Han Solo: “Never tell me the odds.”
– Han Solo, Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Could there have been anyone else that could have played Han Solo? Indiana Jones? Some people may be surprised that Harrison Ford didn’t become a household name until his mid-thirties. Yahoonews.com noted that, as any Ford buff would know, Harrison kept his family fed by being a carpenter. He would take roles here and there, but nothing really stood out.

“Through carpentry, I fed my family and began to pick and choose from among the roles offered,” Ford said. “I could afford to hold out until something better came along. But I never gave up my ambition to be an actor. I was frustrated but never felt defeated by my frustration.”

Well, how did Ford become Solo? Casting director Fred Roos saw potential in Ford and was able to convince George Lucas to give Ford a shot after also conveniently hiring Harrison to work on a door during the Han Solo casting. Even with names like Kurt Russel, Christopher Walkin (imagine that???) and Nick Nolte reading for Han Solo, ultimately the role fell in Ford’s lap. And every Star War fan is thankful for that!

Today is Harrison Ford’s birthday so how about we celebrate by seeing some of his best roles over the years:

  • Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope 1977

    This is the one that brought Harrison Ford to become a household name! The Star Wars fever that started in 1977 has never really stopped. It has only ebbed and flowed, but there will always be Star Wars. My only regret is that I wasn’t even born when the first movie came out. But I sure collected the toys and do miss those times at Toys R’ Us. (Note: I could buy two homes if I had kept those toys and if they were in their boxes!)

  • Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back 1980

    Yes, another Star Wars movie. I used to work for Hollywood Video and one of my favourite methods of determining how to choose a movie for someone that wanted a recommendation was to ask which of the original three trilogies did they love most. It was a fairly solid method. The Empire Strikes Back, no spoiler unless you’re five, ends with the bad guys winning. So, if your favourite of the three was this one, you usually like dark comedies or movies that don’t necessarily end happily. I could only imagine the viral sensation this caused in 1980. This is pre-internet and I-phones! This was like watching Ned Stark die in the first season of Thrones. EPIC-LEVEL STUFF!

  • Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981

    And without missing a step, George Lucas creates another saga that will live way beyond his life and the next. Indiana Jones is a masterpiece of action and storytelling. What kid in the 80s didn’t want to be Indiana Jones? Booby traps, artefacts and a whip! Who uses a whip?? Indiana Jones does, that’s who!

  • Blade Runner 1982

    Harrison Ford has got to work with some of the best directors in his career and Ridley Scott is no exception. I am a huge fan of Ridley Scott movies, and Blade Runner is one of my favourites. It has been deemed by many as one of the cornerstones of cinematic science fiction and filmmaking. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Just don’t go in thinking this one has a happy Han Soloish story. It’s dark and gritty.

     

  • Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi 1983

    Harrison Ford just can’t stop! Another and the final of the original trilogy of Star Wars. If you are wondering what your favourite movies would be if you loved Jedi the best, they would be flashy action, epic battles, and high adventure! And you are okay with some cuteness and comedy.

  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 1984

    While there are plenty of movies after 1984 that Ford rocks in (Air Force One, The Fugitive), I think this era from 1977 to 1984, was the best of Harrison Ford. I love hearing about the scene in this movie where Indiana Jones has to fight this massive man with a gigantic sword, but because Harrison was super sick, he suggested just shooting the guy, which is just absolute genius. And that’s exactly what happens. (Bonus: in the 3rd movie, Ford staples his hat to his head to stay on during some speedy scenes!)