Harrison Ford’s run as Tom Clancy’s signature character in the early 1990s was short but significant. Unlike Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and Rick Deckard, all of whom Ford originated (and I believe should only be played by him), Ford inherited Jack Ryan from Alec Baldwin, who played Ryan in 1990’s “The Hunt For Red October.” Ford took over in 1992’s “Patriot Games” and its 1994 sequel, “Clear and Present Danger.” Ford was so famous at this point, it’s hard to say whether Ford played Jack Ryan, or Jack Ryan played Harrison Ford. It feels like the actor merely applied his 1990s screen persona of “frantic father figure saving the day” onto the character. Whatever, it worked, and Ford remains arguably the best Jack Ryan.
His best line of dialogue came during an exchange with the president, in which it’s revealed the commander in chief was engaged in nefarious activities. When the president barks at Ryan, “How dare you come in here and lecture me?” Ryan barks back, “How dare you, sir?” The line had significance beyond the movie, as it spoke to the blanket distrust in our public institutions codified by the 1990s. While ’90s moviegoers were reflexively cynical, Ford was still a Boomer who became famous in the 1970s, so he could express righteous outrage without coming off as naive. Few people had the clout or moral authority to bark orders at the President. Harrison Ford did.