Ranked as high as second on some people’s “Best Actors of All Time” lists, Tom Hanks can do pretty much anything he wants to on a movie screen. With countless Academy Awards and Golden Globes now to his name, here is a list of what I believe are his best to date.
10. Apollo 13, 1995
Based on the true story, as told by astronaut Jim Lovell (played by Hanks in the movie) in his book Lost Moon, Apollo 13 is a riveting film that has the watcher on the edge of their seat. Hanks, alongside Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton, delivers a phenomenal performance.
9. You’ve Got Mail, 1998
Joe Fox (Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) are star-crossed lovers, as well as bitter rivals. Without the help of the internet, and AOL Instant Messaging, these two would have never met. Known only to each other by their IM aliases, NY152 (Fox) and Shopgirl (Kelly), the two slowly begin to become more and more attracted to each other, and eventually, of course, want to meet.
8. Charlie Wilson’s War, 2007
Upon the prompting of Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts), Charlie Wilson (Hanks), a Congressman who is less concerned with his party affiliations than partying, visits Afghanistan to view the turmoil and devastation that has been left by the 1980s Soviet Union. Upon his return he lobbies for more U.S. foreign aid to hurting countries, and he receives it. This is the basis for what was to become the Reagan Doctrine.
7. The Green Mile, 1999
Paul Edgecomb, a 108-year old healthy relic, relives his story of “the green mile”. At age 44, Paul (Tom Hanks) is stationed at a place called The Green Mile by the guards. It is called this because the green stretch of linoleum is usually the last and longest mile that murderers see before they are executed. This particular flashback is of a man named John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a giant man, who displays many childlike tendencies. Convinced that Coffey did not commit a crime, Paul tries to save him from death row before it is too late.
6. Catch Me if You Can, 2002
Dubbed “the true story of a real fake”, Catch Me if You Can is about the life of Frank Abagnale Jr (Leonardo DiCaprio), a professional forger, who fakes his way into becoming a millionaire, and does so with ease. Meanwhile, FBI agent, Carl Hanratty (Hanks) is charged with the task of finding the elusive Abagnale.
5. Big, 1988
Arguably Tom Hanks’ most breakout role, he stars as Josh Baskin, a young, 13 year old boy who makes a wish to Zoltar Speaks at a carnival to become “big”. True to its word, the machine transforms Josh into an adult overnight and the older Josh (Hanks) discovers that he is now a 30 year old man. After getting hired as a toy tester, and getting his own place to stay, Josh becomes absorbed in the adult life, even finding a romantic interest in Susan (Elizabeth Perkins). All the while, however, he wonders if this is all it’s cracked up to be.
4. Philadelphia, 1993
In a performance that earned him both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actor, Hanks stars, alongside Denzel Washington, as Andrew Beckett, a homosexual man who has contracted HIV. After realizing that he has begun to show outward symptoms, and is eventually found out, Beckett is fired by his firm. After Beckett sues, John Miller (Washington) finds Beckett in the library researching AIDS discrimination and agrees to take the case.
3. Cast Away, 2000
FedEx employee, Chuck Noland (Hanks) is stranded on a deserted island after his company plane crashes in the middle of nowhere. Upon realizing he is the only survivor, Chuck attempts to find food and shelter in order to survive. The experience for Chuck is overwhelming, as the formerly punctual and organized man becomes the disheveled and innovative perpetual cave man.
2. Saving Private Ryan, 1998
A truly heart-wrenching story, the movie follows Captain John H. Miller (Hanks) as he and his men search for Private James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), who is the last of his platoon left alive. Because the rest of his family has died, Ryan is allowed to leave the war and come home, according to the Sole Survivor Policy. Perhaps the greatest film ever made about the World War II era, the film will have you on the edge of your seat, as Hanks and co. deliver a fantastic performance.
1. Forrest Gump, 1994
One of the greatest stories ever told, Forrest Gump is, without a doubt, Tom Hanks’ greatest performance to date. Following the fictional story of Forrest Gump (Hanks), who has an IQ of 75, the film focuses on life with the intense, yet childlike and simplistic eyes of Forrest. Having fought in the Vietnam War, receiving the Medal of Honor, running across the country, and starting a successful shrimping business, Gump appears to have it all. All he has ever wanted, however, is the love of his childhood sweetheart, Jenny (Sally Field).
That Thing You Do!, 2006
The Terminal, 2004
Da Vinci Code, 2006
Toy Story, 1995