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.
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:
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Air Force One
- The Fugitive
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
- Working Girl
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
- Clear and Present Danger
 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.