the outdoors, but it can satisfy your lust for adventure too.
Think of gliding across a tranquil mountain lake, or surging down a tumultuous whitewater stream. Chances are, no matter where you live, there’s a place to get the ‘yaks in the water nearby.
If any hobby begs to be taken on as a couple, it’s dancing. It will give you both a lifetime of enjoyment, and it’s a great way to improve your coordination, stamina, and confidence. It’s fun too!
Learning to dance as a couple is also romantic as heck, and can bring a new level of intimacy and connection to your relationship. Choose any style of dancing that interests you – ballroom, salsa, hip-hop – and get moving.
The process of turning would-be trash into treasure is known as upcycling. It’s a hobby that suits couples who are crafty and environmentally conscious. If the idea of turning old glass jars into lanterns, or transforming tossed-aside wooden pallets into furniture sounds appealing to you, then this might just be your dream hobby.
24. Snorkeling/Scuba Diving
Right from the get-go, diving is a great couples’ activity because you already have a built-in dive partner. That certainly makes things easier. Plus, scuba diving and snorkeling are the types of activities that get you out of your comfort zone and may even propel you into some fun vacation planning. They’re great hobbies for couples’ who share a passion for nature and a desire to discover new things.
Much like cooking, baking is a hobby that builds closeness and cooperation in couples, and also results in some delicious things that you get to eat afterward. It’s a slightly different skillset thought, and it definitely requires a level of patience and attention to detail. But hey, these are things that every relationship needs, so why not get your hands in that dough and get to work?
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Scrapbooking is a fun, crafty hobby. Many couples have found that it strengthens their bond, and provides a tangible record of their memories together that they can enjoy for years to come.
A great activity that improves coordination and builds upper body strength, archery is something that anyone can enjoy. Plus, going to the archery range as a couple can be a lot more enjoyable than flying solo.
Some couples get some friendly competition out of it too, and there’s always something to be said for building a new skill together. Even if you’re starting out as a pair of total beginners, one of the things that makes archery so rewarding is that you can very clearly see your progress as you get better and better at it.
Maybe one of you entered the relationship with a particular interest, or maybe you’re fortunate enough to have paired off with someone who enjoys collecting the same oddball trinkets you do. In either case, creating a mutual collection is a great way to deepen your relationship and have some fun. It could be anything you’re interested in – stamps, records, coins, seashells, comics – you name it.
29. Home Improvement
If you and your significant other have gotten to the stage where you own a home together, then you should know that DIY projects around the house are an inevitability. It’s hard work, but it can be fun too.
Tackling painting projects and home remodels as a team can add to your relationship, give you a sense of co-ownership over the space, and allow you to crush every task more quickly than ever. Who knows, maybe you two will be flipping houses full-time before you know it.
30. Listening to Music
Remember when you were young and would dedicate a whole evening to sharing a bottle of wine – okay, maybe it was a box of wine – and spinning records? Rekindle that passion by getting back into music like you did when you first met.
That could entail dedicating a night each week to listen to your favorite records. Or you could start creating mixtapes and playlists for each other. There’s a lot of romance to be found in good music!
Need to blow off steam and release some tension? Get out there and whack a few balls around. As much fun as golf is by yourself or with friends, it can be even more enjoyable with your partner if you’re both into it. Whether you want to play 18 holes or just smash some golf balls at the driving range, it’s a great stress-reliever for couples.
32. Bike Riding
I know a lot of couples who took up cycling as an active, social distance-friendly hobby during the pandemic and have no plans of giving it up. The fact is, riding bikes together is a fun and active hobby for anyone, and it’s a great way to explore your city, town, or rural landscape together. Whether you’re into road cycling or mountain biking, it’s a great way for couples to get moving.
It gets harder and harder to find time to read as our lives get busier. And it doesn’t help that there’s a whole world of streaming TV and movies at our fingertips at all times. You might be more inclined to make time for books if you intentionally do it together.
Reading is also a great way to turn your quiet alone time as a couple into something more significant. Make it a point to discuss the books you’re both reading. You could even form your own “book club” in which you both read the same books and then talk about them.
