Tom Hanks rise to stardom is a strange one, but his story is also one that brings hope to any up and coming young actor in Hollywood.  Tom began his career on TV and was an immediate comedic success.

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump is one of those movies that you could watch over and over again. Tom Hanks always involves himself into a role really well, but none quite as complete as he does in this terrific movie.This is story of a mentally challenged man who finds that he is gifted in a number of ways and who has some amazing adventures as a result.

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Saving Private Ryan

Directed by Steven Spielberg, who once again shows his mastery of yet another genre, This film forever changed how war movies were made and shot. The movie makes you feel like you are there…makes you feel the pain the soldiers must have felt having to watch their friends die right in front of them.

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Philadelphia

Tough, controversial, and difficult to watch. From the director to the actors to the musical score, it is a powerful production.  Hanks portrays Andrew Beckett, a gifted lawyer, who is wrongfully accused of mishandling an important case for his firm, and is therefore terminated.

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The Green Mile

Frank Darabont’s film about a man who is convicted of double murder, but is found out to be much more than that…he is something unique, something special and possibly wrongly convicted of the crimes in which he was charged. 

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The Terminal

Many found Hanks’ first foreign character, the airport-bound Viktor, refreshingly sweet, but just as many found his portrayal of a naive Eastern European condescending and even bordering on offensive.

Cast Away

Very few actors have carried a film as singly on their shoulders as Hanks does here, sharing the screen with just a volleyball for stretches at a time. Even with very little dialogue, Hanks holds our attention. The film’s abrupt transition back to the real world shows just how deeply invested we’ve become in this character; we would have gladly followed him every step of the way.

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Captain Phillips

He’s a terse, appropriately commanding presence at the outset, minus his usual everyman twinkle — we rarely get to see Hanks play someone this dour. But it’s as a minute study in physical and emotional collapse that the performance is so compelling:

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Apollo 13

As the leader of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, Hanks is absolutely the levelheaded guy you want to rely on in a crisis. He lends the All-American astronaut a sense of quiet authority but there’s also that hint of a space-obsessed little boy who’s crushed that he’s forever missed his chance to walk on the moon.

Road to Perdition

Tom Hanks as a hitman? The unusual casting doesn’t quite come off, as we never really do buy Hanks as a mob assassin. He strives to convey the necessary coldness of a killer, but his scenes with his son work better than those where he’s pulling the trigger.

Big

There’s a reason this movie changed everything for Tom Hanks. Both Robert De Niro and Harrison Ford famously turned the role down, but when Hanks got hold of it, he was desperate to escape from the sort of silly comedy ghetto that Hollywood had planned for him.

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Catch Me If You Can

One of the best on-screen pairings of the past decade featured two of the biggest movie stars in cinema history.  One of the most entertaining films you will ever see has DiCaprio’s Frank Abagnale, Jr., who is a master con-man, being constantly chased by Hanks Carl Hanratty, who is a relentless FBI agent consumed with catching him.

A League Of Their Own

This may well be the funniest performance on this list, and it can never be overstated: Tom Hanks is a wildly funny actor. Younger film fans now might be surprised to learn that there was a period of his career when Tom Hanks was ‘just’ funny, when it was unlikely for him to be in a drama.

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Hanks won his first Oscar for “Philadelphia” in 1994. He followed that up in 1995 with a second statue for his work in the blockbuster “Forrest Gump.” Almost 20 years later it’s hard to believe there was actually so much scuttlebutt that it was too much too soon for the former sitcom star.