I saw Ender’s Game this weekend (loved it by the way but I think I’m the only one) and couldn’t help but notice that Harrison Ford is still kicking a** and taking names. So, I decided this week I would list my Top Five Harrison Ford Roles.
5. John Book, Witness (1985)
This may seem like a bit of an odd choice. It’s not as iconic as some of the other roles on the list and doesn’t seem to have as much flair. However, this is, in my opinion, one of Harrison Ford’s best dramatic roles. He plays a police officer who has to protect a young Amish boy who is the sole witness to a murder. Book ends up hiding out in the Amish community the boy and his mother are from, after an attempted attack on their lives. It’s a great thriller with a little bit of a fish-out-of-water kind of story thrown in. He has no real idea how to handle living by Amish rules but feels the need to stay with the boy and his mother, and respect their traditions, until the issue is resolved and the culprit is caught. Ford does a wonderful job as the determined detective.
4. Dr. Richard Kimble, The Fugitive (1993)
I re-watched this recently and kept commenting on how excellent it was and how there aren’t movies like this, or actors as awesome as Harrison Ford or Tommy Lee Jones around anymore. I then saw Rush the next day and my hypothesis was invalidated immediately (seriously, go see it now before it’s out of theaters). However, this is a post about Harrison Ford and his amazing roles so let’s get to that. In this film he plays Dr. Richard Kimble, who has been tried and convicted of the murder of his wife. By a few fortunate coincidences, Kimble finds himself free of imprisonment. Since he has been betrayed by the justice system, he sets out to find his wife’s real murderer himself. This leads to an excellent chase and dialogue between him and Marshal Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones, there’s another actor I should do a list for). Ford is perfect as the intelligent, wrongly-accused doctor on-the-run.
3. Rick Deckard, Blade Runner (1982)
I have seen every version of this film that is available and I do not have an opinion on which is better (I enjoy them all). Harrison Ford was excellent each time. He has the hardened, cynical cop attitude and persona down just right. Rick Deckard is burnout by his job as a Blade Runner, hunting down replicants (robots that look like humans) to “retire” (kill). He is jaded by the world he lives in but knows nothing else so he continues along with the routine. There is a good mix of science fiction and noir in the film and Ford transcends each seamlessly. He throws in a little old school private investigator feel, along with a comfortability with the technology he is working with. Ford plays Deckard as a relic from the past who oddly fits into this dystopian future and it is brilliant.
2. Indiana Jones, Indiana Jones Series (1981-?)
You knew this was coming. Now, I won’t get into arguments about which film is better (obviously Raiders is the best but Temple of Doom is my favorite). I would rather like to say how supremely awesome this character is. He is an archeologist who hunts down ancient artifacts, often traveling along dangerous paths to get them. He does it all in the name of History but let’s be honest, he lives just as much for the adventure. Simply put, Indiana Jones is cool. He has an answer for everything, laughs in the face of danger, and always gets the girl. He is James Bond with a fun hat and a whip. He isn’t invincible and doesn’t always get things right but it is his determination that makes him an everyman’s hero and Harrison Ford is the glue that holds the package together.
1. Han Solo, Star Wars Trilogy (1977-?)
It was a close call between the top two. They are both such iconic roles and he has charm and style to spare in each. Han Solo took the top spot because one, this film came first and two, for as much confidence and swagger as Indiana Jones has, Han Solo has twice as much. He is smoothness personified, dressed in an outfit decades ahead of its time. He says all the right things in all the right ways. He may not be a Jedi but he demonstrates he has courage and an honor code, even though he tries to convince everyone otherwise. This was Harrison Ford’s big break and I am so grateful he got the part because it spawned one of the greatest acting careers nerds like me could geek out over.