Few movie stars have received as much acclaim, attention, or adoration as Harrison Ford. The legendary actor’s roles in not just one but several beloved film franchises have turned him into one of the most iconic stars in the history of Hollywood. To his credit, Ford hasn’t just rested on his various sci-fi and fantasy laurels, either. Over the course of his career, he’s padded out his filmography with roles in some of the most seminal dramas, romantic comedies, and blockbusters of all time.
- 7. Witness (1985) — 93%
- 6. Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (2015) — 93%
- 5. Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977) — 93%
- 4. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) — 93%
- 3. Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (1980) — 94%
- 2. Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982) — 94%
- 1. The Fugitive (1993) — 96%
With Ford’s supposedly final outing as Indiana Jones currently playing in theaters, now seems like as good a time as any to see what Rotten Tomatoes claims are his seven best movies. Before we begin, though, it’s worth noting that Ford’s three highest-rated scripted films on RT are Apocalypse Now, The Conversation, and American Graffiti. While all of those films are undeniably great, too, they aren’t necessarily showcases of Ford’s talent and star power. So, with the actual purposes of this list in mind, we’ve chosen not to include them.
With that out of the way, let’s begin!
Harrison Ford received his first and only Oscar nomination to date for his understated performance in this riveting, Peter Weir-directed thriller, which currently holds a 93% Tomatometer score. The film, which Ford stars in opposite Kelly McGillis, follows a Philadelphia police detective who is assigned to protect a young Amish boy who accidentally witnesses a murder, as well as his mother.
Eventually, Ford’s detective is forced to go undercover in Amish country in order to protect himself and the two innocents he’s been assigned to look after. The film is, in typical Peter Weir fashion, immensely well-constructed, paced, and shot, but it’s Ford’s performance as John Book that gives Witness its gruff but tender heart.
This film, the seventh installment in the Star Wars franchise, may not be nearly as well-regarded now as it was back in 2015, but Harrison Ford’s performance in it as Han Solo is still considered one of its best elements, and for good reason. Reprising his most iconic role for the first time since 1983, Ford is just as charming and charismatic as he’s ever been in The Force Awakens, but there’s also a maturity and tenderness to his late-career turn as Han that is genuinely affecting.
The fact that fans never got to see a scene between Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill’s older versions of their iconic Star Wars characters is a tragedy that some may never get over, especially given the equally beautiful work done by all three in Lucasfilm’s otherwise sloppy Sequel Trilogy.
Spoiler alert: There’s even more Star Wars on this list than you may have initially thought. Boasting the same 93% rating as The Force Awakens, 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope is the film that launched Harrison Ford into the stratosphere. Nearly 50 years later, it’s not hard to see why.
The actor’s debut turn as Han Solo is still just as inimitably cool and attention-grabbing as it was in 1977. The minute he shows up in A New Hope, it feels like Ford was born to be on the big screen. Considering the filmography he’s since built for himself, it’s hard to disagree with that claim.
Harrison Ford may be currently celebrating the release of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, but it’s his first outing as the film’s eponymous adventurer, 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, that still ranks highest of the franchise’s entries. Directed by Steven Spielberg and penned by Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most celebrated and acclaimed American films that’s ever been made. To many, it’s an example of what can happen when everyone involved in a project is operating at the very top of their game, including Ford, who is so dialed into his first performance as Indiana Jones that both quickly became full-fledged pop cultural icons after the film’s release.
Raiders, which holds the same 93% Tomatometer score as A New Hope, Witness, and The Force Awakens, is so revered that Ocean’s Eleven filmmaker Steven Soderbergh even released his own black and white version of it in 2014 — one that replaces all of its sound with a techno score in order to illustrate the unparalleled level of craftsmanship on display throughout it. If that doesn’t illustrate just how highly regarded Raiders is, nothing will.
The third and final Star Wars film on this list, 1980’s Empire Strikes Back, is considered by many to be the franchise’s best, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that it still sits this high among Harrison Ford’s movies. Boasting a 94% Tomatometer score, this Irvin Kershner-directed sequel to 1977’s A New Hope is everything that anyone could want from a massive, cinematic space opera.
It’s thrilling, awe-inspiring, terrifying, and, above all else, utterly gripping. One of the biggest reasons it works as well as it does is Ford’s performance as Han Solo, which so deeply humanizes the fan-favorite rogue that his imprisonment in the film’s third act achieves a legitimately grand sense of tragedy. His scenes with Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia rank easily among the most enjoyable and palpably romantic in the Star Wars franchise’s history.
This Ridley Scott-directed cult sci-fi classic sees Harrison Ford playing decidedly against type as Rick Deckard, a Philip Marlowe-esque former cop who finds himself tasked with hunting down a group of on-the-run, humanlike androids. An iconic entry in the ever-growing cyberpunk canon, Blade Runner casts Ford as someone who is, at times, cowardly, overly rough with the people he cares for, and easily beaten in a fight.
He is, in other words, many of the things that Ford’s characters usually aren’t, but that’s what makes Rick Deckard such an enduringly compelling figure. He’s a full-blown anti-hero, one who rediscovers his own heart over the course of Blade Runner‘s rain-soaked story, and Ford plays that transformation with a subtlety and level of emotional pathos that is rare among movie stars of his caliber. No wonder it’s so beloved by so many. (Its sequel, 2017’s Blade Runner 2049, isn’t half-bad, either.)
In what will likely come as a surprise to many, Harrison Ford’s highest-rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes is none other than The Fugitive. An early ’90s cat-and-mouse thriller that is so competently made and performed that it ultimately becomes greater than it has any right to be, the film makes full use of both Ford and Tommy Lee Jones’ considerable star power.
Thirty years after its release, The Fugitive has only grown in many viewers’ estimations and has, at the same time, slowly earned its place as one of the greatest cable movies ever. For all those reasons and more, while The Fugitive may not sit this high on many fans’ personal rankings of Ford’s movies, there’s no denying its merits or its entertainment value. The film is so watchable, in fact, that it’s not hard to see why it was liked by 96% of the critics who reviewed it.
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