Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

From 'Big' to 'Captain Phillips,' TOH! Ranks Tom Hanks' Ten Best Performances

Thompson on Hollywood By TOH! | Thompson on Hollywood December 19, 2013 at 3:25PM

One year removed from sprawling $100-million epic (and epic flop) "Cloud Atlas," which even the beloved movie icon couldn't save, Tom Hanks is enjoying the kind of year that defined his heyday in the 1990s.
Tom Hanks as "Captain Phillips"
Tom Hanks as "Captain Phillips"

One year removed from sprawling $100-million epic (and epic flop) "Cloud Atlas," which even the beloved movie icon couldn't save, Tom Hanks is enjoying the kind of year that defined his heyday in the 1990s.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of his first Oscar nomination -- for Penny Marshall's comedy classic "Big," now available in a new Blu-ray/DVD edition from 20th Century Fox -- Hanks is basking in awards buzz once more, for his commanding title performance in piracy thriller "Captain Phillips." (Buzz has subsided for Hanks' supporting turn as Walt Disney in making-of-"Mary Poppins" tale "Saving Mr. Banks," which missed out on key precursor awards nominations and has so far accrued middling box office receipts -- but never count out Hanks with the Academy; he's a popular fellow.)

Hanks, whom The Daily Beast touted as a "viral video superstar"  (not to mention the box office champion, two-time Oscar winner, and blissfully married Everyman who's "worked with everyone from Robert De Niro to Madonna"), remains the standard-bearer of versatility.

Cloud Atlas Tom Hanks
'Cloud Atlas'

In The Definitive Tom Hanks Matrix, Vulture categorized his films as Good, Bad, Goofy, or Serious, marking the stages of a career that's witnessed sitcom stardom ("Bosom Buddies"), humorous fantasies ("Splash," "Big"), Academy fare ("Philadelphia," "Forrest Gump"), Hollywood romances ("Sleepless in Seattle," "You've Got Mail"), major blockbusters ("The Da Vinci Code"), and idiosyncratic failures ("The Ladykillers").

In the process, he's amassed massive box office numbers. His top-grossing live-action films (not including high earners "Toy Story" 1, 2 & 3 or "The Polar Express") are below (worldwide grosses):

"The Da Vinci Code" 2006 -  $757,236,138
"Forrest Gump" 1994 - $679,400,525
"Angels & Demons"2009 - $490,875,846
"Saving Private Ryan" 1998 - $485,035,085
"Cast Away" 2000 - $427,230,516
"Catch Me if You Can" 2002 - $351,106,800
"Apollo 13" 1995 - $334,100,000
"The Green Mile" 1999 - $290,701,374
"You've Got Mail" 1998 - $250,800,000

"Sleepless in Seattle" 1993 - $227,900,000


We live in a different world now: the well-regarded "Captain Phillips," a hit at more than $200 million worldwide, isn't even on the same planet as "Gump." But the diversity of roles on this list demands respect. Maybe because Hanks' off-camera work -- producing big-budget HBO World War II series "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific," directing modest success d'estime "That Thing You Do!" and bland disappointment "Larry Crowne" -- has brought more mixed results, his on-screen bankability seems inextricable from his reputation as a stalwart performer in any genre.

With that in mind, TOH! ranks the 10 best performances in the actor's storied career -- complete with trailers -- after the jump.

This article is related to: Tom Hanks, Paul Greengrass, Steven Spielberg, Nora Ephron, Penny Marshall, Saving Mr. Banks, Captain Phillips, Toy Story, Pixar , comedy, Drama, Classics

E-Mail Updates

Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.