The Fugitive (1993 film)

The Fugitive (1993 film)
The Fugitive

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andrew Davis
Produced by Arnold Kopelson
Screenplay by Jeb Stuart[1]
David Twohy
Story by David Twohy
Roy Huggins (Characters)
Starring Harrison Ford
Tommy Lee Jones
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Michael Chapman
Editing by Dennis Virkler
David Finfer
Dean Goodhill
Don Brochu
Richard Nord
Dov Hoenig
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) August 6, 1993 (1993-08-06)
Running time 130 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $44 million
Box office $368,875,760

The Fugitive is a 1993 American thriller film based on the television series of the same name. The film was directed by Andrew Davis and stars Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. The film was one of the few movies associated with a television series to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.



Dr. Richard Kimble, a successful vascular surgeon in Chicago, comes home one night to find his wife, Helen, fatally wounded by a one-armed man, and though he attempts to subdue the killer, the man escapes. The lack of evidence of a break-in, being the beneficiary of Helen's lucrative life insurance and a misunderstood 9-1-1 call led to Kimble being convicted of first-degree murder, for which he is sentenced to death. On his way to death row via bus, the other prisoners attempt an escape that wounds a guard and kills the driver, causing the bus to fall into the path of an oncoming train. Kimble barely escapes the bus's destruction—saving the guard's life by dragging him out of the bus—and flees into the night. Deputy Samuel Gerard and a group of US Marshals arrive, to locate and round up the escaped convicts while the injured are taken to a nearby hospital. Kimble sneaks into the same hospital to treat his wounds and change his appearance. While leaving the hospital, he is recognized by the injured guard, but escapes in an ambulance. Gerard and his team blockade a tunnel through a nearby dam to stop Kimble's escape, but Kimble abandons the vehicle and climbs into the storm water system. Kimble is eventually cornered by Gerard above the outlet of the dam spillway. Kimble dives over the edge and swims downstream, leaving no trail for the Marshals to follow.

Kimble returns to Chicago to find the murderer and receives some money from his friend and associate, Dr. Charles Nichols. Posing as a janitor, Kimble enters Cook County Hospital's prosthetic department to obtain a list of people who had their prosthetic arm repaired shortly after his wife's murder. Gerard realizes that Kimble must be looking for the one-armed man and begins a similar search to anticipate Kimble's next move. Kimble goes to the Cook County Jail to meet a one-armed man accused of armed robbery, but sees he is not the murderer. Gerard and his team also go to the jail with the same suspicion, and Gerard spots Kimble as he is leaving. A chase ensues, in which Gerard fires several shots at Kimble which are stopped by bulletproof glass. Gerard chases Kimble into Chicago's St. Patrick's Day parade where Kimble barely escapes. He then visits the home of the next person on the list, a former police officer named Frederick Sykes. Kimble confirms the man is the murderer and finds he is employed by a pharmaceutical company that is working on a new drug called Provasic. Kimble had investigated the drug and discovered that it caused liver damage, which would have prevented it from being approved by the FDA. He also finds that Nichols, who is leading the drug's development, arranged a cover-up, and ordered Sykes to kill Kimble (his wife's death was incidental). Gerard follows Kimble to Sykes's home and draws the same conclusion.

As Kimble takes an L train to confront Nichols, Sykes attacks him, and in the ensuing struggle, Sykes shoots a transit cop before being subdued and handcuffed to a wall by Kimble. Moments later, Kimble interrupts Nichols's speech, accusing him of falsifying his data. They begin to fight while being chased by Gerard and hostile Chicago police, who believe Kimble murdered the transit cop aboard the train, and are instructed to shoot him on sight. When Kimble, Nichols, and Gerard are all in the hotel's laundry room, Gerard calls out that he knows about the conspiracy organized by Nichols. Hearing this, Nichols turns to shoot Gerard but at the last moment Kimble hits him from behind, saving Gerard's life. Kimble is taken into custody, since he was still technically a fugitive, despite his innocence. Once inside the car Gerard unlocks his handcuffs as they are driven away.



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 of Dillsboro, North Carolina. Riders on the excursion railroad can still see the wreckage on the way out of the Dillsboro depot.[2] Scenes in a hospital after Kimble escapes were filmed at Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva, North Carolina. Cheoah Dam was the location of the scene where Kimble jumped. In one scene, a road sign pointing to Murphy can be seen.

