Harrison Ford: five best momentsThe veteran superstar actor’s greatest hits, from a career that has spanned six decades.
Friday 8 May 2015 17.09 BST
It’s fair to say that 2015 is a pretty big year for Harrison Ford. The 72-year-old actor is set to make a triumphant return with the launch of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December; before that he is starring alongside a really old but physically young Blake Lively in sudsy fantasy romance The Age of Adaline. It’s been billed as a bit of a return to form for the actor, who has made some dicey choices of late, from The Expendables 3 and Paranoia to Cowboys & Aliens – but it still doesn’t match his all-time greatest performances.
Tradition usually dictates that actors break out in their teens or twenties, but the role that launched Harrison Ford’s career came to him at the grand old age of 35. Initially, George Lucas wasn’t going to let him audition for the role of Han Solo, as he had previously worked with him on American Graffiti and wanted a new set of faces for his sci-fi epic. Given how perfect Ford’s nonchalant swagger works for the character, it seems criminal that there was ever any other option.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
While, yes, Ford’s other iconic blockbuster character is somewhat similar to Solo in his eye-rolling caddishness, he’s also equally worthy of reverence, even in the fourth monstrosity. But Indiana Jones’s first outing remains his finest. It is the blueprint for how to make a Hollywood adventure, and Ford performs both the action and comedy scenes perfectly.
Ford’s first and to date his only Oscar nomination came for his leading role in Peter Weir’s hit thriller, Witness. He plays the detective responsible for protecting a young Amish boy who has witnessed a murder. The film played to Ford’s strengths and allowed him to play a romantic lead, opposite Kelly McGillis, and carve a niche in the thriller genre, which he returned to in The Fugitive, Presumed Innocent and Frantic.
The Mosquito Coast
Ford was on a roll in the 80s as he interspersed Indiana Jones and Star Warssequels with box office hits such as Working Girl. His second film in a row with Peter Weir was less of a commercial and critical hit than Witness, but contains one of his most underrated performances. One of his defining skills as an actor has been his ability to make unlikeable characters remain compelling, and he delivers a fascinating performance here as a morally questionable father dragging his family to the rainforest.
While it stands out as one of Roman Polanski’s more mainstream efforts, there’s still a fascinating undercurrent of perversity running throughout this tense, Paris-set thriller. Ford excels as the American tourist struggling to make sense of a horrifying situation in an unfamiliar landscape as his wife is kidnapped. The above scene showcases his brilliantly handled on-screen breakdown.