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.
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.