Actor Deep Dive: Harrison Ford
It’s impossible to think about great movie sagas without thinking about Harrison Ford, but the 80-year-old actor has starred in countless blockbusters in a number of genres.
Ford didn’t start out acting. He was on his high school’s radio in its early days and was a sports broadcaster before college (celebrities; they’re just like us!), but took up acting in college as a way to get over nerves.
Ford got his start acting in mostly low-budget films in the 1960s and earned his breakout along with George Lucas with the release of “American Graffiti” in 1973.
Though American Graffiti wasn’t Lucas’s or Ford’s masterpiece, it gave Ford a leg-up when Lucas needed someone to play a space scoundrel four years later.
It’s no secret that Harrison Ford hates “Star Wars”, though those were the movies that made him a household name. Lucas’s genius took three actors who weren’t commonly known and made them a part of the most legendary space saga to hit theaters.
Ford plays Han Solo, a mercenary who accidentally joins the Rebel Alliance in part out of goodwill and a desire to do more.
In “A New Hope," he returns to help Luke Skywalker blow up the Death Star, but it’s in “The Empire Strikes Back” where Ford’s excellence as Solo is shown most strongly.
The film itself combats good versus evil at its core with Solo stuck right in the middle. Solo’s carbon freezing, now one of the most iconic scenes in the saga, was only created because Ford wasn’t sure if he wanted to return to complete the trilogy.
Ford starred in another Lucas blockbuster creation in the “Indiana Jones” franchise and is still returning for another one.
Jones, a teacher by day and archaeologist by night, is a classic hero with films caught in the middle of political turmoil. IGN ranks the Boulder Chase from Raiders of the Lost Ark as #15 of its 100 Best Movie Moments.
“Blade Runner” helped Ford develop in the action/sci-fi genre as more than a saga actor. Fans could finally see Ford in a sci-fi where they didn’t dumb his character down or use him for comedic relief, as “Blade Runner” was meant to be a terrifying foreshadowing of the android reality.
Ford reprised his role in “Blade Runner 2049” alongside Ryan Gosling.
He also starred as Jack Ryan in the portrayal of Tom Clancy’s character in “Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger," two lesser-known films but a good watch for corny political flicks.
Then, there’s the fan-favorite, “The Fugitive”, for which Ford received his only Academy Awards nomination. Ford portrays Richard Kimble, a successful doctor who is falsely accused of murdering his wife and goes on the lam to prove his innocence.
Ford changes appearances multiple times during the film, but remains the same stoic character throughout.
Without Ford’s ragged and morally gray characters, lines like “I know" (“The Empire Strikes Back”), “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?” (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”) and “I didn’t kill my wife” (“The Fugitive”) wouldn’t have found their places in cinema history.
There’s no sight of slowing down for Ford in the near future. The fifth installment in the Indiana Jones franchise, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny," is set to release in July 2023, and he has been linked to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in “Captain America: New World Order."
Adrianna Gallucci is a first-year student majoring in journalism. To contact her, please email email@example.com.
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