Harrison Ford’s 20 Career-Defining Performances as He Turns 74 (Videos)
Happy birthday Harrison Ford! A look back at decades of whips, guns and blasters
Jeremy Fuster | July 13, 2016 @ 1:16 PM
Last Updated: July 17, 2016 @ 3:41 PM
Han. Indy. Deckard. Kimble. For over forty years, Harrison Ford has become one of the most iconic stars in modern cinema. From galactic bounty hunters to witness protection detectives, here are 20 movie roles that define Ford's career.
American Graffiti (1973) -- After bouncing through bit roles early in his career, Ford got his big break in George Lucas' acclaimed coming-of-age film by playing the Stetson-wearing hotshot Bob Falfa
Star Wars (1977) -- Four years later, Lucas and Ford reunited for the movie that would forever change cinema, as Ford played the selfish bounty hunter Han Solo as he discovered the value of fighting for a greater cause.
Apocalypse Now (1979) -- Ford had a small role in this legendary Vietnam War movie, but the role is famous for being a nod to the man who jumpstarted his career. Ford's character was named Colonel G. Lucas, after the "Star Wars" creator
Frisco Kid (1979) -- Next, Ford got to show his funny side alongside "Willy Wonka" star Gene Wilder in a goofy Western. Here, he plays bank robber Tommy Lillard, who explains to his Polish companion (Wilder), just what he means when he yells "Oh shee-it!"
Empire Strikes Back (1980) -- Ford returned to "Star Wars" to play a Han Solo who has joined the Rebellion full-time. In one of the most powerful scenes of his career, Ford shows just how selfless Solo has become as he bravely prepares to be frozen in carbonite.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) -- "Empire" marked the start of a decade that would see Ford become one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, as he added Indiana Jones to his list of memorable roles, swiftly followed by...
Blade Runner (1982) -- ...Rick Deckard, in Ridley Scott's legendary dystopian thriller. "Blade Runner" has proven to be one of Ford's most cerebral performances, with one of the most famous ending reveals in sci-fi history.
Return of the Jedi (1983) -- Ford then got thawed out of carbonite for one last run as Han Solo, whereupon he dueled with Jabba the Hutt, got caught by a bunch of Ewoks, and fought to destroy the Second Death Star's shield generators.
"Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984) -- With the "Star Wars" trilogy now over, it was back to the world of Indiana Jones, as the archeologist dragged a whiny showgirl and a bouncy little kid through a hellish world of occult worshipers to retrieve the Sankara Stone.
"Witness" (1985) -- An unsung gem that got Ford his only Oscar nomination to date. Ford plays a Philadelphia detective who travels to an Amish village to protect a boy that witnessed a murder. In one tender scene, he asks a woman he's fallen in love with to dance with him to Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World," breaking one of the Amish's rules in the process.
"Mosquito Coast" (1986) -- In one of the most complex roles of his career, Ford played an inventor who got so disgusted with America that he moved his family to Central America to live off the land. Chaos ensues.
Working Girl (1988) -- Returning to lighter roles, Ford played a businessman who becomes both a partner and lover to a Staten Island secretary disguising herself as an investment banker.
"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (1989) -- Just when Ford's performance as Indy couldn't get any better, he gets the chance to work alongside Sean Connery as a father-son duo. The pair's escape from a Nazi base is arguably the scene that defines the Indiana Jones franchise.
"Patriot Games" (1992) -- In this sequel to "The Hunt For Red October," Ford plays retired CIA agent Jack Ryan, who gets his family dragged into danger when he saves the Prince of Wales from a kidnapping while on a trip to London during The Troubles.
"The Fugitive" (1993) -- Like "Last Crusade," Ford got to share the screen with another legendary actor in this crime thriller. He plays Dr. Richard Kimble, a man falsely accused of murdering his wife, who goes on the run from the law as Tommy Lee Jones plays the lawman trying to catch him.
"Air Force One" (1997) -- What if the President of the United States was also his own Secret Service? Ford plays the Commander-in-Chief stuck in his famed private jet plane after it's hijacked by Russian terrorists. Russians...why does it always have to be Russians?
"What Lies Beneath" (2000) -- Ford has mostly been known for playing big heroes, but "Beneath" is his most twisted role since "Mosquito Coast." Ford plays against type as a deranged killer, with the big twist of his true nature being one of the most striking scenes of his career.
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (2008) -- One of the many, many complaints about the fourth Indy film was that Ford was mailing in his performance. As evidence in his defense, we put forth this quicksand scene, which captures the mix of danger and fun that makes Indiana Jones so timeless.
"42" (2013) -- For an actor as recognizable as Ford, it can be a challenge to disappear into a role and to make audiences forget the celebrity playing him. But Ford does just that as Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers owner that signs Jackie Robinson.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" (2015) -- After 32 years, Ford returned to the role that made him a household name one more time, and in doing so dropped one of the biggest movie twists since "I am your father."