In three decades, Tom Hanks’ movies have made close to $11 billion in global box office sales. This actor is one of the most recognized faces in the film industry. Hanks has more than eighty films to his name and with each movie role, he displays a unique brilliance, delivering performances in films that mostly fit the genres of romance and drama. He has also lent his talents to some of the biggest animated films to have hit the screens.
He was born Thomas Jeffery Hanks on the 9th of July in 1985 as the third child of the four children his parents had. When he was four years old, his mother, Janet Frager, and father, Amos Hanks got divorced, and so, Tom and his elder brother and sister lived with their father while his younger brother, Jim (also a filmmaker and actor), lived with their mother. As a child, Tom Hanks had always had a desire to perform but was very shy and tended to avoid discussions with his classmates and teachers. However, this desire was manifested when he took part in school plays.
For his college degree, Tom Hanks decided to study Theatre at Chabot College, California, he spent two years at this school before transferring to California State University but he did not graduate from here. He instead chose to join the Great Lakes Theatre Festival, which is in Ohio. He interned at the festival for three years and in that time, he learned the technical aspects of theatre productions. By 1979, his career as a professional actor began. In the later years of his career, he began to make and direct films.
Tom Hanks is one of the most loved people in Hollywood and the endearing characters he plays have helped with the love and adoration he gets – coupled with the talent and skill he displays in his films. The quality of work he has done in his repertoire of films, begs the question “does Tom Hanks have a bad film?” But the truth is, no actor is perfect and there have been films that are not as flattering as others. Here is a list of the best to worst of Tom Hanks movies.
Tom Hanks Movies – From Best to Worst
After thirteen years in the film industry, Tom Hanks won his first Academy Award and it was for the role of Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia. When AIDS was first discovered it was mostly associated with homosexuality and it only helped to perpetuate the homophobic tendencies of people. In this Tom Hanks movie, the character he plays is a homosexual lawyer who has contracted the disease and upon finding out, his firm fires him. He teams up with the only lawyer that was willing to help him in court, Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) goes through a long battle of proving that their actions are discriminatory and unlawful, a suit he eventually wins. The film is a cocktail of talented actors but its greatness lies in the novelty of its story and the voice of support it lent to the LGBT community.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
This 1998 Tom Hanks movie is one of the five he has done with the director Steven Spielberg. The film is based on the Normandy Invasion that occurred on the 6th of June, 1944.
Tom Hanks plays the role of Captain Miller who is in charge of a battalion that is supposed to look for a Private named Ryan. The film chronicles the issues they encounter on their mission which include engaging in battle and losing members of the battalion. The film was the second-highest-grossing in the world and the highest-grossing in the United States with the $482.3 million it made from box office sales in the year it was released. Saving Private Ryan is known for how good it is, not just in acting but in every other aspect. Spielberg described it as the second most difficult film he has ever made. For his performance, Hanks received praise and was nominated for a number of awards, some of which he won.
Sully: Miracle on the Hudson (2016)
Tom Hanks is the titular character Charles Sullenberger who manages to land a plane on the Hudson River after the engines of a US Airways Flight 1549 are attacked by a flock of birds. For his actions, he is considered a hero but faces disciplinary actions from the National Transportation Safety Board who believe that his actions were caused by an error of the pilot. Sully is based on a true-life story and the makers of this film were able to properly portray the events that took place during the bird strike and the resultant events of Sully’s actions. This film is one Hanks has performed in as an older man and he showed he is still very much the same talented actor he was when he was in his early twenties.
Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump (1994)
The year is 1994 and it is a great year for movies, with the release of box office hits and films that will forever remain fan favorites. One of such films is the adaptation, Forrest Gump. Tom Hanks is the titular character and the film chronicles his life from childhood to adulthood. It is an epic of sorts as it follows Forrest’s struggles with his life and manages to surpass every hurdle. The brilliance of the film’s writing is the way certain historical events are woven into the fabric of the movie, adding an element of authenticity. The filmmakers have stated that to properly represent each time period in the film they played the most popular music in that era. For his performance, Hanks was awarded his second Academy Award.
Cast Away (2000)
Tom Hanks is Chuck Noland, a system engineer who works with FedEx depots, going to different FedEx locations in the world and fixing what issues they might have. On a trip to Malaysia in 1995, his plane crashes into the Pacific Ocean and Noland is marooned on an uninhabited island. He spends four years on the island by himself, his only source of companionship is a volleyball he called Wilson. It is until 2000 that he decides to make a raft and tries to leave the island.
The soundtrack of this film was an important feature of this film as it was used in a way to properly convey the despair and sadness Noland felt. For his performance, Hanks got his fourth Golden Globe Award.
Tom Hanks in Big (1988)
In another one of his brilliant performances, Tom Hanks plays the role of a child who makes a wish to be ‘big’ and then turns into an adult man. As an adult, he gets a job working at a toy company, and because he is really a child who understands toys he rises through the ranks quickly. This was one of his earliest performances in film and because of how well he was able to play a childlike man, he won a Golden Globe for Best Actor, which was his first Golden Globe. The film was not only a critical success but a commercial one as well, making $151.7 million on its budget of $18 million.
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
A majority of Tom Hanks’ movies fit the romance genre and this gave the actor a sex symbol image – and one of his more liked romance films is You’ve Got Mail. In this film, he plays the role of Joe Fox, a member of the Fox family who runs a chain of bookshops around the country and is in rivalry with Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan) who runs a bookshop around the corner. The both of them meet online a fall in love oblivious of their real-life identities. It is a heartfelt story of love that Hanks and Ryan are able to tell beautifully. Reactions from critics ranged from mixed to positive and like all films that feature the actor it was a hit at the box office.
Tom Hanks in Turner & Hooch (1989)
Although this film was a success at the box office it was disappointing to critics. It is a buddy cop film that features Hanks as Turner and Hooch, a Dogue de Bordeaux as they take on crime and try to figure out the death of Turner’s friend. Other cast members included Mare Winningham and Craig Nelson who played supporting roles. Turner & Hooch was made with $13 million and from global box office sales it raked in $71.1 million. It is one of Tom Hanks less liked movies and critics mostly gave mixed reviews.
Every Time We Say Goodbye (1986)
This film is an anomaly in the string of successful films that litter Tom Hanks’ career as an actor. It is an Israeli-American film that is considered to be the most expensive film to have been made from Israel but it still failed woefully at the box office. Tom Hanks plays the role of David Bradley, a pilot stationed in Israel during World War who falls in love with a local girl. The film tells the story of how they try to battle the obstacles of social differences that stand in the way of their love.
He Knows You’re Alone (1980)
This 1980 horror film is Tom Hanks’s feature film debut and in it, he plays the supporting role of Elliot. A serial killer who was jilted by his bride on their wedding day goes out of his way to kill brides. Tom Hanks only makes a brief appearance in the film, however, the film was not a hit with critics who bashed the different ways the filmmakers tried to incite horror and failed terribly. Regardless, it was a hit at the box office.