Tom Hanks’s best movie roles

We take a look back at the career of Tom Hanks, star of CAPTAIN PHILLIPS…

Tom Hanks returns to our screens this week in the maritime thriller CAPTAIN PHILLIPS. 2013 is turning into a quite a year for the actor, with CLOUD ATLAS already released, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS and SAVING MR. BANKS on the way in November. We took the chance to take a look back at some of Mr Hanks’s best movie roles, in no particular order…


Nora Ephron’s great romantic comedy was inspired by the 1957 film AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER, and starred Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as a couple brought together by fate, meddling kids and a radio show. SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE is still one of the great, weepy romantic comedies, and is often parodied in popular culture. The film was nominated for two Oscars and three Golden Globes. The film was Nora Ephron’s second as a director, and she reteamed with her actors for YOU’VE GOT MAIL in 1998.


Directed by Jonathan Demme, PHILADELPHIA tells the story of Andrew (Hanks) a man fired from his job as a lawyer when it is revealed that he has AIDS. Andrew enlists a homophobic lawyer to fight the case against his former employer, even as he knows he is dying.
PHUILADELPHIA was one of the first Hollywood films to tackle the subject of HIV/AIDS, and Hanks earned an Oscar for his role as Andrew. The film ranked as the 12th highest grossing film in the US of 1993, and was well received by fans and critics alike.


Before PHILADELPHIA, however, Tom Hanks was Oscar nominated for his role in the body swap comedy, BIG. Tom Hanks plays Josh, a kid who makes a wish to be ‘big’ so he can go on rides at a carnival, and wakes up as the adult version of himself, literally over night.
It is fairly clear that BIG inspired the JENNIFER GARNER flick 13 GOING ON 30, and made kids everywhere wish for a giant piano they could walk on. As well as this, the film was written by Steven Spielberg’s sister Anne, was turned into a Broadway musical and currently sits at 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


Pixar’s first feature length film, and the first movie to be entirely animated on computer, was released in 1995 and featured Tom Hanks as the voice of Woody; a devoted cowboy toy who came to life when his owner was not looking, and was the head of the toy household.
Having Hanks provide Woody’s voice added weight to the character, and the fact that he was not putting on a voice, but performing the role as he always speaks, gave Woody and iconic voice, and Hanks an iconic character that he will always be remembered for. Hanks, and co-star Tim Allen, returned for two sequels to TOY STORY and will next be heard in the spooky short TOY STORY OF TERROR.


Based on a Stephen King novel of the same name, and directed by Frank Darabont THE GREEN MILE tells the story of Paul Edgecomb (Hanks), a former death row corrections officer. Toward the end of his life, Edgecomb recounts the story of his life, specifically his interactions with an innocent and gentle man, convicting of raping and murdering two young girls.
THE GREEN MILE was nominated for four Oscars and received great acclaim from critics and moviegoers alike. The late great critic Roger Ebert gave the film 3 and a half stars out of four; ‘The film is a shade over three hours long. I appreciated the extra time, which allows us to feel the passage of prison months and years.’