hen you think of Tom Hanks it's hard to remember just how many great movies he has starred in, not to mention movies and other projects that he had Produced or Directed. This is far from being a complete list of Tom Hanks movies, but these are I believe the best 20 performances from Tom Hanks over the years.
Forrest Gump is a rare movie that succeeded on all levels. It was a box office smash ranking among the top five highest grossing movies of all time. But it was also a critical darling, garnering across the board praise and a truckload of awards. The movie became a cultural phenomenon, spawning cook books, quote books, a top ten soundtrack album and lines like "stupid is as stupid does" and "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get" have permeated our dialect. The movie has a nostalgic, feel good vibe thanks to the dimwitted Forrest's trek through 60's and 70's touchstone events. Underneath all those warm feelings lies a darkness. Bad things happen to just about everyone Forrest comes in contact with. His best friend Bubba is killed in Vietnam, his other friend Lt. Dan loses both his legs, his mother dies of cancer and his beloved Jenny dies of AIDS. Even the famous people Forrest comes across meet with disaster, President Kennedy & John Lennon are assassinated, George Wallace is shot and Elvis Presley dies young. There are superb performances all around. Sally Field is feisty as Forrest's mama, Mykelti Williamson is funny as Bubba, Gary Sinese as Lt. Dan is a perfect rough edged foil to Forrest and Robin Wright as Jenny portrays the confusion that young people of the times felt perfectly. While all those performances are of high quality, Forrest Gump is Tom Hanks' tour de force. He is utterly brilliant as Forrest. He is in virtually every scene of the movie and never once does he fail to astound. He becomes Forrest and makes you care what happens to him. Mr. Hanks deservedly won his second consecutive Best Actor Oscar for the role and cemented himself as the best actor of his generation and one of the best of all time.
NASA's worst nightmare turned into one of the space agency's most heroic moments in 1970, when the Apollo 13 crew was forced to hobble home in a disabled capsule after an explosion seriously damaged the moon-bound spacecraft. Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton play (respectively) astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise in director Ron Howard's intense, painstakingly authentic docudrama. The Apollo 13 crew and Houston-based mission controllers race against time and heavy odds to return the damaged spacecraft safely to Earth from a distance of 205,500 miles. Using state-of-the-art special effects and ingenious film making techniques, Howard and his stellar cast and crew build nail-biting tension while maintaining close fidelity to the facts. The result is a fitting tribute to the Apollo 13 mission and one of the biggest box-office hits of 1995.
When Steven Spielberg was an adolescent, his first home movie was abackyard war film. When he toured Europe with Duel in his 20s, he saw old men crumble in front of headstones at Omaha Beach. That image became the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, his film of a mission following the D-day invasion that many have called the most realistic--and maybe the best--war film ever. With 1998 production standards, Spielberg has been able to create a stunning, unparalleled view of war as hell. We are at Omaha Beach as troops are slaughtered by Germans yet overcome the almost insurmountable odds.
A stalwart Tom Hanks plays Captain Miller, a soldier's soldier, who takes a small band of troops behind enemy lines to retrieve a private whose three brothers have recently been killed in action. It's a public relations move for the Army, but it has historical precedent dating back to the Civil War. Some critics of the film have labeled the central characters stereotypes. If that is so, this movie gives stereotypes a good name: Tom Sizemore as the deft sergeant, Edward Burns as the hotheaded Private Reiben, Barry Pepper as the religious sniper, Adam Goldberg as the lone Jew, Vin Diesel as the oversize Private Caparzo, Giovanni Ribisi as the soulful medic, and Jeremy Davies, who as a meek corporal gives the film its most memorable performance.
Penny Marshall's popular 1992 comedy sheds light on a little-known chapter of American sports history with its story of a struggling team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league was formed when the recruiting of soldiers during World War II resulted in a shortage of men's baseball teams. The AAGPBL continued after the war (until 1954), and Marshall's movie depicts the league in full swing, beginning when a savvy baseball scout (Jon Lovitz) finds a pair of promising new players in small-town Oregonian sisters (Geena Davis, Lori Petty). The sisters are signed to play for the Rockford Peaches near Chicago, whose new manager (Tom Hanks) is a former home-run king who wrecked his career with alcoholism. They're all a bunch of underdogs, and Marshall (with a witty script by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel) does a fine job of establishing a colorful team of supporting players including Madonna and (in her movie debut) Rosie O'Donnell. It's a conventional Hollywood sports story (Marshall's never been one to take dramatic risks), but the stellar cast is delightful, and the movie's filled with memorable moments, witty dialogue, and agreeable sentiment. And just remember: there's no crying in baseball!
