Harrison Ford’s Best Dramatic Performances, Ranked

One of America’s highest-grossing actors, Harrison Ford starred in seminal cinematic marvels. He was the bounty hunter, Han Solo, in Star Wars; the fiery archaeologist, Indiana Jones, and the President of the United States in Air Force One. His portfolio marks the passion behind a solid career. Ford valued work ethic over superficial fame. Before making a name for himself in the cinema, Ford was a carpenter during his transition out of television roles. This kind of dedication to the artistry makes Ford one of the most memorable character actors to date.



Before his resounding successes, the austere star had its share of dramatic films. Ford debuted with Columbia Pictures. In his uncredited film debut, Ford played a low-key but straightforward bellboy in the crime film Dead Heat on a Carousel. He played a Confederate soldier the following year in the west A time to kill. Since then, Ford has amassed a filmography with cultural touchstones, some of which have been his most dramatic.

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8 Heroes (1977)

Filmed ahead of the release of George Lucas’ acclaimed space opera, Ford plays a Vietnam War veteran (alongside Fonz, Henry Winkler and flying nun, Sally Field) who races a stolen M16 rifle from his unit in the rear trunk. At one point, he aims aimlessly at the night sky, trying to shoot a star. The disillusionment and bewilderment of days gone by, followed by dark comedy to dampen the raw, callous realities of war and civilian life are felt here. Ford’s unlucky but carefree charm shines through in this pastoral and idyllic post-war film.


seven Apocalypse Now (1979)

When it comes to war, Ford knows how to cut to the chase. He plays Colonel G. Lucas (affectionately named after director Francis Ford Coppola’s film mate George Lucas, who also directed Ford in american graffiti and star wars) which gives the mission briefing through uncomfortable throat clearing. They are ordered to infiltrate and eliminate one of their colonels who went rogue during the Vietnam War. Through a twisted metaphor of self-destruction, subtlety with goofy confidence like this, that’s what Ford delivers well in drama.

6 The Talk (1974)

A vintage piece at the time of President Richard Nixon’s resignation and the Watergate scandal, The conversation deals with surveillance and withheld private information that does more damage when hidden than removed from the record. The ominous way he says, “Someone may be hurt” makes you think he’s a threat rather than a warning. Another nuanced performance from Ford.

Related: Harrison Ford’s Best Movies, Ranked

5 Concerning Henry (1991)

Henry Turner is a self-reliant, workaholic lawyer who only cares about the last dollar until a robber’s gunshot to his frontal lobe causes him to suffer from retrograde amnesia. He slowly learns who he was and decides to change who he is through his past interactions. Controversial for its bouts of manipulation, Ford’s performance portrays an identity crisis with heartfelt hope and cantankerous frustration.

4 Witness (1985)

Ford plays a convincing detective dressed as an Amish. He is tasked with protecting a mother and her son who become a target after witnessing a murder. Playing two roles in one, Ford nicely blends two colliding worlds. Witness is the only Oscar-nominated performance of Ford’s long career.

Related: Harrison Ford’s Best Action Movies, Ranked


3 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Indy saving his father (Sean Connery) from near death by traveling the Three Ways to drink the Holy Grail is as dramatic as outwitting the Nazi Regime or dating a Nazi. His test of faith, the stubborn fear on his brow, the brave steps he treats as if they were the last. All culminating in an ethereal act.

2 The Mosquito Coast (1986)

Ford plays radical idealist and inventor, Allie Fox, who condemns America’s runaway race and takes her family to live in the jungles of Central America. It’s a sad, but understandable case of being too smart for one’s own good, as it jeopardizes everyone else’s livelihood in an attempt to live a more meaningful life. Some might consider Ford’s performance to be hyperbolic, but it’s the kind of both reasonable and free energy that draws you in and forces you to think twice about what really matters.


1 Blade Runner (1982)

In Ridley Scott’s sensational avant-garde sci-fi film, Rick Deckard is a former police officer, or blade runner, in danger of exhaustion as he tries to find and identify escaped replicants. ; bioengineered synthetic humans. He becomes besieged by mystery which turns into a wild goose chase. Ford takes the concrete with a layman’s street smarts and the abstract with a philosopher’s book smarts in the face of an uncertain future he must live with and live with, whether human or replicant.

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