10 Harrison Ford Films You Must See Where He’s Not Named Indy Or Han

Ford-Must-See.jpgAlthough it may be true that Harrison Ford hasn’t done (aside from Indiana Jones 4) a good film in over 10 years, there is no denying that the man has had one of the best careers Hollywood has ever seen. Up till the end of the 1990’s Ford was the preeminent Hollywood movie star. Consider some of the following:

1994 – ShoWest “Box Office Star of the Century”
1999 – Peoples Choice Awards “All Time Favorite Movie Star”
2000 – AFI “Lifetime Achievement Award
2002 – Golden Globe Awards “Cecil B DeMille Lifetime Achivement Award”
And many many awards and nominations for individual films he’s done

Now you’d be forgiven if all you instantly thought of was “Star Wars” or “Indiana Jones” films when Harrison’s name is brought up. After all, they are two of the single most important and popular franchises in film history. But Ford’s film resume and legacy go beyond the names Han Solo or Indiana Jones, and as the years pass on, I’m finding there are more and more film fans out there who have never seen some of his best work.

So with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opening, I thought this would be a good time to highlight 10 Harrison Ford films that you absolutely must see where Ford’s character isn’t named either “Indy” or “Han”. Here we go:

Ford-Sabrina.jpgSABRINA (1995)
Also Starring – Julia Ormond, Greg Kinnear

Quite possibly my favorite romantic comedy of all time and one of the pieces of evidence that remakes can be just as good or even better than the original. Ford was nominated for Best Actor and the Golden Globes for his performance. This movie is gold. And guys… it’s also a great date movie… trust me.

Synopsis: ” Sydney Pollack directs this whimsical remake of the 1954 romantic comedy by Billy Wilder. Greg Kinnear and Harrison Ford deftly portray the two wealthy Larrabee brothers, who end up fighting over the affections of their chauffeur’s daughter. When Sabrina (Julia Ormond) originally attempts to win over David Larrabee (Greg Kinnear), the younger of the two brothers, and the notorious playboy whom her father works for, he barely even knows she’s alive. To help get her mind off David, Sabrina’s dad sends her on a trip to Paris, where she trains to become a fashion photographer. In Europe, the mousy young girl blossoms into a beautiful woman before returning to the Larrabee estate on Long Island. At first David doesn’t recognize the altered Sabrina. Once he does, however, he falls hard, which jeopardizes his impending marriage to Elizabeth, a wealthy doctor. This turn of events greatly concerns his older, more serious brother, Linus (Harrison Ford), who’s counting on the marriage to cement a merger between his company and a business owned by Elizabeth’s rich father. So Linus decides to woo Sabrina, hoping she’ll fall for him and forget his brother. However, the scheme backfires when Linus himself begins to find the charming Sabrina irresistible.”

Ford-Blade-Runner.jpgBLADE RUNNER (1982)
Also Starring – Rutger Hauer, Sean Young

I’ll admit that while I myself and not a big fan of this film, there is no denying the huge following and massive influence this movie has had. Considered by many to be one of the very best Sci-Fi films of all time and a visionary piece of work by director Ridley Scott. To be a part of any sci-fi discussion it’s a prerequisite that you watch this film.

Synopsis: ” Director Ridley Scott’s hauntingly prescient vision of the not-too-distant future stars Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, a retired police assassin, or “blade runner.” The Los Angeles of 2019 is a dark, polluted, overcrowded dystopia dominated by cloud-piercing buildings and looming neon… Director Ridley Scott’s hauntingly prescient vision of the not-too-distant future stars Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, a retired police assassin, or “blade runner.” The Los Angeles of 2019 is a dark, polluted, overcrowded dystopia dominated by cloud-piercing buildings and looming neon billboards, the air dense with acid rain and flying traffic. World-weary Deckard has been called out of retirement to liquidate four escaped “replicants”–genetically derived androids of great strength, intelligence, and nearly-human emotion who serve as slaves and prostitutes in the off-planet colonies. Led by Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), they’ve come to Los Angeles to confront their designer, Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel), with their unhappiness about the brevity of their four-year life span. In the course of his search, Deckard becomes romantically entwined with Tyrell’s lovely assistant, Rachael (Sean Young), and must eventually confront Batty in an unforgettable rain-soaked sequence. A highly influential fusion of the science fiction and noir genres based on the novel DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? by Philip K. Dick, this postmodern film boasts astonishingly rich art direction, juxtaposing ingenious technological gadgetry with yellowing photographs and fetishistic objets d’art as it touches on questions of time, memory, identity, and mortality. Different from Scott’s 1992 director’s cut, this widely released edition of the film, which features Ford’s narration and an ending culled from footage of Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING, remains the most well known version of this stunning cinematic landmark.”