Bowling seems to really be catching on with younger generations, which is great news because it’s a lot of fun, and definitely not just a game for your dad and his drinking buddies. Bowling can be a blast for couples and is a great double-date opportunity too.
35. Learning an Instrument
Learning something new together as a couple can be an enthralling experience that enriches your relationship (though you should really make sure you’re both equally into it, or it can end up being a frustrating experience). If you’re both game, why not give it a go?
Your partner can dust off the old violin they took three lessons on 10 years ago. You can dig out the guitar you totally know how to play. Pretty soon you’ll have a band going.
36. Going to the Gym
One of the best parts about being in a relationship is that the two of you can motivate one another. If you’ve ever had a gym membership, then you’ve probably noticed that the hardest part about getting in shape is actually getting to the gym. Who has the time? Working out together is a great way to stay accountable and meet your fitness goals as a team.
Have you ever been alone with your partner and noticed that you’re both mindlessly scrolling on your phones? You may be in the same room, but you’re not really “present” together. Consider meditation as a way to fill those quiet moments more mindfully.
Meditation is a great way to encourage focus and calm for anyone. But when taken up by a couple as a hobby, it can also be a way to connect and focus on being in the moment together.
38. Chicken Raising
Starting your own little mini-farm can be hugely enjoyable, and it also creates a sense of joint responsibility and accomplishment. You don’t have to start big, and you don’t need a lot of space. Plenty of folks keep a few chickens in a cozy coop in an urban backyard. Plus, you get fresh eggs as a bonus, and chickens themselves have a way of providing endless entertainment.
39. Martial Arts
There are a lot of experiences in life that are more powerful when shared. For many couples, learning a martial art is one of them. Martial arts are about focusing the mind just as much as honing the body, and embracing their practice can have benefits in every aspect of your life. Learning Karate, Judo or Jiu-Jitsu is also great for self-defense and can help you become a happier, safer, and more confident couple.
Tracing family histories can become an obsession. It’s a fascinating and often powerful pursuit and can be even more enjoyable when taken up as a couple. Of course, for some couples, the first hurdle is getting over that fear that you’ll discover you’re actually distantly related… but don’t worry, that hardly ever happens.
Some surfers prefer the solitude of embracing the ocean on their own, while others enjoy the camaraderie of catching waves with a surfing partner. If you fall into the latter category, surfing can become a hobby you both enjoy. And if you’re new to it, rest assured that surfing lessons are readily available, and it’s not as hard to get started as you may think.
42. Ice Skating
As much a sport as a hobby, ice skating has been involved in many a romantic winter evening. Granted, strapping on skates and stumbling out onto the ice for the first time can be intimidating. This is a great hobby for couples who are both beginners, but it can also be good if one of you is already a somewhat experienced skater who can show the other the ropes.
43. Pet Rescue
Be careful here… you might end up going down a rabbit hole. Countless couples have gotten immense satisfaction out of adopting a rescue dog or other animal. But for some, it becomes a passion that borders on obsession.
That being said, pet rescue is an incredibly rewarding pastime that tends to go far deeper than an ordinary hobby. Many couples end up becoming “foster parents” of sorts to pets that need a temporary place to stay until they find their forever home.
You may think of thrifting as a way to save money rather than a bona fide hobby, but don’t overlook how fun it can be if you and your partner both get a kick out of it. You can even turn it into a game. Who can put together the most stylish outfit for the least amount of money? Who can track down the craziest pair of shoes? You get the idea.
Okay, you’ve seen the pottery scene from the movie Ghost right? If so, then you don’t need me to tell you that getting your hands all up in that clay can be romantic as all get out.
Anyway, taking a pottery class as a couple can be a super fun way to get creative and enjoy the process of making something together. You might also want to get a pottery wheel in the privacy of your home in case things start to get a little steamy.