Sleepless In Seattle is a romantic comedy from 1993, about a recently engaged woman (Meg Ryan) who hears the sad story of a grieving widower (Tom Hanks) on the radio and believes that they're destined to be together. She's single in New York, he lives in Seattle with a young son, but the cross-country attraction proves irresistible, and pretty soon Meg's on a westbound flight. What happens from there is ... well, you must have been living in a cave to have let this sweet-hearted comedy slip below your pop-cultural radar. There's little complexity or depth to writer-director Nora Ephron's cheesy tale of a romantic fait accompli, and more than a little contrivance to the subplots that threaten to keep Hanks and Ryan from actually meeting. But the purity of star chemistry here is hard to deny, and this may be the first film to indicate the more serious and sympathetic side of Hanks that is revealed in later roles. With its clever jokes about "chick movies" and repeated homage to the classic weeper An Affair to Remember, this may not be everybody's brand of amorous entertainment, but it's got an old-Hollywood charm that appeals to many a movie fan.
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks shine in this romantic comedy. This is the second time this duo have performed together (Sleepless in Seattle). Perhaps that helps create the smooth natural tone of the interactions between the two. Ryan plays a bookstore shop owner...a tiny little store first run by her mother. Hanks company is building a huge bookstore chain in the same neighborhood. The two cannot stand each other. Besides their business lives, the two are both chatting with an interesting person through the internet and believe they are falling in love with the person. Little do they know, it is really each other! Will they meet? And if they do, will they fall in love or be shocked and disturbed? Watch the movie to find out what happens!
This film still contains Tom Hanks best performance in my opinion. Big is an expertly told modern fairy tale that captures perfectly the innocence and the enthusiasm of youth. This movie gets flawless performances from all the actors and actresses involved. It reminds us all of when we were young and Big is a testament to why we should always stay young at heart.
Big is among my favorite films of all-time and I honestly can't see any reason why someone would dislike this movie. In fact I believe it is the best movie to be made in the 80's and it's huge heart will allow Big too stand the test of time.
Much better than your average cop-and-dog movie (e.g., K-9), Turner and Hooch is really a love story about a control freak (Tom Hanks) who gradually resigns to the messy chaos of a sweet hulk of a pooch named Hooch. The excuse for this relationship is that the dog can identify a murderer and Hanks needs him, but the film is really about such hilarious moments as Hanks bathing Hooch with a long brush, and a wild chase through the streets when the sharp-eyed mutt spots his suspect. Layered over this is a healthy love story between Hanks and animal vet Mare Winningham, who share a terribly sexy scene together while fully clothed doing no more than making breakfast.
Dan Brown's international bestseller comes alive in the film The Da Vinci Code, directed by Ron Howard with a screenplay by Akiva Goldsman. Join symbologist Robert Langdon (Academy Award® Winner Tom Hanks, 1993 Best Actor, Philadelphia, and 1994 Best Actor, Forrest Gump) and cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) in their heart-racing quest to solve a bizarre murder mystery that will take them from France to England – and behind the veil of a mysterious ancient society, where they discover a secret protected since the time of Christ. With first-rate performances by Sir Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina and Jean Reno, critics are calling The Da Vinci Code "involving" and "intriguing," "a first rate thriller."
Philadelphia wasn't the first movie about AIDS (it followed such worthy independent films as Parting Glances and Longtime Companion), but it was the first Hollywood studio picture to take AIDS as its primary subject. In that sense, Philadelphia is a historically important film. As such, it's worth remembering that director Jonathan Demme (Melvin and Howard, Something Wild, The Silence of the Lambs) wasn't interested in preaching to the converted; he set out to make a film that would connect with a mainstream audience. And he succeeded. Philadelphia was not only a hit, it also won Oscars for Bruce Springsteen's haunting "The Streets of Philadelphia," and for Tom Hanks as the gay lawyer Andrew Beckett who is unjustly fired by his firm because he has AIDS. Denzel Washington is another lawyer (functioning as the mainstream-audience surrogate) who reluctantly takes Beckett's case and learns to overcome his misconceptions about the disease, about those who contract it, and about gay people in general. The combined warmth and humanism of Hanks and Demme were absolutely essential to making this picture a success. The cast also features Jason Robards, Antonio Banderas (as Beckett's lover), Joanne Woodward, and Robert Ridgely, and, of course, those Demme regulars Charles Napier, Tracey Walter, and Roger Corman.
Tom Hanks's debut as a writer and director is a lively, affectionate account of the shooting-star career of a forgotten (fictional) '60s pop-rock band called The Wonders--as in "one-hit wonders." Hanks plays the manager of the group, which includes drummer Guy "Sticks" Patterson (Tom Everett Scott) who works the floor at his parents' appliance store in Erie, Pennsylvania; Jimmy (Johnathon Schaech), the talented and temperamental lead singer and songwriter; Lenny (Steve Zahn), the goofy guitarist; and Ethan Embry as a geeky little fellow identified in the cast list only as "The Bass Player." The movie traces their meteoric rise and fall, from cutting their first record, to going on tour with a Phil Spector/Motown-type revue, to the internal tensions that lead to the band's disintegration, which comes when they fail to follow up their smash hit single, "That Thing You Do!" And that song, by the way, is so catchy it would definitely have been a hit in 1964--and deserves to be one today.
Tom Hanks proves again that he can create a memorable character as Viktor, a simple man with a mission who finds himself entrapped in JKF airport by an accidental loss of his country to villainous overthrow (beginning to catch the overtones Spielberg drives home?) and is kept 'prisoner' by the upwardly mobile Customs agent Frank Dixon ( played well by Stanley Tucci). At first Viktor speaks no English (tremendously comic scenes of how one reacts to a language that is completely foreign) and so must survive his prolonged stay in the airport by eating free crackers-and-mustard/catsup sandwiches, sleeping in the reconstruction site of the airport, 'bathing' in the restrooms (get it?). Slowly he encounters airport workers who come to his aid by mutual coercion (Gupta - the hilarious Indian custodian played exceptionally well by Kumar Pallana, Enrique who transports food and is lovable in the capable hands of Diego Luna, even the security clerk Torres played by Zoe Saldana and Mulroy played by Chi McBride), survives, suddenly able to speak a LOT of English (though with a delightfully consistent Slavic accent) he falls for a stewardess (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who has spent her life waiting for the right man to come along. The ending looks like it is going to be right out THE MUSIC MAN until the film takes a syrupy turn and ends not with a bang but with a whimper. There is nothing not to like about this warm movie, it is just a little too Hollywood. But all is forgiven if you can just watch it for 1) the performances and 2) for the simple quiet message that we all are dependent on each other in this far too busy, suspicious, and alien world. Good timing, Mr. Spielberg.
Starring Tom Hanks as a death-row prison guard in 1935, and written by Stephen King, this is an example of story-telling at its finest. My most frequent criticism of films is that they tend to be overlong, but The Green Mile, at a three full hours, needed every precious second in order to pace the story, develop its characters, and lead the viewer into the satisfying conclusion.
Despite some gruesome scenes depicting the details of electric chair execution, the film is a testament to the humanity of people. The audience gets to experience the stress of the responsibility of prison guards seeking to bring a bit of dignity to the last days of the convicted men, and we share their moral dilemma when they are faced with hard choices.
Angels & Demons besides being a feast to the eyes, it succeeds in arousing the viewer's curiosity in more than one area: contemporary physics, Rome's landmarks, the Vatican. And those who watched the movie and may find themselves in Rome and at the Vatican are more likely than not to actually look for some of the landmarks featured in Angels & Demons. In fairness, Angels & Demons does not come close to The DaVinci Code's Earth-shattering scope, depth of research and sophistication but it's still unmistakenly Dan Brown and those who enjoyed the Code will probably love A&D. Those who hated the Code are likely to hate A&D more. To me, Dan Brown's works are not art and they aren't science but they are great, well researched entertainment that often challenge the reader's/viewer's preconceived opinions and stimulate further research and investigation - and this is a good thing.
Splash is a wonderful, romantic comedy about a man and a mermaid who fall in love for each other. This is one of Tom Hanks' earliest hits that made him a star. His co-star, Darryl Hannah, who plays Madison the mermaid, has never really had a hot film career away from this movie, sadly enough. The late John Candy and Eugene Levy provide some of the film's hilarious comedy as well. This film was directed by Ron Howard. A movie about a mermaid has to be good, and Splash does this so well. Tips off to the crew of this movie who made it so real. The underwater sequences are well done as well as Daryl Hannah herself as the mermaid. She is utterly believable as a mermaid! She is just so sexy in the rubber mermaid tail suit. She swims in it so well. This movie really brought a fairy tale type story to life. A must see for everyone.
