Tom Hanks’ best movies and performances: a definitive ranking

Tom Hanks is a legendary actor known for his remarkable performances that have captured the hearts of audiences around the world. Throughout his illustrious career, he has starred in numerous films, many of which have become cinematic classics. In this article, we will explore Tom Hanks’ best movies and performances, ranking them in a definitive list.

  • Forrest Gump (1994) Forrest Gump is arguably Tom Hanks’ most iconic performance, earning him an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The film follows the story of Forrest, a simple-minded man with a heart of gold, who unwittingly becomes a part of some of the most significant moments in American history. Hanks’ portrayal of Forrest is nothing short of extraordinary, capturing the character’s innocence, humor, and unwavering spirit.
  • Philadelphia (1993) Philadelphia is a landmark film that dealt with the sensitive issue of AIDS and homosexuality. Hanks played the role of Andrew Beckett, a gay lawyer who is fired from his job after he contracts HIV. The film is a moving portrayal of the discrimination faced by people with AIDS during the early days of the epidemic. Hanks’ performance is nuanced and poignant, bringing to life the struggles of those who faced this devastating illness.
  • Saving Private Ryan (1998) Saving Private Ryan is a war epic that follows a group of soldiers who are tasked with rescuing a paratrooper behind enemy lines during World War II. Hanks plays the role of Captain John H. Miller, the leader of the mission. Hanks’ performance is understated yet powerful, conveying the horrors of war and the toll it takes on the human spirit.
  • Cast Away (2000) Cast Away is a survival drama that sees Hanks playing the role of Chuck Noland, a FedEx employee who is stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash. The film is a testament to Hanks’ acting ability, as he carries the film almost entirely on his own, with only a volleyball for company. Hanks’ performance is both emotional and raw, as he struggles to survive and find his way back home.
  • Apollo 13 (1995) Apollo 13 is a thrilling space drama based on the real-life events of the Apollo 13 mission. Hanks plays the role of astronaut Jim Lovell, who is part of the crew that experiences a catastrophic malfunction during their journey to the moon. Hanks’ performance is gripping, as he brings to life the tension and fear of the astronauts as they fight to survive in the harsh conditions of space.
  • A League of Their Own (1992) A League of Their Own is a sports comedy-drama that follows the story of the first all-female baseball league. Hanks plays the role of Jimmy Dugan, a washed-up former baseball player who is hired to coach one of the teams. Hanks’ performance is both hilarious and heartwarming, as he brings to life the character’s transformation from a grumpy alcoholic to a supportive and caring coach.
  • The Green Mile (1999) The Green Mile is a prison drama that follows the story of a death row corrections officer, played by Hanks, who develops a bond with an inmate who has supernatural abilities. Hanks’ performance is moving, as he portrays the officer’s struggle to reconcile his duty with his compassion for the condemned man.
  • Sleepless in Seattle (1993) Sleepless in Seattle is a romantic comedy that sees Hanks playing the role of Sam Baldwin, a recently widowed father who moves to Seattle with his son. Hanks’ performance is charming and funny, as he captures the character’s vulnerability and the ups and downs of his romantic journey.
  • Captain Phillips (2013) Captain Phillips is a biographical drama based on the true story of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates. Hanks plays the role of Captain Richard Phillips, who is taken hostage by the pirates. Hanks’ performance is intense and emotional, as he conveys the fear and desperation of a man who is fighting for his life against dangerous and unpredictable adversaries.
  • Toy Story franchise (1995-2019) Tom Hanks lent his voice to the beloved character of Woody in the Toy Story franchise, a series of animated films that follow the adventures of a group of toys that come to life when their owner is not around. Hanks’ voice work is iconic, as he brings to life the character’s loyalty, humor, and kindness, making Woody one of the most beloved characters in cinematic history.

Enjoying Tom Hanks’ Best Movies

If you’re looking to dive into Tom Hanks’ filmography and experience his best movies and performances, here are some tips for getting the most out of your viewing experience:

  • Start with his most iconic roles: Forrest Gump, Cast Away, and Saving Private Ryan are all excellent starting points for exploring Hanks’ range as an actor.
  • Don’t overlook his lesser-known films: While Hanks is best known for his blockbusters, he has also starred in smaller films that showcase his acting skills. Movies like A League of Their Own and The Terminal are worth checking out.
  • Take note of his collaborations: Hanks has worked with some of the best directors and actors in the industry, including Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Meg Ryan. Pay attention to his collaborations, as they often result in some of his best performances.
  • Don’t forget his voice work: Hanks’ voice work in the Toy Story franchise is some of his most iconic, and he has also lent his voice to other films, such as The Polar Express.
  • Appreciate his range: From comedy to drama to action, Hanks has tackled a wide variety of genres throughout his career. Appreciate his ability to adapt to different roles and genres, and be open to exploring his filmography beyond your comfort zone.

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