Sherpa's Top 10: Best Harrison Ford movies

2011-07-29T06:00:00Z 2011-09-08T12:53:07Z Sherpa's Top 10: Best Harrison Ford moviesBY JOE HOLLEMAN • jholleman@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8254 stltoday.com

The latest summer blockbuster -- "Cowboys & Aliens" -- opens today, with Harrison Ford supporting Daniel Craig in this genre-mixing tale of extra-terrestrials invading the Old West.

From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, the 69-year-old Ford dominated as Hollywood's top action hero, especially by playing two of screen history's most iconic figures, Han Solo and Indiana Jones. It's about time he put out another movie so I could put out this well-deserved list.

Ford gets honorable mentions for "Presumed Innocent," "Regarding Henry," "A Clear and Present Danger" and "Working Girl." He also had roles in two films that easily would have made this list -- "The Conversation" and "Apocalypse Now" -- if Ford's roles had not been so minor.

10. Patriot Games (1992) Jack Ryan: Taking over Tom Clancy's franchise after Alec Baldwin couldn't come to terms after "Hunt for Red October," Ford plays the CIA operative who spoils an assassination attempt on the Royal Family, then does battle with a splinter IRA group.

9. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989): Indiana Jones: After a shaky "Temple of Doom' sequel, Steven Spielberg gets back in the groove in what should have been the last Indiana Jones film ever made. It doesn't hurt that Sean Connery shows up as Indiana's father.

8. Air Force One (1997): President James Marshall: An excellent old-fashioned action-adventure flick with Gary Oldman playing a Soviet terrorist who hijacks the president's airplane. The sad note is that this film, 14 years old, stands now as Ford's last really good movie.

7. The Empire Strikes Back (1981) Han Solo: Few sequels have ever been better. This sinister follow-up to "Star Wars" brings Darth Vader into full form, introduces Yoda and Lando Kalrissian and sets the stage for the last chapter. And at this point, who else can play Han Solo?

6. Witness (1985) John Book: Ford received his only Oscar nomination for playing a Philadelphia detective who heads off to Amish country to protect a young boy from some bad cops. Peter Weir directed and Kelly McGillis captivated as the Amish woman who falls in love with our hero.

5. The Fugitive (1993): Dr. Richard Kimble: While much of the credit for the success of this film goes to Tommy Lee Jones' performance as the persistent inspector, Ford is pitch-perfect as the doctor who is framed for his wife's murder and then must run until he proves his innocence.

4. American Grafitti (1973) Bob Falfa: It would be a few more years before he hit it big, but Ford has a small-but-crucial role as the villainous stranger with the fast, sweet Chevy who's looking to challenge Big John Milner. George Lucas launched his directing career, and a 1950s nostalgia craze, with this underrated masterpiece.

3. Star Wars (1977) Han Solo: Talk about a breakout performance. In arguably the most influential film of all time, Ford plays the rogue mercenary who gets hooked up with Luke Skywalker in an attempt to rescue Princess Leiea. Ford had the right mix of humor, sex appeal and grit. (Note: I'm never going to call it "Episode IV: A New Hope," so don't even go there.)

2. Blade Runner (1982) Rick Deckard: My pick as best science-fiction film ever. Ford is a bounty hunter in 2019 L.A. who is sent to hunt down a violent, rebellious "replicant," superbly played by Rutger Hauer. Ridley Scott directs a masterful blend of detective noir and sci-fi, while Sean Young, Edward James Olmos and a list of character actors are strong in support. So close to being No. 1 on this list.

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Indiana Jones: Very few films are more fun to watch than Spielberg's classic blend of action, humor, romance and adventure. After a flood of green-screen CGI space films after "Star Wars," this was a triumphant return to old-fashioned movie fun. Ford was perfect for this rakish role -- and darn near brought back the fedora to everyday men's fashion.

-- To watch the original theatrical trailer for "Raiders of the Lost Ark," please click here

-- Click here to view a Rotten Tomatoes compilation of some of Ford's best moments.

-- Please click here to enjoy the trailer from "Blade Runner."

-- Even though Ford is not the main focus of this scene, what "Blade Runner" fan would pass up a chance to watch the sad and beautiful "Tears in Rain" scene. Please click here.

 

Joe Holleman's "Life Sherpa" column appears every Sunday in Everyday. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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