The basic story starts with a well-known and
respected vascular neurosurgeon, Dr. Richard Kimble, being wrongly
convicted of murdering his wife, and sentenced to death. On
the way to the prison, a fight and the following chaos on the
bus causes the bus to roll down an embankment onto train tracks,
with a locomotive bearing down on them. Following this freak
bus/train wreck, the doctor escapes, pursued relentlessly by
a U.S. Marshal, Samuel Gerard, always just a half a step behind
him. Dr. Kimble returns home to Chicago, putting his life and
his freedom at risk, to be on a fishing expedition to find the
real killer, and who was behind this murder of his wife, and
The excellent screenplay was by Jeb Stuart
and David Twohy, story by Twohy. An example of excellent plot
and character development, is how the screenplay followed the
adventures of Dr. Kimble. I loved how Dr. Kimble methodically
went about figuring out who the correct one-arm man was, his
connections, and why his wife was killed, with the added bonus
of finding out who else was involved. A favorite line of Dr.
Kimble's, that he hisses through a phone at Sam Gerard: "Well,
I've been trying to solve a puzzle here, and I just found a
Throughout the storyline, Kimble shows his
true character along the way, as being a caring human being,
not the vicious killer a jury proclaimed him to be. Even when
extremely angry, while involved in fisty-cuff fights with the
bad guys, he shows restraint.
Almost as interesting, is how the gifted man
hunter, Deputy Gerard, goes about trying to find Kimble, and
what he does with the clues Kimble gives him, that eventually
point to the real killers.
The suspense in this movie is even better than
Hitchock's "39 Steps," which apparently influenced
this movie, as well as the original TV series. One example of
this, can be seen in the last twenty minutes of the film, which
can be described as high drama, suspenseful, and very satisfying
However, there are many favorite scenes that
showcase the suspenseful, fine writing, directing, and production
values, that give this talented cast plenty of material to shine
with. One of my favorite action sequences is the train wreck
which frees Ford. Utilizing a full size train, as well as great
FX, it really looks like Ford is just a few heartbeats away
from being crushed by the runaway train.
Two other well written and directed, very suspenseful,
exciting sequences happen, when the Marshall and his crew nearly
catch Dr. Kimble, keeping one at the edge of the seat. Check
out the dam chase sequence, and the Cook County Court House
sequences, that end in a close foot race. Kimble keeps his cool,
uses his head and barely escapes the then frosted and frustrated
Gerard and co-horts.
Tommy Lee Jones is very impressive as the U.S.
Marshall. With his hang dog, unhandsome mug, Jones convinces
as a man who does not know how to give up. His motto: "Never
give up 'till the big dog howls. The big dog is always right!"
Tommy Lee won the Oscar for his performance here.
Harrison Ford is perfectly cast as the innocent man on the run.
In a character similar to that in many Alfred Hitchcock movies,
Ford fully holds the audience's sympathy, one of his greater
Andreas Katsulas, as the nasty, cold-hearted
Sykes, and Jeroen Krabbé, as the smooth-talking, clever,
but back stabbing Dr. Charles Nichols, make great villains,
and add a lot to the film.