Top 10 Harrison Ford in Peril Films

Harrison Ford is in trouble…again and again and again. He has made a career out of putting his characters at risk. Let’s take a look at his most perilous adventures.

Harrison Ford is in peril. And he’s been in this predicament for years! It begins with a single facial expression that appears on almost every film poster he appears on. A stern gaze, bordering on fear, as the realisation of some impending doom sinks in. What we have here is an actor who has almost entirely devoted himself to putting his characters at risk. It is a rare occurrence to see a Harrison Ford character not having to deal with a life or death situation. And, if he manages to avoid whatever is attacking him, don’t be surprised to see loved ones – from wives to children to the women he’s having casual flings with – coming under fire too. But this is why we love Harrison Ford movies. The more perilous the situation, the better the film.

10. Presumed Innocent


Playing prosecutor “Rusty” Sabich, Ford finds himself in peril when his mistress and fellow colleague is found murdered. He is implicated in her death and goes on trial as the chief suspect. Can he clear his name, or is he actually guilty..?

9. Patriot Games


Playing CIA operative Jack Ryan, Ford thwarts an assassination attempt in London, killing one of the assailants. When the brother of the killed assassin swears to take revenge, Ford and his family’s lives become targets.

8. Raiders of the Lost Ark


Playing archaeologist, university professor and explorer Indiana Jones, Ford constantly places his life in peril as he travels the globe in search of the Ark of the Covenant. The real problem for the whip-snapping, fedora-wearing hero is that it’s 1936 and Adolf Hitler believes the Ark will make his army indestructible. Can Indiana Jones beat the Nazis to the treasure..?

7. Clear and Present Danger


Playing CIA operative Jack Ryan, Ford finds his life in danger following the U.S. government’s increased operations in Columbia to destroy the drug cartels. One of the leading cartels in the country decides to seek retribution for the freezing of millions of dollars in assets by assassinating the FBI’s director. Unfortunately for Ford, he’s enjoying a car ride with the FBI director when the assassination attempt goes down.

6. Witness


Playing police officer John Book, Ford finds himself in peril when a child witness implicates a police officer in a murder. Ford tries to take the case further but finds the door shut by other corrupt officers. It isn’t long before his life is in danger so he goes into hiding by integrating himself into a Pennsylvanian Amish community.

5. Frantic


Playing Dr. Richard Walker, Ford is visiting Paris with his wife when she disappears from their hotel room. Having no clue as to why or how she disappeared, and with little help from the hotel staff or Paris police, Ford has to piece together the evidence himself.

4. Return of the Jedi


Playing space smuggler Han Solo, Ford finds he’s mere decoration in Jabba The Hut’s lair. The once great pilot of the Millennium Falcon is now incapable of anything – frozen in a block of carbonite and hung from Jabba’s wall – until Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia come to rescue him. Even then it isn’t pain sailing as Jabba recaptures the intrepid hero and sentences him to death by Sarlacc – a painful, slow demise in the belly of a sharp-toothed, sand-dwelling monster.

3. Six Days, Seven Nights


Playing South Pacific-based small-time pilot Quinn Harris, Ford gets himself and his passenger Anne Heche into trouble when he crashes his small DHC-2 Beaver plane during a thunderstorm. Stranded on a deserted island the warring pair must settle their differences, evade being killed by pirates, battle the jungle wilderness, repair the plane, escape the island and…fall in love.

2. Air Force One


Playing President of the United States James Marshall, Ford boards Air Force One asking for trouble. An American/Russian joint operation has managed to capture a leading figure in a rogue terrorist cell operating out of Kazakhstan. Imprisoning the man in a Russian jail, his followers plan to hijack the President’s plane in order to get him released. Managing to overpower the Secret Service agents, Ford escapes the terrorists but instead of using the plane’s escape pod, he decides to remain onboard in order to save them.

1. The Fugitive


Playing Chicago surgeon Dr. Richard Kimble, Ford finds himself on the run after being wrongly accused of his wife’s murder. Initially caught, tried and convicted, Ford escapes and sets out to find the real killer before ruthless U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard catches up to him.

Written and compiled by Daniel Stephens.

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About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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  1. Evan Crean Reply

    I’ve been a huge fan of Harrison Ford since I was a kid, mainly due to Star Wars and Indiana Jones. In recent years I’ve started to notice that he doesn’t really act much in his films. Lately he’s the stereotypical cranky old man. That being said, you guys went into the past and mined some great films for this list. Somewhere out there is a hilarious YouTube video which edits together every time Ford says “my briefcase” or “my wife” in Frantic. It’s pretty hilarious and surprisingly long. Definitely check it out if you haven’t seen it.

  2. Jack Deth Reply

    Excellent list, Daniel!

    And laid out just about right.

    ‘Presumed Innocent’ is a very under rated film. Still like Ford’s walk on, clumsy briefing officer cameo in ‘Apocalypse Now’.

    ‘Frantic’ is still a great Hitchcock like, “Fish out of water” film!

  3. Fogs Reply

    I understand that the “peril” is the key factor in ordering these, here. LOL… but it just seems ODD to see Raiders below those others and think… yeah, ok. LOL

    Good list though, based on the basis.

  4. Dan Reply

    @Fogs: I know…I know… :) But I think Indiana Jones can handle himself better than Dr Richard Kimble…you could imagine Indiana using his whip to extricate himself from that tricky situation with Tommy Lee Jones over the dam. The good doctor has no other option but to launch himself into oblivion and hope for the best..!

  5. Alex Withrow Reply

    Gotta be The Fugitive. Great call there. Also, Air Force One is just so much fun. Very worthy guilty pleasure.

    Nice list!

  6. Mark Reply

    “A stern gaze, bordering on fear, as the realisation of some impending doom sinks in.”

    Deckard in Blade Runner may not give out too many stern gazes, but he spends a good portion of the film living in fear, a fact that is highlighted by Rutgar Hauer during the big chase scene.

    For that reason I would have put Blade Runner in there before the Star Wars thing.

    Other than that, the list is pretty much on the money …

  7. Pete Reply

    Never seen Six Days, Seven Nights, Not sure I want to but interesting to see it place so highly in the peril stakes. Can’t beat The Fugitive!

  8. Dan Grant Reply

    Presumed Innocent is a great choice, but not just for Ford….two others…Raul Julia was perfect as his lawyer and Gretta Scacchi was never more beautiful and sexy. Whatever happened to her?

    I love the list. Fugitive is a great choice as number one.

  9. Mark Reply

    I have a top 10 list of actors who I find I just cant hate no matter what.Harrison Ford is one of them.

    I wonder if Star Wars Episode VII will feature in this list in years to come after todays news????

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