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09.09.2016by: Alex Maidy

Top 10 Tom Hanks Performances Of All Time

Tom Hanks is one of the rare actors who can do both comedy and drama at a level well above his peers. From films like THE BURBS and A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN to THE DA VINCI CODE and BRIDGE OF SPIES, Hanks always delivers performances that rise above and can turn a mediocre film into a great film experience. With SULLY opening this weekend, we are privileged to see another stellar Tom Hanks performance which got us thinking about his best on screen roles. Here is our ranking of the ten best Tom Hanks performances of all time. See if you agree with our choices or let us know if we missed one in the talk backs below.

#10 - JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO

Amongst his best comedic work of the 1980s, Tom Hanks was always on the brink of some dramatic power. Writer/director John Patrick Shanley (MOONSTRUCK) was able to bridge the Hanks of THE MONEY PIT and THE BURBS with the Oscar winning performer we would meet in the 1990s in this fairy tale about a man who wants to die and volunteers to jump into a volcano. It would also serve as the first on-screen pairing of Hanks and Meg Ryan.

#9 - PHILADELPHIA

After years of humor, Hanks took a very timely story about AIDS and homophobia and turned it into his first Oscar. Andy Beckett was a subtly powerful turn from Hanks who never plays his character as a cliche or a stereotype and delivered one of his most indelible and unique performances. PHILADELPHIA has not aged well as a film but Hanks' acting still stands the test of time.

#8 - CLOUD ATLAS

In recent years, a lot of Hanks' films have blended together in retrospect, but one stands out amongst them all. The Wachowskis' CLOUD ATLAS is a stunningly original film and magnificent in so many ways. The use of actors in multiple roles stands out most with Hanks who plays everything from a Cockney thug to a future hero, a mild-mannered scientist to a racist and murderous doctor, and even a duplicitous hotel manager. Big or small roles, Hanks inhabits them all with a gusto that shows his support and faith for this brilliant movie.

#7 - TOY STORY

While many mistakenly thought Buzz Lightyear was the main character of TOY STORY, the trilogy is truly the tale of Woody. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen have awesome chemistry as the enemies turned best friends, but it is Hanks loving and eternal performance as the optimistic cowboy doll that truly is the soul of the franchise. Hanks has not done voice work outside of this Pixar series and for good reason: there is no way he could ever come close to how great he is as Woody.

#6 - THE LADYKILLERS

The Coen Brothers teaming with Hanks delivered one of the actor's best comedic performances over the last twenty years. THE LADYKILLERS, a remake, put Hanks in the shoes of the great Alec Guinness. Daunting for any performer, Hanks embraced the crazy and plays Professor G.H. Dorr as a suave Southern cad. It is funny and sincere and one of Hanks best roles in one of his least successful movies.

#5 - SAVING PRIVATE RYAN

In 1998, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was the film that everyone was talking about. Powerful, stunning, and brutal, it embodied everything about World War II and did so with Steven Spielberg's trademark prowess. Hanks would not win an Oscar for his performance in this film but it was absolutely one of his best. This marked the first of four films with Spielberg but this will remain the best collaboration between the two.

#4 - FORREST GUMP

I may be one of the few people who finds this Robert Zemeckis film to be very overrated, but I cannot deny how good Hanks is in the title role. While this performance would be mocked as going "full retard" in TROPIC THUNDER, it surprisingly showed a great deal of range and restraint from Hanks who played Forrest as a naive character but an incredibly relatable one.

#3 - BIG

How many actors could convincingly play a twelve-year-old trapped in the body of an adult? The concept sounds creepy and weird now, but in 1988, it was the massive hit BIG. Penny Marshall's film works wonderfully well almost thirty years later and represents the first hints of Tom Hanks' true dramatic potential. While still a comedy, it has glimpses of what would be on screens for years to come.

