Harrison Ford is beloved in the fan community thanks to his many popular roles. From Han Solo to Indiana Jones to Rick Deckard, the actor has made an indelible mark on pop culture. But, what about all those other roles he’s played? The man has had a versatile and storied career. Even certain films like The Fugitive or Air Force One have managed to find a wide audience, but there are some performances that aren’t as highlighted as they should be. Let’s take a look at some of those…
Bob Falfa in American Graffiti
George Lucas’s success with Star Wars overshadows his excellent examination of ’50s car culture and teenage rebellion. Ford plays one of the film’s most memorable characters, Bob Falfa. He’s a slick-talking cowboy who loves a good drag race. It was this roguish but still charming role that led George Lucas to cast him as Han Solo, so it’s certainly one worth seeing for film history fans.
Colonel Lucas in Apocalypse Now
Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam film is rife with iconic portrayals, but Ford’s Colonel Lucas often gets lost in the shuffle. He’s a bookish, nervous, and even bumbling character that presents Captain Willard with his mission to find and terminate Colonel Kurtz. It’s great to see Ford in such a small supporting role – he’s only in a single scene – and he still manages to be a memorable part of this wartime nightmare.
John Book in Witness
Ford has always been great at playing tough guys, especially in the later stretches of his career. One of his best in this arena is John Book in the film Witness. Book is tasked with protecting a young Amish boy who is the sole witness to a murder. Book hides out in Amish country until the trial and begins to see into a culture many never do. It’s a pulpy, good-hearted, and incredibly rousing drama/thriller with a solid turn by Ford.
Allie Fox in The Mosquito Coast
If you only seek out one film on this list, make it The Mosquito Coast. Ford’s portrayal of cantankerous idealist Allie Fox is one of his most lively and engaging. Fox is fed up with life in America and chooses to take his family to Central America and build his own utopia. It’s a moving portrayal as Fox is a pretty awful character but we can still relate to his frustration and drive. It’s one of Ford’s best films and sorely underappreciated.
Capt. Alexei Vostrikov in K-19: The Widowmaker
Katheryn Bigelow (Point Break, Zero Dark Thirty) directed this thriller that went completely unnoticed when it released in 2002. Ford is at his sternest as the Russian captain tasked with commanding Russia’s first nuclear submarine. It’s a classic tale told with expert direction and an anchoring (*sigh* sorry for the nautical pun) performance from Ford. If you like films like The Hunt for Red October, Crimson Tide, or Das Boot, this is not one to pass up.