My Favorite Movies #91 – The Fugitive

Fugitive - PosterThe Fugitive

1993

Directed by Andrew Davis

Netflix says… Wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, Dr. Richard Kimble escapes from custody after a train accident. But as he tries to find the real killer — a mysterious one-armed man — gung-ho U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard is hot on his trail.

  • Knowing how long it actually takes for high profile murder trials to go from start to finish, it sure looks like they wrap up about two years worth of events in the first 15 minutes.
  • When Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) says he didn’t kill his wife, I believe him. Harrison Ford just has one of those believable faces.
  • Right away, I don’t like these Chicago detectives. They have it in for Kimble from the moment they hit the scene.
  • I mean, in a way I get it. When a married person is killed, the spouse is automatically the first suspect. But they don’t even entertain the possibility that someone else could have done this.
  • And I guess it doesn’t help that Richard goes into an hysterical panic when he realizes that the detectives are suggesting that he killed his wife.
  • And I’m gonna go ahead and assume that Richard’s attorney is pathetic. We really don’t see him argue anything.
  • But the trial really isn’t what this movie’s about. It’s called The Fugitive.
  • Kimble’s found guilty. He’s given the death penalty. He’s being transported to the state penitentiary. And then there’s the train wreck.
  • Pretty epic, too.
  • Okay… yeah… running kinda makes you look guilty, too.
  • Enter the U.S. Marshals. They’re led by one Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones), who has, probably, the greatest sarcastic attitude ever.
  • Richard and Sam have their first (and only, until the end of the film) face-to-face encounter pretty early on in the chase.
  • I love Sam’s response to Richard’s insistence that he didn’t kill his wife. “I don’t care!”
  • Gerard makes it clear that his job is not to determine one’s guilt or innocence. That’s already been done by a court of law.
  • At this point, whether Richard killed her or not, he has been found guilty by a jury of his peers. He was railroaded, but he was found guilty.
  • Sam’s job is simply to find the man who has been found guilty and bring him back to make sure his sentence is carried out.
  • I said a lot of time passes in the first 15 minutes of the movie, but I feel like a lot of time has to pass throughout the rest of the film, too.
  • It’s got to take Richard a long time to safely make his way back to Chicago and discover everything he needs to know about the people who orchestrated his wife’s murder.
  • Eventually, in trying to find Kimble, Gerard begins his own investigation, basically following the doctor’s footsteps. And he begins to come around on Kimble’s innocence.
  • I won’t give away the ending… in case you haven’t seen this movie in the last 25 years. In which case, get your hands on a copy and watch it. Now. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.
  • This is probably my favorite Harrison Ford role that doesn’t involve an archaeologist or a space scoundrel.
  • And this is definitely my favorite Tommy Lee Jones role. A role he played so well, they built a spin-off movie around him and his team of Marshals.

This is a story that’s been made and remade a few times, now. I never saw any of the original TV series from the 1960s. But I did catch some of the remake in 2000 with Tim Daly as Richard Kimble. It didn’t feature the train wreck… but it kind of was a train wreck.

In this era of remakes and reboots, I’d actually be interested in seeing this one remade as a movie. Not because I think the world is clamoring for another version of The Fugitive, but because it would be interesting to see how different the U.S. Marshals’ search for Kimble would be in a world with internet, smart phones, and social media.

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