Why seven movies? Because Harrison Ford has had more than five great films, but not quite ten–notice I wrote great, not good; he has had many good films. My only criteria for this list was that a character could only appear once.
#7: The Empire Strikes Back
What? Han Solo and The Empire Strikes Back are 7th! You’re full of s%@t! No, I’m not full of it. No Harrison Ford list would be complete without Han Solo, but in the end this is not a Harrison Ford movie; it’s an ensemble. As for the movie itself, this film is the only reason why we still talk about the Star Wars franchise today and why a whole cottage industry of books, comics, and fan art exists.
#6: The Fugitive
This is the last non-dour Harrison Ford movie. With the exception of Air Force One, he appears to be annoyed and constipated in all his later films–again, for the most part they are good but aren’t as engaging as what came before. As for The Fugitive, the film is tight and straightforward. A lot of current day filmmakers could learn a well needed lesson about editing and pacing from this film; kudos to the director (Jeb Stuart).
#5: Hanover Street
Yes, it’s a Spanish trailer, but it is the only one I could find. Anyway, I wish to thank Dr. Paul N. Lazarus, III, for introducing me to this film. He was a professor of mine when I was briefly a film major at UM and also the producer. Hanover Street is a good movie with a really good Harrison Ford performance. It’s a story of a love triangle set during WWII. The story goes a little off track in the third act, but it’s still a good movie to watch with your better half.
#4: Blade Runner
Question: which of the many cuts of Blade Runner do you look for to watch? Answer: whichever one that does not have the narration and comes with the making-of featurette. Blade Runner is one of the most visually influential films of the last thirty years, and both Harrison Ford & Rutger Hauer give great performances that hold the film together.
A damn good movie with another great performance–not only for Ford, but the whole cast as well. Peter Weir is another director that makes a lot of films that I like. The story is engaging, and the acting is natural & effortless. The improvised dance scene between Ford and Kelly McGillis is one of the small highlights.
I’m not a fan of Roman Polanski, and I think he is overrated. But this is by far his best film, probably because it’s paced like an Alfred Hitchcock film. If anyone ever asks you what a suspense film is, you can give them this as a perfect example. As the story moves forward, you are brought more and more into it; you become more involved with Dr. Richard Walker (Harrison Ford), his plight, and his urgency.
#1: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Sorry, here is the right poster.
Was there any doubt? What’s not to love about this film? Spielberg at his best, Ford at his best, everyone at their best. The perfect example of an Action/Adventure film. Raiders of the Lost Ark was rightly nominated for Best Picture and wrongly lost to Chariots of Fire. Reds, On Golden Pond, and Atlantic City were also nominated for Best Picture that year. Which of these films do you remember? Have watched more than once? Actually care about? I never heard of Atlantic City until I looked up the nominated films for 1981.
I’m glad I shared this list with you, but creating it left me a little bittersweet. Sweet in that I was able to share my thoughts — bitter in the realization that Harrison Ford’s best days are behind him. His heyday really was the 80s. But the 80s were fun!
What are your thoughts?