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Best Tom Hanks Movies

Join us as we explore Tom Hanks' most iconic roles, from a charming toy cowboy to a brave World War II captain.

From the shores of Normandy in “Saving Private Ryan” to the whimsical world of “Toy Story,” Tom Hanks has captivated audiences with his heartfelt performances across a wide range of genres. Known for his incredible ability to embody diverse characters, Hanks’ filmography is a testament to his versatility and dedication. This article delves into some of his most memorable roles, showcasing this incredible actor and his prowess and enduring impact on Hollywood.

#23 The Polar Express

Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

In “The Polar Express,” Tom Hanks lends his voice and likeness to multiple characters, most notably the Conductor, in this enchanting animated Christmas film. The story follows a young boy who embarks on a magical train journey to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Hanks’ versatile performance brings a warm and engaging presence to the film, seamlessly transitioning between different roles. His ability to capture the wonder and magic of the holiday season, combined with his rich vocal talents, makes “The Polar Express” a beloved holiday classic.

#22 A Man Called Otto

Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

“A Man Called Otto” is a heartwarming drama about a curmudgeonly widower, Otto, who finds new purpose in life after meeting his lively new neighbors. Tom Hanks portrays Otto, bringing depth and warmth to a character initially seen as grumpy and unapproachable. His performance beautifully captures Otto’s transformation, showcasing Hanks’ ability to portray complex emotional journeys with subtlety and charm.

#21 Elvis

Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

In “Elvis,” Tom Hanks plays Colonel Tom Parker, the enigmatic manager of Elvis Presley. This biographical drama delves into the life and career of the legendary rock ‘n’ roll star. Hanks’ portrayal of Parker is both captivating and nuanced, highlighting his skill in embodying real-life figures with a blend of charisma and complexity, making him a standout in this musical biopic.

#20 Asteroid City

Image credit: Focus Features

“Asteroid City” is a whimsical and visually stunning film set in a fictional desert town during a Junior Stargazer convention. Tom Hanks plays a supporting role that adds gravitas to the ensemble cast. His performance, although not the lead, enhances the film’s quirky charm, proving his versatility and ability to shine even in smaller roles.

#19 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

In “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” Tom Hanks stars as Fred Rogers, the beloved television host. The film focuses on Rogers’ friendship with a cynical journalist, showcasing Hanks’ uncanny ability to embody the gentle and kind spirit of Mr. Rogers. His heartfelt performance earned critical acclaim, demonstrating his exceptional talent for bringing real-life icons to the screen.

#18 Road to Perdition

Image credit: DreamWorks Pictures

“Road to Perdition” is a dark and atmospheric crime drama in which Tom Hanks plays Michael Sullivan, a mob enforcer seeking vengeance after his family is targeted. Hanks delivers a powerful and brooding performance, showcasing his range as an actor capable of portraying both ruthless determination and deep vulnerability.

#17 You’ve Got Mail

Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

“You’ve Got Mail” is a charming romantic comedy about two rival bookstore owners who unknowingly fall in love online. Tom Hanks plays Joe Fox, a corporate bookstore magnate. His chemistry with co-star Meg Ryan and his ability to convey both charm and sincerity make this film a beloved classic, highlighting Hanks’ knack for romantic leads.

#16 Bridge of Spies

Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

In “Bridge of Spies,” Tom Hanks stars as James B. Donovan, a lawyer tasked with negotiating the exchange of spies between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Hanks’ portrayal of Donovan is both dignified and compelling, showcasing his talent for embodying principled and steadfast characters in high-stakes dramas.

#15 The Post

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

“The Post” is a historical drama about the Washington Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers. Tom Hanks plays Ben Bradlee, the newspaper’s executive editor, opposite Meryl Streep’s Katharine Graham. Hanks’ performance as the determined and principled editor underscores his ability to bring historical figures to life with authenticity and gravitas.

#14 Sully

Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

In “Sully,” Tom Hanks portrays Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who heroically landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River. The film follows the aftermath of the event, including the investigation that questions his actions. Hanks delivers a grounded and compelling performance, capturing Sully’s calm under pressure and his quiet resilience, which earned widespread acclaim for its authenticity and depth.

#13 The Terminal

Image credit: DreamWorks Pictures

“The Terminal” is a unique comedy-drama where Tom Hanks plays Viktor Navorski, a man from a fictional Eastern European country who becomes stranded in a New York airport when his homeland undergoes a revolution. Hanks’ portrayal of Viktor, with his endearing accent and earnest demeanor, brings both humor and pathos to the film, showcasing his versatility and charm.

#12 Sleepless in Seattle

Image credit: TriStar Pictures

“Sleepless in Seattle” is a beloved romantic comedy in which Tom Hanks plays Sam Baldwin, a widower whose son calls into a radio show in an attempt to find his father a new wife. Hanks’ chemistry with co-star Meg Ryan, despite their limited screen time together, and his ability to convey vulnerability and hope, make this film a timeless classic.

#11 A League of Their Own

Image credit: Columbia Pictures

In “A League of Their Own,” Tom Hanks plays Jimmy Dugan, a washed-up baseball player who becomes the reluctant coach of an all-female baseball team during World War II. Hanks’ performance balances gruffness and eventual admiration for his players, delivering memorable lines and a nuanced transformation that highlights his comedic and dramatic skills.