Ford-Fugitive.jpgTHE FUGITIVE (1993)
Also Starring – Tommy Lee Jones, Joe Pantoliano

Who says all movies based on old TV shows can’t work? The Fugitive proves that theory wrong. Ford nabbed himself a Best Actor nomination at the Golden Globes for his role in this film… which also happens to be the second best critically reviewed film in his career (something like a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes) and is also probably my favorite film of his outside Indy or Han. Tommy Lee Jones is also un-freaking-believable in this movie.

Synopsis: ” In this near-perfect suspense movie adapted from the popular 1960s television series that starred David Janssen, renowned vascular surgeon Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) has been falsely accused and convicted–on circumstantial evidence–of his wife’s (Sela Ward) murder. While… In this near-perfect suspense movie adapted from the popular 1960s television series that starred David Janssen, renowned vascular surgeon Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) has been falsely accused and convicted–on circumstantial evidence–of his wife’s (Sela Ward) murder. While Kimble is being transported to prison, another convict stabs an inattentive guard, causing a massive wreck. Kimble escapes but is hunted by tough U.S. marshal Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones). The fugitive from injustice attempts to set the record straight: He transforms himself into a jack-of-all-trades and a man of a thousand faces in a desperate attempt to uncover the truth about his wife’s murder and track down the real killer. Spectacular special effects and a pulse-pounding performance by Ford turned Andrew Davis’s thrilling film into a blockbuster at the box office, leading to a sequel, U.S. MARSHALS.”

Ford-Danger.jpgCLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER (1994)
Also Starring: Anne Archer, James Earl Jones

One of the Jack Ryan films where Ford picked up the role from Alec Baldwin (who did a great job with it himself in Hunt For Red October). This film also featured one of the very BEST screen bad guys of the 90’s with actor Joaquim de Almeida as a Columbian Drug Lord.

Synopsis: ” Patriotic American Jack Ryan’s (Harrison Ford) just been promoted to Deputy Director of Intelligence for the CIA. But before he can adjust to the demands of his position as advisor to the President, Jack’s got to investigate a massacre that took the lives of several dignitaries. Probing relentlessly, Jack uncovers the disturbing truth about criminal activities involving an international drug cartel and a close friend of the United States President. Based on Tom Clancy’s bestselling novel.”

Ford-Air-Force.jpgAIR FORCE ONE (1997)
Also Starring – Gary Oldman, Glenn Close

Just a good, solid, slightly cheesy “rah rah USA USA” type of film with Ford as the President who doesn’t take crap. A very fun film that had a lot of potential to be terrible but ended up being a really great movie. Sadly, this film also marked that last good movie Ford would do, and the last good performance he would give up until Indy 4.

Synopsis: ” President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) is one of the most respected leaders in the history of America. When Kazakhstanian separatists commit atrocities on their own people, Marshall authorizes a guerrilla mission to take their leader, General Radek (Jürgen Prochnow), into custody and restore the democratic regime. In his speech afterward, the president vows never to let America hesitate again when dealing with terrorists. However, that’s before a group of them, led by the ruthless Korchunov (Gary Oldman) take over his own flight on Air Force One, with his wife and young daughter also on board. President Marshall, a decorated Vietnam veteran, becomes a one-man vigilante force in his efforts to free his family and the other hostages, retake the plane, and thwart the hijackers. Director Wolfgang Petersen’s thrilling film is supported by an excellent ensemble cast, which includes William H. Macy, Philip Baker Hall, and Glenn Close as Kathryn Bennett, the vice president who must hold the Cabinet together in Marshall’s absence.”

Ford-Patriot.jpgPATRIOT GAMES (1992)
Also Starring – James Earl Jones, Sean Bean

These Jack Ryan films are all great (yes, I even liked the one with Ben Affleck), and once again they come up with a fantastic bad guy. Sean Bean as the disgruntled Irish terrorist was just amazing in this film. It had everything you could possibly want from a political thriller. It was intense, exciting and all with great performances. The funny thing about this movie was that I didn’t even realize it was a sequel to Hunt For Red October until James Earl Jones showed up on screen the first time I saw it! :P

Synopsis: ” Ex-CIA agent Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) is forced back into service when he saves the lives of the English minister to Northern Ireland and his family from a terrorist attack, killing one of the perpetrators in the process. The dead man’s brother, also a member of an IRA splinter faction, vows revenge on Ryan and his family and pursues them to the United States. Ryan knows it is only a matter of time till he comes face to face with his nemesis… and that only one of them will come out alive. Based on Tom Clancy’s bestselling novel.”