Racquetball is a fast-paced one-on-one game, and it’s perfect for active couples. It’s also a great option if you’re both competitive, and need a hobby that lets you both indulge in a little friendly competition in a controlled environment. Plus, you can play doubles if you know another couple who is also into racquetball.
47. Video Games
Look, if you’ve found a partner who enjoys video games as much as you do, then we’re talking serious soul mate material here. Put a ring on it, buddy!
Contrary to your parent’s assertion that video games would rot your brain, it can actually be an engaging and fulfilling hobby, especially if you happen to share an interest with a significant other. Whether you choose to be on the same team or play as adversaries, you want somebody in your life who can be the Princess Peach to your Mario.
Finding food in nature is a great survival skill to have, but it’s also a recreational activity for some. Plenty of couples have bonded over their shared love of hunting for wild edibles, and it can be a rewarding lifelong pursuit.
Of course, you really need to know your stuff before you go eating berries you picked in the woods. Unless one or both of you is already an experienced forager, start out by going on a few guided foraging trips with someone more seasoned who can teach you how to identify edible plants, mushrooms, and herbs.
49. Road Tripping
A passion for travel is a great thing to share. If the song of the open road calls to you both, you simply can’t ignore it. Many couples make an annual road trip a recurring tradition in their lives, while others say goodbye to traditional ways of life entirely, pack everything they own into a camper, and say, “see ya later.” You do you.
If you love going to concerts, and meet someone who loves live music as much as you do, then you’re in for a long life of musical adventures together. Going to shows regularly can be great for couples, and will give you a lifetime’s worth of memories. You may find yourself collecting concert tickets and band posters to fill your house with someday.
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What Is Tantric Sex? We Talk To an Expert To Get the Lowdown
If you’ve ever wanted to slow things down in the bedroom and get to know your partner on a deeper, more intimate level, then tantric sex could be just what the doctor ordered. Tantra, which means “woven together” in Sanskrit, is a genre of sexuality that celebrates sacred sexuality through slow, meaningful movements.
To talk all things Tantra, we’ve connected with sex expert, Susan Bratton, who gives us the rundown on what Tantric sex is, what its benefits are, and how to practice it.
What Is Tantric Sex?
“Tantric sex is a genre of sexuality that incorporates more reverential, slow, connected sexual experiences,” Bratton explains. “Often called Neo-Tantra or Red Tantra to delineate it from the Yogic Tantra practices, the hallmarks are a conscious approach to communication, more breath and eye contact, and active heart connection between lovers.”
To make things even more interesting, tantric sex also often incorporates ritual and spirituality into the experience, says Bratton. This is because much of tantric lovemaking focuses on “divine spirituality” and deeper connection. “Because orgasm is a blissful state,” says Bratton, “it can be used as a kind of meditation practice that allows lovers to touch source or Gaia or god in their union.”
Tantric sex not only focuses on divinity and the outer body but also incorporates every part of the body (especially the heart). Bratton describes tantric orgasms as extended full-body orgasms, which differ from the friction orgasms generated from direct stimulation of the clitoris or penis. In essence, tantric sex is “a slow, heart-connected approach to honor your beloved and building arousal and turn on overtime, while incorporating eye gazing, breath work and sensual touch create these heightened experiences associated with Tantric lovemaking.”
What Are the Origins of Tantric Sex?
Like learning any new practice (especially one with a long history), getting to know its roots and beginnings can give you great insight into the practice itself. “Spiritual sexuality originated in India and Tibet in the third and fourth centuries and continued to evolve with the Kashmiri Shaivists in the ninth and tenth centuries,” Bratton details.
But today’s modern Tantric sex was revolutionized by Osho or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a famous cult sex guru who really got the movement going in the 1980s. If you’re interested in learning more about the rise of modern Tantra and the devotees of Osho, Bratton suggests watching the Netflix documentary Wild, Wild, Country.
“Modern-day Tantra teachers have incorporated many of the concepts of Osho into their version of Western sexual enlightenment,” Bratton informs us. “Neo-Tantra continues to evolve through workshops and teachings often focused on Yoni and Lingam worship. The Yoni is the Sanskrit word for a woman’s genitals, Lingam is the male equivalent.”
