Run Forrest Run! The Greatest Films Starring Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks isn’t just an actor, but an icon. He’s received a Presidential Medal of Freedom, two Academy Awards, a Kennedy Center Honors Medallion, and a French Legion of Honor, among other accolades. Tom Hanks embarked on his film career in the late ’70s and rose to prominence in the ’80s with films like Splash and Big. His moving roles in films like Philadelphia, Apollo 13, A League of Their Own, and The Post have shed light on American history in a profound way. Read on for some of the most impressive films in Tom Hanks’ repertoire.

Forrest Gump Was A Box Office Smash

forrest-gump
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Forrest Gump won a whopping six Academy Awards, including Best Actor. Based on a novel of the same name, the dramedy follows a man with a below-average IQ as he crosses the country and inadvertently influences historical events.

Tom Hanks does an incredible job evoking the innocent yet driven Forrest. His endearing character won the hearts of viewers, and the movie went on to become the second highest-grossing film of 1994, achieving $677 million at the box office.

Cast Away Illuminated Tom’s Commitment To His Character

cast-away
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

The king of survival films, Cast Away won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama and a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition. Tom Hanks stars as a FedEx representative who becomes stranded on an island when his plane crashes.

Tom gained weight to emphasize his character’s physical transformation, and filming was paused for a year so he could lose 50 pounds and grow out his hair. Tom’s performance was so emotionally compelling that he convinced viewers the loss of his only companion, a volleyball named Wilson, was a tragedy.

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood Was A Top 2019 Film

a-beautiful-day-in-the-neighborhood
TriStar Pictures
TriStar Pictures

Time selected A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood as one of their top ten films of 2019. The heartwarming movie follows an Esquire reporter as he profiles television personality, Mr. Rogers. Tom’s role earned him a nomination for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and more.

Critics favorably reviewed the film, and Rotten Tomatoes boasts a whopping 96% approval rating of the movie. Though Tom Hanks was a supporting actor, he stole the show as the legendary Fred Rogers, on which the film’s profound message relies.

Philadelphia Earned Tom His First Academy Award

philadelphia
TriStar Pictures
TriStar Pictures

The soul-stirring film Philadelphia earned Tom Hanks an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and a Berlin International Film Festival Award for Best Actor. He stars as a lawyer suing his former law firm for wrongful termination related to his AIDS diagnoses.

Critics and viewers praised Tom Hanks for his heart-wrenching performance. Denzel Washington co-starred in the film, which is one of the more mainstream hits to shed light on the issues presented. The movie so closely resembles the real-life story of Geoffrey Bowers, that the family sued the filmmakers.

Apollo 13 Depicted Actual Events

apollo-13
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Apollo 13 was nominated for a plethora of accolades, including nine Academy Awards. Though most of the wins went to the crew for their incredible sound and visual effects, the all-star cast did win a Screen Actors Guild Award for their Outstanding Performance.

Tom Hanks starred as astronaut Jim Lovell during his command of Apollo 13. The real-life space mission quickly went south after a mysterious on-board explosion hemorrhaged the shuttle’s oxygen supply. The suspenseful docudrama raked in $355 million at the box office and has a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sleepless In Seattle Is An Infectious Rom-Com

sleepless-in-seattle
TriStar Pictures
TriStar Pictures

Sleepless In Seattle is a heartwarming rom-com that earned Tom Hanks a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. Critics positively reviewed the film, which stars Tom as a lovable widow who admits to a radio talk show how much he misses his late wife.

Listening in on the conversation is Meg Ryan’s character, a newspaper reporter who can’t shake the feeling that her fiance isn’t the one. Tom and Meg are so infectious in this serendipitous love story that they starred together again five years later in You’ve Got Mail.

The National Film Registry Preserved A League Of Their Own

a-league-of-their-own
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

A League of Their Own earned Tom Hanks an American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. The comedy-drama centers on the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. It was so compelling and culturally profound that the Library of Congress preserved it in the US National Film Registry.

Tom Hanks portrays a hilariously hard-headed baseball coach who guides the female team to fame during WWII. Co-starring Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Rosie O’Donnell, and Madonna, the exemplary film sheds light on early feminism in sports.

Toy Story Has Three Successful Sequels

toy-story
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures

Toy Story is the first of four films, all of which feature Tom Hanks as a cowboy doll named Woody. Each movie has earned a plethora of awards and a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 97-100%! The franchise centers on toys that come to life when humans aren’t present.

The award-winning animation and music, combined with the compelling performances of the all-star cast, has made each sequel as successful as the last. Tom Hanks’ character is one of the most beloved toys of both his owner, Andy, and viewers alike.

Catch Me If You Can Is A Real-Life Story

catch-me-if-you-can
DreamWorks
DreamWorks

Catch Me If You Can is a crime drama based on real-life Frank Abagnale, a con-man-turned-security-consultant. The film raked in $352 million at the box office and has a 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tom Hanks starred as Carl Hanratty– based on real-life FBI agent Joseph Shea– who begrudgingly tracks down young Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) at the height of his impostor lifestyle. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the cat-and-mouse chase reveals the unique relationship between the cop and the criminal, both of whom tug on your heartstrings.

Saving Private Ryan Was Nominated For 11 Academy Awards

saving-private-ryan
DreamWorks
DreamWorks

Saving Private Ryan won a staggering five Academy Awards out of their eleven nominations, along with two Golden Globes and a Grammy. The epic war film centers on the WWII Invasion of Normandy. Tom Hanks stars as an Army Captain, who leads his squad in their quest to find Private Ryan, portrayed by Matt Damon.

