10 Great Tom Hanks Movies

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm

It should be obvious why people love Tom Hanks movies. For years, the talented star has been using his considerable acting skills and everyman looks to portray an endless array of approachable and sympathetic characters. These 10 great Tom Hanks movies epitomize his best qualities as a performer, and the list includes everything from epic war films to period gangster pieces.

If you’ve never experienced the magic of Tom Hanks, or you’d like to re-familiarize yourself with his work, there’s no better place to turn than Netflix. There are never any late fees, and they offer subscription plans to fit every budget. Click here to become a Netflix member and enjoy an endless array of Tom Hanks movies.

Catch Me if You Can (2002) – Amazingly based on a true story, this film once again unites Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg (they worked on Saving Private Ryan four years earlier). Hanks plays Carl Hanratty, an FBI bank fraud agent on the trail of masterful teenage con artist Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio). As the chase intensifies, Frank poses as everything from an airline pilot to a doctor, and Carl always seems to be one step behind. DiCaprio is the real star of the film, portraying a youthful crook who you’ll be rooting for at every turn. Hanks is the straight man here, but it’s a responsibility he’s more than up for.

Saving Private Ryan (1998) – While director Steven Spielberg attended film school at California State University, Long Beach, his love of war movies goes all the way back to his childhood. This passion quickly becomes evident during the film’s tense opening scene in which American soldiers storm Normandy Beach during D-Day. Among these men is Captain John H. Miller (Hanks), a seasoned soldier serving with 2nd Ranger Battalion. After capturing the beach, Miller and his men receive new orders: head across the French countryside and locate Private James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), a paratrooper whose three brothers have all died in combat. Hanks is at his everyman best as the soulful-eyed Miller, and the WWII battle scenes are the most compelling (and graphic) ever captured on film. Also starring Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Barry Pepper, Ted Danson, and Paul Giamatti.

Road to Perdition (2002) – When he’s betrayed by the scumbag son (Daniel Craig) of his boss and father figure (Paul Newman), mob enforcer Michael Sullivan (Hanks) is forced to go on the run with his young son. As they cross the Depression-era countryside, they must try to stay one step ahead of the sadistic assassin (Jude Law) sent to kill them. A powerful look at the bond between father and son, and Hanks is more than comfortable wearing an overcoat and working a Tommy Gun. Directed by Sam Mendes and adapted from the graphic novel by Max Allan Collins.

Forrest Gump (1994) – Hanks took home a Best Actor Oscar for his role as a simple-minded Southern boy living through the latter half of the 20th century. As he rubs elbows with everyone from John Lennon to President Kennedy, Forrest Gump (Hanks) pursues his true love, Jenny (Robin Wright), and receives nuggets of wisdom from his mamma (Sally Field). A touching story about one man’s rather extraordinary life, the supporting cast is rounded out by memorable performances from Gary Sinise and Mykelti Williamson.

Cast Away (2000) – Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Cast Away stars Hanks as Chuck Noland, a FedEx employee who’s obsessed with timeliness. But that all changes when his plane goes down over the Pacific Ocean, and Chuck is left stranded on an uninhabited island. As he struggles to escape and stave off madness by talking to a volleyball, he suddenly finds himself with all the time in the world. It’s a one-man show for Hanks, with Noland alternating between hopeful and despondent as the years pass by. While he didn’t win, Hanks did receive a Best Actor Oscar nomination.

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Big (1988) – Hanks gets to show off his comedic skills in this tale of Josh Baskin, a 12-year-old who makes a wish and suddenly finds himself in the body of a 30-year-old man. As he rises through the ranks of a New York-based toy company, he attracts the attention of a fellow exec (Elizabeth Perkins) and must try to navigate the tricky waters of love for the first time. Meanwhile, his 12-year-old best friend begins to feel neglected as Josh slowly takes on the responsibilities of an adult. Hanks gives a great impression of a kid on the verge of his teenage years, and the giant-sized piano scene with co-star Robert Loggia is always a favorite.

Toy Story (1995) – Pixar put themselves on the map with Toy Story, their debut computer-animated film. Hanks lends his voice to Woody, a cowboy doll who feels threatened when his youthful owner buys a new-fangled Buzz Lightyear action figure (voiced by Tim Allen). While the two toys start out on unfriendly terms, they’re soon forced to work together to escape from a neighborhood kid who enjoys tormenting and destroying his playthings. There’s something here for both kids and adults, and other recognizable voices include Don Rickles, Jim Varney, John Ratzenberger, and R. Lee Ermey.

Philadelphia (1993) – Andrew Beckett is a successful lawyer living in Philadelphia with his life partner, Miguel Alvarez (Antonio Banderas). Suffering from AIDS, he soon finds himself fired for the flimsiest of reasons, and he brings suit against his former employers for discrimination. Denzel Washington co-stars as Joe Miller, a personal injury lawyer who, while initially reluctant to even shake Beckett’s hand, winds up representing him in court. Hanks won his first Best Actor Oscar for the role, and the landmark film was one of the first major Hollywood movies to deal openly with issues such as HIV/AIDS and homophobia.

A League of Their Own (1992) – While the men are away during World War II, a candy manufacturer (Garry Marshall) decides to start a women’s baseball league to take advantage of the sport’s popularity. This Penny Marshall film follows the exploits of the Rockford Peaches, whose players include Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, and Rosie O’Donnell. Hanks co-stars as Jimmy Dugan, an alcoholic former MLB great who’s hired as the manager for Rockford. Along the way, he delivers one of the most memorable lines in movie history: “Are you crying? There’s no crying! There’s no crying in baseball!”

Apollo 13 (1995) – On a 1970 mission to the Moon, the crew of the Apollo 13 spacecraft (Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton) experience technical difficulties that result in numerous white-knuckle efforts to return safely to Earth. Ed Harris is the flight director, Gary Sinise is the astronaut bumped at the last minute due to illness, and Kathleen Quinlan is the frantic wife. Ron Howard directs, and the film was nominated for a total of nine Academy Awards.

For a complete list of Tom Hanks movies, head on over to Netflix and become a member. They’ll deliver your selections right to your front door, and their library of movies numbers over 100,000. We do receive a small commission if you sign up, but it adds nothing to your final price.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 at 12:53 pm and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 Responses to “10 Great Tom Hanks Movies”

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September 30, 2010


i really like saving private ryan.. that movie rock till now.. :p


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