Given the release of the latest Indiana Jones movie, it is only fitting that I dedicate May’s list to my favorite Harrison Ford roles. Ford has had a career in movies that is equal to my lifespan; unfortunately not all roles have been winners. Like other lists, this only covers movies I have seen; but breathe easy, TAM readers — Six Days, Seven Nights does not appear on the list. But it should be noted that it is a shame that some of his best work occurred over 15 years ago…
So let’s get that whip a-crackin’ on this list:
Tommy — The Frisco Kid (1979)
This is one of those movies I accidentally saw as a kid because I confused it with a different movie. A western featuring Gene Wilder who is a naive rabbi in the Wild Wild West. Ford plays a character similar to Han Solo who ends up helping Wilder out.
Jack Trainer — Working Girl (1988)
An interesting choice by Ford to purposefully be a supporting character at the height of his popularity on screen. What makes this role good is how it showcases his ability to act in a more comedic light.
Linus Larrabee — Sabrina (1995)
A remake of a classic film, Sabrina set up an interesting dynamic between Ford and Greg Kinnear as brothers competing for the same woman. What makes this role stand out is that it is the first on-screen acknowledgement of Ford’s age and a possible transition to more elder statesmen type of roles. Unfortunately, that transition has yet to happen.
Dr. Richard Kimble — The Fugitive (1993)
While Tommy Lee Jones won an Oscar for his supporting role in this movie, Ford proved that, despite age, he could still pull off action sequences. If it weren’t for the fact that he has made this type of role his bread-and-butter, Ford might have been considered for the Oscar as well.
Henry Turner — Regarding Henry (1991)
Some could call this movie Oscar bait — I personally feel that Ford should have earned his second Oscar nomination with this role. While not iconic, it shows every facet of Ford from cocky to vulnerable to caring. These are the types of roles I wish he would get back to.
John Book — Witness (1985)
Ford’s only Oscar nomination and a compelling thriller. If you have not seen this movie and you love thrillers/mysteries, then you need to see this movie now.
Indiana Jones — The Indiana Jones Series (1981, 1984, 1989, 2008)
Ford is one of those rare actors to enjoy being identified with two of screen’s most iconic characters in two of screen’s most iconic series. George Lucas almost passed on Ford for Indy because of using him for Star Wars; thankfully that did not happen. Of the four movies, Raiders is the best and creates the images often repeated in the sequels.
Han Solo — The Original Star Wars Trilogy (1977, 1981, 1983)
The role that opened the door to everything else. Without Han Solo, Ford is not Indy, Deckard, Book, Kimble, Ryan, or the President.