Harrison Ford Was Improvising in One Iconic Scene from ‘The Fugitive’

by Blake Ells

That parade scene Harrison Ford was part of in The Fugitive was mostly unscripted. He walks out into a busy Chicago street, there’s a St. Patrick’s Day parade happening and Harrison just…went with it. He’s Dr. Richard Kimble in the movie, and he’s on the run from U.S. marshal Samuel Gerald. Tommy Lee Jones portrayed Gerald, and he won an Oscar for his performance.

Harrison Ford’s character is fleeing the Chicago City Hall. He has several shots fired at him by Jones’s character, but they are stopped by bulletproof glass. Kimble slides into a parade crowd. Director Andrew Davis was a Chicago native, and he had obtained permission from the city to film during the parade. But they didn’t shut anything down. They just brought the film crew to an event that was already planned.

Ford escapes the building and pulls a green hat out of a trash can in an effort to “blend in.” He also removes his jacket. He went at it for a while without being recognized. But it was a real event. Harrison Ford did all that on his own. It wasn’t in the script.

Chicago’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of America’s most iconic. They dye the river green and it’s quite a celebration. In the film, the audience stays with Harrison Ford’s character through the parade. Gerald keeps searching for him, but he never has any luck. It’s an incredibly memorable filmmaking moment. The James Bond franchise did something similar in Spectre. The Day of the Dead parade was staged. The St. Patrick’s Day parade in The Fugitive was absolutely real.

Harrison Ford Heads to the ‘Yellowstone’ Universe

Harrison Ford is in the latest spinoff of Yellowstone. Tim McGraw and his wife, Faith Hill, lent their talent to the first spinoff, 1883. A couple of legends in Hollywood lend theirs to 1923. Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren star in the new series. It’s not a cheap endeavor for director Taylor Sheridan, but it’s worth it. They’ll each make $1 million per episode of the new series.

That scene from The Fugitive wasn’t the first time that Harrison Ford ad-libbed something. He changed a scene in one of his most iconic roles. Remember when he shot that guy instead of fighting him? That was all Harrison Ford.

“We had been rehearsing a fight scene the night before that was meant to take three days to film,” he said. “The poor stunt man had been working for months and months to perfect all of the little gags that we were going to do in this big fight.”

“But I was afraid, looking at the story as a whole, was that we were going to lose sight of our objective, which was to find Marian, find the girl,” he continued. “We had done a fight scene the day before where I fought off five or six guys and then ran after Marian, that was being dragged on.”

“So I thought it was wrong to shoot another big fight scene that I thought we would lose sight of, the audience would lose focus on Marian and keeping the story moving forward,” Ford said. “So I suggested to Steven that we just shoot him, and he said, ‘I was just thinking that’.”