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  • Writer's pictureThomas Duncan

The Fugitive (1993) ft. Terry Bartley

Guest: Terry Bartley, Most Writers are Fans podcast


  • Andrew Davis, Director

  • Jeb Stuart and David Twohy, Screenplay

  • Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble

  • Tommy Lee Jones as Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard

  • Sela Ward as Helen Kimble

  • Joe Pantoliano as Deputy U.S. Marshal Cosmo Renfro

  • Andreas Katsulas as Fredrick Sykes

  • Jeroen Krabbé as Dr. Charles Nichols

  • Daniel Roebuck as Deputy U.S. Marshal Bobby Biggs

  • Tom Wood as Deputy U.S. Marshal Noah Newman

  • L. Scott Caldwell as Deputy U.S. Marshal Erin Poole

  • Johnny Lee Davenport as Deputy U.S. Marshal Henry

  • Julianne Moore as Dr. Anne Eastman

  • Ron Dean as Detective Kelly

  • Joseph Kosala as Detective Rosetti

  • Jane Lynch as Dr. Kathy Wahlund


  • The Fugitive was released on August 6, 1993 in the United States.

  • It quickly became a summer movie sensation opening strongly at the US box office, grossing $23,758,855 in its first weekend from 2,340 theaters, taking the number one spot off of Rising Sun and surpassing Unforgiven to achieve the record for having the biggest August opening weekend. For six years, the film would hold this record until 1999 when it was surpassed by The Sixth Sense.

  • Overall, The Fugitive grossed $368.9 million on a budget of $44 million becoming the third highest grossing film of 1993.

  • The film received mostly universal critical praise, and audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a rare "A+" grade on a scale of A+ to F at the time.

  • The Fugitive would receive 7 nominations at the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Cinematography, Film Editing, Original Score, Sound, and Sound Editing, and Tommy Lee Jones would win for Best Supporting Actor.

  • Jones returned as Gerard in a 1998 spin-off, U.S. Marshals. That movie also incorporates Gerard's team hunting an escaped fugitive, but does not involve Harrison Ford as Kimble or the events of the initial 1993 feature.

  • The American Film Institute would later recognize The Fugitive at #33 on its list of 100 Years...100 Thrills.

  • The Fugitive currently holds a 96% among critics on RT, an 87 score on Metacritic, and a 3.8/5 on Letterboxd.

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: It's one long chase sequence between an eager cop and a man wrongly accused.

Plot Summary: "The Fugitive" is a gripping thriller that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Directed by Andrew Davis and starring Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble, the film tells the story of a man wrongly accused of murdering his wife.

After a daring escape from a prison transport, Kimble goes on the run, desperate to clear his name and find the real killer. Meanwhile, U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard, played by Tommy Lee Jones, is hot on his trail, determined to bring him to justice.

The film is a masterclass in tension-building, with Davis using every trick in the book to keep the audience engaged. The action sequences are expertly choreographed, and the performances from Ford and Jones are superb, with both actors bringing depth and nuance to their roles. At its heart, "The Fugitive" is a classic tale of good versus evil, with Kimble representing the innocent man fighting against a corrupt system.

Did You Know:

  • Harrison Ford damaged some ligaments in his leg during the filming of the scenes in the woods. He refused to take surgery until the end of filming so that his character would keep the limp. The limp can be seen in any subsequent scene where Richard Kimble is running.

  • Andrew Davis only had one chance to crash the train in the train scene and had to get it right, so he consulted an array of engineers, stunt doubles and the insurance company to predict what would happen. The train was expected to crash into the bus at 35 miles per hour, but the director was in error - the train came at 42 miles per hour. Nevertheless, the scene went exactly as planned.

  • The scene where Kimble is running through the St. Patrick's Day parade was not scripted. This was a later addition by Andrew Davis. Davis, a native of the city, really wanted to capture the parade and was granted permission from the mayor's office to film the day of the parade. The entire sequence was shot with a hand-held steady cam. Without rehearsal, Ford and Jones just went out into the crowd and did their thing, with camera operators running around trying to keep up. Ford observed that since his character was keeping a low profile, it meant he himself didn't stand out much and lasted several minutes in the crowd before being recognized.

