When Oscar nominations have been announced over the years Tom Hanks’ name has been read out five times. He has won two Oscars – one for “Philadelphia” and one for “Forrest Gump” – and been nominated for “Big,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “Cast Away.” The mere fact that he has had his name read out five times shows just what a good actor he is, so what are the best films to sit down and watch if you want to see the best that Tom Hanks has to offer.
“Forrest Gump” (1994) – At a quick glance the film “Forrest Gump” should not have worked. The very idea of taking one character and placing him in the right place to be involved in some of the world’s most historic moments sounds like the kind of script that would be too hard to bring to the screen. That wasn’t the case though when Robert Zemeckis tackled this film, instead he made one of the finest films to ever come out of Hollwood. Aside from Zemeckis’ great work you also have a great performance by Tom Hanks in the title role of Forrest Gump. Hanks brought an air of innocence as he played one of the most lovable simpletons of all time.
“Cast Away” (2000) – Hanks also brought his A-game to another film that on paper looked like it should never have worked. The idea of taking a character and placing them on an island where their only partner in conversation is a volleyball sounds like a boring kind of film, yet once again director Robert Zemeckis was up to the task. A disheveled looking Tom Hanks showed the world exactly what ‘against-type’ acting is all about, while making the scenes between him and Wilson the volleyball the kind that the audience can’t take their eyes away from.
“Saving Mr. Banks” (2013) – It’s hard to imagine that when Tom Hanks was asked to play the legendary Walt Disney in 2013’s “Saving Mr. Banks” that it was the first time that anybody had every portrayed the filmmaker on the big screen. The film followed Walt Disney’s fight to bring the film “Mary Poppins” to the big screen when her creator P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) sticks her heels in and decides things will be done her way. While Hanks’ pretty much bares no physical resemblance to Disney at all he did capture all of his mannerisms and ended up pulling out one of the surprise performances of the year. With Colin Farrell also putting in a great performance the two men and Thompson made this one of the must see films of the year.
“Captain Phillips” (2013) – Over the years Tom Hanks has revealed himself as one of the finest character actors of all time. In 2013 he was on fire delivering good performances in “Cloud Atlas” and “Saving Mr. Banks” but he saved his best for “Captain Phillips.” Director Paul Greengrass worked hard to bring the true story of Captain Richard Phillips’ clash with Somali pirates to the big screen and his leading man delivered in sensational form. Hanks was great throughout the film, but during the final half an hour of the film he gave every other actor in Hollywood an acting lesson. As the film reaches its tensest moments Hanks turns his acting skills up to a level rarely seen and enhanced the film in a way that had critics unloading the praise.
“Toy Story 3” (2010) – Throughout his career Tom Hanks has played so many unique characters that it is easy to forget that one of his best performances came when he was simply voicing a character. A lot of cinema lovers seem to have forgotten over the years that Hanks has voiced the character of the lovable toy cowboy Woody all throughout the “Toy Story” franchise. When it was announced that “Toy Story 3” was going into production a lot of naysayers decided that this would be one too many “Toy Story” films, but they proved to be completely wrong when the film exceeded all expectations and became a gripping tension filled film for children and adults alike. “Toy Story 3” wasn’t just a good film it became one of the best animated films ever made.
It is hard to sit down and look at Tom Hanks’ film career and pick just a few films that are great to watch. Hanks has built a career on making great films so whenever you see his name on a film poster you know you are about to watch something special.