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Three Benefits of Tantric Sex
Unlike a lot of other sex that’s goal is to hit peak climax, the core idea behind Tantric sex is the connection of hearts in divine sexual union. This ideology moves away from the performative, friction-oriented sex, illuminates Bratton, into a feeling of deep love and heart-opening appreciation for your beloved. Which is by far the biggest benefit to Tantric sex.
While opening up your heart can be incredibly scary and vulnerable in the long run, an open heart makes for a better, more fulfilling life. And the good news is that sex can help you get there. “Tantra is a practice,” assures Bratton. “You get better at opening your heart as you do it repeatedly. Tantra has the ability to transform having sex into being a spiritual, reverent experience of ecstatic bliss.”
By now, you may be clear on how Tantric sex helps build that heart-to-heart connection. But what do we mean by “conscious?” For Bratton, the notion of Tantric sex being conscious simply means there’s no hiding behind shame. This means that both partners can enter into a loving experience and openly speak their needs and desires in the loving security of trust they receive from the other.
“Creating a safe container for sex is a core tenet of Tantric sex,” says Bratton. “When partners think about their lover as being as important as themselves, they honor the partner in a way that is not always depicted in modern-day sexuality. This honor is a key part of Tantric lovemaking.”
Multi-Sensory Orgasmic Experience
We probably caught your attention earlier with the “full-body orgasm” discussion – which we had to include as a major benefit to Tantra practice. This sexual practice is meant to invigorate and integrate all of the senses for a full-body experience. “From eye connection to opening one’s heart – from Tantric breathwork designed to increase arousal – the senses are a vital part of Tantric lovemaking,” says Bratton.
“When people are asked to define Tantric orgasm, often they associate it with not coming. This is inaccurate,” assures Bratton. Over the years, a Tantric orgasm has been mistaken for semen retention, which is an ancient Taoist practice that conserves a man’s jing energy or essence.
“Tantric orgasms teach you how to feel orgasmic pleasure throughout your body, rather than sensation isolated in your genitals,” Bratton clarifies. “Expanding orgasm to a full-body experience by leveraging slow sex, heart connection, and eye contact along with rituals such as creating a sensual environment with candles or low lighting and sensual music are the core tenets of Tantric sex.”
The third core tenet of Tantric sex is genital worship, which essentially moves intercourse from being the main event to being a part of the overall experience. And, according to Bratton, this means putting more attention on genital worship, manual massage, and awakening the G-Spot for women and the P-Spot for men.
“The G-Spot is actually a secondary erectile system in a woman’s vulva called the urethral sponge. This area can hold emotion which is released through G-Spot activation or palpation,” explains Bratton. “Female ejaculation is often achieved through manual stimulation of the clitoris and urethral systems. All women can ejaculate, and all orgasms are simply learned skills for both sexes and across all gender expressions.” Tantric sex widens the pleasure palette by incorporating these additional types of orgasms.
“The Lingam massage is for men to enjoy hands-on penis pleasure,” says Bratton. “Too often men don’t get the genital pleasuring due to them.” (Which you probably agree with). So, slowing down and honoring a man’s penis and testicles as well as exploring his prostate for P-Spot orgasms is another aspect of the reverential nature of Tantric sex according to Bratton.
The Yab Yum Tantric Sex Position and How To Try It
The Yab Yum (sometimes known as the lotus sex position) is a classic Tantric sex position representing the divine union of masculine and feminine energies. Here, Bratton gives us her tips and tricks for the Tantric sex position. You’ll never want to have regular sex again.
How To Do It
“He sits upright with his legs crossed or if he’s flexible, with his feet together and knees butterflied open. He can support his back or knees with pillows, whatever makes him comfortable,” says Bratton. “Then she climbs into his lap and wraps her legs around him so her feet come together at the base of his spine. She’s sitting on his lap facing him, her legs over his. This is the open-legged Yab Yum position.”