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 (as well as Deals Gap, North Carolina).[3] The "one-armed man" 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 toward the one-armed man's house. There are several other scenes that show the rowhouses of the historic neighborhood. During the St. Patrick's Day Parade chase scene, Mayor Richard M. Daley and then-Illinois Attorney General Roland W. Burris are briefly shown as participants. One night scene under the "El" tracks showed Kimble exiting an alley by 130 N. Wells St., with "Chicago Memorial" covering the then-Illinois Bell Building sign.


The Fugitive opened strongly in the United States box office, grossing $23,758,855 in its first weekend and holding the top spot for six weeks.[4][5] It eventually went on to gross an estimated $183,875,760 in the US, and $368,875,760 worldwide.[6][7]

It also received enthusiastic reviews from film critics. As of July 2009, it received a 94% score and has been certified "Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 86 or "universal acclaim" from Metacritic.[8][9] Roger Ebert gave it 4 out of 4 stars, calling it "one of the year's best films".[10]

A few reviewers said it was marred by the ending, which introduced conspiracy thriller elements.[11][12][13]


The film was nominated for the following Academy Awards:[14]

Subject Nominee Result Lost Against
Best Supporting Actor Tommy Lee Jones Won
Best Picture Arnold Kopelson Nominated Schindler's List
Best Cinematography Michael Chapman
Best Film Editing Dennis Virkler
David Finfer
Dean Goodhill
Don Brochu
Richard Nord
Dov Hoenig
Best Original Score James Newton Howard
Best Sound Editing John Leveque
Bruce Stambler
Jurassic Park
Best Sound Donald O. Mitchell
Michael Herbick
Frank A. Montaño
Scott D. Smith

Jones also received numerous other awards for his role, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture. Director Andrew Davis received "Best Director" nominations at that year's Golden Globe and Directors Guild of America Awards (but was not honored with a similar nomination at the Academy Awards). Ford was also nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance.

American Film Institute Lists

  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies - Nominated
  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills - #33
  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains:
    • Dr. Richard Kimble - Nominated Hero
  • AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores - Nominated
  • AFI's 10 Top 10 - Nominated Mystery Film

Novelization and remake

Jeanne Kalogridis wrote a mass-market paperback novelization of the film. She worked from the original screenplay, which eschews most of the humorous wisecracks spoken on film. Her novel looks more closely at some of the film's leading characters, especially Gerard and his newest subordinate. The film was also made into the Telugu film Criminal[15] and the Malayalam film Nirnayam.


Jones returned as Gerard in a sequel released in 1998, U.S. Marshals, which also featured Wesley Snipes, Robert Downey Jr., Joe Pantoliano, Daniel Roebuck and Tom Wood. While the second film also features Gerard's team of marshals hunting down an escaped fugitive accused of murder, it does not involve Ford as Kimble or the events of the first film. However, the fictional hospital at which Kimble worked, Chicago Memorial, is featured.


  1. ^ "Harrison Ford Films 1 Sequel While He Considers Another". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  2. ^ Great Smoky Mountain Railroad Frequently Asked Questions (2008 archive copy)
  3. ^ Tail of the Dragon
  4. ^ "Weekend Box Office : 'Fugitive' Makes Off With $23.8 Million". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  5. ^ "Weekend Box Office September 17–19, 1993". Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  6. ^ "The Fugitive". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  7. ^ "Labor Day Weekend Box Office: 'The Fugitive' Just Keeps on Running". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  8. ^ "The Fugitive". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  9. ^ "Fugitive, The (1993)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (1993-08-06). "The Fugitive". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  11. ^ "The Fugitive: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved 2009-07-13. "Though the film tries to grow into a conspiracy thriller involving a corrupt pharmaceutical company, that's one of its weaker points." 
  12. ^ Savlov, Marc (1993-08-06). "The Fugitive". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-07-13. "[...] occasionally drops the ball (the film's convoluted conspiracy ending is the first example [...]" 
  13. ^ Kempsley, Rita (1993-08-06). "'The Fugitive' (PG-13)". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-07-13. "[...] gummed up by an attempt to give it political relevance by vilifying the health care biz." 
  14. ^ "The 66th Academy Awards (1994) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  15. ^ "Bollywood Copies Hollywood". 

External links

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