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The Best Harrison Ford Movies of All Time, Ranked

Han Solo? Indiana Jones? The Fugitive? We review the Hollywood megastar’s 50 years of movies (!) and name his 10 very best roles, from great to the greatest

spinner image harrison ford in scenes from the film raiders of the lost ark star wars episode five the empire strikes back and the fugitive
(Left to right) Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," as Han Solo in "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" and as Richard Kimble in "The Fugitive."
Moviestore Collection Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo; Lucasfilm/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images; Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

At 80, Harrison Ford has rarely had a better year: He’s riding high in the film Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, the brainy TV comedy Shrinking and the hit Yellowstone prequel 1923. Which means there’s no better time to look back at this going-strong actor’s 10 greatest movie roles, ranked in ascending order. (Let us know if we picked your favorite iconic role in the comments below!)

10. American Graffiti (1973)

Ford doesn’t have the biggest role in the George Lucas epic about early ’60s youth culture that launched a nostalgia boom, but it’s a choice one: Bob Falfa, a drag racer in a black ’55 Chevy who’s cockier than Han Solo. Ford got so in character that he drank many beers, raced on streets and got in trouble with actual cops. But it saved him, at age 30, from his previous career as a carpenter.

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9. 42 (2013)

The late, lamented Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) is terrific as Jackie Robinson, who historically broke Major League Baseball’s ban on Black players in 1947, but the real news here is Ford’s performance as Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers manager who hired him. It’s utterly distinctive in Ford’s career, a role he disappears into — and what a character! He’s greedily opportunistic and deeply principled, a for-real Christian outraged by racism, also out to make a buck. Rickey’s real-life colleague Art Stewart of the Kansas City Royals said Ford nailed the role: “He had him, down to the way he chewed the cigar out of the side of his mouth. He imitated him to perfection.”

8. Clear and Present Danger (1994)

John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine all did fine as Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, but they’ll never outdo Ford as the CIA man who investigates the death of the President’s friend and gets mixed up in a shady war on a Colombian drug lord. He’s also good as Jack in 1992’s Patriot Games, but this is the superior thriller.

7. Working Girl (1988)

The test of a great actor is his ability to ace a supporting role, and Ford shows a quiet kind of power as a corporate bigwig who falls for a Staten Island secretary (Melanie Griffith) whose malevolent upper-class boss (Sigourney Weaver) tries to steal her ideas — but the secretary is the smarter schemer “with a head for business and a bod for sin.” Like Richard Gere with Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Ford’s stillness gives Griffith the space to spin, creating a career-making character, one of the very finest comedies of the ’80s and a big career comeback for director Mike Nichols.

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spinner image harrison ford in a scene from the film presumed innocent
Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

6. Presumed Innocent (1990)

The adaptation of Scott Turow’s bestseller about a man (Ford) accused of killing his mistress (Greta Scacchi) started out as a script full of blood and sex, with his wife (Bonnie Bedelia) attempting suicide and setting their house on fire when he confesses. But bookish director Alan Pakula demanded a cooler, more cerebral take, turning the characters’ burning animal passion into coals glowing through the ashes. It was perfect for Ford’s underacting style — it’s suspenseful, because you can’t tell if he’s guilty or not.

5. Blade Runner (1982)

One of the all-time triumphs of set design in cinema, this cyberpunk sci-fi classic was a miserable acting experience for Ford. Even so, he’s superb as detective Deckard, the haunted hunter of rogue replicants — extremely humanlike robots — in a futuristic Raymond Chandler-ish nightmare L.A. Watch it and see if you can figure out whether Deckard is a replicant, too.

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4. Witness (1985)

Ford’s blockbuster success hurt his Oscar odds, but at least he got his only, very much deserved nomination as a cop hiding out from his homicidal superiors in Pennsylvania’s Amish country, like a time trip to another horse-and-buggy world. It starts as a great thriller, like The Fugitive, then turns into a deeply sensitive love story, as he bonds with an Amish widow (Kelly McGillis in her finest performance).

3. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Some say 1989’s sweet Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the best Indy flick, with Sean Connery as his dad and River Phoenix as the young Indy. Others claim 2023’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny tops them all, and it sure is a must-see. But most agree that nothing can beat the first adventure of everyone’s favorite archaeologist. Ford aces an iconic character first time at bat, with help from a brilliant feminist heroine (Karen Allen) and immortal screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, whose scripts — The Empire Strikes BackThe Big ChillBody HeatSilverado — would make a fine film festival.

2. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Besides being the greatest movie in the franchise that made Ford famous, it’s the one where he got to improve some of the wooden George Lucas dialogue he disliked — when Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia (his real-life squeeze at the time) says, “I love you,” he replies, “I know” (instead of “I love you too”).

1. The Fugitive (1993)

What could top Indiana Jones menaced by a giant stone ball in Raiders of the Lost Ark? Ford’s Dr. Richard Kimble, falsely accused of murdering his wife, facing a huge train about to collide with his bus full of convicts — filmed with a real train pulverizing a real bus, no CGI. His race to elude a relentless U.S. Marshal (Tommy Lee Jones) is a classic duel between master actors, a wronged-hero epic worthy of Hitchcock, and one of the greatest action movies ever, because it’s rooted in characters we care about.

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