With Inferno hitting cinemas soon and Sully performing brilliantly at the US box office, there's no better time to talk about one of our most beloved actors, Tom Hanks. He's enjoyed one helluva career, popping onto everyone's radar in 1984 with the comedy Splash, and he's now a five-time Oscar nominee and two-time winner. The actor has dabbled in everything, from animation to action, and here are my personal top 10 movies from Tom Hanks.
10. Forrest Gump (1994)
This epic drama is one that I'll admit to liking less and less as the years go on. Sure, it's a feel-good film about a simple man who wanders into some of the most important moments in American history. But I believe Forrest Gump is a film that celebrates idiocy and ignorance, saying that no matter how stupid or clueless you are, you will succeed in America despite putting no work in. I wholeheartedly believe that to be a poisonous message. With this film, Hanks earned his second Academy Award, and deservedly so. It's an iconic and truly magnificent performance — I just believe that the film delivers a negative message and one that I cannot get behind. The film also deserves high praise for its wonderful use of visual effects. It's an expertly crafted movie on a technical level, but it has literally nothing to say.
9. Bridge Of Spies (2015)
One of Steven Spielberg's more recent features saw Hanks in the lead as James Donovan, a US attorney who is tasked with negotiating the release of an American spy pilot who was shot down over Russia at the height of the Cold War. Hanks is absolutely magnificent in the film, but he is somewhat overshadowed by Mark Rylance's absolutely captivating performance as Rudolf Abel, in which he delivers such a soft and sympathetic performance. Bridge of Spies may not be a Spielberg film we talk about in 15 years' time, but it's one that definitely deserves at least one viewing.
8. Big (1988)
Going back to Hanks's roots as a comedic performer, Big is one of his absolute best in the genre. Josh is a boy who wishes he was a man, and when he makes a wish, he wakes up as a fully grown adult, but still with the mind of an adolescent. What's so brilliant about Big is Hanks's performance as a child in a man's body. He's restless, full of energy and completely innocent, and his performance is definitely one that he rightfully received his first Oscar nomination for.
7. Sleepless In Seattle (1993)
One of my all-time favourite rom-coms, Sleepless in Seattle is one of several instances where Hanks starred in a movie opposite Meg Ryan. He plays Sam Baldwin, a heartbroken widower who is in desperate need of a fresh start following the loss of his wife to cancer. Of course, there are the obvious romantic clichés, and Hanks and Ryan barely share any screen time together, but he delivers one of his most likable performances to date.
6. Road To Perdition (2002)
When you think of a hitman, Tom Hanks doesn't necessarily spring to mind — and that's exactly why Road to Perdition is so good. Sam Mendes's adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name was a dark and gritty thriller about a family man/hitman whose life crumbles when his two worlds collide. To his associates, Michael Sullivan (Hanks) is known as the Angel of Death; he's the best hitman the Irish mob have. But when his son witnesses him at work, which leads to the death of his wife and youngest child, he and his surviving offspring must leave their home and set off on a journey of revenge.
5. Cast Away (2000)
"I'm sorry, Wilson. Wilson, I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" You all know that line, and you all know the heartbreaking scene in which it comes from. Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a FedEx executive who crash-lands on a deserted island and must survive by himself. Cast Away is a good movie, but Hanks truly elevates the film. He delivers a truly intense, emotional and physical performance as a man who is forced to realize what truly matters to him once he's stranded alone on an island with nothing but a volleyball to keep him company.
4. 'Saving Mr. Banks' (2013)
This Disney family film is sorely underrated. Saving Mr. Banks is one of the most charming and undeniably lovable films in Hanks's filmography. He plays Walt Disney as he tries to convince author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to give him permission to adapt her book Mary Poppins into a feature film. Surprisingly, it's not Hanks who steals the show here, even though he's absolutely marvelous. Colin Farrell easily gives one of the best performance of his career as Robert Travers Goff, P.L.'s father who suffers a difficult time but is saved by the real-life Mary Poppins.
3. Captain Phillips (2013)
The true story of Somali pirates taking the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first US cargo ship to be hijacked in 200 years. Paul Greengrass is a director that I'm not a huge fan of; his shaky-cam style really irritates me. But Captain Phillips is the one film whose handheld style didn't bother me. In fact, I believe it enhanced the experience of the film.
This biopic is an absolute thriller about Hanks's titular captain and how he fights to save his crew. Of course, the film is not an accurate depiction of the real-life events, but that's not what's important here. Captain Phillips was truly elevated by Hanks in what I believe might be his strongest performance in years, especially in the final 10 minutes, which absolutely broke my heart and should have earned him his sixth Oscar nod.
2. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Spielberg's beloved and acclaimed World War II drama centres on a group of US soldiers who go behind enemy lines to retrieve a soldier whose brothers had been killed in action. The film is anchored by another stellar performance by Hanks, but it's the unflinchingly real action that makes this an all-time classic. Saving Private Ryan is difficult to watch, especially during the breach of Omaha Beach, but it's an absolute masterpiece. It presents the group of soldiers as real people, especially Captain John H. Miller (Hanks), who must act decisively and try to keep his head during this hellish time in the war zone.
1. Toy Story Trilogy (1995–2010)
Arguably the best trilogy ever made, Toy Story is an absolutely classic tale of growing up. The first film is about Woody (voiced by Hanks) coming to grips with no longer being his owner's favorite toy; the second film is about being forgotten; and the third film is about moving on as Andy goes to college and Woody is given to a different kid. While it's not my favorite trilogy, it's easily the best one ever made. I believe every Toy Story film is a masterpiece, both technically and morally, and each installment teaches us different things about life, which I understood, even as a child, making these the perfect kids movies. And I'm stoked to hear there's a fourth Toy Story on the horizon.
So, there are my top 10 Tom Hanks movies! What are yours? Let me know your picks in the comments below! And look out for Hanks's next big film Inferno, which hits theaters on October 28.