Tom Hanks is an actor that comes along once in a lifetime. He has a certain charm that has made him beloved by audiences for decades. His performances span across all genres and he seldom makes a bad movie. Hanks has worked with some of the greatest filmmakers and is constantly delivering performances that are real, lovable, and authentic. At the same time, many people who have interacted with Hanks have said that he is a genuinely nice person with a good heart. Hanks has been nominated for six Academy Awards throughout his career, and has taken home two Oscars for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.
Hanks was born in Concord, California and had a passion for acting from a very young age. He continued to study acting in college but ended up dropping out to pursue an acting career in New York City. Hanks made his film debut in a slasher film entitled He Knows You’re Alone while working in theatre. From there, Hanks made guest appearances on shows such as Happy Days and Growing Pains, and made his big break in the 1984 film Splash. Since then, Hanks has become one of the most prestigious actors in Hollywood as well as a successful director and producer. Hanks has some exciting upcoming projects, but before that, let’s dive into his best movies of all time, ranked.
10 Apollo 13
Ron Howard’s American space drama tells the riveting story of the Apollo 13 astronauts who successfully made it home after a near death mission. Hanks portrays the ship’s commander, Jim Lovell, who leads his team to safety after a series of disasters. Apollo 13 was an intense experience that keeps its characters at its core. It is a tale of bravery and showcases the intelligence and determination of the Nasa Space Program. The film was nominated for nine Oscars.
9 Toy Story
In Pixar’s Toy Story, Tom Hanks blessed us with the iconic voice of Woody who has been delighting audiences to this day. Woody, along with his gang of toys, overcome obstacles and villains throughout their many adventures. At the same time, Toy Story is a story of love, friendship, and self-acceptance. It is possibly one of the most beloved Pixar films of all time, and it wouldn’t be the same without the voice talents of Tom Hanks.
8 Catch Me If You Can
Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can is a classic cat-and-mouse tale that tells the true story of con-artist Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio). Hanks takes the role of FBI agent, Carl Hanratty, who is on the pursuit of Abagnale throughout the film. The music, performances, and direction all hit the marks for a fantastic dramatic thriller. The chemistry between Hanks and DiCaprio is top-notch, and the film was nominated for two Academy Awards.
7 Captain Phillips
Paul Greeengrass’ riveting film Captain Phillips tells the true story of Captain Richard Phillips (Hanks) who becomes a hostage to Somali pirates after his ship is hijacked. Hanks gives a solid and emotional performance of Phillips who came out of the situation alive and unharmed. Greengrass’ direction, once again, delivers a gritty and realistic film depicting true events.
This 1988 comedy tells the story of a twelve year old boy who magically turns into an adult overnight. The film is carried by Tom Hanks’ performance. He completely embodies the mindset and physicality of a young boy, and his performance even earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Big is filled with heart, comedy, and one of Hanks’ best performances to date.
5 The Green Mile
Frank Darabont’s The Green Mile adapts the classic Stephen King novel, and tells the story of a magically gifted prison immate, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), who is wrongfully convicted of murder. Hanks takes the role of a prison guard named Paul Edgecomb who discovers the powers of Coffey and is put to the test of whether or not he should carry out his duties of execution. The film is a dramatic masterpiece that adapts King’s writing with sheer perfection.
4 Cast Away
Cast Away is basically a one-man show consisting of a FedEx executive (Tom Hanks) deserted on an island. It is not easy for an actor to carry a movie with hardly any dialogue or supporting cast, but through Hank’s emotion and talent, the film is a survival story of epic proportions. The film is brilliantly directed by Robert Zemeckis and earned Tom Hanks an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
3 Saving Private Ryan
Steven Spielberg’s epic WWII drama tells the story of a group of soldiers on a quest to retrieve Private Ryan (Matt Damon), after his brothers were killed in battle. Saving Private Ryan is arguably the greatest WWII film of all time and delivers one of the most realistic depictions of battle in the first twenty minutes of the film, as the soldiers storm the beaches of Normandy. Hanks, along with his fellow cast members, deliver brutally honest portrayals of soldiers in the nightmares of war.
2 Forrest Gump
Tom Hanks earned his second Academy Award in Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump. Hanks takes the role of Forrest Gump, a man with an extremely low IQ, who takes us on a journey through America over the course of several years. The film is a gem that is still beloved by audiences to this day. It has heart, drama, romance, and several memorable lines.
Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia is a heartbreaking tale of an attorney dying from AIDS (Hanks) who sues his law firm for wrongful termination with the help of attorney Joe Miller (Denzel Washington). Philadelphia was a landmark film that brought AIDS to the attention of audiences and showcased the pain it brought to innocent people. Hanks delivers a career-defining performance and earned his first Academy Award for Best Actor. Demme’s direction is brilliant, and this is a film that should be seen by all.
Alexander Skarsgård cuts a bloody path through his enemies as a hulking Viking on a quest for revenge in trailer for Robert Eggers’ The Northman.
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Best Tom Hanks Movies, Ranked