"The Fugitive" not only has one of the best taglines ever, it is also one of the best action movies ever made. And don't listen to or be friends with anyone who says otherwise.
Released 25 years ago on Aug. 6, 1993, at a time when Harrison Ford was at his peak of doing the "everyman action hero" thing, this troubled production (based on the hit '60s TV show) with a hard-to-lock-down script became one of 1993's biggest hits. It was the type of movie that had word-of-mouth like wild fire; it stayed No. 1 at the box office for an unprecedented six weeks. The film set a then-record for the biggest opening weekend in August ever. (A year later, Paramount would release Ford's follow-up to "The Fugitive" -- the Jack Ryan thriller "Clear and Present Danger" -- during that same week in August 1994 in an attempt to capture similar box office legs.)
That success would translate into seven Oscar nominations, including one for a Best Picture (!) and the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for Tommy Lee Jones' iconic performance as the dogged U.S. Marshall Sam Gerrard.
Celebrate the film's 25th anniversary with some behind-the-scenes trivia -- after you rewatch the movie, of course.
1. In an original draft of the script, Harrison Ford's character -- Dr. Richard Kimble -- had a romantic relationship with the doctor played by Julianne Moore. Wisely, Ford helped nix that idea, seeing as how it would be hard for audiences to get behind Kimble trying to find his wife's murderer if he's hooking up with another lady. These scenes were filmed, however, and removed from the final cut.
2. Hollywood releases in China are all but commonplace now. But "The Fugitive" was the first major American film to be screened in the People's Republic of China after decades of restrictions placed on foreign movies.
WB3. For the first act of the movie, Ford rocks a pretty serious beard. The studio was not a fan of that character choice, because they paid a lot of money to sell their star's face on posters and didn't want it to be obscured by facial hair. The beard stayed, obviously, allowing Kimble to shave it off so he can better go on the run with a new look and without drawing too much attention to himself.
4. While shooting some footage for the film's teaser trailer that showed Kimble running through the woods, Ford tore some ligaments in his leg. So that limp you see Kimble having throughout the rest of the movie? That's not acting, that's all Ford -- he held off on getting surgery until after filming.
5. One of two iconic scenes in the film, the train derailment was shot with real trains crashing. The shot of Kimble leaping out of the way was achieved with rear-projection on a set.
6. The wrecked train and bus remain a tourist attraction in Dillsboro, North Carolina.
7. The movie's other iconic scene -- the "I didn't kill my wife"/"I don't care" exchange? In the script, there was a lot more dialogue. Word' round the campfire is that, on the day the scene was shot, Ford convinced director Andrew Davis to cut down the exchange to its most bare-bones, narratively-essential version. The rest is quotable movie history.
8. According to the DVD commentary, Kimble's interrogation by the Chicago PD was improvised. Ford had no idea what questions he would be asked, which the actor preferred as that would allow him to create a more genuine and emotional performance.
9. And yes, that is Jane Lynch in a very early movie role as one of Kimble's colleagues that comes to help the wrongfully-accused doctor. Her character was also considered to be a love interested for Kimble, but those scenes were also cut out.
10. Main villain Dr. Nichols was originally played by the late actor Richard Jordan. Sadly, Jordan became ill and had to drop out of the production after shooting a few scenes with Ford. The character was recast with Jeroen Krabbé, who played the baddie in the 1987 Jamed Bond movie, "The Living Daylights."
11. Rewatch the first scene between Kimble and Nichols again, and you will see that Ford's beard looks slightly different because it had to be regrown for the reshoots.
12. The first choice (rumored) to play Kimble? Alec Baldwin. Ford would famously take over the role of Jack Ryan from Baldwin in 1992's "Patriot Games."
13. As of 2018, "The Fugitive" is the only movie based on a TV show to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
Wrongfully accused of murdering his wife, Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) 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 (Tommy Lee Jones), a determined detective who will not rest until Richard is captured. As Richard leads the team through a series of intricate chases, he discovers the secrets behind his wife's death and struggles to expose the killer before it is too late. Read More