Tom Hanks’s Best Performances—Ranked

The first Tom Hanks movie I remember seeing was Saving Private Ryan, and I’ve seen it many other times since my first time because of the chords it strikes in me. One of such chords is how good an actor Tom Hanks is. He has played different roles in different movies, and his latest addition is Finch, where he plays a dying “Finch Weinberg” on a dystopic earth that has been ravished by the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

For the love of Tom Hanks and movies, we will be looking at a number of movies in which he gave beautiful and soul-searing performances.


Related:

Matt Damon’s Best Performances—Ranked


  1. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Your first cue to knowing this movie would be on this list should have come from it being the first mentioned in the intro. This 1998 movie was directed by Steven Spielberg (Ready Player One, Catch Me If You Can) and written by Robert Rodat. The movie portrays Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) with his squad (featuring Vin Diesel, Jeremy Davies) going to search for the last surviving Ryan brother after three had been killed in the war (WWII). The last Ryan brother, Private first class James Francis Ryan, is played by a young Matt Damon. However, the mission is accomplished at heavy costs. 

Saving Private Ryan is available on Amazon Prime.

  1. Professor Langdon 
Tom Hanks as Professor Langdon.

Before you start wondering what movie this is, Professor Langdon Robert is a character Tom Hanks played in the adaptation of a Dan Brown trilogy (The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and Inferno), all of which were directed by Ron Howard. Professor Robert Langdon is a Harvard University professor of history of art and “symbology” whose help is enlisted to solve strange cases that intersect with mythologies and history. Although professor Langdon is now being played by Ashley Zuckerman in a Peacock adaptation of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, Tom Hanks’ version of the character is the metric many others would be judged on.

The trilogy is available on Netflix.

  1. Cast Away (2000)
Tom Hanks often battling mother earth

Take Tom Hanks away from civilization and leave him all to himself, he will still be delivering a stellar performance. That’s the case with Cast Away. Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is a FedEx troubleshooter who gets stranded on an island after surviving a plane crash that has him as the only survivor. The rest of the movie puts Chuck in focus with his different plans to survive and get off the Island. This survival drama was directed by Robert Zemeckis and it earned Tom an Oscar nomination for Best Actor (which he lost to Russell Crowe for his role as Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator)

Cast Away is available on Amazon Prime.


Related:

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  1. Sully (2016)
Hanks as Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger.

With Tom Hanks’ history with planes, when Clint Eastwood decided to make a biopic about a plane’s emergency landing on a river, guess who he got to star in it, Yes! Tom Hanks. Tom plays Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549. The movie is about the events that happen before, during and after Sully lands the plane on the Hudson River with no casualties, all 155 passengers and crew survived.

Sully can be found on Netflix, Roku, Amazon Prime and HBO.

  1. Forrest Gump (1994)
Tom spends most of the movie on this bench as a man in love.

Another of Robert Zemeckis with Tom Hanks in it. Written by Eric Roth, this comedy is an adaptation of a 1986 novel, “Forrest Gump” by Winston Groom. With Tom Hanks playing Forrest, the movie is about his gut-wrenching and emotional portrayal of a kind-hearted Alabama man who is also slow-witted. Over the course of his life, he unknowingly and innocently sets different milestones in the 20th century that a lot of people come to love him for. He does all of this while trying to win the love of his life. Though the movie is different from the book, Tom Hanks’ rendition is one that has left cinephiles and bibliophiles amused over the years.

Forrest Gump is available on Netflix 

  1. Greyhound (2020)

The universe knew the world had not seen enough of Tom Hanks in a war drama, so it gave us Greyhound. The movie was directed by Aaron Schneider and was written by Tom himself, as an adaptation of C.S. Forester’s book “The Good Shepherd”. It is the story of a USA naval commander’s first war assignment which entails commanding a multi-national escort group to defend a merchant ship convoy being attacked by submarines. This takes place a few months after the USA ridded itself of its lukewarm attitude towards WWII. Tom Hanks’ portrayal of the newbie or ‘trying to do well on first day on the job’ commander is splendid.

Greyhound can be seen on Apple+

If your top Tom Hanks movie(s) appears on this list, share with friends. If you feel not enough justice has been done, you can share your thoughts in the comments section or on our social media accounts.


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