On Movies: My Favorite Harrison Ford Films

Poster art by Richard Amsel. (C) 1981 Paramount Pictures and Lucasfilm Ltd.

On Movies: My Favorite Harrison Ford Films

In the bygone days of yesteryear, most moviegoers didn’t go to theaters to catch the latest film in a franchise or a movie “made” by a famous director. My late mother, Beatriz Diaz-Granados, used to tell me stories that when she was a kid in the ‘30s and ‘40s, she and her friends went to Bogota-area cinemas to watch the latest pictures starring Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. Not necessarily because of the stories those movies told, but to see Davis, Gable, Garbo, Bogart, Bergman, and Grant.

Mom, of course, wasn’t alone in her generation of moviegoers, and for many years afterward (including my own childhood and teen years), some movie fans still went to theaters to watch films that starred their favorite actors, even though by the 1970s and ‘80s the directors (Francis Ford Coppola, Mike Nichols, Steven Spielberg. Martin Scorsese, Francois Truffaut, and Milos Forman) tended to be the main draws rather than the leads.

If you were to ask any of my friends in real life – IRL, in Internet shorthand – if I have a particular actor (male or female…I hate the word actress) whose presence in a movie is the main draw for me, they’ll probably say “Harrison Ford.” And considering how many movies in my collection either feature Ford as the lead actor or in a major supporting role, they’d be right.[1]

Like most of my friends and peers who grew up in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, I first saw Harrison Ford as the cynical, overconfident, but eventually heroic Han Solo in 1977’s Star Wars. And although I tended to identify more with Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker throughout the character’s hero’s journey in the original Star Wars trilogy, there’s no denying that Han was the more dynamic – and therefore more interesting – of the two male leads, mostly because of Ford’s performance as the smuggler with the heart of gold.

Of course, being the die-hard fan of Star Wars that I became as a 14-year-old, I tried to watch other films that Ford, Hamill, and the late Carrie Fisher were in. I ended up watching Hamill in The Big Red One and Corvette Summer, Fisher in The Blues Brothers, and Ford in great films such as Apocalypse Now and lackluster ones like Hanover Street and Force 10 from Navarone, which were mere stepping stones to the films that made him the star that he is now: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Blade Runner.

Harrison Ford’s filmography spans a period that – if you include his earliest (and uncredited) appearance in 1966’s Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round  – spans 55 years and 81 acting credits in theatrical and TV films, including five of the nine Star Wars Skywalker Saga films, five Indiana Jones films (including one that is currently in production under director James Mangold), and his first voice acting role in an animated film (The Secret Life of Pets 2).

With that in mind, let’s cut to the chase and get on with my list of Favorite Films Starring Harrison Ford:

  1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  2. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
  3. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  4. Air Force One
  5. The Fugitive
  6. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  7. Witness
  8. Working Girl
  9. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  10. Clear and Present Danger

[1] Tom Hanks would be a close contender for second place, considering that I have quite a few films in which he is the lead actor in my Blu-ray & DVD collection.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

10 thoughts on “On Movies: My Favorite Harrison Ford Films

    1. Good choice!

      Return of the Jedi was the only Original Trilogy film that I saw on Opening Day (May 25, 1983). Even though it’s ranked in sixth place on this list, I am fond of it for many reasons.

      Thanks for stopping by, Retro Dee!

      Like

  1. Great list, Alex. My top 5 would be:

    1. Empire Strikes Back (Pretty much all the Star Wars movies)
    2.Raiders of the Lost Ark (and again, all the Indiana Jones movies)
    3.Blade Runner
    4.Witness
    5. Regarding Henry

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I like Regarding Henry, too. It’s not on my Top 10, but it’s way better than Hanover Street.

      I have the multiple-version box set of Blade Runner, but I always fall asleep watching even just the 1982 theatrical release!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol, that’s funny! I didn’t quite get Blade Runner when it first came out (I was 12 or 13, too young to appreciate it), but loved it when I got older. It’s very much it’s own thing, lol, and not for everyone.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. My goal in life (or, better said, one of my goals in life) is to see Blade Runner (any version) all the way through without dozing off.

        Same thing happened to me when I tried watching 2001: A Space Odyssey. I was keen to watch it, knowing full well that it was a “hard sci-fi” film that has little in common with Star Wars. When one of the networks aired it in the mid-1970s…yep…I fell asleep during the Blue Danube Waltz sequence with the Pan Am spaceliner and the wheel-like space station. (I was much younger then than when I saw Star Wars (12 or 13 vs 14), so I was probably bored by the “Dawn of Man” sequence!)

        It wasn’t till I bought the DVD (since upgraded to Blu-ray) of 2001 that I finally watched it all the way through…and stayed awake.

        So, someday I’ll be able to say “Hey, I watched Blade Runner…and this time I stayed awake!”

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Reading Arthur C. Clarke’s novel – which is based on the original screenplay he co-wrote with Stanley Kubrick and therefore does not reflect the final version of the film – before watching 2001 helped me to get into the movie.

        I don’t watch 2001 often, but I have it and its more user-friendly sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact on DVD and Blu-ray. In the extras, there is a featurette in which several directors, including George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, explain why 2001 inspired them to make their own films in the sci-fi/space fantasy genre.

        Liked by 1 person

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