With the paternal presence he brings to his roles, his ability to immerse himself in the most iconic films we grew up with, and his deep obsession with World War II, Tom Hanks has established himself as a father figure among moviegoers.
Over his lengthy career, he has become one of the most respected and cherished figures in the film industry. Hanks’ journey to stardom began in the 1980s with notable roles in TV series like Bosom Buddies. However, it was in the 1990s that he truly became a household name. His performance as Forrest Gump in the 1994 film of the same name earned him his first Academy Award for Best Actor. Forrest Gump remains one of the most iconic and enduring films in cinematic history, and Hanks’ portrayal of the lovable, simple-minded character is etched in the public consciousness.
Throughout his career, Tom Hanks has displayed incredible versatility, easily transitioning from drama to comedy and everything in between. His filmography includes acclaimed roles in Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, Apollo 13, Philadelphia, The Green Mile, and many more. Hanks’ ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level is a testament to his exceptional acting skills.
Beyond his acting, Hanks has also made his mark as a filmmaker, writer, and producer. His production company, Playtone, has been involved in the creation of numerous successful films and television series. He even recently launched a classic country radio station.
Tom Hanks’ enduring appeal can be attributed not only to his talent but also to his genuine, down-to-earth personality and philanthropic efforts. He has used his platform to raise awareness for important causes and has become a symbol of integrity and kindness in Hollywood. In a world of ever-changing trends, Tom Hanks remains a timeless and universally cherished figure in the world of entertainment.
Here are 17 of his most iconic performances and where to watch each of them.
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Road to Perdition (2002)
In the crime drama Road to Perdition, Tom Hanks embodies Michael Sullivan, a complex character navigating the perilous world of organized crime while protecting his son. Hanks skillfully portrays the conflicted father, adding depth and gravitas to the film’s atmosphere. His performance demonstrates his ability to delve into darker roles with emotional nuance, showcasing his versatility as an actor.
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You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Tom Hanks charms audiences as Joe Fox in the romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail. His role as a bookstore owner engages viewers with his wit and vulnerability, and the on-screen chemistry between Hanks and Meg Ryan is truly heartwarming. Hanks’ portrayal makes Joe Fox a relatable and endearing character in this modern-day love story.
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Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Hanks takes on the role of Carl Hanratty in Catch Me If You Can, an FBI agent pursuing a young con artist. His performance adds depth to the engaging cat-and-mouse storyline, portraying Hanratty as both persistent and empathetic. Tom Hanks’ portrayal brings an essential balance to this true-life tale of pursuit and deception.
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A League of Their Own (1992)
In A League of Their Own, Tom Hanks shines as Coach Jimmy Dugan, a charismatic leader in the first women’s baseball league. His character’s journey from reluctant coach to supportive mentor showcases Hanks’ ability to convey humor and heart in this sports drama. His portrayal adds significant depth to the film’s emotional landscape.
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Toy Story (1995)
Hanks lends his distinctive voice to Woody in the animated classic Toy Story. His warm and recognizable tones breathe life into the iconic cowboy doll, making Woody a beloved character in the world of animation. Tom Hanks’ voice acting talents are instrumental in creating the enduring charm of this film.
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The Green Mile (1999)
In The Green Mile, Tom Hanks delivers a powerful performance as Paul Edgecomb, a prison guard on death row. Hanks’ portrayal captures the character’s empathy and kindness, forming the emotional core of this moving drama. His ability to convey both the humanity and the supernatural elements of the story is truly captivating.
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Tom Hanks takes on the role of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger in Sully, depicting the heroic pilot who successfully executed an emergency landing on the Hudson River. Hanks’ performance authentically portrays Sully’s real-life heroism and the human drama that surrounded the remarkable event, making it a gripping and emotionally resonant film.
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Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Hanks portrays Sam Baldwin, a grieving widower, in the romantic classic Sleepless in Seattle. His portrayal adds depth to the character as he navigates the complexities of love and loss. Tom Hanks’ performance brings authenticity and warmth to this heartfelt tale.
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The Post (2017)
In The Post, Tom Hanks takes on the role of Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of The Washington Post. Hanks’ portrayal is a masterclass in depicting a determined newsman during a pivotal moment in American journalism. His performance embodies Bradlee’s unwavering commitment to truth and the First Amendment, making him a central figure in the film’s exploration of press freedom.
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In Philadelphia, Tom Hanks delivers a groundbreaking performance as Andrew Beckett, a lawyer battling discrimination and HIV/AIDS. His portrayal captures the character’s resilience and humanity in the face of prejudice and illness, contributing significantly to the film’s message of tolerance and justice. Hanks’ role in this film earned him a well-deserved Academy Award.
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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)
Hanks steps into the iconic shoes of Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. His portrayal of the beloved children’s television host is a testament to his ability to capture the genuine kindness and wisdom of Mr. Rogers. Hanks’ performance adds authenticity and warmth to this heartfelt tribute to a beloved figure.
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Apollo 13 (1995)
As Jim Lovell in Apollo 13, Tom Hanks leads the cast in a gripping space drama. His portrayal of the real-life astronaut showcases his ability to convey determination and courage in the face of adversity. Hanks’ performance as Lovell plays a pivotal role in the film’s tension and emotional depth.
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In the classic comedy Big, Hanks plays Josh Baskin, a young boy who magically becomes an adult. His comedic timing and childlike wonder are central to the film’s charm. Hanks’ performance as Josh adds humor and heart to this timeless tale of growing up.
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Captain Phillips (2013)
Hanks takes on the titular role of Captain Richard Phillips in Captain Phillips, depicting the harrowing hijacking of a cargo ship by Somali pirates. His portrayal captures the captain’s courage and resilience under duress, making it a riveting and emotionally charged performance.
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Saving Private Ryan (1998)
In Saving Private Ryan, Hanks portrays Captain John Miller, tasked with saving Private James Ryan during World War II. His leadership and portrayal of a soldier’s inner conflict are central to the film’s impact. Hanks’ performance underscores the sacrifices and camaraderie of wartime.
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Forrest Gump (1994)
Tom Hanks’ portrayal of Forrest Gump in the eponymous film is legendary. His performance as the lovable, simple-minded character is heartwarming and iconic. Hanks’ ability to convey innocence, optimism, and enduring love in the face of life’s challenges makes this role a cornerstone of his career.
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Cast Away (2000)
In Cast Away, Tom Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a FedEx executive stranded on a deserted island. His physical and emotional transformation in the role showcases his dedication and acting prowess. Hanks’ performance is central to the film’s exploration of isolation, survival, and the human spirit.
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The Ultimate Tom Hanks Movie Marathon: The 17 Best Movies From America’s Dad