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Catch Me If You Can poster

While Steven Spielberg’s light hearted grifter romp Catch Me If You Can saw many accolades given to star Leonardo DiCaprio (and rightfully so), co-star Tom Hanks turn as dedicated FBI agent Carl Hannity features the two time Oscar winner at his nuanced best, playing the dedicated cop with the right amount of snappy intensity and low key humour in a performance that improves with repeated viewings.



Apollo 13 poster

With the immortal line “Houston, we have a problem”, Hanks secured his place in pop culture and in the process delivered one of his finest performances as Jim Lovell, the commander of the Apollo 13 space crew who defeated insurmountable odds to make it safely back to Earth. Reuniting with Splash director Ron Howard, Hanks blended his everyday-man charm with a stern yet quiet authority to brilliantly portray a man whose bravery in the face of certain doom made him a hero.




WOODY (TOY STORY TRILOGY, 1995/1999/2010)
Toy Story poster

If the Academy Awards handed out Oscars for voice performance (as they should), then Hanks would surely be a recipient for his great work as Woody, the lovable, loyal, wooden cowboy from the Toy Story series. Infusing his character with a playful energy and honourable spirit, Hanks became the voice of a Pixar revolution that turned the animation world on its head.





Hanks first collaboration with director Steven Spielberg is a war epic that had not been seen before, with the shooting of Saving Private Ryan leaving a lasting effect on Hanks who would go on to dedicate a good chunk of this professional and personal life to honouring those who served.

As school teacher turned army Captain Joseph Miller, Hanks brought those qualities of leadership and integrity first seen in Apollo 13 but now applied to the battlefield, with Hanks and his fellow cast mates personifying the thoughts, feelings and deeds of the “greatest generation” for those of us who should never forget.




Captain Philips poster

A return to powerhouse form after diddling in Dan Brown conspiracy adaptations (insert your best bad hair jibes hair), Captain Phillips featured the perfect combination of Hanks dedication to his craft and director Paul Grengrass pursuit to tell his stories as truthful as possible. For Hanks the result was an emotionally raw, powerfully empathetic performance that would move the hardest of hard men (and women) to tears.




Cast Away poster

In the history of one man shows, Hanks turn as stranded plane crash survivor Chuck Noland in Cast Away is one of the best. Reuniting with Forest Gump director Robert Zemeckis, a pudgy Hanks lost a whopping 50 pounds to adequately portray a man who must evolve with the elements to survive. Hanks' stunning display of physical dedication (in what is his most physically taxing performance to date) is matched by an astonishingly effective emotional resonance, where even a relationship with a volleyball named “Wilson” tugs at the heart strings.




A League of Their Own poster

A comeback performance for Hanks after a series of busts following his lauded role in Big (not surprisingly both that film and A League of Their Own are directed by Penny Marshall), the role of hard drinking, hot tempered, women’s baseball manager Jimmy Dugan saw Hanks at his scene stealing best.

Whether “relieving” himself in the women’s locker room or cursing out an umpire, Hanks milks every line of dialogue and every moment of comedic gold, churns it up and delivers pristine grade “A” butter, proving his comedic chops are just as potent as his dramatic ones.





Philadelphia poster

If one were to put together a list of the best dramatic turns by a comedic actor, Hanks performance as AIDS suffering lawyer Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia would be at the top.

While Hanks was not the first to be offered the role (Daniel Day Lewis, Michael Keaton and Andy Garcia all turned it down), Hanks never the less made it his own, dropping 26 pounds and inhabiting his character –flaws and all – to make for an honest, transparent, engrossing, sympathetic and above all human performance about a man fighting for justice in a world struggling to come to grips with a fatal disease.




Big poster

Body swap comedies are usually over the top, novelty drivel. Yet Big is the exception to that rule and it’s largely due to Hanks sweet, funny and poignant performance as 12 year old boy turned 30 year old man Josh Baskin.

From scene stealing moments like playing chopsticks on an oversized piano, to intimate moments such as when a scared Josh cries inside a rank apartment as the big bad city around him revels in violence, Hanks portrays childhood innocence thrust into the messiness of adulthood with a seamless brilliance. In the pantheon of great comedic performances, it’s one of the best.




Forrest Gump poster

Unfortunately derided over the years as sentimental palp, Forrest Gump never the less is a masterful feat of fantastical movie making, brilliantly directed by Robert Zemeckis and scripted by Eric Roth. Yet the biggest reason for its success is Forrest himself, Tom Hanks. From the opening scene when that floating feather lands into his lap, it is clear that Hanks is about to deliver something special, and so he did fronting the screen for the majority of the films 142 min and delivering a performance that can be only described as iconic.

Hanks brought on the laughs, moved many to tears and had us all shouting “run, Forrest! Run” in his pitch perfect portrayal of a simple man who achieved extraordinary things. From his efforts came a second Oscar, rightfully sealing his place in history as an only the second to win consecutive Academy Awards.




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Top Ten
Liam Neeson Peformances
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Tom Cruise Performances
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Top Ten
Brad Pitt Performances



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