#2 - ROAD TO PERDITION

The career of Tom Hanks has been surprisingly light on the violence and darkness. Sure, he was in war movies and thrillers like THE DA VINCI CODE, but nothing comes close to this crime epic from Sam Mendes. Seeing Tom Hanks wielding guns and taking out rival gangsters was very out of character for the actor, but still a brilliant decision as it remains unlike almost anything else on his resume. Hanks is haunting as the father teaching his son about the true nature of his job and the long reach of death.

#1 - CAST AWAY

There are so many reasons why this film deserves the top spot: Hanks' weight loss to evoke his character's time on the island, playing against a volleyball and no other humans for almost an entire film, that heartbreaking ending, and the sheer magnitude of conveying a narrative with almost no dialogue. Few actors could have pulled off what Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks did with CAST AWAY and we are better off as a world for having it.

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6:57PM on 09/09/2016
No mention of A League of Their Own? He's a supporting character in the movie, but he steals every single scene he's in - including delivering one of the greatest movie quotes of all time. I liked Joe vs. the Volcano as much as the next person, but he's much better and more memorable in A League of Their Own.
No mention of A League of Their Own? He's a supporting character in the movie, but he steals every single scene he's in - including delivering one of the greatest movie quotes of all time. I liked Joe vs. the Volcano as much as the next person, but he's much better and more memorable in A League of Their Own.
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3:54PM on 09/09/2016
Cannot argue with Cast Away, an unforgettable movie and definitely Hanks best performance.
Cannot argue with Cast Away, an unforgettable movie and definitely Hanks best performance.
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2:22PM on 09/09/2016

Hanks's performance was actually PRAISED by Lazarus for NOT going 'full retard'

Kirk Lazarus: Everybody knows you never go full retard.
Tugg Speedman: What do you mean?
Kirk Lazarus: Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, 'Rain Man,' look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Counted toothpicks, cheated cards. Autistic, sho'. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, 'Forrest Gump.' Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain't retarded. Peter Sellers, "Being There." Infantile, yes. Retarded, no. You went
Kirk Lazarus: Everybody knows you never go full retard.
Tugg Speedman: What do you mean?
Kirk Lazarus: Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, 'Rain Man,' look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Counted toothpicks, cheated cards. Autistic, sho'. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, 'Forrest Gump.' Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain't retarded. Peter Sellers, "Being There." Infantile, yes. Retarded, no. You went full retard, man. Never go full retard. You don't buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, "I Am Sam." Remember? Went full retard, went home empty handed...
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6:06PM on 09/09/2016
My comment right before yours talks about that.
My comment right before yours talks about that.
1:10PM on 09/09/2016
"While this performance would be mocked as going "full retard" in TROPIC THUNDER"

Actually Ben Stiller's character went "full retard". They said Hanks didn't with Gump.

"While this performance would be mocked as going "full retard" in TROPIC THUNDER"

Actually Ben Stiller's character went "full retard". They said Hanks didn't with Gump.

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12:53PM on 09/09/2016

Great Actor

I would love to see him take on a villain role. I know he sorta played a villain in Cloud Atlas, but I'd like to see him do it as the main lead.
I would love to see him take on a villain role. I know he sorta played a villain in Cloud Atlas, but I'd like to see him do it as the main lead.
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1:26PM on 09/10/2016
He played one in THE LADYKILLERS.
He played one in THE LADYKILLERS.
12:45PM on 09/09/2016
My favorite performances of his are Forrest Gump, Bachelor Party, Bridge of Spies, Captain Phillps, Toy Story trilogy, The Green Mile, Cast Away, and The Road to Redemption.
My favorite performances of his are Forrest Gump, Bachelor Party, Bridge of Spies, Captain Phillps, Toy Story trilogy, The Green Mile, Cast Away, and The Road to Redemption.
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7:53PM on 09/09/2016
You love Tom Hanks so much you started making up movies lmao. Never heard of The Road to Redemption lol
You love Tom Hanks so much you started making up movies lmao. Never heard of The Road to Redemption lol
11:07AM on 09/09/2016
Fantastic actor and he seems like a genuinely down to earth guy.
Fantastic actor and he seems like a genuinely down to earth guy.
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