Tom Hanks is unquestionably a gem in Hollywood. If it comes to picking out the most talented and versatile actors in the world, his name is a must in the list, even if we keep Meryl Streep at the top. In a career spanning over 40 years now, Hanks has worked in multi-genre films. He is not only director Steven Spielberg showman; in-fact is the audience's favourite too.
Till date, Hanks has worked in a plethora of films that have grossed billions of dollars at the box office and his performances have inspired both his co-stars and young actors. In this post, you will get to know about his best performances.
Here is a list of the 10 best Tom Hanks films that shifted the narrative around performance-oriented films:1. Forrest Gump (1994)
Tom Hanks became a household name for his career-defining role in 'Forrest Gump'. The film helped in establishing him as a perfect mainstream star eligible for the toughest of roles which were on his way. Not only did Hanks earn an Academy Award for playing the lead in the film (he got his first Oscar for 'Philadelphia'), this was one role that no one else could have done better than Hanks.
'Forrest Gump' also won five other Academy Awards in major categories including the one for Best Picture, just when it was competing against heavyweight films like 'The Shawshank Redemption' and 'Pulp Fiction'. The year 1995 thus became a glorious year for Tom Hanks, director Robert Zemeckis and 'Forrest Gump' and an unforgettable one for movie buffs.2. Philadelphia (1993)
The 1993 film 'Philadelphia' showed us how versatile Tom Hanks could be. Whether it was Andrew (Hanks) losing himself to the tunes of Maria Callas' powerful opera or giving the members in the court a glimpse of his lesions, he dedicated himself to every scene in the film.
Directed by Jonathan Demme, 'Philadelphia' happened to be the first mainstream film that acknowledged the theme of HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and homophobia. Hanks received his first ever Oscar for the film and gathered appraise for his moving performance from critics and fans all over the world. The film was pronounced to be a definite AIDS movie by Seattle Post-Intelligencer.3. Big (1989)
The list is incomplete without us giving a mention about 'Big'. Josh Baskin's (Hanks) wish of growing into an adult comes true overnight. Hanks succeeded in capturing the very essence of his character and thus gave one of his most iconic performances ever.
Directed by Penny Marshall, the film has been termed as 'undeniably funny' and 'refreshing' by the critics. It also earned Hanks his first ever Academy nomination in the year 1990. 'Big' became a trendsetter in the league of age-changing comedies including 'Like Father Like Son' (1987) and '18 Again!' (1988).4. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Playing the United States Army Ranger Captain John H. Miller could have been one of the most challenging roles in Tom Hanks's career. 'Saving Private Ryan' has remained one of the most talked about films coming from the actor. Hanks shone the brilliance of a heavy-weight performance and the film went on to be regarded as one of the most watched World War II movies of all time.
Hanks has always remained a favourable choice of director Steven Spielberg who further cast him in several films thereafter including his 2017 film 'The Post'. For the 71st Academy Awards, Hanks received a nomination in the Best Actor category for this film. 'Saving Private Ryan' was nominated in a total of 11 categories. Hanks captured the very essence of his part and made the audience see both the heroic and civilian side of it.5. Cast Away (2000)
It was the fifth time in 2001 that Hanks was nominated for an Oscar for playing a lead actor (though he didn't win this one). Directed and co-produced by Robert Zemeckis, 'Cast Away' re-established Hanks's image as an 'everyman' in Hollywood due to the variation in the roles played by him. 'Cast Away' chronicles Chuck Noland's journey who fights for his survival on an inhabited island after his aeroplane crashes in the South Pacific.
The film turned out to be a commercial and critical success and brought Hanks to limelight again. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hanks stated that he wanted to examine the very idea of four years of hopelessness especially in the absence of food, water, shelter, and company! 'Cast Away' is a must watch Tom Hanks film.6. The Terminal (2004)
Another path-breaking film happened when Hanks decided to work again with Steven Spielberg in the 2004 comedy-drama 'The Terminal'. As Hanks played Viktor Navorski (a man with an Eastern European-Russian mix nationality), it actually made people believe about the existence of the otherwise fictional country Krakozhia. Thanks to his deep understanding of accents and dialects!
The film follows the story of Navorski who is denied entry into the United States and therefore goes on to live at the John F. Kennedy Airport terminal for nine long months. Inspired by real-life events, Spielberg's film got huge attention and mostly positive reviews; Hanks' performance was the soul of the film. The movie comes with a feel-good message and Hanks was able to deliver it without a scintilla of doubt.7. Captain Phillips (2013)
Hanks's stint as a merchant mariner Captain Richard Phillips in 'Captain Phillips' has remained one of his most serious roles of all time. A smart-powerful performance by Hanks made this film a Hollywood biopic done right. Paul Greengrass's direction also received acclaim from the critics.
In the film, Phillips is taken hostage by pirates in the Guardafui Channel (based on a real incident). The flick was nominated for six Academy Awards, while Hanks received a Golden Globe nomination for his compelling act.8. Bridge of Spies (2015)
Historic-drama 'Bridge of Spies' directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg turned out to be another film, Tom Hanks received praise for. With his compelling performance, Hanks made this story, set during the cold war, an intensely gripping tale.
Hanks played James B. Donovan, a lawyer who defends a spy of the Soviet Union (played by Mark Rylance). One can clearly see Hanks weaving a rather interesting character as he goes on to give Rylance an equal opportunity to perform, thus not ending up overpowering his aura. Their lawyer-spy companionship got the film the best picture nomination during the 2016 Academy Awards.9. Apollo 13 (1995)
Ron Howard's 'Apollo13' happened to be an adventure-filled tale especially for Tom Hanks, who gave a memorable and moving performance for his fans as the Apollo 13 Commander Jim Lovell.
Hanks worked together with Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton in a larger part of the film and established an exact image the audience was expecting from this role. There was much clarity to Hanks's character in the film. He once mentioned to AMC, “From Apollo 7 on up, I lived this stuff.” The movie was nominated for nine Academy Awards and grossed over $355 million worldwide.10. Sully: Miracle on the Hudson (2016)
'Sully' is the first ever actor-director collaboration between Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood. The film is inspired by the real incident of Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (played by Hanks) landing an aeroplane on the Hudson River, thus saving all passengers on the flight.
Though the film received average reviews from the critics, its commercial success was undoubtedly on Hanks's shoulders. Hanks was also given the Hollywood Actor Award for this role.