A Harrison Ford Filmography-Top Five List

H Ford pixAmerican Graffiti-Bob Falfa-1973. Ford has a small role in this film. This was an important breakthrough film for Harrison Ford , as it brought him to the attention of George Lucas: Before the hype surrounding Star Wars, there was this small part in the coming of age movie that stands the test of time well without seeming too dated. It was a nostalgic look at a bygone era, and is still effective as a nostalgic look back almost forty years later!

Bladerunner:Rick Deckard-1982-Harrison Ford was a pivotal force in creating the illusory and remarkable world contained in Bladerunner. He portrayed a man who doesn’t seem to care anymore, and his revelation through pain and redemption-the theme that guides the film-what is real/what is the definition of a human?….is explored and continues to haunt us partly because of his performance. Ford was very involved in developing the character of Deckard, particularly when we find that he didn’t want to wear the hat (a la Indiana Jones), but instead chose to fashion a short, cropped haircut that conveys the angst and almost dark and prison-like air that surrounds this set. He also insisted that Darryl Hannah stick her fingers in his nose during the pivotal fight scene, and the graphic reality brings the physical fight home to us in a way that nothing else could in this instance.

The Frisco Kid-1979.This is a gem-one of those films that got away. Gene Wilder is hilarious as a Jewish rabbi who teams up with an unlikely partner, a cowboy/robber played by Ford. They end up in an Indian encampment, where Wilder shouts, “Watch that lady!…I think that lady is a Jewish Indian!”.as Ford watches him in mild bemusement. Somehow the plot moves them into a monastery where the effusive Wilder is hard-pressed to abide by the laws of silence governing a monastery. This unlikely duo makes for a very different kind of buddy comedy. Ford proves himself to be extremely charming in this light comic role.

Witness:1985-Detective Captin John Book- One of the staples surrounding long-term leading man success in Hollywood is the actor’s ability to convince audiences he is that character. In this part, the essence of a straight-forward cop who will not swerve from the path of justice is tailor-made for the slightly grumpy Ford persona. The nature of the love story between the Amish girl and the cynical, big-city cop makes for an enduring film.

Working Girl: 1988-Jack Trainer-Ford has a chance, once again, to show us his vulnerable, funny side. He is charming with Melanie Griffith in this still funny comedy from Director Mike Nichols.

Indiana Jones and the Search for the Holy Grail: These films got better over time. They seemed to sputter at first, with nothing surrounding the character but a sweeping theme song and a “fly by the seat of our pants” attitude towards plot. But, in the end, this character endures in part, not only because of the enthusiastic direction of Spielberg,but also the persona of Ford. He becomes Indiana Jones and embraces the role in a way no-one else could touch, as so many great actors have been able to inhabit their signature characters for all time. ( Some examples that come to mind: Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, Jimmy Stewart as Harvey, Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen, Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump). With the addition of his father, played by Sean Connery, this makes for a great twist on the buddy pictures of years past.

Published by

MLJ

Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Degrees-Film-Future-Global-Village/

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