Thursday, February 25, 2010

Best Harrison Ford Movies

Harrison Ford has enjoyed a stellar movie career in Hollywood. Witness, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Fugitive, Clear and Present Danger, Presumed Innocent, Blade Runner and Frantic are his top films.

Harrison Ford was born in Chicago, Illinois, on July 13, 1942. Ford made his motion picture debut in Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966), playing a bit role as a bellhop. His dramatic television debut came one year later in an episode of The Virginian titled “The Modoc Kid” (February 1, 1967), where he appeared in the small role of Cullen Tindall.

Here are ten movies that no dedicated Harrison Ford fan should ever miss. All aboard Air Force One for a thrilling ride into the cinematic wild blue – with Harrison Ford at the controls…

Witness (Paramount, 1985)

Harrison Ford plays Captain John Book, a Philadelphia homicide detective who investigates the murder of an undercover policeman in a restroom at the 30th Street train station. The only witness to the killing is a young Amish boy, Samuel Lapp (Lukas Haas), who was hiding in a nearby stall. Book’s investigation leads him to police corruption and the murderous Lt. James McFee (Danny Glover) and his confederates. Forced to flee the city, Book hides out in Pennsylvania’s Amish country where he falls in love with Rachel Lapp (Kelly McGillis), a young Amish widow and the mother of Samuel. Complementing Ford’s bravura performance are Josef Summer, Jan Rubes, Alexander Godunov, Brent Jennings and Patti LuPone in one of Hollywood’s all-time cop thrillers.

    * Academy Award nomination for Best Actor
    * Great Ford line (to his corrupt cop pursuers, who have him cornered on an Amish farm): “Oh no, man, you got it wrong. I’m coming to get you!”
    * Director: Peter Weir
    * On DVD: Witness Special Collector’s Edition (Paramount, 2005)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (Paramount, 1981)

Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones, an adventurer-archaeologist in pursuit of the Lost Ark of the Covenant in the year 1936. Jones braves Peruvian jungles, dodges venomous snakes and tangles with cunning Nazis and evil Arabs in his quest for the sacred lost Ark. Outfitted in his trademark fedora, worn bomber jacket and sporting a deadly five o’clock and then some shadow, Ford cuts a dashing figure as the globetrotting, swashbuckling Indiana Jones, with Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey and John Rhys-Davies in magnificent support.

    * Great Ford line (handing a torch to Karen Allen while surrounded by poisonous snakes): “Wave it at anything that slithers.”
    * Director: Steven Spielberg
    * On DVD: Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark Special Collector’s Edition (Paramount, 2008)

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The Fugitive (Warner Bros., 1993)

Harrison Ford plays Dr. Richard Kimble, a brilliant Chicago surgeon wrongly convicted of murdering his wife. While en route to the big house’s death row, a train slams into the prison bus transporting Kimble and his fellow convicts. Now on the loose, the good doctor returns to the Windy City where he feverishly tries to locate the mysterious one-armed man he had fought with on the night of his wife’s murder. Ford is outstanding in the old David Janssen television role, with Tommy Lee Jones as Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard providing the perfect foil.

    * Great Ford line: “I didn’t kill my wife!”
    * Director: Andrew Davis
    * On DVD: The Fugitive Special Edition (Warner, 2001)

Clear and Present Danger (Paramount, 1994)

Harrison Ford plays CIA analyst Jack Ryan, who becomes intimately involved in the ongoing war on drugs. Ryan’s duties take him to South America, where he engages in a deadly battle with one of Columbia’s most violent drug cartels. Illegal covert operations, backdoor political maneuvers and government corruption make Ryan’s latest assignment a living hell. Harrison Ford has never looked better as Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, particularly in the harrowing ambush scene where Ryan’s small convoy is attacked by Columbian thugs wielding automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade launchers.  Willem Dafoe, Anne Archer and James Earl Jones ably complement Ford’s performance.

    * Great Ford line (on his urgent need of a helicopter in Columbia): “I’m here to rent the Huey.”
    * Director: Phillip Noyce
    * On DVD: Clear and Present Danger Special Collector’s Edition (Paramount, 2003)

Presumed Innocent (Warner Bros., 1990)

Harrison Ford plays Rozat “Rusty” Sabich, a deputy prosecutor whose extramarital affair with fellow lawyer Carolyn Polhemus (Greta Scacchi) turns lethal when the latter is found murdered. Now accused of Carolyn’s murder, Rusty goes on trial for his life with Alejandro “Sandy” Stern (Raul Julia) acting as his defense counsel. Presumed Innocent is a gritty, intricate legal thriller with Ford, Julia, Brian Dennehy, Bonnie Bedelia and Paul Winfield all delivering standout performances. The movie’s surprise ending will not disappoint.

