The Fugitive is a 1993 American action-thriller film based on the 1960s television series of the same name created by Roy Huggins. It was directed by Andrew Davis and stars Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. After being wrongfully convicted for the murder of his wife, Dr. Richard Kimble (Ford) escapes from custody and sets out to prove his innocence while pursued by a team of U.S. Marshals led by Deputy Samuel Gerard (Jones).
The Fugitive premiered in the United States on August 6, 1993, and was a major critical and commercial success. It was the third-highest-grossing film of 1993 domestically, with an estimated 44 million tickets sold in the US. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture; Jones won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. It was followed by a 1998 sequel, U.S. Marshals, in which Jones reprised his role as Gerard.
Dr. Richard Kimble, a prominent Chicago vascular surgeon, arrives home to find his wife Helen fatally wounded by a one-armed man. Kimble struggles with the killer but he escapes. The lack of evidence of a break-in, Helen's lucrative life insurance policy, and a misunderstood 9-1-1 call result in Kimble's conviction of first-degree murder. Being transported to death row by bus, his fellow prisoners attempt an escape. The pandemonium sends the bus down a ravine and into the path of an oncoming train. Kimble escapes the collision and flees. Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard and his colleagues Renfro, Biggs, Newman and Poole arrive at the crash site and begin the search for Kimble. Kimble sneaks into a hospital to treat his wounds and alter his appearance. He eludes the authorities, but Gerard corners him at the edge of a storm drain over a dam. Kimble leaps into the raging water and escapes.
Kimble returns to Chicago to hunt for the murderer and acquires money from his friend and colleague Dr. Charles Nichols. Posing as a janitor, Kimble enters the local county hospital's prosthetic department to obtain a list of people who had their prosthetic arm repaired shortly after his wife's murder. Following a police lead confirming Kimble's recent whereabouts, Gerard speculates that Kimble is searching for the one-armed man. Kimble breaks into the residence of one of the people on the list, a former police officer named Fredrick Sykes. Kimble discovers that Sykes is the murderer and is employed by a pharmaceutical company, Devlin MacGregor, which is scheduled to release a new drug called Provasic. Kimble investigated the drug in the past and revealed that it caused liver damage, which would have prevented it from being approved by the FDA. He also deduces that Nichols, who is leading the drug's development, arranged a cover-up and ordered Sykes to kill him – his wife's death was incidental. Gerard follows Kimble's lead to Sykes' home and draws the same conclusion.
As Kimble takes an elevated train to confront Nichols at the drug's presentation in a hotel, Sykes appears and attacks him. In the struggle, Sykes shoots a transit cop before being subdued and handcuffed to a pole by Kimble. Kimble arrives at the pharmacon conference and interrupts Nichols's speech, accusing him of falsifying his medical research and orchestrating his wife's murder. They fight while being chased through the hotel by the marshals and police. Gerard calls out to Kimble that he knows about Nichols' conspiracy. Nichols knocks out Renfro and takes his gun and attempts to shoot Gerard, but Kimble attacks him from behind, knocking him unconscious. Kimble surrenders to Gerard, who escorts him out of the hotel. Nichols and Sykes are arrested. Kimble is exonerated and driven from the crime scene by Gerard.
- Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble
- Tommy Lee Jones as Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel 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 Robert Biggs
- Tom Wood as Deputy U.S. Marshal Noah Newman
- L. Scott Caldwell as Deputy U.S. Marshal Erin Poole
- Julianne Moore as Dr. Anne Eastman
- Ron Dean as Detective Kelly
- Joseph Kosala as Detective Rosetti
- Jane Lynch as Dr. Kathy Wahlund
- Neil Flynn as transit cop
Harrison Ford was not originally cast for the role of Dr. Kimble. Instead, a number of actors were auditioned for the part, including Alec Baldwin, Nick Nolte, Kevin Costner, and Michael Douglas. Nolte in particular felt he was too old for the role despite only being a year older than Ford. Although the role of Gerard went to Tommy Lee Jones, Gene Hackman and Jon Voight were both considered for the role. The character of Dr. Nichols was recast for Jeroen Krabbé after the original actor who landed the role, Richard Jordan, fell ill with a brain tumour. Jordan subsequently died three weeks after the film's release.
Filming locations for the motion picture included Cherokee, North Carolina; Tennessee; Chicago; and Dillsboro, North Carolina. Although almost half of the film is set in rural Illinois, a large portion of the principal filming was actually shot in Jackson County, North Carolina in the Great Smoky Mountains. The scene involving Kimble's prison transport bus and a freight train wreck was filmed along the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad just outside Dillsboro, North Carolina. Riders on the excursion railroad can still see the wreckage on the way out of the Dillsboro depot. The train crash cost $1 million to film. The train used during the filming was real, and was done in a single take. Scenes in the hospital after Kimble initially escapes were filmed at Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva, North Carolina. Cheoah Dam in Deals Gap was the location of the scene where Kimble jumps from the dam.
The rest of the film was shot in Chicago, Illinois, including some of the dam scenes, which were filmed in the remains of the Chicago freight tunnels. The character Sykes lived in the historic Pullman neighborhood of Chicago. Harrison Ford used the pay phone in the Pullman Pub, at which point he climbs a ladder and runs down the roofline of the historic rowhouses. During the St. Patrick's Day Parade chase scene, Mayor Richard M. Daley and Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris are briefly shown as participants.
- Main article: The Fugitive (soundtrack)
The film's musical score was composed by James Newton Howard; Janet Maslin of The New York Times called the music "hugely effective". Elektra Records released an album featuring selections from the score on August 31, 1993. La-La Land Records later released a 2-disc, expanded and remastered edition of the score, featuring over an hour of previously unreleased music, tracks from the original soundtrack, and alternate cues.
Following its release in theaters, the Region 1 widescreen Pan and scan edition of the film was released on DVD in the United States on March 26, 1997. A Special Edition widescreen format of the film was released on June 5, 2001 along with an HD version on May 23, 2006. Concurrently, on September 8, 2009, a widescreen repackaged variant was also released. Special features for the DVD included behind-the-scenes documentaries, audio commentary by Tommy Lee Jones and director Andrew Davis, an introduction with the film's stars and creators, and the theatrical trailer.
A restored widescreen hi-definition Blu-ray version was released on September 26, 2006. Special features include commentary by Tommy Lee Jones and director Andrew Davis, two documentaries, and the theatrical trailer. On September 3, 2013, a 20th Anniversary Blu-ray edition for the film was released with a new digital transfer along with DTS-HD Master Audio tracking among other features.
Jeanne Kalogridis wrote a mass-market paperback novelization of the film. She worked from the original screenplay, which characterizes a doctor unjustly accused of a crime, while being pursued relentlessly by federal authorities.
Jones returned as Gerard in a 1998 sequel, U.S. Marshals. It 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.
Also in 1998, a parody film Wrongfully Accused, based on The Fugitive, was developed with Leslie Nielsen portraying the principal character. Although the film spoofs many other motion pictures such as Mission Impossible and Titanic, the storyline revolves around Nielsen's character being framed for a murder, as he escapes from federal custody to seek out the real suspect behind the crime.