Tom Hanks is 59 years old today! Happy Birthday Tom! To celebrate, AccessReel’s Sian Dhu chooses her Top 10 Tom Hanks flicks. How does her list compare to yours?
OK, so this isn’t actually a ‘Top 10’ list.…it’s a Top 15. So sue me. With more than 40 films under his belt, it was tricky enough getting my list down to a measly 15.
I’ve been a hermit for the past month, wading through the extensive Hanks back catalogue. Enough is enough; it’s got to the point that I am even dreaming about Tom Hanks. Thank God this project is finally done!
The youngest recipient ever of the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award (awarded when he was 45 years old), Tom Hanks’ career history is a diverse one; starting with 80s comedy, moving into Oscar winning dramas whilst also directing and producing.
After hours and hours of viewing, dear readers – BEHOLD! Here stands the final list of my personal favourite Tom Hanks performances:
Honourable Mention: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)
Just missing out on the top 15, this post 9/11 drama is testament to Hank’s presence as an actor. Portraying a father who died in the World Trade Centre as remembered by his son, Hanks takes a back seat, only appearing in fragmented flashbacks. Yet the entire film rests on the depth of his relationship with his son. Not many actors could ‘pull off’ such a strong presence within the limited screen time, yet Hanks does so with ease.
15. Turner and Hooch (1989)
I watched three quarters of this film as a kid but never got to finish as my Mother became strangely adamant that I go to bed before the end. Having rewatched it last week, now I know why: Tissue alert! TURNER AND HOOCH is from the era many call ‘Classic Hanks’: 80’s comedy at it’s best. This flick scored extra brownie points in my book due to the numerous scenes of Hank running around in his jocks….I have to say he was pretty fit back in the day! Nice one Tom!
14. That Thing You Do (1996)
Hank’s directorial debut, about a one-hit-wonder boy band. He also appeared in the film as the savvy band manager. A lesser known flick, but a goodun all the same.
13. The Money Pit (1986)
A young couple buy a seemingly amazing house, only to find it’s literally falling to bits. One of my fave films from the ‘Classic Hanks’ era. Silly, shouty and hilarious, it has one of my all time favourite Hanks improvised lines “I’ve been here so long I’m hallucinating! A while ago I thought the care bears were here!”
12. Road to Perdition (2002)
Bonds of loyalty are tested when a hitman’s son witnesses what he does for a living. There was a lot of talk upon this film’s release about how it was outside of Hank’s usual character mould. Playing a man of few words with a reprehensible criminal profession, Hanks still manages to be warm and fuzzy….how does he do it?!
11. Saving Mr Banks (2013)
What a challenge taking on the role of such a famous historical figure: Walt Disney. Hanks made me love Disney even more.
10. The Terminal (2004)
A lovely little film about an unclassifiable political refugee forced to live in an airport. I was skeptical Hanks could pull off this character believably. Everyone knows Tom Hanks; how could we possibly accept him as a non-English speaking immigrant? Kudos to him though, he pulled it off.
9. A League of Their Own (1992)
When WWII threatens to shut down major league baseball, an all women’s league is created to save the sport. Another favourite of mine from my childhood. Here Hanks plays a defeated, unlikeable alcoholic….yet, once again, he still manages to remain likeable! What is it with this guy?
8. Catch Me if You Can (2002)
A true story about the chase of youthful conman, Frank Abagnale Jr. DiCaprio and Hanks?! What a team! Hanks’ multi-layered performance in this flick gets me every time. He is strong yet insecure, hard yet approachable, by the book but fair….the list of contradictions goes on.
7. Cast Away (2000)
Hanks gets stranded on an island with only a volleyball for company. It’s a one man show, yet Hanks ensures it never gets dull….”Wiiiiilllsoooooon!”
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Amidst the chaos of WWII, a band of soldiers are tasked with finding one man and returning him home. A fine example ‘of less is more’ and a far cry from the over the top, flapping, shouty characters that first made Hanks famous, Captain Miller is understated yet multi-layered.
5. Big (1988)
A 12-year-old boy wishes to be big, and his wish comes true. It sounds easy; pretending to be a kid. Yet few could do it with the same class as Hanks. This is Hanks at his coolest.
4. Philadelphia (1993)
Philadelphia tells of a gay lawyer dying of AIDS who launches a legal campaign against the firm that unfairly dismissed him. Winning Hanks his first Oscar, this performance is perhaps one of the greatest turning points in his career, changing his image as a comedy/romance lead to a dramatic force to be reckoned with.
3. The Green Mile (1999)
Death row receives an inmate with a mysterious gift. This film made me cry….for hours. Despite the fantastical subject matter, Hanks helps keep this film grounded in reality.
2. Forrest Gump (1994)
Perhaps an obvious choice at the top of the list, but how could it not be? Forrest Gump is one of recent cinematic history’s most iconic characters. Admit it, atleast once in your life you’ve shouted “run Forrest, run!” right?
And my winner is…….
1. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
I know, I know! Call it an odd choice, but the soppy chick in me could not go past Sleepless in Seattle for my number one Tom Hanks performance. With a perfect blend of comedy and sentimentality, Hanks creates my idea of a perfect man.
Hanks plays a widowed fathered struggling with the grief of losing what he believes to be a once in a lifetime love. His son, however, is determined for him to find a new wife and has a particular choice in mind – in the shape of Meg Ryan.
Sleepless in Seattle is the movie I watch whenever I need a lift: It restores my faith in love, destiny and men – all the things in life that can be a real pain in the arse at times!
Sure it’s not a dramatic showcase, nor does it stretch Hank’s acting ability in any way, yet I’ve watched the film countless times and still get the same warm and fuzzy feeling with every viewing. That has to count for something!
So, what picks of yours have I missed? What would be your number 1?