  • Originally, Julianne Moore's character had a bigger role in the film, even after she exposes him briefly. Kimble was to have sought her out for help and eventually fall for her. These scenes were filmed and deleted from the final cut of the film. This is the reason that her name is still credited as one of the main stars of the picture.

  • According to the director, Tommy Lee Jones originally argued that his character, being concerned for the welfare of innocents around him, would not fire after Kimble inside a crowded building such as the courthouse. The dispute caused a brief delay in filming, but the director finally convinced Jones to do it as scripted.

  • This was the first American movie shown in Chinese theaters in over 40 years. Audiences accustomed to local movies were blown away when they saw it and it became a huge hit there.

  • The picture of Richard Kimble on the composite from medical school is actually Harrison Ford's yearbook picture from Ripon College. He almost graduated in 1964, nine years before the picture was said to have been taken.

Best Performance: Tommy Lee Jones (Gerrard)/Harrison Ford (Kimble)

Best Secondary Performance: Tommy Lee Jones (Gerrard)/Editing Team

Most Charismatic Award: Andrew Davis (Director)/Harrison Ford (Kimble)/Julianne Moore (Dr. Eastman)

Best Scene:

  • Flashback Opening

  • Escape

  • Dam Chase

  • Investigation

  • Do No Harm

  • City Hall Chase

  • Finding Sykes

  • Confronting Nichols

Favorite Scene: Investigation/Do No Harm/Finding Sykes

Most Indelible Moment: Dam Chase/Flashback Opening

In Memorium:

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Dr. Richard Kimble: [Holding Gerard at gunpoint] I didn't kill my wife!

Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: I don't care!

Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: Yeah... that's right Richard... I don't care. I'm not trying to solve a puzzle here...

[after Kimble jumps off of the dam]

Marshal Biggs: Sam, are you out of your mind? He's dead.

Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: That ought to make him easier to catch.

Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: [briefing all the sheriffs, deputies, police officers, and law enforcement officials surrounding him] All right, listen up, ladies and gentlemen, our fugitive has been on the run for ninety minutes. Average foot speed over uneven ground, barring injuries, is 4 miles per hour. That gives us a radius of six miles. What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at fifteen miles. Your fugitive's name is Dr. Richard Kimble. Go get him.

Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: How's the boy doing?

Dr. Anne Eastman: He saved his life.

Dr. Richard Kimble: Are you suggesting that I killed my wife? Are you saying that I crushed her skull and that I shot her? How dare you! When I came home, there was a man in my house. I fought with this man. He had a mechanical arm. You find this man. You find this man.

Cosmo Renfro: When I die, I wanna come back just like you.

Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: Oh, you mean happy and handsome?

Dr. Richard Kimble: [turns to banquet crowd] He falsified his research. So that RDU-90 could be approved and Devlin McGregor could give you... Provasic!

Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: [yelling throughout the empty laundry room as he looks for Richard] Dr. Richard Kimble! There's no way out of here, Richard! The entire building is locked down! Give it up Richard, you don't have any time, Chicago police department thinks you're a cop killer, they WILL shoot you on sight!

[pauses] Richard, I know you're innocent! I know about Frederick Sykes! I know about Dr. Charles Nichols!

Dr. Charles Nichols: You never give up, Richard, do you? You never give up!

Dr. Richard Kimble: [hitting him] Why Helen?

The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 7.33

Impact/Significance: 8.67

Novelty: 6.17

Classic-ness: 6

Rewatchability: 6.17

Audience Score: 8.9 (89% Google, 89% RT)

Total: 43.24

Remaining Questions:

  • What changes Gerrard's mind to believe Kimble?

  • If Kimble is acquitted, does he face any other charges like breaking and entering?

  • What was Kimble's true motivating force while he was on the run?

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