Sure, Harrison Ford movies are madly entertaining and crazy fun to watch, but did you know they’re also educational? Whether he’s a whip-cracking archaeologist, a scruffy scoundrel, an undercover cop, or the Commander-In-Chief, Ford’s characters are sure to offer some didactic nuggets of wisdom. Here are 7 lessons to illustrate my point:
Let’s face it, Indiana Jones is the ultimate ladies’ man. He somehow makes a normally stuffy profession interesting, exciting, and overwhelmingly sexy. Even when he’s lecturing in the hallowed halls of a prestigious university, he has the girls so gah-gah they literally profess their love by fluttering their tattooed eyes at him. The dude has major mojo. If you pay attention, Indy will teach you how to transform bickering into romantic banter and, most impressively, he shows you that confidence and being true to your inner nerd is the most intoxicating elixir.
Really, just about any Harrison Ford character will give you impressive tips on how to fight. Bare handed or with a weapon, fictional Ford is always quick on the draw. For instance, Star Wars’ Han Solo teaches you to stay grounded and to put your trust in a good, reliable blaster. The Fugitive‘sDr. Richard Kimble shows you that you can find strength in the midst tragedy. Perhaps, best of all, Indiana Jones teaches you the power of having a good and versatile weapon always at your side.
3. Self Preservation
Han Solo is a survivor. He certainly embodies Rick Blaine’s infamous ‘I stick my neck out for no one’ mentality; well, no one except for Chewie. This changes, of course, as Han grows closer to both the rebels and the cause, but even with his new-found loyalty, Solo still knows how to look out for himself (and yes, he did shoot first). Watching Han Solo will teach you how to be sneaky, ballsy, and smart about being reckless. That’s a bit of a contradiction, of course, but then again, so is Han Solo.
4. Familial Protection
President James Marshall in Air Force One is a man who loves his family above all. As the President of the United States, the poor guy has a lot on his plate, but all of those leaden responsibilities vanish when his family is threatened; he’s no longer the ‘most powerful man in the world’. Marshall teaches us that nothing matters more than family and that all of the power, money, and influence the world has to offer is meaningless when you’re faced with losing the most important people in your life.
Ah, Chewbacca. He’s hairy, a different species, and no one can understand him. As a Wookie, he has been forced to endure oppression and hurtful names, such as ‘walking carpet’. Han Solo says no to intolerance. Solo teaches us that being different isn’t bad, it’s beautiful. He shows us that deep down we’re all the same regardless of how we look on the outside or what language we speak. Solo teaches us compassion for the outsider.
6. Simplistic Living
In a world increasingly ruled by the latest and greatest technology has to offer, it is difficult to stop and remember what times were like before this industrial revolution. There was a time before computers, mobile phones, and our constant connection to machines. There was a time when a horse and buggy was the main mode of transportation apart from walking; when there was no television to rot our brains. In Witness, Detective John Book revisits this time through an Amish village. He reminds us of the simplicity of plain living and the goodness of relying on human interaction rather than adopting the cold reliance that our society has on machinery.
7. Succeeding in Business
Working Girl‘s Jack Trainer may be caught in a love triangle, but he doesn’t let that get in the way of his career. In spite of juggling a soon-to-be ex-girlfriend with a budding new romance, Trainer still manages to not only stay on top of his job, he actually gains further success by pursuing new ventures. Although he nearly stumbles when he thinks he’s been hoodwinked, in the end Trainer prevails, teaching us that we can succeed in business whilst keeping our morals and hearts intact on that climb up.
Source: This piece has been reproduced from the original article I wrote for the publication Filmonic.
Star Wars, Lucas Films.
Indiana Jones, Lucas Films.
Air Force One, Columbia Pictures.
The Witness, Paramont Pictures.
Working Girl, 20th Century Fox.
Harrison Ford gif, Conan O’Brien, NBC.