In terms of cinematic living legends he has to be in the top ten right? It’s worth noting that – as of 2012 – his films have grossed over $4.2bn in the US and $8.5bn worldwide, making him the highest-grossing box office star of all time.
Furthermore, with 73 films on his CV to date, this list is going to be a challenge to whittle down. Let’s get started!
- Big (1988)
His whimsical dance up and down the piano left a lasting impression for many and represented Hanks at his frivolous and comedic best, during his rise to stardom in the 80s.
- Forrest Gump (1994)
Question is, did he seek out Downey Jr for advice on not going full retard? If so, it paid off, resulting in an epic performance which won him a second Oscar.
- Apollo 13 (1995)
Hailed as both a critical and commercial success, this film was a high point for director Ron Howard. Hanks delivered a stand-out, yet understated performance as astronaut Commander Jim Lovell.
- Toy Story (1995)
As puppet cowboys go, Hanks convinces on every level, with an outstanding performance. Following a string of dramatic roles, this represented a triumphant return to comedy.
- Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Having successfully carved a career as the titular everyman, here he gives a masterclass in a subtle performance, as a normal guy dealing with the horrors of war as best he can.
- The Green Mile (1999)
Another film elevated by an unerringly good Hanks performance. Here he plays death row prison officer Paul Edgecomb. The dynamic between Edgecomb and the late Michael Clarke Duncan’s John Coffey was the heart-wrenching soul of the movie.
- Castaway (2000)
Can I just shout ‘Wiiillsonn!’? Does that mean enough? For those of us that have watched a blood-stained volleyball float agonisingly further away, it means a lot. Hanks deserves huge credit for building our sympathies with his fight for survival.
- Road to Perdition (2002)
Playing a little against type as Irish mob enforcer, Michael Sullivan – an anti-hero of sorts – Hanks teams up with director Sam Mendes and screen legend Paul Newman, to deliver a moody, sobering gangster flick.
- Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Hanks and Spielberg – has there been a more profitable partnership in modern cinema? Throw in DiCaprio and you get an enormously enjoyable cat-and-mouse tale of FBI man Hanratty chasing elusive fraudster Abagnale.
- The Terminal (2004)
Aaah, fictitious Krakozhia. A bit of a leftfield offering with Hanks playing an Eastern European, trapped in the airport terminal. The touch of naivety and optimism in his portrayal of the character was masterful and surprised many.
So what’s next?
By his own standards he’s been fairly quiet in the last few years. However, he’s back soon with the forthcoming Cloud Atlas. A massively ambitious tale, taken from a complex yet popular book by David Mitchell. Featuring multiple plots across six different time periods, the theme being how actions of individuals have great impact across the world and throughout the past, present and future. Here’s the trailer: