There is no doubt that Harrison Ford had some legendary roles throughout his life. His swagger and portrayal of lovable scoundrels captured our hearts long ago.
Let's check out his best 30 films so far! It should be no surprise which two characters are all over the top of this list.
1. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
This is a worthy continuation of the story as the second installment, or what is now known as Episode V, in the Star Wars franchise. We come back in with our favorite characters, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo, three years later on the snowy planet of Hoth. After some sexual tension and banter between Leia and Han, we learn that Luke hasn't returned to the shelter, so Han goes out to look for him.
A Worthy Continuation of The Story
The story progresses from there as Luke begins his Jedi training, and we encounter the awesome Yoda with Frank Oz's voice. More epic lightsaber battles, and the best plot twist in cinematic history as we learn that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father, makes this one of the best movies ever made.
2. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
The most epic franchise in history began in 1977 with Star Wars. Its lasting impact and huge fandom are a true testament to the story. Harrison Ford's role as Han Solo is one of his most iconic and one of the two for which he'll always be known.
One of His Most Iconic Roles
A description hardly seems necessary, but here we have Luke Skywalker, who buys two droids, one of them carrying a secret message from a woman for Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke finds him, and they embark on a mission to take the secret plans to her father on Alderaan. They hook up with pilot Han Solo and his Wookie co-pilot Chewie to fly them there. Ford excels as the cocky Han and embodies the scoundrel we all love.
3. Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (1989)
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
While the next installment is still pending, there is no doubt that Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the best Indiana Jones film to date. The storyline, Harrison Ford's Indy, and the addition of Sean Connery as his father make this one a near-perfect film.
The Best Indiana Jones Film to Date
We get some fun here, peeking into Indy's past and seeing some of his spunk as a teenager, played by the great River Phoenix. Then, we're on to a quest to find Indy's kidnapped father, who the Nazis kidnapped because of his knowledge of the Holy Grail. Filled with emotion and faith, this makes for an incredible cinematic ride.
4. Indiana Jones and The Raiders of The Lost Ark (1981)
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
As the first installment in the Indiana Jones franchise, only barely surpassed by the third installment's greatness. In the film, originally only titled Raiders of the Lost Ark, not only are we introduced to the greatness of Indiana Jones, we also have Marion (Karen Allen), who is superb as his old flame.
The Greatness of Indiana Jones
He is again in a race with the Nazis. This time they are all searching for the Ark of the Covenant. One of the best things about this one is the rich backstory. We get to know a lot about Indy here as he fights bad guys and reconnects with Marion.
5. The Fugitive (1993)
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Even though Tommy Lee Jones' deputy marshall doesn't care that you didn't kill your wife, we do, Kimble! It is hard to forget as one of the most famous lines of the film
Accused of Murdering His Wife
Harrison Ford stars as Dr. Richard Kimble in one of his best roles, a man accused of murdering his wife. Even though he didn't do it, he is sentenced to death. En route to prison, his transport crashes. He escapes and goes on the run. While being chased by Deputy Samuel Gerard, he sets out to find out who killed his wife. The suspense is on point, and the mystery will keep you intrigued until the end.
6. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of The Jedi (1983)
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
As the thrilling conclusion to the first three films (at least in order of release date), we have Episode VI. We catch up with our favorites again. After the heart-wrenching ending of Episode V, where Leia admits her love for Han, and he gets frozen in carbonite, this installment is most welcome.
Thrilling Conclusion to The First Three Films
Leia comes to bust Han out of Jabba's palace but is captured herself and made to wear the famous gold bikini, and Luke must come to rescue them all. One of the most satisfying moments in this film is when Leia strangles Jabba with the chains he kept on her. We also have another confrontation between Luke and his father, with a redemption arc you don't see coming.
7. Star Wars: Episode: VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
After so many years without Star Wars movies, it was fun to see this return again to continue the Luke, Leia, and Han stories. Having these three actors embody their most iconic roles was thrilling to see. One of the highlights was Han and Chewy's entrance. Harrison Ford did a great job with this, easily stepping back into the role.
We're Home, Chewie
This film takes us to Jakku, where it introduces us to Rey. When a droid carries the map to where Luke Skywalker has been hiding, Rey must help him find his way to Princess Leia. A former Stormtrooper named Finn, then Han, and Chewie join her. We are also introduced to a new villain in Kylo, and Ford gets the ending he wanted for his character all along.
8. Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984)
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
While not quite as strong story-wise as the first and third installments, Temple of Doom is technically a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Chilled Monkey Brains
Here we have Indy crash landing in India with a boy called Short Round and a lounge singer named Wilhelmina “Willie” Scott, although neither show up in other installments. They go to the village and learn that their children and sacred stones are missing. The trio set out to get them back. No doubt the most memorable scene in the film concerns “chilled monkey brains.”
9. Witness (1985)
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
With an unusual setting, we have the film Witness. It features a romance set against the danger of murder.
Romance With Danger
Ford stars as police officer John Book, who seeks to protect a young Amish boy and his mother after the boy witnesses a brutal murder of an undercover cop. While Book attempts to figure out the mystery, he discovers that the boy is in danger because the murderers know about his investigation and are hiding in the Amish community. Book moves into the community and begins a romance with the boy's mother. According to Roger Ebert, “Harrison Ford has never given a better performance in a movie.”
10. Blade Runner (1982)
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
This unique Sci-Fi film features Harrison Ford in a different kind of role than we usually see him. Even though we're a few years past it now, this film was a futuristic look as it took place in 2019.
Reaction Time is A Factor
It features Ford as a retired detective who is called upon to track down some escaped humanoid androids from an outer space mining colony. They are hiding on Earth, and while he tracks them down, he discovers some interesting information about the android's manufacturer.
11. 42 (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
In this biographical film about legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson, we have an excellent performance by Harrison Ford as the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey. The film centers around Rickey's defying the color barrier by signing Robinson. It tells an important story and shows how far things have come.
The Owner of The Brooklyn Dodgers
Regarding Ford's performance, film critic Richard Roeper wrote, “Harrison Ford is all eyebrows and speeches as Branch Rickey, the Dodgers executive determined to break the color barrier. It’s a rather remarkable performance by Ford in that he goes for it whole hog, scowling and barking and delivering sound bite-sized life lessons.”
12. Clear and Present Danger (1994)
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Based on the novel of the same time by Tom Clancy, Clear and Present Danger is another worthwhile action film from Harrison Ford. The story is the sequel to The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games. The second in which Ford also played Jack Ryan.
Another Worthwhile Action Film
In this installment, Jack becomes the acting director of the CIA. He soon must investigate the murder of a friend of the president. Once Jack starts digging, he finds links between the deceased and drug dealers.
13. Presumed Innocent (1990)
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Another book adaptation, Presumed Innocent, is based on a novel by the same name written by Scott Turow. Harrison Ford does well in these crime dramas, and this one has him playing chief deputy Rusty Sabitch to Brian Dennehy's prosecuting attorney, Raymond Horgan.
A Crime Drama
Horgan assigned Sabitch to investigate the rape and murder of Carolyn, a colleague of theirs, but Horgan has a closer relationship with her. They were having an affair before she died, and the evidence soon implicates Rusty in her murder. This film presents an intriguing mystery that keeps you captivated until the end. According to Roger Ebert, “The lead performance, by Harrison Ford, must have been a delicate balancing act, since at every point he must seem plausible both as a killer, and as an innocent man. Ford's taciturn and undemonstrative acting style is well suited to the challenge.”
14. The Age of Adaline (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
The premise of The Age of Adaline is a fascinating one that allows the film to explore multiple decades, given the title character's long life and agelessness. It is a unique film that is enjoyable to watch.
Delivers an Impressive Performance
Adaline (Blake Lively) is in a car accident in 1937, which makes her stop aging. She appears as a 29-year-old woman for several years, with her daughter aging past her. She changes her identification often to avoid being studied, but she must give up anyone she's become close to before they realize that she doesn't age. One of these people is William Jones (Harrison Ford), who is heartbroken when she disappears.
Years later, she encounters him again when she is dating his son. He is stunned by her appearance, and she tries to convince him that the woman he knew was her relative instead of her. Ford delivers an impressive performance here. According to film critic Matt Zoller Speitz, “Ford's voice—always deep, lowered an octave by age and one more by William's longing—is even more powerful. This is Ford's best performance since The Fugitive, maybe since Witness.”
15. Air Force One (1997)
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
The storyline of Air Force One is an intriguing one that gives us a strong president in Harrison Ford's character James Marshall. After a speech outlining how he will not negotiate with terrorists, the president is tested when they take over Air Force One and threaten to kill the hostages—the president's wife and daughter.
