AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Fugitive
Director: Andrew Davis (Dir)
Release Date:   1993
Duration (in mins):  130
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Cast: Harrison Ford  (Dr. Richard Kimble)
  Tommy Lee Jones  (Samuel Gerard)
  Sela Ward  (Helen Kimble)
 

Summary: Helen Kimble, the wife of Dr. Richard Kimble, struggles against an attacker. She wields a gun, but the attacker twists it from her grip and shoots her. Shortly before midnight, the Chicago police arrive at the Kimble residence. Officers escort Richard to the station for further questioning. Meanwhile, a local reporter informs viewers that the circumstances of Helen's murder are vague, but they do know that the Kimbles attended a fundraiser earlier that evening. In the interrogation room, Richard sits silently and reflects. Earlier that night, at a fundraising gala, Dr. Charles Nichols returns Richard's car keys, having borrowed the vehicle earlier that day. Helen eyes Richard as she endures a boring conversation with Dr. Alec Lentz. Later, on the ride home, Richard receives a call to assist in a late-night operation. Helen promises to wait up for him. Back in the interrogation room, Richard snaps out of his memories as two officers question him about the scratches on his neck. Richard admits that Helen scratched him as he tried to move her, and becomes irate when he realizes the officers suspect him of murdering his wife for a hefty insurance policy. Richard insists that a one-armed man broke into his house and killed Helen, but officers observing him from a two-way mirror believe Richard to be the prime suspect. Some time later, a judge sentences Richard to death after he is found guilty of murdering his wife. On a bus to the state penitentiary, Richard watches a fellow prisoner fake a seizure. When a guard unlocks the cage to help, the prisoner stabs him. An older guard shoots the prisoner, and, during a struggle with another convict, accidentally shoots the bus driver, causing the bus to careen off the road onto a railroad track. The older guard unlocks Richard’s handcuffs so he can administer medical care to the younger guard, then flees when he sees a train approaching. Seconds before the train collides with the bus, Richard pushes the injured young guard out a window and jumps to safety. Copeland, a fellow prisoner, helps Richard unlock his shackles, and the two run in separate directions. Soon after, Sam Gerard and his team of Federal Marshals arrive at the crash site where the local police have begun an investigation. The old guard claims that he saved the young guard and that all prisoners perished, but Gerard disproves him after the empty shackles are found. Gerard announces that Dr. Richard Kimble is a fugitive. On the run, Richard steals a mechanic's coveralls and goes to a local hospital. He cares for his wounds, shaves off his beard, and steals a sleeping patient’s clothes. An officer passes in the hallway, but Richard eludes him. However, as Richard leaves the building, the wounded guard arrives in an ambulance and recognizes him. Wearing a doctor’s coat, Richard gives orders to the paramedics who take the young guard inside, then steals the ambulance and speeds away. Gerard and his team catch up with Richard via helicopter. Richard enters a tunnel that runs through a viaduct and stops the ambulance. Leaving the vehicle, he escapes into the sewer, but Gerard and his partner, Cosmo, are close behind. Gerard wades through the sewage pipe in pursuit. When he slips and loses his gun, Richard retrieves it. Holding Gerard at gunpoint, Richard pleads that he did not kill Helen. Gerard responds, “I don’t care,” and continues in pursuit of Richard to the end of the pipe where the water drops into a massive viaduct. Gerard uses another gun strapped inside his jacket to arrest Richard, but Richard makes the desperate decision to leap, falling hundreds of feet into the churning water below. Although his team members believe that Richard has perished, Gerard insists they continue their pursuit. Emerging from the river, Richard finds a wooded area and rests. He dreams of Helen and her murder. The next morning, Gerard and his crew head back to Chicago. Richard dyes his hair darker and hitchhikes back to Chicago as well. Gerard and his team locate Copeland at an ex-lover's home. Copeland holds hostage young Marshal Newman, but Gerard defuses the altercation by firing two quick bullets to Copeland's head. A despondent Newman questions Gerard's risky methods, to which the latter replies, "I don't bargain." Richard calls his lawyer from a payphone and asks for money. Gerard monitors the call and deduces that Richard is now in Chicago. Later, Richard stops Dr. Nichols outside his country club and asks for cash. Nichols offers his help, but Richard quickly leaves. Gerard instructs his crew to allow Richard to "re-enter his life," so his capture may be easier. Richard rents a basement apartment then heads to the prosthetics department at Cook County Hospital, where he steals a maintenance identification badge and uniform as a disguise. Gerard later questions Nichols, who admits that he has recently seen Richard, but insists on his innocence. Haunted by nightmares of Helen’s murder, Richard uses his new disguise to research prosthetics patients at the hospital, in search of the one-armed man. At his basement apartment, Richard awakens to police cars swarming outside. However, the officers are there to arrest a drug dealer upstairs. At the station, the drug-dealer informs the police that Richard has been living in the basement of his building. At the hospital, Richard steals files for a handful of patients who match the one-armed man’s age and prosthetic type. In the hallway, facing a large influx of patients, a female doctor asks Richard to take a young patient to an observation room. Richard checks the patient’s x-rays and discovers that he needs emergency surgery, so he delivers him to the operating room instead. Meanwhile, Gerard searches Richard's apartment and finds evidence that Richard has been spending time at Cook County Hospital. When the female doctor learns that Richard overrode her orders, she takes his badge and calls security, but Richard runs away. Gerard arrives at the hospital and realizes that Kimble has been conducting his own investigation. Gerard creates his own list of suspects from the database of prosthetics patients. Later, Richard visits a convict who may be his wife’s killer, but discovers in the visitation room that the man is black. Gerard spots Richard as he leaves City Hall. However, Richard eludes Gerard and Cosmo as he blends into the St. Patrick's Day Parade outside. Some time later, Richard breaks into the home of another on his list, Fredrick Sykes. Inside, he finds a picture of Sykes with Dr. Lentz, whom he met at the gala the night of Helen’s murder. He also finds indications that Sykes works for the pharmaceutical company Devlin-MacGregor. Convinced that Sykes is his wife’s killer, Richard calls Gerard from the Sykes’ phone and leaves it off the hook so the call can be traced. As Gerard and his team investigate, Sykes arrives and indicates that he works security for Devlin-MacGregor. Gerard finds Sykes suspicious. Over the phone, Richard reveals to Nichols that he thinks Devlin-MacGregor and Lentz were after him because he discovered that their drug, RDU-90, caused liver damage. Richard believes Lentz had something to do with Helen’s murder, but Nichols informs Richard that Lentz is now dead. At their office, Gerard and Cosmo discuss Devlin-MacGregor's annual profits, becoming suspicious of Lentz as well. Richard receives help from medical archivist Bones, who gives him a tissue sample of a patient who used Provasic, Devlin-MacGregor's drug containing RDU-90. Lab analyst Cathy helps Richard discover that the original tissue samples have been replaced with healthy samples. Though Richard suspects Lentz of forging the samples, Cathy determines that half of the approved samples were signed for on the day of Lentz’s death. Richard then realizes that Nichols, who also supervised the study, must have approved the false samples. At the same time, Newman questions Bones and discovers that Nichols was Lentz’s boss, disproving Nichols’ former statement to Gerard that he had never met Lentz. Leaving the hospital, Richard boards a train on his way to confront Nichols. Sykes follows him on board and shoots a cop in his pursuit of Richard. Richard subdues Sykes, secures him to a railing using the injured cop’s handcuffs, and leaves the train. Gerard learns of Richard's train fight and heads toward the hotel-based medical conference where Richard confronts Nichols. Interrupting Nichols’ speech promoting Provasic, Richard physically battles with Nichols. The fight continues to the hotel's roof, where a police helicopter pursues the men. Richard pushes Nichols through a skylight, and they both fall into an elevator shaft. The elevator travels down to the laundry room, where Richard continues to chase Nichols. Gerard and Cosmo arrive, and Gerard calls out to Richard that he knows the truth about Helen's murder, urging him to give up the chase. Just before Nichols has the chance to shoot Gerard, Richard knocks him to the ground. Driving away from the scene in an unmarked car, Gerard uncuffs Richard.
 

