If an actor is lucky, they’ll play one character in their career that ranks among cinema’s most beloved icons. If they’re really, really lucky, they’ll play two. Having played space pirate Han Solo in the Star Wars saga and archaeology professor-turned-globetrotting badass Indiana Jones in his self-titled franchise, Harrison Ford is one of those actors.

The only downside to playing iconic characters is that they can supersede everything else, and your work outside of those roles can often be forgotten or disregarded. So, here are the 10 best Harrison Ford movies that have nothing to do with Han Solo or Indiana Jones.

10 Patriot Games (1992)

In his first of two appearances as Tom Clancy’s most iconic character, Harrison Ford knocks the role of CIA analyst Jack Ryan out of the park. Patriot Games begins with Ryan foiling an I.R.A. assassination, after which he and his family become targets for revenge.

This was the movie that had future Ryanverse adapters promising to get back to the character’s analytical career, because Patriot Games was an action-packed thrill-ride. But come on, faithful or not, moviegoers are more interested in action-packed thrill-rides than analysis.

9 What Lies Beneath (2000)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis from a screenplay by Agent Coulson actor Clark Gregg (seriously), What Lies Beneath is a rare appearance by Harrison Ford in a horror movie. It’s a supernatural chiller that stars Ford as a respected research scientist whose wife, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, begins to suspect that their house is haunted.

Naturally, her scientist husband doesn’t believe in ghosts, and instead fears that she might be losing her mind. With these dual conflicts, the film has a kind of double-edged approach. On the surface, it’s about ghosts, but really, it’s about marriage.


8 Apocalypse Now (1979)

Harrison Ford only has a small role in Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now, but it’s a pivotal one. He’s part of the team that sends Captain Willard deep into the jungle to kill the deranged Colonel Kurtz in the movie’s wartime pastiche of Joseph Campbell’s Heart of Darkness.

Ford’s character, Colonel G. Lucas, was named after George Lucas, Coppola’s close friend who was once slated to direct Apocalypse Now as a dark comedy shot in black-and-white on 16mm.

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7 Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Two years after he reprised his role as Han Solo for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Harrison Ford got back into the role of Rick Deckard for Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049. Villeneuve managed to recapture the unique beauty of Ridley Scott’s original while still making what is unmistakably a Denis Villeneuve movie.

Ryan Gosling’s Officer K was the star of the story, and fortunately, Deckard wasn’t shoehorned in, like a lot of familiar characters who are brought back for franchise reboots; he actually played a key role in the plot.

6 Air Force One (1997)

Alongside “Great, kid, don’t get cocky!” and “Why did it have to be snakes?,” Air Force One is responsible for one of Harrison Ford’s most quotable lines. That line is, of course, “Get off my plane!”

Ford stars as James Marshall, the most badass president in U.S. history, and he is brilliantly matched by Gary Oldman as the plane-hijacking villain, Egor Korshunov. Directed with a bold sense of gusto by Wolfgang Petersen, Air Force One is one of the defining action movies of the ‘90s.

5 The Fugitive (1993)

Adapting TV shows into movies can be a tricky business because they’re completely different mediums. TV shows are ongoing stories where change and resolution are actively avoided, whereas movies are open-and-shut three-act structures about a character getting from point A to point B. In many ways, the premise of The Fugitive was actually better-suited to a movie.

Harrison Ford plays Dr. Richard Kimble, who is wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife, and goes on the run. The Fugitive is a riveting cat-and-mouse thriller, with Tommy Lee Jones providing strong support as the U.S. Marshal on Kimble’s tail.

4 American Graffiti (1973)

Harrison Ford’s longstanding working relationship with George Lucas, that eventually led to Ford landing the roles of Han Solo and Indiana Jones, began when he was plucked from obscurity to play a role in Lucas’ coming-of-age hangout comedy classic American Graffiti.

Lucas based the screenplay on his teenage years in Modesto in the ‘60s. In the role of Bob Falfa, Ford joins an ensemble cast, breathing life into this cinematic portrait of cruising culture.

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3 Witness (1985)

In a unique take on the police thriller, Peter Weir’s Witness stars Harrison Ford as John Book, a detective who’s assigned to protect a young Amish boy who witnesses a murder.

The culture shock of a big-city cop moving into an Amish village provides a strong backdrop for a movie that ultimately becomes a love story as Book falls for the boy’s widowed mother, played by Kelly McGillis.

2 The Conversation (1974)

Throughout the 1970s, Francis Ford Coppola astoundingly made four movies that rank among the greatest ever made: The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now, and The Conversation. The most underrated of the bunch is easily the latter, which stars Gene Hackman as a surveillance expert who hears something he wasn’t supposed to, and spends the rest of the movie paranoid that the men in black are coming to get him.

Hackman steals the show as Harry Caul, and Harrison Ford only has a supporting role, but all of the acting in this movie — in roles big and small — is phenomenal.

1 Blade Runner (1982)

When he was offered the chance to adapt Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? for the big screen, Ridley Scott saw the opportunity to do a Bogart-style film noir — complete with all the hard-boiled detective tropes, gorgeous lighting techniques, and narrative ambiguity — set in a sprawling, neon-lit, futuristic metropolis. And boy, did he deliver.

When Dick saw Harrison Ford in character as the titular “blade runner” Rick Deckard, he praised him as the living embodiment of the character he had in his head while he was writing the book.

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