Tom Hanks turns in a hilariously original performance in THE LADYKILLERS, the laugh-out-loud comedy that explodes with outrageous wit and slapstick humor from the Coen Brothers (O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?, FARGO). Underneath Professor G.H. Dorr's (Hanks) silver-tongued southern gentleman persona is a devious criminal who has assembled a motley gang of thieves to commit the heist of the century by tunneling through his churchgoing landlady's root cellar to a casino's vault of riches. But these cons are far from pros. As their scheme begins blowing up in their faces, their landlady smells a rat. And when she threatens to call the police, they figure they'll just bump her off. After all, how hard can that be? Wickedly funny from start to finish.
Political movies about backroom negotiations need not be dry or heavy-handed, as Charlie Wilson's War delightfully proves. Based on the true story of playboy congressman Wilson's efforts to fund Afghanistan's defense against the Soviet invasion of the 1980s, the film is borne along on breezy attitude and a peppery script by West Wing scribe Aaron Sorkin. Wilson, played by Tom Hanks (who also produced), is the perfect hero for this kind of tale, because there's nothing perfect or heroic about him: He's a highball-swilling, fanny-pinching gadabout who becomes radicalized on the issue of helping the Afghans against their mighty aggressor. He has help in the form of a right-wing Texas anti-Communist (Julia Roberts) with a genius for raising money, and a sardonic CIA operative (Philip Seymour Hoffman, stealing the show) who lacks all the social skills Wilson has in abundance. Sorkin's syncopated speech is just the ticket for director Mike Nichols, who understands exactly how to keep this kind of political comedy popping (the complicated story comes in at a hair over 90 minutes, amazingly). Some scoundrels are on the right side of the angels, and the movie's Charlie Wilson is one of them.
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Frank Abagnale, Jr., a dazzling young con man who spent four years impersonating an airline pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer--all before he turned 21. All the while he's pursued by a dedicated FBI agent named Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), whose dogged determination stays one step behind Abagnale's spontaneous wits. Both DiCaprio and Hanks turn in enjoyable performances and the movie has a bouncy rhythm that keeps it zipping along.
"The Money Pit" is an underrated, romantic, slapstick comedy telling the story of an unmarried couple that unwittingly decides to purchase a large house in dire need of repair. The couple, Walter Fielding, Jr. (Tom Hanks) and Anna Crowley Beissart (Shelley Long), have a strong relationship until Anna's former husband, Max Beissart (Alexander Godunov), returns to claim the apartment where they have been living in NYC. Being forced to move, Walter and Anna decide to purchase a house and find what they believe is a dream house being sold by a seemingly eccentric widow, Estelle (Maureen Stapleton), in Long Island. Walter and Anna hurriedly purchase the house and move in. However, after a series of mishaps, they soon discover that their dream house has a number of problems. Having both invested a sizeable amount of their savings into the house, Walter and Anna have no choice except to hire contractors with dubious reputations to repair the problems.
Adapted from a popular French comedy-thriller, The Man with One Red Shoe follows a concert violinist (Tom Hanks) used as a patsy in a conflict between two rival factions of the CIA. Singled out at the airport solely because he's wearing mismatched shoes, Hanks is henceforth believed to be a mole with important information; a rogue crew of agents follows him, searches his apartment, and even seduces him in order to find out what he knows. At the same time, loyal agents--who also believe he's a mole--follow and protect him from predation by the rogues. Lori Singer plays a beautiful blonde spy with a conscience and an astonishing backless dress; Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, and Edward Herrmann are agents trying to second-guess each other; Jim Belushi plays Hanks's best friend, a jealous percussionist, and Carrie Fisher plays Belushi's wife, a flautist who's infatuated with Hanks and wants him to make some jungle love. Hanks plays it straight and is reliably pleasant. In the hands of Hitchcock, this might have generated some real suspense; as it is, it's amusing with some good twists, some weak gags, and one remarkable bicycle stunt.
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Do you love Tom Hanks, and how many of these movies have you seen, or maybe forgotten about? Any of these on DVD would make the perfect gift for the Tom Hanks fan in your family.
(See also Top 25 Tom Hanks Movies)
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