Harrison Ford has become synonymous with the word “franchise,” having portrayed iconic characters in the “Star Wars,” Indiana Jones, “Blade Runner,” and Jack Ryan series, which is undoubtedly a feat in the realm of franchise-starring. However, in between these blockbuster franchises, Ford has also demonstrated his acting chops in several non-franchise films, including “42,” “The Fugitive,” “The Mosquito Coast,” “Working Girl,” “Air Force One,” and the critically acclaimed “Witness,” which earned him an Oscar nomination. Ranking Harrison Ford’s greatest films from worst to best, here are 10 of his top movies.
Ranking Harrison Ford’s greatest films from worst to best, here are 10 of his top movies
In recognition of his remarkable career, Harrison Ford has received numerous accolades and awards, such as the prestigious American Film Institute life achievement award and the Cecil B.DeMille Award at the Golden Globes. In honor of his remarkable career, we have curated a photo gallery showcasing the 10 best films of Harrison Ford. This list includes the films mentioned above and has been ranked from least to best, inviting you to peruse and offer your own opinions on our selections. Whether you are in agreement or dissent, it is our desire that you relish reflecting on Ford’s remarkable filmography through the lens of its most emblematic moments.
1.THE STAR WARS series (1977, 1980, 1983)
In the spring of 1977, I had the privilege of attending a preview screening of George Lucas’ “Star Wars” – an experience that left me utterly captivated. With no prior reviews or knowledge of the story, my jaw dropped in awe as the film unfolded before me. While there were numerous takeaways from the film, what struck me most was its unbridled joy and celebration of the art of filmmaking.
Subsequent installments in the series, including Irvin Kershner’s “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and Richard Marquand’s “Return of the Jedi” (1983) – with the notable exception of the divisive Ewoks – deepened the story and further endeared us to beloved characters such as Mark Hamill’s Luke, Carrie Fisher’s Leia, and, most notably, Harrison Ford’s Han Solo. The presence of these swashbuckling heroes in space continues to delight audiences and cement the series’ place in cinematic history.
2 . WITNESS (1985)
Directed by Peter Weir and written by Earl W. Wallace and William Kelley, “Witness” showcases Harrison Ford’s exceptional performance as Detective John Book. The story revolves around Book’s investigation into the murder of an undercover cop, which leads him to an unlikely witness – an 8-year-old Amish boy named Samuel Lapp (played by Lucas Haas) who was with his mother Rachel (Kelly McGillis) when the crime was committed.
Fearing for their safety, Book decides to take the mother and son back to their Amish community, but the real killer is on their trail and ambushes Book, leaving him injured. The Amish community takes him in and vows to protect him. Ford’s portrayal of Book earned him his sole Oscar nomination and third Golden Globe nod, solidifying his reputation as one of Hollywood’s most talented actors.
3. AIR FORCE ONE (1997)
Released in 1997, “Air Force One” is a timeless action film that remains a favorite among audiences worldwide.The film, directed by Wolfgang Petersen and written by Andrew W. Starring a cast of Hollywood heavyweights such as Harrison Ford as the President, Gary Oldman as the Kazakh terrorist leader, Wendy Crewson as the First Lady, and William H. Macy as a government official, Marlowe tells the thrilling story of a group of terrorists disguised as press members who hijack Air Force One.
As the situation spirals out of control and the lives of those onboard are threatened, Ford’s character must transition from a Presidential figure to a superhero, determined to protect his family and the innocent passengers on the plane. The film’s high-stakes action sequences and Ford’s captivating performance make for an unforgettable movie experience, amplified by Petersen’s skilled direction. Despite being over two decades old, “Air Force One” remains a thrilling ride for action movie fans.
4. SABRINA (1995)
Sydney Pollack’s 1995 remake of the classic 1954 romantic comedy, “Sabrina”, showcases Harrison Ford in a new light as a wealthy businessman named Linus Larrabee. With the formidable task of saving his family’s company, Linus must intervene when his younger playboy brother David (Greg Kinnear) falls in love with their chauffeur’s daughter, Sabrina (Julia Ormond), who happens to be in love with David as well.
Despite being engaged to another wealthy woman, Linus finds himself drawn to Sabrina and soon realizes he harbors a deep, secret love for her. Ford’s performance as Linus is notable, as it earned him a Golden Globe nomination, his fourth to date. The movie’s engaging plot, talented cast, and Pollack’s direction make “Sabrina” a romantic comedy that stands the test of time.
5. REGARDING HENRY (1991)
The cinematic collaboration of director Mike Nichols and writer J.J. Abrams presents a captivating portrayal of a man’s life turned upside down in the film starring Harrison Ford, Annette Bening, and Mikki Allen. Ford delivers a powerful performance as Henry Turner, a successful lawyer in the bustling city of Manhattan, whose life takes a tragic turn when he becomes a victim of a convenience store robbery and is left with brain damage and retrograde amnesia.
