Raymond "Ray" Ferrier is the main protagonist of Steven Spielberg's 2005 science fiction film War of the Worlds. He is a dock worker living in Bayoone, New Jersey who is seperated from his children. When aliens begin devastating the Earth with towering war machines, Ray must race aganist time to protect his children and take them to their mother in Boston, and to survive the alien invasion.
Ray works as a dock hand at the start of the film. He is divorced from his wife, Mary Ann, who has since re-married. He has two children, Robbie and Rachel. He has become distant from his children, and only sees them occasionally on the weekends. One weekend they arrive at his house for a visit, and Robbie borrows his car without permission and goes out. Ray is about to go after him when he sees a bizarre electrical storm is occurring. He asks Rachel to come out and watch, but they are soon scared by the lightning, and both run back inside the house. They hide under the table, and the storm finally stops after twenty-six strikes. Ray then discovers that all power in the house has gone out, and his cell phone is not working either. He tells Rachel to stay put, and goes to check things out.
Ray finds two of his friends, who are just as confused about what's happening. He also finds Robbie, and sends him back to the house. Ray and his friends discover a massive crater where most of the lightning hit. A massive tripod machine suddenly emerges from the ground, causing everyone to retreat for some distance. As the machine activates, it begins firing its heat-ray lasers, disintegrating many of the bystanders. Horrified, Ray runs back to his house, where his children ask him what's happening. Ray is briefly overcome by what he's seen, and collapses on the floor in shock. Once he recovers, he tells Robbie and Rachel that they must leave the house "in sixty seconds." He has them pack their things, and takes a small handgun with them.
Ray leads his children to one of the only working cars left, which is at an auto shop run by his friend Manny. He has Robbie and Rachel get in and tries to convince Manny about what's happening, but in vain. They are forced to leave without him, and he is disintegrated. Ray drives to his ex-wife's home, but nobody is there. They decide to sleep in the basement that night, but a plane damaged by the aliens crashes through the house. Ray and his kids manage to escape into the boiler room and survive. The next morning, Ray learns from a news reporter that the attacks are happening all over the world. The family sets out for Boston, where Mary Ann and her parents are, but the next night a mob attacks their car, and a man forces them out at gunpoint.
The following day, Ray and his family stumble across a massive battle between a group of U.S. Marines and the tripods. Robbie, who wants to help fight, runs over to join them. Ray goes after him and tries to convince him to stop, but Robbie asks to be allowed to help them. Upon seeing that Rachel is about to be taken away by a couple of strangers (who think she's been left alone), Ray reluctantly agrees. As Ray goes back to get Rachel, the tripods set many of the tanks ablaze. Ray screams Robbie's name, believing that he's been killed.
Ray and Rachel then meet a man named Harlan Ogilvy, who offers them shelter in his basement. Ray is despondent over losing Robbie, but he recovers and puts Rachel to bed. He tells her that Robbie will meet them at their grandparents' house in Boston, and reassures her that her family is alive, and that they're worrying about her. As Rachel asks him for a lullaby, Ray sings "Little Deuce Coupe" to soothe her to sleep.
Ray then gets to know Ogilvy better, learning that he lost his entire family to the invaders. Ray becomes more uneasy as Ogilvy unveils his plan to fight them off. Ray is upset that Ogilvy has dragged him and his daughter into this, and later overhears him telling Rachel that he'll take care of her if anything happens to Ray. Angered that Ogilvy is saying something like that, Ray tells Ogilvy calmly that he is not to talk to Rachel again.
An alien probe then comes into the basement. Ray brings Rachel over to hide behind a mirror, holding her tightly. However, Rachel's leg accidentally slides, alerting the probe. Ray and Rachel leave her boot behind to trick the probe, while they hide somewhere else. Ogilvy nearly attacks the probe with an axe, but Ray silently begs him to come join them, which he does.
As the probe leaves, Ray thinks they're safe, but then the aliens themselves come into the basement. Ray has Rachel sit in a chair silently as the aliens move overhead and examine various objects. As Ogilvy tries to use his shotgun on the aliens, Ray silently struggles with him for control of the gun, while Rachel watches the aliens from a safe place. The aliens finally leave, and Ogilvy ominously tells Ray that they aren't on "the same page." Ray looks at Rachel, silently telling her to distance herself from Ogilvy.
The next morning, Ray and Ogilvy discover that the tripod outside the house is harvesting humans for their blood. Ogilvy becomes unhinged at this, and attempts to dig a tunnel out of the basement, shouting that the aliens aren't going to get him. Ray knows that the aliens will hear the noise and tries to get Ogilvy to be silent, but Ogilvy hits him with a shovel. Ray seems in shock for a moment, but then goes back to Rachel, blindfolds her, and tells her to cover her ears and sing a song until he comes back. As Rachel sings, Ray goes back into the other room and kills Ogilvy off-screen. He comes back to Rachel, and they embrace and fall asleep together.
That night, an alien probe comes back, and Rachel is abducted. Ray is captured as well, but is able to destroy the tripod with a grenade, and he and Rachel escape. They make it to Boston the next morning, where they find the aliens are dying from exposure to Earth's bacteria. They witness the last tripod being brought down by the military, as Ray hugs Rachel and tells her it will be okay. They finally make it to Mary Ann's parents' house, where Rachel is reunited with her mother, and Robbie is revealed to be alive.
At first, Ray struggles to connect with his children, and has a particularly strained relationship with Robbie. He gets on better with Rachel, but she lacks confidence in him and is much closer to her brother. Over the course of the film, he becomes closer to his children, and develops an especially close bond with Rachel, to the point that he would do anything to protect her. He also goes to great lengths to protect Rachel's innocence, telling her to close her eyes, look only at him, or sing to herself when something frightening is happening. He is determined, resourceful, and thinks before he acts, putting the safety of his children first.