A murdered wife. A one-armed man. An obsessed detective. The chase begins.
Wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to death, Richard Kimble escapes from the law in an attempt to find her killer and clear his name. Pursuing him is a team of U.S. marshals led by Deputy Samuel Gerard, a determined detective who will not rest until Richard is captured. As Kimble leads the marshals through a series of intricate chases, he uncovers the secret behind his wife's death and struggles to expose the killer before he is recaptured, or killed.
ActorsStarring: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Joe Pantoliano, Daniel Roebuck, Jeroen Krabbé, L. Scott Caldwell, Tom Wood, Ron Dean, Joseph F. Kosala, Andreas Katsulas, Sela Ward, Eddie Bo Smith Jr., Richard Riehle, Pancho Demmings, Nick Searcy, Danny Goldring, Johnny Lee Davenport, Dick Cusack, Julianne Moore, Jane Lynch, David Darlow, Andy Romano, Miguel Nino, John Drummond, Neil Flynn, Kevin Crowley, Mark D. Espinoza, Gene Barge, Joe Guzaldo, Nicholas Kusenko, Joan Kohn, Joe Guastaferro, Thom Vernon, Ken Moreno, Frank Ray Perilli, Jim Wilkey, Michael James, Michael Skewes, Cody Glenn, Cynthia Baker, Mike Bacarella, Bill Cusack, Tighe Barry, Afram Bill Williams, Noelle Bou-Sliman, Greg Hollimon, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Ann Whitney, Turk Muller, Eugene F. Crededio, Pam Zekman, David Pasquesi, Dru Anne Carlson, Kirsten Nelson, Juan Ramírez, Allen Hamilton, Lester Holt, Suzy Brack, Darren W. Conrad, Kevin Mukherji, Sal Richards, John-Clay Scott, B.J. Jones
The Fugitive stars Harrison Ford playing Dr. Richard Kimble, a man falsely accused of murdering his wife struggling to prove his innocence. Pursuing him is US Marshall Samuel Gerard, played by Tommy Lee Jones. That premise alone makes this film fantastic. What a great pair of actors to put against each other in an action-thriller. The plot, in and of itself, is simple. But the execution is top notch. Both Ford and Jones settle into their roles well in what is a peak performance for both actors.
Even though Kimble and Gerard are against each other, the film does not make Gerard feel like a true antagonist. He has nothing personal against Kimble. He is a US Marshall; chasing after criminals like Kimble is his job. What makes it work is that both characters are smart. It quickly becomes a game of cat-and-mouse with Gerard chasing Kimble, who himself chases his wife’s murderer. And it really works because Kimble has the benefit of a head start and is skilled enough to stay there. Kimble is just slightly more capable than Gerard, which is offset by Gerard’s better resources and experience.
As fantastic as the actors are, the film’s writing and direction is just as powerful. Granted, The Fugitive does have the benefit of being a big budget movie ($44 million). One of the big things here is that the action sequences are not overused. When they happen they are intense, but the movie is not one giant gunfight. There is not even that much fighting; the action more comes from chase sequences. Definitely more “thriller” than “action”. And these scenes are paced well enough that the movie has room for good, significant plot between them.
I was not aware that this film was based on a TV show until after watching it. Several changes were made, such as the events taking place over a few months instead of several years and Gerard’s character being a US Marshall instead of a police lieutenant. Despite the characters having more of a larger than life presence, my understanding is that the film is still pretty faithful to the source material. It ultimately relies on its characters and their interactions to make the film good. Rather than overused action sequences, which many action movies (even good ones) are often guilty of. This all makes The Fugitive a very rewatchable film, even more than 25 years later.