The Definitive List of Tom Hanks’ Most Powerful Performances on Film

Recently, Tom Hanks stated that he only made four good movies but didn't list them, and the internet is buzzing, trying to figure them out. After over thirty years in Hollywood and several cinematic greats, it's impossible to determine his best. But here are the top-voted guesses, in no particular order.

1. Catch Me if You Can (2002)

In Catch Me if You Can, Tom Hanks plays Carl Hanratty, an FBI Agent chasing Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio). Abagnale is a teenager turned con artist turned FBI Bank Fraud Consultant. It has an incredible cat-and-mouse grip and stars Josh Brolin, Amy Adams, Martin Sheen, and Christopher Walken.

2. The ‘Burbs (1989)

In The ‘Burbs, Hanks plays Ray Peterson, a suburban homeowner lounging around his house for a weeklong staycation. His new neighbors are reclusive and odd, with suspicious noises coming from the basement of their home.

So he and a handful of nosey neighbors slowly begin to suspect they are performing ritualistic murders after one of their neighbors goes missing. It's hilarious and has evolved into an 80s cult classic

3. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

In Saving Private Ryan, Tom Hanks stars as Captain John H. Miller. It's an epic war drama following Miller's detachment mission to locate Private James Francis Ryan. Ryan is the last surviving brother of four, and the military doesn't want a mother to lose all four sons. The film requires tissues for viewing.

4. Cast Away (2000)

Cast Away is a solo survival drama starring Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland, a FedEx troubleshooter. His plane crashes into the South Pacific at Christmas time. Noland makes his way to an uninhabited island and spends four years surviving with only the company of a volleyball he names Wilson. 

5. The Green Mile (1999)

The Green Mile stars Tom Hanks as a death row correctional officer and Warden Supervisor, Paul Edgecomb, during the Great Depression. After a mysterious convict, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), arrives on death row, supernatural events occur at the facility. Paul has difficulty following orders to carry out the convict's sentence in another performance that requires tissues. 

6. A League of Their Own (1992)

A League of Their Own is a sports comedy-drama and fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1943. Tom Hanks plays Jimmy Dugan, a former Cubs slugger, cynical alcoholic, and manager of the woman's baseball team, The Peaches. Geena Davis, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, Lori Petty, Jon Lovitz, and Bill Pullman also star. 

7. Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump stars Tom Hanks as the titular character, a dim-witted but well-intentioned man from Alabama. The film follows Gump sitting at a bus stop telling strangers about his wild experiences in the 20th-century United States.

Some of them include the Vietnam War, an interview alongside John Lennon of The Beatles on The D. Cavett Show, and teaching Elvis Presley how to dance. Also, the music is fantastic, and Hanks gives an outstanding performance. 

8. Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story is a computer-animated comedy starring Tom Hanks as the voice of Woody, an old-fashioned pull-string cowboy doll. Woody belongs to a boy named Andy and his favorite toy.

However, Woody gets pushed aside when Andy receives Buzz Lightyear, a modern space cadet action figure. His jealousy leads to action-packed comedic adventures in a world where toys are alive. The film has spanned three sequels. 

9. Big (1988)

Big is a fantasy comedy-drama starring Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin, a boy who makes a wish to be Big through a fortune-teller machine. The following morning he awakens in Tom Hanks' body and scares his mother, who believes her son has been kidnapped. 

Josh must locate the machine to undo the wish, but he misses the carnival and has to wait six weeks. So Josh rents a flophouse in New York City and obtains a job as a data entry clerk at a Toy Company, where he's praised for his childlike enthusiasm. 

10. Philadelphia (1993)

Philadelphia is a legal drama starring Tom Hanks as Andrew “Andy” Beckett. Andy is a gay man who lawyers up (Denzel Washington) and sues his employers for firing him after learning he has AIDS. Philadelphia is known as one of the first mainstream Hollywood movies to address HIV/AIDS and homophobia and for portraying the LGBTQIA+ community positively. 

Honorable Mentions:

  • Joe Vs. the Volcano (1990)
  • Road to Perdition (2002)
  • Apollo 13 (1995)
  • Money Pit (1986)
  • Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

What do you think? Did Reddit get it right, or is your favorite Tom Hanks film missing from this list?

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.