Get Off My Plane!
The cool thing here is that the president is also a veteran. He fakes an escape and then works on taking back control. According to Roger Ebert, Ford is what makes this movie, despite the cliches. He wrote, “Harrison Ford is one of the most likable and convincing of movie stars, and he almost pulls off the impossible in “Air Force One.” I don't mean he saves the day; I mean he almost saves the movie. Here is a good example of how star power can breathe new life into old cliches–and “Air Force One” is rich with cliches.”
16. Patriot Games (1992)
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
As Harrison Ford's first time playing CIA analyst Jack Ryan in this sequel to The Hunt for Red October, he does a great job of taking over the role originally played by Alec Baldwin. This action film takes the story to a new level.
A Solid, Convincing Actor
Jack witnesses an IRA terrorist attack on a member of the royal family. While he prevents the assassination, the brother of the terrorist escapes from prison and targets Jack and his family. According to Roger Ebert, “Harrison Ford once again demonstrates what a solid, convincing actor he is.”
17. Sabrina (1995)
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
As a remake to the 1954 classic, this version of Sabrina does okay thanks to Harrison Ford's charming portrayal of Linus. While Humphrey Bogart seemed distant in his role (maybe because Audrey Hepburn and William Holden, who played David were having an affair at the time), Ford brings some passion into the role.
Charming Portrayal of Linus
As the story goes, Sabrina, the chauffeur's daughter, has a crush on David. After being away for two years in Paris, she can finally gain his attention, but not if his older brother Linus has anything to say about it.
18. Ender's Game (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Even though Ender's Game omits some key scenes from the novel it is based on, it still makes for an enjoyable film in Harrison Ford's repertoire. This sci-fi film brings plenty of action.
Aliens Attacking Earth
It features mean aliens who attack the Earth, and while humans were victorious the first time, they must prepare for the next time and need someone to fill the shoes of the first victor, who is now too old. Col. Hyrum Graff (Ford) and his colleagues form a program to help them find the next kid who can defeat the aliens and come across Ender.
19. Working Girl (1988)
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
This film has 1980s romantic comedy written all over it, and Harrison Ford presents a likable love interest for Melanie Griffith's character Tess. Ford's character is a bit caught between two women, but it's mostly about business.
A Likable Love Interest
The premise revolves around a secretary (Griffith), who wants to be so much more. When her boss is injured, she discovers that her boss was about to steal her idea. She hatches a plan to impersonate her, and make a huge deal with an investment broker (Ford).
20. Frantic (1988)
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
It seems that some danger or mystery surrounds finding out what happened to his wife in quite a few of Harrison Ford's films. Frantic is another one with a similar premise, but Ford, as always, plays the detective role well.
Plays The Detective Role Well
Frantic centers around a doctor and his wife who are in Paris for a medical conference. While he is taking a shower, his wife disappears. Having difficulty getting any help, he decides to investigate her disappearance himself and soon enters a world of drugs and gangsters. This film is a combination of thriller and film noir.
21. K-19: The Widowmaker
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
As one of Harrison Ford's gripping dramas, K-19 is intriguing even though it doesn't completely stick to facts. While it does take some liberties, it is still interesting to watch.
A Gripping Drama
We are plunged into the Cold War when Russia launches a nuclear submarine with Captain Alexei Vostrikov (Ford) and executive officer Mikhail Polenin on board. The two often clash but come together when the nuclear reactor system begins to leak. The captain must choose between his men and his orders. According to Roger Ebert, “There is one surprise in the movie, a decision having nothing to do with the reactor, that depends entirely on the ability of the characters to act convincingly under enormous pressure; casting stars of roughly equal weight helps it to work.”
22. Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull (2008)
Rotten Tomatoes: 78%|
Although this fourth installment of Indiana Jones gets a lot of hate, it does have many redeeming qualities. For one, we got to see Harrison Ford don the iconic fedora once again. For another, Marion is back, and their love story is completed.
Back Fighting Bad Guys
Despite issues with the plot (including the refrigerator savior), we still have bad guys trying to get powerful and priceless artifacts, here in the form of the crystal skull. Indy is back fighting bad guys, and that's often all it takes in the end.
23. Regarding Henry (1991)
Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Regarding Henry is a fascinating look at how someone might change if they completely lose their memory. The film explores how someone would change without all of the experiences that make them who they are.