Distribution Company: Warner Bros., Inc.
Production Company: Warner Bros., Inc.
Director: Andrew Davis (Dir)
  Terry J. Leonard (Dir, 2d unit - North Carolina)
  Mike Gray (Dir, 2d unit - Chicago)
  Robert Grand (Unit prod mgr)
  James A. Dennett, Sr. (Unit prod mgr)
  Tom Mack (1st asst dir)
  Brian E. Frankish (1st asst dir, 2d unit - North Carolina)
  Kenneth A. Flisak (1st asst dir, 2d unit - Chicago)
  David Kelley (2d asst dir)
  Dustin Bernard (2d asst dir, 2d unit - North Carolina)
  Gary B. Goldman (2d asst dir, 2d unit - Chicago)
  James A. Dennett, II (2d 2d asst dir)
  Robert Schick (Addl 2d asst dir)
Producer: Arnold Kopelson (Prod)
  Keith Barish (Exec prod)
  Roy Huggins (Exec prod)
  Stephen Brown (Co-prod)
  Nana Greenwald (Co-prod)
  Peter MacGregor-Scott (Co-prod)
Writer: Jeb Stuart (Scr)
  David Twohy (Scr)
  David Twohy (Story)

Subject Major: Fugitives
  Murder
  Searches
  United States. Marshals
 
Subject Minor: Ambulances
  Apartments
  Assassins
  Bodyguards
  Bus drivers
  Buses
  Chases
  Chicago (IL)
  Conspiracy
  Dams
  Drug dealers
  Firearms
  Forests
  Friendship
  Fund-raising
  Handicapped
  Holidays
  Hospitals
  Hotels
  Impersonation and imposture
  Investigations
  Nightmares
  Parades
  Physicians
  Police
  Prison escapes
  Rivalry
  Sewers
  Specific types of drugs
  Speeches
  Train wrecks
  Trains
  Trials
  Vigilantes
  Wife murder

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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