Harrison Ford, best known for iconic characters Han Solo and Indiana Jones of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, almost gave up a career in acting after some relatively minor roles in television and a couple of movies left him discouraged. He turned to professional carpentry until a chance meeting with George Lucas led him to being cast in a walk on role in Lucas’ “American Graffiti” (1973) Four years later Lucas cast Ford as Han Solo in the mega hit, “Star Wars” (1977) As they say, the rest is history.
Here are a few of the best films of the versatile actor.
Star Wars (1977)
Ford starred as Han Solo, Captain of the Millennium Falcon, also known as “the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.” Along with relative unknowns Mark Hamil, and Carrie Fisher, and co-starring Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Han’s 7 foot tall Wookie co-pilot, they fought against the evil Galactic Empire. The Dark Empire was personified by Darth Vader, a black garbed helmeted being that could crush ones throat just by looking at you. Ford’s character was somewhat of a rogue, but apparently a lovable one. Ford co-starred in two more Star Wars films, “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “The Return of the Jedi (1983)
Raiders of the Lost Ark(1981)
Stephen Spielberg directed and George Lucas produced this tale of Archeologist/adventurer Indiana Jones. Set in 1936 Jones is tasked by the U.S. Government to find the Lost Ark of The Covenant before his rival Rene Belloq can find it for the Nazis, and Paul Freeman as Belloq. This film was one roller coaster ride after another. Jones is thrown into one deadly situation after another. The movie boasted some excellent special effects and spawned 3 sequels, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984) “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989) which co-starred Sean Connery as Indy’s father, Dr. Henry Jones, and the most recent, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” which co-starred Shia Lebouf as a young adventurer who convinces Indy to help him on a quest. This film also reunited Ford with Karen Allen, his love interest from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Blade Runner (1982)
Ridley Scott directed Ford in this dark, futuristic tale of a search for renegade androids known as Replicants in 2018 Los Angeles. Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, and Darrell Hannah co-starred. Fords’ character, Rick Deckard is known as a Blade Runner, a cop who specialized in terminating replicants. When 6 of them go rogue and are loose somewhere in Los Angeles, it is up to Deckard to uncover their whereabouts as he begins to question what it is that makes us human.
Ford got his only Academy Award nomination for his role as a Philadelphia Homicide detective who has an unusual witness to a murder. A young Amish boy. The boy sees two men murder an undercover Philly Narcotics officer. Fords’ character, Detective John Book, has to find a way to protect this young witness, and when he is wounded by the killers must go into hiding. He is taken to the Amish community with his witness Samuel, (Lucas Haas) and Samuel’s widowed mother, Rachel. (Kelly McGillis)
Regarding Henry (1991)
Ford plays against type in the beginning of this film. He plays despicable Attorney, Henry Turner, whose ruthlessness in the courtroom leaves him little time for his wife (Annette Benning) and daughter. (Mikki Allen) When Henry stops at a convenience store for a pack of cigarettes, he is shot in the head during a robbery. He lives, but with massive brain damage. Henry must learn to walk, talk, dress, and feed himself like a newborn child. One side effect of his injury turns Henry into a loving, compassionate man.