#10 Captain Phillips

Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

“Captain Phillips” is a gripping thriller based on the true story of the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates. Tom Hanks stars as Captain Richard Phillips, who faces off against the pirates to save his crew. Hanks’ intense and emotionally charged performance, especially in the film’s final scenes, received critical acclaim for its realism and depth.

#9 Big

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

In “Big,” Tom Hanks plays Josh Baskin, a 12-year-old boy who magically becomes an adult overnight. Hanks’ portrayal of Josh, with his wide-eyed innocence and childlike wonder, is both heartwarming and humorous. This iconic role showcases Hanks’ ability to convincingly play a character with a unique blend of naivety and maturity, making it a standout in his career.

#8 Catch Me If You Can

Image credit: DreamWorks Pictures

“Catch Me If You Can” is a cat-and-mouse thriller where Tom Hanks plays Carl Hanratty, an FBI agent chasing the young con artist Frank Abagnale Jr., played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Hanks brings a mix of dogged determination and empathy to the role, creating a compelling dynamic between hunter and hunted, and demonstrating his skill in playing nuanced, layered characters.

#7 Cast Away

Image credit: 20th Century Fox

In “Cast Away,” Tom Hanks delivers a tour-de-force performance as Chuck Noland, a FedEx executive who becomes stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash. The film focuses largely on Hanks’ solo performance, showcasing his ability to convey a wide range of emotions and his character’s evolution from desperation to resilience. His physical transformation and emotional depth in this role are remarkable, earning him critical acclaim and numerous awards.

#6 Philadelphia

Image credit: TriStar Pictures

In “Philadelphia,” Tom Hanks portrays Andrew Beckett, a lawyer who is wrongfully dismissed from his firm due to his HIV status. Beckett decides to sue for discrimination, and the film follows his legal battle and personal struggles. Hanks’ powerful and sensitive performance earned him his first Academy Award for Best Actor, as he masterfully conveyed Beckett’s vulnerability, courage, and dignity in the face of prejudice.

#5 Toy Story

Image credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

“Toy Story” is an animated classic where Tom Hanks voices Woody, a pull-string cowboy doll who feels threatened by the arrival of a new toy, Buzz Lightyear. Hanks brings Woody to life with warmth, humor, and a touch of vulnerability, creating a beloved character that has become an iconic part of popular culture. His voice performance is both engaging and emotionally resonant, making Woody a standout in the world of animation.

#4 Apollo 13

Image credit: Universal Pictures

In “Apollo 13,” Tom Hanks stars as Jim Lovell, the commander of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, which suffers a critical failure en route to the moon. The space film chronicles the astronauts’ struggle to return to Earth safely. Hanks’ portrayal of Lovell is marked by calm determination and leadership under pressure, showcasing his ability to embody real-life heroes with authenticity and grace.

#3 Forrest Gump

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

“Forrest Gump” is a beloved epic where Tom Hanks plays the titular character, a man with a low IQ who witnesses and influences key historical events in the 20th century. Hanks’ performance as Forrest is both endearing and profound, capturing his character’s innocence, kindness, and unyielding optimism. This role earned Hanks his second consecutive Academy Award for Best Actor, solidifying his status as a Hollywood legend.

#2 The Green Mile

Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

In “The Green Mile,” Tom Hanks plays Paul Edgecomb, a death row corrections officer who forms a bond with John Coffey, a condemned man with miraculous healing powers. Hanks’ performance is deeply empathetic and humane, as he navigates the moral complexities of his job and the extraordinary events that unfold. His portrayal of Edgecomb’s compassion and inner turmoil is both moving and memorable.

#1 Saving Private Ryan

Image credit: DreamWorks Pictures

“Saving Private Ryan” is a harrowing war film where Tom Hanks stars as Captain John Miller, tasked with finding and bringing home Private James Ryan, whose brothers have all been killed in action. Hanks’ performance as Miller is a masterclass in leadership, bravery, and vulnerability, as he portrays a man deeply affected by the horrors of war. The film’s realistic portrayal of battle and Hanks’ compelling performance make it a landmark in cinematic history.

Tom Hanks’ illustrious career is filled with performances that transcend the ordinary, turning each role into a unique cinematic experience. Whether he’s portraying the quiet heroism of an airline pilot or the innocent optimism of a man who loves to run, Hanks consistently delivers performances that are memorable and redefine the standards of acting. Each film mentioned here benefits from his stellar performances and is worth watching for its own cinematic merits. As Hanks continues to select diverse and challenging roles, we look forward to more unforgettable performances that promise to further cement his legacy as one of Hollywood’s finest.

Ryan is Upbeat Geek’s editor and connoisseur of TV, movies, hip-hop, and comic books, crafting content that spans reviews, analyses, and engaging reads in these domains. With a background in digital marketing and UX design, Ryan’s passions extend to exploring new locales, enjoying music, and catching the latest films at the cinema. He’s dedicated to delivering insights and entertainment across the realms he writes about: TV, movies, and comic books.

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