Harrison Ford turns 74 today. 74! And it doesn’t seem he’s slowing down any time soon, with new Indiana Jones and Blade Runner sequels right around the corner. Ford is the most iconic American movie star of all time, mostly because of Han Solo and Indy. But in between those unforgettable franchise roles, Ford managed to showcase some incredible acting chops in a variety of different films.
Here are his five best roles, excluding Indy and Han.
5. Dr. Richard Walker (Frantic) – Roman Polanski’s small 1988 thriller showcases Harrison Ford’s ability to play desperate and strong, all with extreme facial features. His Dr. Walker must traverse the Parisian underworld to try and find his kidnapped wife. Battling jet lag, a language barrier, and untrustworthy scoundrels at every turn, Ford’s performance hits all the right emotional notes at the proper times.
4. Jack Ryan (Patriot Games) – After taking over the role from Alec Baldwin following The Hunt for Red October, Harrison Ford perfectly embodied Tom Clancy’s middle-aged former CIA operative, more so in Patriot Games than in the bloated follow up, Clear and Present Danger. He carries a dogged determination, and sells heroism when he decides on a whim to stop the IRA’s assassination attempt early on.
3. Rozat “Rusty” Sabich (Presumed Innocent) – The late 80s and early 90s, as evidenced by this list, was an interesting and diverse time for Harrison Ford. In 1990, he tackled Scott Turow’s wildly successful, bestselling novel about a lawyer accused of murdering a woman with whom he had an affair. The role required some tightrope walking from Ford, having to convince us he had not committed murder while admitting some less-than-admirable shortcomings as a husband. With a short-cropped hairdo, Ford manages to disappear into Rusty Sabich more than any other time in his career.
2. John Book (Witness) – Ford’s one and only Oscar nomination (!) came in 1985, when he played John Book, a Philadelphia detective who goes into hiding in Amish country to protect a young Amish boy who witnessed a murder. This is one of Ford’s most layered performances, thanks to the slow-burning romance between his Book and Kelly McGillis as the boy’s mother, Rachel. Their attraction has thousands of years of religious traditions keeping them apart, and Ford (and McGillis) sells the relationship.
1. Dr. Richard Kimble (The Fugitive) – Somehow, some way, Harrison Ford didn’t grab a nomination for his role as Richard Kimble, the doctor accused of murdering his wife. Tommy Lee Jones would shock the world with a supporting Actor win, but Ford is equally as important and just as incredible in his role. Director Andrew Davis turned a minor television series into a towering cinematic thriller, and it’s Ford’s magnetic turn as Kimble that centers the entire thing.