Ford-Working.jpgWORKING GIRL (1988)
Also Starring – Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver

This was really Melanie Griffith’s movie, but Harrison was the male lead. In incredibly hilarious film that surprisingly still stands up today after 20 years. The immortal words “I have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is there anything wrong with that? ” were uttered in this flick and let me tell you… truer words were never spoken. Yet another example of Ford’s diversity as an actor.

Synopsis: ” A young secretary (Melanie Griffith in an Oscar-nominated performance) with dreams of moving up the corporate ladder thinks that her brains will help her achieve her goals. And when she finds a job with a seemingly helpful and sympathetic boss–who’s also a woman (played by Sigourney Weaver)–it looks as if she’s on her way. But it turns out the executive is slimy and duplicitous, stealing the secretary’s clever ideas to further her own career. Now the furious secretary’s determined to get revenge–and her plan may not only propel her to the top of the heap but get her a husband too (Harrison Ford). Mike Nichols directed this workplace comedy with a light, smart touch, getting terrific performances from his excellent cast.”

Ford-Witness.jpgWITNESS (1985)
Also Starring – Kelly McGillis, Alexander Godunov

The single highest critically rated film on Ford’s resume… I’m actually surprised this movie doesn’t get mentioned more in various “all time greatest movies” discussions. Ford was nominated for both the Oscar and the Golden Globe for this brilliant film that has been spoofed, mimicked and flat out ripped off by several other films since. It’s not just a crime mystery… it’s also a great character study in its own way. Touching, thrilling and great tension all toped off with a couple of solid character dilemmas throughout the movie. MUST SEE!

Synopsis: ” Australian Peter Weir’s first Hollywood film tells the story of John Book (Harrison Ford), a Philadelphia cop whose life is altered while trying to help Rachel (Kelly McGillis), an Amish woman, and her son Samuel (Lukas Haas), who witnesses a murder in a Philadelphia train station bathroom. After discovering that the murder was committed by a member of his force, Book travels to Lancaster County with Rachel and Samuel and poses as a member of the Amish community to hide from his murderous police peers. While there, love blooms between Rachel and Book, and he finds himself drawn in by the honesty and simplicity of the old-world Amish lifestyle. Fine performances and beautiful cinematography are prevalent throughout.”

Ford-Henry.jpgREGARDING HENRY (1991)
Also Starring – Annette Bening

Certainly not the most well recieved or critically acclaimed film on Ford’s impressive list… I nonetheless really loved this movie and think it’s the film that Harrison Ford really showed what he was capable of as an actor. Not an action flick, not a comedy, not another character where he gives you a wink and a smile… this was some great stuff from Ford and a performance he simply doesn’t get enough credit for in my opinion. If you appreciate Ford, you really owe it to yourself to see him in this one.

Synopsis: ” Henry Turner (Harrison Ford), a wealthy, high-powered, highly successful Manhattan lawyer, seems to have everything — a perfect wife (Annette Bening), a perfect daughter, a perfect life. In fact, Henry is completely cold, rigid and unable to experience love or joy in his day-to- day existence. Everything changes, however, when Henry is gunned down in an act of random violence, and must undergo a slow, difficult recovery. In the process of relearning the most basic skills — walking, reading, getting dressed in the morning — Henry discovers something even more important: how to love his family and friends again and how to find true happiness in life.”

Ford-Mosquito.jpgTHE MOSQUITO COAST (1986)
Also Starring – Helen Mirren, River Phoenix

Another one of those films where Ford shows he’s more than just a handsome face with a scoundrel smile and seductive charm. Ford acts his heart out in The Mosquito Coast and it really come across in every single scene. Ford got Nominated for the Golden Globe Award for his performance as well. Of interesting note… see this and you get to see a younger Helen Mirren (The Queen). Damn this woman has aged so fricking well!

Synopsis: ” A brilliant and obsessive inventor, fed up with capitalistic and consumeristic modern society, picks up and moves his family to an isolated Caribbean island, where he puts his ideas into practice. Under his guidance, his new home at first becomes a paradise, but bit by bit, both his mind and his world begin to fall apart. ”

CONCLUSION – It’s a shame that with the success of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, many new film fans (say… 25 or younger) haven’t seen some of the films on this list… even some of us older fans haven’t seen a few of them. I recommend them all. Run out to Blockbuster and grab 2 or 3 of them you haven’t seen and treat yourself this weekend!

Comment with Facebook

30 thoughts on “10 Harrison Ford Films You Must See Where He’s Not Named Indy Or Han

  1. Sound Designer Dan – Witness has a scene that suggests Ford and the hot Amish chick (Kelly McGillis from Top Gun) did get together. At sunset she learns he is going back to the city the next morning, she sends her son to bed, slowly turns out the kitchen light, takes off her white lace bonnet and places it on the table (indicating she’s shedding her Amish role temporarily). She then goes to him where he’s finishing installing a large birdhouse. All the built-up emotion and desire lead to some passionate kissing. The next scene is Danny Glover and the other bad cops coming at dawn. Many of us assume they made love the night before.