A Fascinating Look at Memory and Personality
This premise is what happens to Harrison Ford's character Henry. Before getting shot in the head, he is a ruthless lawyer who brings much of that personality home to his family. His amnesia turns him into a much kinder person after his recovery. It is unclear whether it's because he had to struggle so hard to recover and now appreciates what he has or it really is from missing his memories.
24. The Call of The Wild (2020)
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Based on Jack London's novel of the same name, The Call of the Wild is primarily about a dog during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush. Buck is stolen from his home in California and arrives in the Yukon, where he befriends John Thornton (Harrison Ford).
Brings Heart and Dignity
The film received mixed reviews because of the CGI animals, but Ford was praised for his performance. As for the good things, film critic Nell Minow wrote, “The Alaskan and Canadian scenery is spectacular, the production design is exceptional, and Ford brings heart and dignity to his role, including the narration throughout the film.”
25. What Lies Beneath (2000)
Rotten Tomatoes: 47%
Harrison Ford's only role in a horror movie came in 2000 with What Lies Beneath. Starring opposite Michelle Pfeiffer as his wife, the two play off each other well and are convincing. The mystery comes in whether his wife is crazy or if there's a ghost.
His Only Horror Movie
She tells him she hears voices and sees a young woman, but he quickly dismisses her. She thinks it might have to do with the couple next door as the wife disappeared. At her husband's urging, she sees a therapist, but he says she should try to make contact.
26. Morning Glory (2010)
Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
This romantic comedy features Harrison Ford in a supporting role, but it is a fun movie. He plays an egotistical, grumpy news reporter named Mike, who Rachel McAdams' character brings in to save her show.
A Supporting Role
The problem comes in when Mike refuses to do puff pieces and starts fighting with his co-host, played by Diane Keaton. Although focused primarily on McAdams, Ford puts in an entertaining performance that fits with some of his more cantankerous roles.
27. Extraordinary Measures (2010)
Rotten Tomatoes: 28%
This movie focuses on the fact that you will do pretty much anything for your children. Brendan Fraser stars as John Crowley, who is on his way up in the corporate world when he gets the devastating news that the two youngest of his three kids both have a fatal disease.
A Brilliant Scientist
John quits and dedicates his life to finding a way to save his kids. This point is where Harrison Ford enters as a brilliant scientist named Dr. Robert Stonehill. Working together, they fight to find a cure before it's too late.
28. Cowboys and Aliens (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes: 44%
Not cinematic gold by any means, but the premise here is enough to redeem it in a way. Cowboys fighting aliens? Let's do it.
Cowboys Fighting Aliens
When a stranger named Jake (Daniel Craig) comes into a town called Absolution, he finds the locals unwelcoming. That is until aliens threaten them and the only weapon able to fight them is the thing attached to Jake's wrist. When Col. Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford)'s idiot son is taken, the men work together to get everyone back.
29. Six Days Seven Nights (1998)
Rotten Tomatoes: 37%
While this film is a bit fluffy, it provides an enjoyable ride with some fun scenery. The banter is also a good time between the late Anne Heche's character Robin and Harrison Ford's Quinn.
An Enjoyable Ride With Fun Scenery
Robin hires Quinn to take her to Tahiti for an assignment while on vacation in the South Pacific with her boyfriend. Instead of making it to Tahiti, they are forced to make an emergency landing on a deserted island. While they tend to bicker, they must put that aside to survive and get someone to rescue them.
30. The Devil's Own (1997)
Rotten Tomatoes: 35%
The union of Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt make The Devil's Own an interesting movie to watch. This thriller features Ford as a police officer named Tom, who lets Pitt's character Frankie, aka Rory, stay with him.
What Tom doesn't know is Rory is really Frankie, one of the IRA's deadliest assassins. They form a friendship, but things get messy when Tom realizes that Rory isn't who he claims to be. It causes a moral dilemma that Tom must work through. The fact that the movie works is a testament to the actors. Roger Ebert wrote, “Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt are enormously appealing and gifted actors, and to the degree that the movie works, it's because of them.
Using all the gifts of the actor's craft, they're able to sell scenes that don't make sense and don't add up.”
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Kristen Winiarski has worked as a professional writer for 15 years, studying classic TV shows and films to further her expertise and understanding about how they have evolved. This passion led her to start her own classic movie blog before branching out into the professional entertainment writing world.