Tom Hanks, the most loved American actor, began his acting career more than three decades ago, first performing with the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in 1977. After moving from California to New York, he had his first TV breakthrough, starring as Buffy Wilson in the American sitcom, Bossom Buddies (1980). However, he became known in the cinematic world four years later, starring in the romantic comedy Splash (1984), directed by Ron Howard. The movies that followed were Bachelor Party, The Man With The One Red Shoe, and The Money Pit.
In 1988, this brilliant actor turned from comedy to drama, with his first serious role, in Penny Marshall’s Big. He portrayed a 12-year-old-boy who was transferred overnight into the body of a 35-year-old-man. The movie brought him his first Academy Award nomination for the best leading actor. In 1993, he starred in the huge hit, Philadelphia, playing the role of an AIDS patient, side by side with Denzel Washington. This role brought him his first Academy Award. A year later, he found himself on the Oscars’ stage again, receiving yet another best Lead Actor Oscar, making him one of the two actors to ever win this award two years in a row.
Here is our choice of the best Tom Hank’s movies:
- Forrest Gump (1994)
Tom Hanks, in his most iconic role, delivered an outstanding performance, in the movie which was a huge box office success. This film classic, directed by Robert Zemeckis, depicts the life of slow-witted Forrest Gump, who, by a strange twist of fate, becomes involved in the presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, Watergate, Vietnam. The fragments of the 20th century American history are seen through the eyes of a simple man from Alabama, with a very low IQ of only 75. Forrest inspires people with his naive optimism while he runs to his extraordinary destiny.
- Saving Private Ryan (1998)
In the Steven Spielberg’s war masterpiece, Tom Hanks delivered yet another masterful Oscar-nominated performance. He plays a role of captain Miller who, following the Normandy Landings, is leading the group of soldiers behind enemy lines in order to repossess a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action. In a world of chaos, combat, and war, Tom’s character is surprisingly cold-headed and gently humane, despite his horrific environment. The movie contains many violent scenes where Tom Hanks brilliantly depicts the horror of an ordinary human being bound to fight the war.
- Green Mile (1999)
Based on a Stephen King book, and directed by Frank Darabont, the Green Mile has a special sense of supernatural and mysterious about it. Set in Louisiana’s Cold Mountain Penitentiary, in 1932, the movie tells a touching story about the guards on the Death Row, who become deeply affected by one of their charges: an African American man, accused of raping and murdering a little girl, who has an extraordinary gift. Tom Hanks is playing a prison guard, Paul Edgecomb, who reveals the truth about the mysterious man, John Coffin, but unfortunately, fails to save him in the end.
- Cast Away (2000)
A modern-day Robinson Crusoe tale which follows the days of a FedEx executive, Chuck Noland, stranded on a desert island, after he survived a plane crash. Most of the film, he is all alone, his only companions being a volleyball and the nasty island climate. The movie explores the basics of human survival instincts, both emotional and physical, in isolation. All of the scenes in this film are captivating, as the protagonist fights for survival, against the elements. This magnificent movie makes you question your values, think about life and sort out the priorities.