The story was inspired by the real-life Niland brothers and is regarded for its realistic depiction of war, impressive cinematography, and believable performances, especially from Tom Hanks.

Sully Earned Tom Hanks Critical Acclaim

sully
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Tom Hanks won a Hollywood Film Award, a People’s Choice Award, and a Palm Springs International Film Festival Award for his title role in Sully. The film made nearly $241 million at the box office and has an 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Clint Eastwood directed this biographical drama, which centers on pilot Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger as he guides a failing plane to safety. Sully’s emergency landing is later criticized, and he must fight for his reputation and career. Critics praised both Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood for the film’s authenticity and balance.

Big Earned Tom Hanks His First Golden Globe

big
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

A decade into his film career, Tom Hanks landed his first Golden Globe for his lead role in Big. The movie was the first film directed by a woman (Penny Marshall) to gross more than $100 million, coming in at $151 million worldwide.

Critics praised Tom for his believable performance as a young teen who is granted his wish to become an adult and transforms overnight. The film has a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay.

You’ve Got Mail Reunites Tom Hanks And Meg Ryan

youve-got-mail
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Based on a 1937 Hungarian play, You’ve Got Mail is the third rom-com starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as love interests. Naturally, critics regarded Tom and Meg for their effortless chemistry and lovable characters.

The film centers on characters Kathleen and Joe, two business adversaries who fall for one another through anonymous emails. Joe oversees his family’s chain bookstore empire, which threatens to obliterate Kathleen’s independent bookstore. Some consider the playful story to have Pride and Prejudice influences.

Splash Was Touchstone Pictures’ First Film

splash
Touchstone Pictures
Touchstone Pictures

In 1984, Walt Disney Studios founded Touchstone Pictures as an adult alternative to their child-driven productions. Their first film was Splash, a fantasy rom-com about a man (Tom Hanks) who falls in love with a mermaid (Daryl Hannah).

The film has a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed nearly $70 million in the US and Canada alone. As Tom’s first box-office hit, Splash established the young actor as a charming leading man of Hollywood.

The Green Mile Is Based On A Stephen King Novel

the-green-mile
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, The Green Mile was critically acclaimed and earned four Academy Award nominations. Tom Hanks’ performance won him a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor in a Drama, and Stephen King stated he envisioned Tom as officer Paul Edgecomb and was pleased he got the role.

The film starred Tom as a death row corrections officer during the Great Depression who is thrown-off by inmate John Coffey, a simple man with an extraordinary gift. As Paul learns more about John, he comes to question if the man is genuinely a criminal.

The Post Highlights A Vital Moment In American History

the-post
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

Based on actual events, The Post won the Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Film of the Year and the Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble. Tom Hanks also earned the National Board of Review Award for Best Actor and a plethora of other nominations.

Tom Hanks portrays executive editor Ben Bradlee as he encourages the head of The Washington Post (Meryl Streep) to risk it all and publish the infamous “Pentagon Papers.” Directed by Steven Spielberg, critics praised the film for bringing the historic moment to light.

Saving Mr. Banks

saving-mr-banks
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures

Tom Hanks stars as the famous Walt Disney in the period drama Saving Mr. Banks. Based on the development of the Mary Poppins, the film won the AFI Award for Movie of the Year, and the African-American Film Critics Association ranked it number 8 in their Top 10 Films.

The movie centers on Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) as she meets with Walt Disney to discuss the screen rights to her novels. The film travels back in time to reveal Travers’ traumatic past, offering more profound significance to the childhood classic.

The Polar Express Features Tom In Seven Different Roles

the-polar-express
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Based on a children’s book of the same name, The Polar Express is a computer-animated film starring Tom Hanks as not one, but seven characters! His roles include Hero Boy, Hero Boy’s Father, the Conductor, the Hobo, the Scrooge Puppet, Santa Claus, and the Narrator.

Forbes ranked it the third Highest-Grossing Christmas Movie Of All Time at the worldwide box office, where it brought in more than $313 million. The movie depicts children riding a magical train to the North Pole on Christmas Eve and features live-action motion capture.

Tom Hanks Portrays Cary Grant’s Character In The Money Pit

the-money-pit
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

The Money Pit is a remake of the 1948 comedy, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Tom Hanks had big shoes to fill, seeing that the original starred acting legend Cary Grant as the leading man. Tom pulled off the role with his usual splendor, portraying the part of Walter Fielding with humor and charm.

Shelley Long co-stars as Walter’s significant other, a classical musician who romanticizes the distressed mansion that the couple ultimately regrets purchasing. As the house crumbles around them, the couple realizes their relationship is deteriorating with it.

The Da Vinci Code Was Ron Howard’s Highest-Grossing Film

the-da-vinci-code_b947ea25
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Despite its controversial reception, The Da Vinci Code became the second highest-grossing film of 2006, raking in an astonishing $758 million at the box office. The film became director Ron Howard’s high-grossing film to date, even after sequels Angels & Demons and Inferno.

Based on a novel of the same name, the mystery/thriller follows a Harvard professor (Tom Hanks) and cryptologist Sophie Neveu. As the pair uncovers clues hidden in Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings, they discover secrets that bring into question certain religious beliefs.