    * Great Ford line (to wife Bonnie Bedelia): “I’m going to need a lawyer, a very, very good lawyer, an expensive lawyer. It could break us.”
    * Director: Alan J. Pakula
    * On DVD: Presumed Innocent (Warner, 1997)

Blade Runner (Warner Bros., 1982)

Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard, a futuristic ex-cop whose job is to hunt down and ”retire” genetically engineered humanoids in 2019 Los Angeles. Deckard’s latest assignment involves a quartet of human replicants now roaming the city. He finds one of them, Zhora (Joanna Cassidy), working at a sleazy strip club, where he terminates her act permanently. Ford is brilliant as the burned-out, 21st century police assassin in what many believe to be one of the greatest science fiction movies ever made. Add the talents of Cassidy, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos and Daryl Hannah, and Blade Runner easily becomes one of Harrison Ford’s most memorable films.

    * Great Ford line: “They don’t advertise for killers in the newspaper. That was my profession. Ex-cop. Ex-blade runner. Ex-killer.”
    * Director: Ridley Scott
    * On DVD: Blade Runner – The Final Cut Two-Disc Special Edition (Warner, 2007)

Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner (1982)

Frantic (Warner Bros., 1988)

Harrison Ford plays Dr. Richard Walker, an American physician whose wife, Sondra Walker (Betty Buckley), mysteriously disappears from their Paris hotel room. Dr. Walker frantically conducts his own search for his missing wife, landing him in a hotbed of foreign intrigue populated by organized crime figures, government agents, illegal drugs and murder. Emmanuelle Seigner plays the role of Michelle, the young Frenchwoman who aids Dr. Walker. Frantic is an interesting picture reminiscent of the Alfred Hitchcock school of filmmaking, with Ford more than capable of living up to the film’s title.

    * Great Ford line (to an American security official after explaining his problem): ”You understand but you don’t give a damn? Is that it?”
    * Director: Roman Polanski
    * On DVD: Frantic (Warner, 2004)

Star Wars (Twentieth Century-Fox, 1977)

Harrison Ford plays Han Solo, a swashbuckling space pilot and rogue adventurer who aids Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in his battle with the evil Empire. This is the picture that started the entire Star Wars series, one of the most successful movie franchises in Hollywood history. It also provided a huge lift to Ford’s then struggling film career, with the actor gaining notoriety as the popular, dashing Han Solo.

    * Great Ford line (to Mark Hamill): “Hey, Luke. May the force be with you.”
    * Director: George Lucas
    * On DVD: Star Wars Trilogy (Fox, 2008)

Sabrina (Paramount, 1995)

Harrison Ford plays Linus Larrabee, a wealthy scion who schemes to save a corporate merger as well as his brother’s upcoming marriage by romancing young interloper Sabrina Fairchild (Julia Ormond). The plan works, but complications ensue, with the roguish Linus unintentionally falling in love with his quarry. A remake of the 1954 romantic comedy of the same title starring William Holden, Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn, 1995’s Sabrina lives up to the original, with Ford, Ormond and Greg Kinnear all delivering superb performances.

    * Great Ford line: “And I want tickets to whatever Broadway show nobody can get tickets to.”
    * Director: Sydney Pollack
    * On DVD: Sabrina (Paramount, 2002)

American Graffiti (Universal, 1973)

Harrison Ford plays Bob Falfa, a cowboy-hat wearing hot rodder cruising the fun streets of 1962 California in his boss, midnight black 1955 Chevy. Ford’s role is small but memorable, as he searches for Big John Milner (Paul Le Mat), hoping to challenge him for the unofficial title of fastest car in the Valley. Falfa and Milner eventually meet at dawn on Paradise Road amidst burning rubber, smoking engines and steely-eyed stares.

    * Great Ford line (to Paul Le Mat, who drives a yellow 1932 Ford deuce coup): “I like the color of your car there, man. What’s that s’posed to be? Sort of a cross between piss yella’ and puke green ain’t it?”
    * Director: George Lucas
    * On DVD: American Graffiti Collector’s Edition (Universal, 1998)