Struggling to adjust to his new reality, Henry grapples with the inability to communicate his thoughts and feelings, once second nature to him, while his former aspirations of winning court cases are replaced by a singular focus to regain some sense of his former life. Ford’s portrayal of a man who must adapt to a new reality and redefine himself is both compelling and poignant, cementing his status as one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors.
6. WHAT LIES BENEATH (2000)
Harrison Ford ventures into uncharted territory with his role as Dr. Norman Spencer Robert Zemeckis directs “What Lies Beneath”, a horror thriller written by Clark Gregg, featuring Norman Spencer as the lead character. Playing a character who is far from his usual heroic roles, Ford portrays a scientist at a Vermont college, consumed by his work and constantly at odds with his wife, Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer).
When their neighbor Mary, who is visibly distressed and fearful of disappearing, confides in Claire that her husband has been acting suspiciously, Claire becomes increasingly suspicious herself after witnessing him dump what appears to be a body into his car’s trunk.
As Claire’s suspicions deepen, Norman’s behavior grows more erratic, and the couple becomes embroiled in a perilous web of intrigue and deception that threatens to destroy their lives. Despite the film’s deviation from Ford’s typical action-packed roles, it was a box office success, grossing over $291 million globally.
7. THE MOSQUITO COAST (1986)
Directed by Peter Weir and written by Paul Schrader, the film adaptation of Paul Theroux’s novel sees Harrison Ford in his first role following the acclaimed “Witness”. Ford delivers a powerful performance as Allie Fox, a man disillusioned with American consumerism and gripped by fear of a looming nuclear war. He uproots his family, seeking a simpler life in the Central American jungles.
However, their dreams are short-lived as Allie’s erratic behavior becomes increasingly concerning to his loved ones. In a shocking twist, they find Allie to be more terrifying than the very jungle they sought refuge in. For his role, Ford received his second Golden Globe nomination, cementing his reputation as a talented actor capable of commanding complex characters on screen.
8. THE JACK RYAN series (1992, 1994)
Harrison Ford showcased his talent for embodying iconic characters on the big screen by portraying Jack Ryan in the spy film franchise based on Tom Clancy’s books. Directed by the accomplished Australian filmmaker Phillip Noyce, Ford reprised his role as Ryan in the second and third installments of the series, namely “Patriot Games” (1992) and “Clear and Present Danger” (1994). Notably, Ford was the sole actor to portray Ryan across the franchise’s five films, with other actors such as Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine taking on the character in separate productions.
Jack Ryan’s character is calm and reserved on the exterior, but not one to be messed with when provoked. Ford embodied this character perfectly, showcasing his acting prowess and delivering exceptional performances in these two movies, making them some of the best in the series.
9. WORKING GIRL (1988)
Mike Nichols directs “Working Girl,” written by Kevin Wade and starring Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, and Joan Cusack. In a departure from his franchise roles, Ford plays Jack Trainer, a financial executive at the same brokerage firm where Tess McGill, played by Griffith, works as a secretary under the tyrannical rule of her boss Katharine Parker, portrayed by Weaver.
When Parker suffers a skiing accident, Tess is asked to house-sit and stumbles upon incriminating evidence against Parker. Tess brings the evidence to Jack, which sets off a chain of events that could potentially harm her. While the female leads shine in this workplace comedy-drama, Ford anchors the film with a steady performance, providing a sense of sanity amidst the office chaos.
10. STAR WARS: EPISODE VII — THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015)
“The Force Awakens,” a highly anticipated “Star Wars” sequel directed by Abrams, saw the return of a beloved character from the original trilogy, Han Solo, portrayed once again by the legendary Harrison Ford. Co-written by Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt, the film reintroduced Solo to audiences.With his trusty Wookiee sidekick Chewbacca by his side,Han Solo effortlessly slips back into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon,providing audiences with a nostalgic wave of comfort as they revisit a character who is as charming and endearing as ever.
The return of Han Solo to the Star Wars franchise in the seventh installment, “The Force Awakens,” was a momentous occasion for fans around the world. Not only did it bring back one of the most beloved characters in film history, but it also introduced new characters played by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, and established a sense of continuity between the original trilogy and the new films.
The chemistry between Ford’s Solo and the younger actors imbued the movie with a sense of gravitas, underscoring the idea that these characters were all part of the same universe. While Ford’s final scenes in the film were bittersweet, they served as a poignant reminder of the indelible mark that his Han Solo has left on pop culture, cementing his status as one of the most remarkable and enduring characters ever created in cinema.