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  • Writer's pictureEllis Barthorpe

Ranking the roles of Tom Hanks

The 5 best roles of the actor Tom Hanks chosen by owner of Focus Film, Ellis Barthorpe.

Tom Hanks Actor Bio

  • Full name | Thomas Jeffrey Hanks

  • Born | 1956 (Concord, California, United States)

  • Films appeared in | 103

  • Oscar Nominations | 4 (A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, Cast Away, Saving Private Ryan, Big)

  • Oscar Wins | 2 (Forrest Gump, Philadelphia)

  • BAFTA Nominations | 1 (A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood)

  • Golden Globe Nominations | 6 (A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, The Post, Captain Phillips, Charlie Wilson's War, Saving Private Ryan, Sleepless in Seattle)

  • Golden Globe Wins | 4 (Cast Away, Forrest Gump, Philadelphia, Big)


5. Andrew Beckett


To tell a true, heartbreaking story with so much conviction is a testament to how groundbreaking Tom Hanks is as an actor. In possibly his most emotional role he embraces the grit and necessary decorum and encompasses Andrew Beckett beautifully. By the end of the film he is almost unrecognisable; and that isn't just down to makeup and his physical weight loss but also down to his weakening portrayal. Tom Hanks fought back at homophobia in this film and it really revolutionised his career. Having been widely known for his light-hearted, comedic performances in films such as Turner and Hooch and Big, this film gave the actor a serious contention in dramatic performance. His next two films after Philadelphia were Forrest Gump and Apollo 13, two more dramatic performances; and it's clear when looking over his filmography that it's this incredible role that changed his image and appeal to casting directors and critics.


4. Woody

Toy Story 1, 2, 3 & 4

Now, when reading this you may question the inclusion of an animated character on this list when so many other groundbreaking performances won't have been included. But Tom Hanks' vocal performance in these four wonderful films is one of the greatest in animated history. I believe he will sink into the history books alongside Mel Blanc and Sterling Holloway as one of the greatest vocal performers for animated film of all time. The passion that Hanks puts in when recording is incredible. When viewing recording sessions behind the scenes for the films you can see Hanks flailing his arms in the air as Woody would, or panting out of breath as if his stitched legs had ran as far as the stubborn cowboy could carry him. Not to mention how revolutionary the performance is; possibly the most innovative animated film of all time with Tom Hanks' Woody at the helm.


3. Captain Richard Phillips

Captain Phillips

In a lot of ways this film seemed to slip under the radar, and the performance along with it. In my opinion, this is Tom Hanks' most humbled and true performance. He seems entirely real and becomes the character completely.

The standout moment comes in the conclusion of the film. A shellshocked Phillips says nothing, but just shows the pain in his eyes of all he's been through; and because we've been right there with him, as an audience we too feel that suffering. If you haven't watched this, go and watch it!


2. Chuck Noland

Cast Away

143 minutes of movie almost entirely filled with Tom Hanks, and only Tom Hanks. The way that he can captivate an audience for the entire run time is an outstanding achievement. The only other character for the main chunk of the film for Chuck to talk to is Wilson, a volleyball. What eventually happens within their relationship is excruciatingly emotional, and that's all down to Hanks. How can a man make you feel that way about a volleyball? Because that man is Tom Hanks, and he could honestly spend two hours painting a fence and keep me engrossed.


1. Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump

Sure, this is an obvious choice for the number 1 spot, but there's no questioning Mr Gump's position on this list. Filled with an imaginable amount of quotes and iconic moments, the film just wouldn't have worked without Tom Hanks.

The personality of Forrest Gump is iconic in itself and the impact that he has had on society is immense. Even for people who haven't seen the film (shame on you) they will almost definitely still know who Gump is, and associate that awkwardly ambitious character with the legendary Mr Tom Hanks. From American football to table tennis to fishing to fighting to meeting several US presidents, Forrest Gump does it all...and the performance is one of the most iconic film performances in the history of cinema.


News of the World and the future for Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks' next on screen performance will come as Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a Civil war veteran who must return a 10 year old girl to her last remaining family. The film will mark the first Western performance for the award-winning actor and the director at the helm, Paul Greengrass.

Tom Hanks is a man known as the nicest man in Hollywood; a man who is a household name all around the world; a man who the majority of people would name their favourite actor; and he's nowhere near done yet. With several new projects on the horizon he still has a few more Oscars in him yet. The most noteworthy of those upcoming projects is the new Elvis Presley biopic set for a 2022 release in which he stars alongside Austin Butler. Hanks is a known Presley fan, and the King's music has appeared in some of his previous films, including Cast Away and the number 1 film on this list, Forrest Gump. Therefore the prospect of Tom Hanks being a part of this Elvis biopic is an exciting one, and I'm sure it will be added to his eclectic list of outstanding performances, for that list is ever-growing, and I hope it never stops.

News of the World out 10th of February on Netflix

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