For a few decades now, Harrison Ford has been one of the biggest movie stars in the world. There aren’t many actors who can make icons out of as many films roles as Ford has. And not only that, he’s proven that he’s the only one who can play them. When Alden Ehrenreich attempted to portray a young Han Solo last year, it just felt like a pale imitation of Ford’s far superior, far more memorable performance. Ford said recently that he wouldn’t want anyone else to play Indiana Jones, and it’s easy to see why — Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones. Here are Harrison Ford’s 10 Best Movies (According To Rotten Tomatoes).
10 Blade Runner (89%)
This movie has gone through many different incarnations, with the initial theatrical release coming with a voiceover narration shoehorned in at the behest of the studio. Director Ridley Scott wasn’t pleased with this version, so he recut it to follow his original vision. Since then, Scott has recut the movie every couple of years, adding a few seconds of footage here or there to ever-so-slightly change the pacing of the film. The truth is, pretty much every cut of the film is a cinematic masterwork. It’s the definitive neo-noir, set in a futuristic Los Angeles where sentient androids have ingratiated themselves into our society.
9 Witness (92%)
Harrison Ford brilliantly portrays Detective John Book in this crime thriller about a young Amish boy who becomes a target after witnessing the murder of an undercover cop. Book is the detective who is assigned to protect him, and together, they uncover a dark conspiracy within the police force. Inspired by an episode of Gunsmoke, the script by Earl W. Wallace and William Kelley is a masterclass in the craft of screenwriting. The thriller genre has been cheapened since Alfred Hitchcock stopped contributing to it annually, but Witness is one of those movies that serves as a reminder of just how great a thriller can be when it’s done right.
8 TIE: Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (93%)
Han Solo’s character arc carries across the whole Star Wars trilogy, but the most important stage is in A New Hope. Chronologically, this isn’t the first Star Wars movie, but it was the first one unleashed upon an unsuspecting moviegoing public. Han starts the movie as a roguish pirate who only cares about his paycheck and doesn’t have a stake in the political skirmish between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. But over the course of the story, he learns to do the right thing, and triumphantly returns to shoot the TIE fighters on Luke’s tail, allowing him to blow up the Death Star and save the day.
7 TIE: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (93%)
In the past couple of years, Star Wars fans have soured on The Force Awakens, seeing it as a veiled rip-off of A New Hope. But just because it follows the same basic plot structure as A New Hope, doesn't mean it should be dismissed entirely. Fans seem to have forgotten how giddy they got when Han Solo stepped onto the Millennium Falcon and said, “Chewie...we’re home.”
It was also a pretty great movie in its own right, introducing the internal conflicts of its new cast of characters while staying true to the old ones. It was Rian Johnson who screwed things up in The Last Jedi, which was so bad that it actually managed to make The Force Awakens worse.
6 TIE: Raiders of the Lost Ark (95%)
The first Indiana Jones movie is darn close to cinematic perfection. With its masterfully crafted action set pieces, air-tight, if unconventional seven-act story structure, and of course, unforgettable lead character, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a landmark of filmmaking. From Indy’s fedora and whip to the opening boulder roll to the moment where Indy effortlessly shoots the swordsman, Raiders is filled with iconography that make it one of the most memorable films ever made. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas wanted to pay homage the adventure serials of the ‘30s while giving America its own James Bond, and somehow, they succeeded.
5 TIE: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (95%)
It’s hardly surprising that The Empire Strikes Back has the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of any Star Wars movie, because it’s long been considered by fans to be the best entry in the saga. Ever since The Empire Strikes Back’s success back in 1980, the makers of every sequel have felt a need to go darker (including George Lucas himself, who went on to copy this model with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom). But something about Empire’s dense blend of trippy visuals, violent set pieces, and downer ending puts it head and shoulders above all of its imitators.
4 TIE: American Graffiti (96%)
George Lucas might be best known for creating the Star Wars and Indiana Jones genre franchises, but before all that, he wrote and directed a much more intimate, small-scale, personal coming-of-age comedy. American Graffiti is about a bunch of baby boomers growing up in Modesto in the early ‘60s. Guess who was a baby boomer who grew up in Modesto in the early ‘60s (hint: it was George Lucas)? The plot concerns some high school students who are enjoying the final days of their teenage years together before they have to go off to college and enter adult life. It was the movie that made Harrison Ford’s career.
3 TIE: The Fugitive (96%)
This cat-and-mouse thriller about a doctor who goes on the run after being wrongfully accused of murdering his wife and the U.S. Marshal who is tasked with hunting him down was based on the TV show of the same name. However, the movie’s screenplay was a lot tighter and more focused than the series ever was. David Twohy and Jeb Stuart developed the relationship between Harrison Ford’s Dr. Richard Kimble and Tommy Lee Jones’ Samuel Gerard (a role that won Jones an Oscar) into something special. Andrew Davis’ deft direction elevates what could’ve been a typical Hollywood actioner into a riveting moviegoing experience.
2 Apocalypse Now (97%)
Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando are the true stars of Apocalypse Now, with the former portraying a drug-addled soldier in Vietnam and the latter portraying the dark side he’s trying to stave off. Harrison Ford only has a minor role, but as one of the U.S. Army officials that recruits Sheen to head up the river to find Brando, he’s integral.
The scene in which Ford appears is one of the most well-written scenes in the whole movie, which is why it’s remained mostly untouched in the many, many, many re-edits that Francis Ford Coppola has done to his film.
1 The Conversation (98%)
Throughout the 1970s, Hollywood reacted to the earth-shattering Watergate scandal with a string of paranoid political thrillers. Arguably the greatest of these was Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, which stars Gene Hackman as a surveillance expert who hears something he wasn’t supposed to and finds himself getting hunted down by the government. Harrison Ford only has a small role, but with the attention to detail in this movie, every little piece goes towards constructing a spectacular whole. Coppola is mostly known for helming The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, but The Conversation is fantastic enough to deserve inclusion in that category.