Today is Harrison Ford’s 79th birthday. Over the course of his career, he has made over $9 billion dollars as an actor, screenwriter, director, and producer.
On the occasion of the cinema legend’s birthday, we’re going to present our best movies he’s made.
We’ll cover a lot of the classics, but we’ll also include some lesser-known gems that deserve attention. The following are our top picks (plus a few honorable mentions):
10) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
J.J. Abrams coaxed another amazing performance out of Harrison Ford in “The Force Awakens,” bringing back the Han Solo we knew and loved one last time and hinting Ford just might do it again when he reprises Indiana Jones one more time in the near future.
9) Air Force One (1997)
How about this cheesy action film starring Ford as President James Marshall, who fights off a bunch of Russian terrorists (headed by Gary Oldman) who steal Air Force One? “Moviest” is an understatement; it’s also a wonderful example of a Ford vehicle, showing the star’s leading-man charm and action-movie presence. Just have some fun with it!
8) Star Wars (1977)
It’s not only for the sake of it that we include our introduction to Han Solo on this list. The director, George Lucas, had already shown us Ford’s rogue charm in American Graffitti, and he was confident that the actor’s star power would transfer into all of Ford’s space pirate grandeur. Ford soon established himself as a new star in the galaxy as the cocky smuggler and commander of the Millennium Falcon, even with a human dressed as a Wookie.
7) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
As much as we love “Temple of Doom,” we’ll give “Last Crusade” the edge because of Ford’s incredible chemistry with Sean Connery, who plays the archaeologist’s father on their mission to find the Holy Grail, with even more Nazis after them. The “final” Jones adventure is a joy to see, thanks to its return to “Raiders” mode.
6) Patriot Games (1992)
A renegade party plots revenge against Ford and his family after he interferes with an assassination attempt on the part of the CIA, which results in Ford’s dismissal from the position of Jack Ryan. One of the rare adult thrillers that Ford’s steady and appealing work fully supports.
5) Witness (1985)
A little Amish kid who witnesses a murder in Philadelphia becomes the target of a killer in Peter Weir’s suspenseful drama. Ford portrays a cop guarding him. For the first time, he was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as a heroic character in a more serious subject that required and received a lot of restraint from Ford.
4) Blade Runner (1982)
RoboCop, Ridley Scott’s excellent sci-fi thriller, depicts a futuristic Los Angeles where strong corporations make genetically modified replicants, which are superficially identical to adults. Ford portrays Rick Deckard, a “Blade Runner,” a police operative who is tasked with finding and eliminating the replicants and destroying them. Ford plays a steely but calm lead in this futuristic noir, which some consider his best performance ever.
3) The Fugitive (1993)
Aside from his roles as the aforementioned old fogeys, this is Ford’s strongest and most enduring performance to date. Dr. Richard Kimble (Ford) is on the run from the U.S. Marshals after being falsely accused of the murder of his wife and vows to prove his innocence while being chased by Deputy Samuel Gerard and his squad (an Oscar-winning Tommy Lee Jones). This thriller based on the 1960s television series Kimble deserves an Oscar nomination for Ford’s performance as Kimble.
2) The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
For all of his roles in “Star Wars,” Harrison Ford’s Han Solo is his best, cementing the character as a classic leading man, combining archetypal flourishes with his own personal style and humor that made the space pirate nearly everyone’s favorite character in the franchise, thanks to the script by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan and his equally good co-star Carrie Fisher. For the 2018 Solo spinoff, recasting the role with another actor still seems like a film crime.
1) Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
One of the best film franchises ever launched by Steven Spielberg, but it wouldn’t have worked if Harrison Ford hadn’t donned the hat and whip in the original. Actor became a mega-star with the first two “Star Wars” films, establishing him as one of the greatest actors of all time. In addition, he collaborates with romantic partner Karen Allen on a number of beautiful pieces. A character that Disney is likely to recreate in the future was nearly impossible to recast because of Ford.