Harrison Ford Doesn't Think He's Ever Made An 'Action Film'

If you believe Harrison Ford has starred in some of the greatest action films ever made, rest assured that he does not in any way agree with you.

Genre classification can be tricky. Some people have a very rigid definition of film noir, demanding the utilization of certain archetypes and, if they're really fussy, a specific range of release dates (1940 through 1959). Others play it loose: if you've got a cynical detective, a femme fatale-ish foil, and low-key lighting, congratulations, you've made a film noir!

Action, however, is an awfully broad genre. You couldn't very well make a list of the best action films of the 1980s without including "Robocop," "Predator" and "The Terminator," but these are first and foremost works of science-fiction. So when Harrison Ford says he's never, ever made an action movie, maybe he's just being a stickler for detail.

Or maybe he really doesn't think he's made an action movie.

The dramatic purpose of jumping off a speeding train

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the newly-minted octogenarian says, "I never considered myself to be an action film actor. There was action in the films that I was involved in, but they weren't specifically, fairly described as 'action films.'" I mean, you're running away from the rear-projection of a derailed train in the poster of "The Fugitive," but do go on, Mr. Ford: 

"I did Jack Ryan movies, which had action in them. 'Air Force One' was an 'action' film... Rather than just being based and founded on a belief in kinetic activity being sufficient to build a movie around, they had a story. They had a plot, they had characters, they had conflict. So I didn't consider them action films."

Craig R. Baxley's "Stone Cold" had a plot, characters and conflict. Does this mean the Brian Bosworth star vehicle in which heavily armed bikers storm the Mississippi State Capitol (eerily presaging the failed January 6 insurrection) isn't an action movie? Does this make it a political thriller? Unfortunately, the Vanity Fair interviewer failed to get Ford's thoughts on "Stone Cold," so we'll never know.

A man of action, but not of action

I've zero interest in drawing the ire of the once and future Indiana Jones, but "The Fugitive" and "Clear and Present Danger" are proper, thoughtful action movies. "Air Force One" is a mindless '90s action movie gussied up with an A-list cast. "The Mosquito Coast" is an infuriatingly underrated classic featuring Ford's best performance, but that's well beside the point.

If this is Harrison Ford bristling at being lumped into a category with muscle-bound 1980s action heroes like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, that's understandable (and he did take on a tiny paycheck cameo in "The Expendables," so he did help invite it). He's only earned one Academy Award nomination (for "Witness," a drama with pronounced action elements), and deserves greater recognition for his acting. He also has a fandom to feed, and he's tried to do so without insulting their intelligence. He's made honest misfires, but he'd never make "Escape Plan." But the man has made action movies. Some really good ones, too. And this does not diminish his distinguished career one iota.