Bratton suggests adjusting your position according to your body dynamics and finding your comfort zone so you can just relax and be together. If you can’t get comfortable in an upright position, modify the position by lying down and facing each other.
“Now synchronize your breath and feel what happens to your energy. Typically, a man’s lungs are bigger than a woman’s,” she explains. Women will want to breathe more deeply, and men will want to breathe a little more shallowly than usual so you can match your breath.
“You can either breathe in at the same time and then out at the same time or cycle your breath so one inhales as the other exhales and vice-versa. You’re face to face, very close as you breathe this way. You can even get so close that you’re almost touching or actually touching lips as you breathe together,” suggests Bratton.
“When you get the rhythm going, you’ll feel sexual energy start to fill your body. As you continue to breathe, imagine breathing all the way down to your genital area. This will really build up the sexual energy.”
The Yab Yum is a classic, must-try Tantric position because there are multiple forms of stimulation available when you’re so close, and, for Bratton, this is part of what makes it so pleasurable. “He can stimulate her breasts. She can stimulate his nipples. Either of you can initiate a deep French kiss.”
“She controls the thrusts in this position because she’s sitting down on his penis,” says Bratton. “That gives her good simulation for her clitoris, G-area, and perineal sponge. This can also be an anal sex position.” For some women, anal penetration actually feels better than vaginal intercourse, so do what feels best for you and your partner.
The Importance of Eye Contact in Yab Yum
For Bratton, one of the most special parts of the Yab Yum Tantric experience is the ease of making eye contact with your lover. “It’s a very connected position,” she explains, “perfect for slow, Tantric lovemaking.”
Not sure exactly what Tantric eye contact requires (or reveals)? Bratton explains: “When two people decide to consciously play with their sexual energy, it’s best to begin by simply looking into each other’s eyes with a very soft gaze. It can be a little edgy for some people, looking into a lover’s eyes. It’s such a powerful act of intimacy.” You’re naked and vulnerable. It’s the perfect opportunity to practice letting go.
Let go of any assumptions you’ve made about the person in front of you. Become curious about who your lover truly is. “Look past the personality and beyond all the stories you tell about them or they tell about themselves. Look into their eyes and just allow their essence to reveal itself.”
According to Bratton, Tantric sex can be a very meditative and informative experience since you’re tuning in with your emotions and mental chatter. Bring your attention back to yourself. Notice how you feel physically. Notice how your emotions are running. Notice if you have any mental chatter going on. She says to tune in to how these various aspects of your experience affect you.
If the eyes are indeed the window to the soul, what do you see through that window when you look at your lover? It’s been said that the heart is the doorway to the infinite. “I want you to start feeling into your own heart as you gaze into your lover’s eyes. What’s in your heart when you look at your beloved?”
How To Get the Most out of the Yab Yum Position
“You can take this practice to the next level by shifting focus and going back and forth from having your attention on yourself, to putting your attention on your partner as you breathe in and out together. Connecting your breath and breathing together is a beautiful way to deepen your connection. When you’re ready, you can add the element of touch. Reach out and take your lover’s hands. Or place your hand on their heart and bring their hand to rest on yours,” suggests Bratton.
If you want to dive in even deeper, Bratton encourages you to enhance your Yab Yum session by purposely engaging all five of your senses. You can do this by using aromatic oils, playing soft, sensual music, and even feeding each other. “Bring flowers into the room. Use body oils to bring your sense of touch alive and activate the sensual grid that is your skin. Get creative and find ways to delight all of your senses,” says Bratton.
According to Bratton, another way to play with sexual energy is to use intention to actually spread it through your body. Energy follows intention, so be very attentive when you’re making love. “Men, when you’re inside a woman, send your sexual energy down through your manhood and into her body. With intentional focus, she’ll really feel your masculine energy as you enter her sacred place.
Focus more on feeling her than pushing in and out of her or having her grind on your penis. It’s all about sending sexual energy into her yoni.” But the most important thing is remembering to have fun. “Sexual energy is exciting to play with and it can take you into even higher levels of pleasure,” says Bratton.
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