  2. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so)If “what Lies Beneath” is worth a look than i think “6 days 7 nights” is also worth a look as well. But i do have to say “The Fugitive” is a bad ass film, and i think Tommy Lee Jones does a great job in it as well.

  3. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so)If “what Lies Beneath” is worth a look than i think “6 days 7 nights” is also worth a look as well.

  4. I agree with the comments about Blade Runner. I fell asleep watching that movie. I appreciate the effort, but boooooring. And Juliette Binoche is not in Sabrina. That is Juliette Ormond. Back when she had a promising career. And Sabrina is shit. The original is better.

    Also, I loved everything about Air Force One until the GET OFF MY PLANE line. They might as well had Nic Cage come in with his poopy Southern accent and butt rock hair weave to boot. That’s about how campy that line was.

  5. I’ve got plenty of crushes on plenty of Hollywood hotties, but he holds the honor of being my first love. I wanted him to swoop down next to my house in the Millenium Falcon and just take me the hell away.

    And Air Force One is some good shit. Don’t care what anybody says, if you don’t let out a “Fuck yeah!” at the “Get off my plane!” bit, you aren’t human.

  6. Sabrina is a poor remake of Billy Wilder’s Sabrina, which itself is nowhere near as good as Billy Wilder’s other great romantic comedies – The Apartment, Some Like it Hot.

  7. BladeRunner is a sci-fi classic (hazmat is a fool, at least John, who put the list together could see that), I would have put FRANTIC as one of his best. I’ve seen all the films mentioned above except Sabrina and Hanover Street, but Frantic is the only one in my DVD collection…. note to self: get copy of Blade Runner.

    Trivia: Ford’s character in Apocalipse Now is named Colonel Lucas, originally George Lucas was going to direct it.

  8. @DGDFG The only thing Ford has done that is worth watching is Blade Runner? I think 99% of people would disagree with that. Almost every film mentioned in the post is quite well done (especially Witness, Working Girl and Mosquito Coast).

    Whatever you’re smoking, I don’t want any.

  9. Blade Runner = best movie ever made (Jones/Star Wars are crap) and only thing Ford has done that is worth watching…

  10. Hanover Street isn’t bad and as war films go, Force Ten from Navarone is kind of fun too. Hated Frantic, but Presumed Innocent is pretty tasty.

  11. The Conversation and Apocalypse Now are obvious choices – as is American Graffitti which hasn’t been mentioned yet.

    But if we are going on the assumption that the list should only include films where Ford is the star, or at least a major supporting actor, and not just in a scene or two, I think that FRANTIC must be included on this list to maintain any credibility. If there is anyone who disagrees, my forst inclination would be to assume that you haven’t actually seen it.

  12. Ford was nominated for a Golden Globe for Sabrina, but not an Oscar. His only Oscar nomination came from Witness (an Oscar he should have won, but was beat out by William Hurt for Kiss of the Spider Woman).

  13. blade runner: worst movie ever.

    shit id even go far enough and put fuckin “firewall” up there instead of blade runner….

    dont mean to hate john thats a very good list :)

  14. Good list john though I will disagree on two movies that are on the list.

    Air Force One which is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen and probably Wolfgang’s worst movie to date. I actually walked out of that sucker…it was so bad!

    And Sabrina. Even as a date movie…very lukeward to it, even though Juliet Binoche is absolutely hot in it.

    But Overall agree that Ford made some great movies outside of Indy and Star Wars. I think at the time he was the highest grossing star ever…even more that Tom (Weirdo) Cruise.

  15. Solid choices!

    Gotta disagree with Air Force One though–it’s completely awful. I’d replace it with Presumed Innocent, which fucking rules. Well, as hard as a quiet mystery/drama can rule.

  16. Well, I dont think that K-19: The Widowmaker was crap and that was in the last 10 years. Ok, I admit, we could do fine without the russian accent :) But still, good movie :) I liked it

  17. I agree with you about Witness. He really even helped build the barn (he was Lucas’ carpenter after all before he became Han Solo)!!! The best part about the Witness is the ending, Ford and the hot amish chick never get together.

  18. Jay, I totally agree, Ford did an amazing job in What Lies Beneath.

    What about Force 10 From Navarone? It’s a classic.

  19. Very good list, I had forgotten how good some of Ford’s non-franchise films of the 80’s and 90’s were. Especially since most of his 00’s films were terrible (although he did play a villain finally).

    Extra bit of trivia, Regarding Henry was written by a fresh-out-of-college J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias, MI: III, etc). It was his first big break.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *