As Ender’s Game won the box office and became the latest Harrison Ford movie to finish at number one, it has put a powerful question in our mind here at Movie Fanatic. What is Harrison Ford’s best movie?
That is one difficult question to answer! He has had so many iconic roles in so many legendary movies. But, then again, he has also achieved greatness in some not so epic in scale movies from Witness to Working Girl.
His indelible place in the pop culture history books was first secured when he appeared as Han Solo in the Star Wars franchise. Then, he managed to up the ante when he appeared as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Each series would produce multiple chapters further cementing his place as one of the biggest movie stars not only of our time, but of any time.
Oh, and lest we forget that other franchise he did… Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan! Then, there is his role in Blade Runner. If you ask any sci-fi fan, they will tell you that film belongs high on the list of Top 10 Sci-Fi Films of All Time.
So without further ado, what are the top 10 Harrison Ford movies?
10. American Graffiti
One of Ford’s early works is also still one of his best. American Graffiti was the first collaboration between George Lucas and the man who would become his Han Solo. Lucas’ love letter to California car culture resonates on so many levels and still does decades after it premiered.
9. Mosquito Coast
Ford showed he could play crazy in Mosquito Coast, but was he? He played a scientist with a teen son (River Phoenix) living in a remote part of the world. Ford’s character is convinced he is on the verge of a major breakthrough. But the audience is left wondering if he is brilliant or bonkers… or perhaps both?
8. Working Girl
So many people talk about Melanie Griffith and her announcement of a performance that was her role in Working Girl. But, she would not have turned in half the performance she did without the pairing with Ford. He was clearly the yin to her yang, and to this date, Ford’s changing his shirt scene is his most hilarious on film. Then again, just wait until Anchorman 2 and see what Ford does what the Action News Team!
Witness was one of Ford’s first chances to do something outside his Indiana Jones and Han Solo personas that struck a chord with a wide audience. Ford played a Pennsylvania cop who gets sucked into the Amish world when a mother and son, visiting the big city, witness a murder that has police corruption written all over it. Like Working Girl before on this list, his chemistry with his female lead (Kelly McGillis) brought out the best in his co-star.
6. The Fugitive
Speaking of co-stars doing their best work opposite Ford, Tommy Lee Jones chased the superstar in The Fugitive and won an Oscar for the effort. The remake of the popular TV show was initially scoffed at, but by the time audiences and critics saw Ford and his Richard Kimble's effort to exonerate his name, the movie would go down as one of Ford’s best and one of the best thrillers of all time.
5. Clear and Present Danger
Ford played Jack Ryan several times, but our favorite and clearly one of his best movies in his career is Clear and Present Danger. The war on drugs was, and is, a murky endeavor, and it was so impeccably captured by Tom Clancy and director Phillip Noyce.
When Ryan is sent to Central America as part of the CIA’s role in the drug war, our hero calls into question the validity of what he is doing and what, when it comes to United States national security, is truly a Clear and Present Danger.
4. Air Force One
“Get off my plane!” Who could forget one of the most famous Air Force One quotes uttered by Ford when he looked into Gary Oldman’s eyes and read him the riot act? In Air Force One, Ford also gave us one of the Top 10 Movie Presidents, and it was an unforgettable thrill ride from an actor who has given audiences more than his fair share of joy rides.
3. Blade Runner
Ridley Scott may be talking about reuniting with Ford for Blade Runner 2, and the fact that it is even a discussion speaks volumes to the power of Blade Runner, which landed on screens back in 1982.
Ford’s turn as Rick Deckard is simply iconic and should go down in history right next to Indiana Jones and Han Solo. His emotionally complicated pursuit of replicants is as powerful as either one of those two characters’ journeys.
2. The Empire Strikes Back
The Empire Strikes Back is simply the absolute best of the Star Wars movies and loses out on being the number one Harrison Ford movie by the smallest of margins. Ford doesn’t exactly make it through to the end of the second Star Wars movie, but does so in such a way that is truly unforgettable when he hears Princess Leia say, “I love you,” to which he replies, “I know.” It is pure Ford and purely Han Solo!
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark is the best movie in Ford’s career as it combines the filmmaking genius of Lucas with director Steven Spielberg and the screen presence of a man beginning a three-decade run at the top of his game.
Ford and Indiana Jones would become united in pop culture history and produce three other movies, but none more thrilling, engaging and explosive than the first. Unlike so many of his other characters in his career, Jones is the one that Ford repeatedly has said he’d return to in “a New York minute.”
Honorable mentions: Ender’s Game, Regarding Henry, 42, Star Wars, Return of the Jedi, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Patriot Games