Tom Hanks is one of the finest actors. Born on July 9, 1956 in California, Tom’s parents divorced when he was six years old. While in college, Tom associated himself with Great Lakes Theater and made is stage debut with The Taming of the Shrew in 1977. He soon caught attention of Hollywood and made debut with a minor role in He Knows You’re Not Alone (1980). He continued with his stage work and also got a chance to work on American television. He made his television debut with Bosom Buddies. The series ran for two years and also gave Tom Hanks an opportunity to be part of Happy Days and Saturday Night Light. Simultaneously, he did few films but most of Tom Hank’s earlier movies failed to do well at Box Office. His big break came with Big and since then there has been no looking back. We present to you 11 Captivating Tom Hanks Movies to binge watch.
#1 He knows you’re Alone (1980)
He Knows You’re Alone is credited as the first horror thriller movie and was Tom Hanks’ first movie. This debut film of Tom Hanks was set in New York and was inspired by Halloween.
Ray Carlton, murders his fiance who dumps him for another man. Years pass by and Ray now has become a serial killer who stalks and kills bride-to-be. Amy is a University student who is all set to marry her fiance, Phil. Amy catches Ray’s attention and he begins to stalk her. While stalking her, Ray kills Amy’s friends and several other individuals. Amy becomes suspicious and realizes someone is stalking her but it’s too late. Ray attacks Amy and she flees and goes to a nearby morgue. Ray pursues her but she is able to trap him. Unfortunately, Amy’s misery does not end. In the end, she is getting ready for her big day when an unseen man enters and murders her. Tom Hanks had an unnoticeable role in the movie.
#2 Big (1988)
Success in Hollywood for Tom Hanks came with this movie. Big is a comedy movie about a boy named Josh Baskin. Josh wishes to be a grown up after he is refused to sit on a ride because of his height. Next day, Josh wakes up as an adult. When he goes to the machine (that granted his wish) he found at carnival; he realizes the carnival has left. He returns home but his mother is not able to recognize him and accuses him of kidnapping her son. Josh seeks help of his best friend, Billy. Soon, Josh begins working for a toy company. Because of his knowledge in toys, Josh is promoted and begins an affair with one of the employees. However, Josh begins to miss his childhood. Billy is soon able to find the machine and Josh wishes to be a child again. This one of the best Tom Hanks movies to watch.
#3 Philadelphia (1993)
Inspired by the lives of attorneys Geoffrey Bowers and Clarence B. Cain, back in 1987, Philadelphia is a story of lawyer who sues his employer after he is wrongfully dismissed by his employer. The movie won two Academy Awards; Tom Hanks won Academy Awards for Best Actor.
Andrew Beckett is gay and is an AIDs patient. He works as a lawyer for one of the top law firms but his employer fires him with the notion that his disease is contagious. Andrew realizes that his dismissal is wrong and decides to sue his employer. He seeks assistance of other lawyers but is refused my most. He meets Miller (Denzel Washington) a lawyer who is homophobic. Miller initially rejects to take Andrew’s case but when he realizes Andrew faces similar discrimination like he does (Miller is Black); he decides to take Andrew justice. Andrew, eventually, gets justice but dies soon after.
#4 Forrest Gump (1994)
Based on a book by Winston Groom, Forrest Gump is a story of kind-hearted individual with low IQ. The movie chronicles the life of Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) and highlights several events of American history (Hurricane Carmen, Watergate Scandal and Vietnam war). The movie was also chosen by Library of Congress for preservation.
The movie begins with 6 years old Forrest who is waiting for his school bus. Forrest wears leg braces to correct a curved a spine. He is often bullied at his school because of his disability. One day, while running away from bullies, Forrest’s braces come off and it is revealed that he is a fast runner. He is able to college scholarship and soon joins army. While posted in Vietnam, he becomes friends with Bubba. Bubba is killed in Vietnam and Forrest returns home with an injury. While recovering from his injury, Forrest discovers a new talent. He becomes a ping pong champion. The movie ends with Forrest waiting with his son at the bus stop. The movie got Tom Hanks his second Academy Award for Best Actor.
#5 Apollo 13 (1995)
One of the early Tom Hanks movies that is inspirational, courageous and heroic. The movie is based on NASA’s aborted mission to moon.
Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) is an astronaut who has orbited moon and wishes to walk on the moon. His wish is granted when his boss tells Lovell that Lovell and his team will be in-charge of Apollo 13. Apollo 13 takes off. On the third day of the mission, one of the tanks explodes and a leakage is found in another tank. The oxygen level in the spacecraft begins to drop. Jim and his team decide to abort the mission and return to Earth. However, the journey back home is not as easy as it seems.
#6 Saving Private Ryan (1998)
One of the best Tom Hanks movies, Saving Private Ryan was nominated for 11 Academy Awards. It is also another Tom Hanks movies that has been selected by Library of Congress for preservation.
Captain Miller has been assigned to bring back paratrooper Private Ryan. Miller takes his team to bring Ryan home. He is informed by Ryan’s friend that Ryan can be found in the town of Ramelle. Miller and his team move forward but one of his team members is shot by a German soldier. The soldier pleads and Miller lets him go. This event leads to a confrontation between Miller and one of his team members but they quickly resolve their differences. Miller reaches Ramelle and meet Private Ryan. Ryan refuses to return and joins his team waiting for the German attack. Miller joins Ryan’s team but is killed by Germans. Movie ends with Private Ryan visiting Miller’s grave with his wife.
#7 The Green Mile (1999)
Based on Stephen King’s novel, The Green Mile is a story of John and Paul (Tom Hanks). Paul is a prison officer who supervises death row and suffers from bladder infection. Things begin to change when a new prisoner (John Coffey) comes. John cures Paul’s infection, cures warder’s wife’s cancer and also revives a dead mouse. It is soon revealed that John has been wrongly accused. However, John wants to die. Before dying, John also transfers his power to Paul.
#8 Cast Away (2000)
A critically acclaimed American Survival drama, Cast Away is one of the must-see Tom Hanks movies that you cannot miss. Tom Hanks was nominated for the Academy Awards but did not win.
Chuck (Tom Hanks) is a busy man who works for FedEx. He is a systems engineer and resolves FedEx’s productivity issues. His Christmas is interrupted when he is called to work. He is asked to leave for Malaysia. Enroute, his plane crashes and he lands on a remote island. Chuck buries the body of a pilot and tries to give out help signals but no one comes to rescue him. While searching for food and water, Chuck opens all the packages except one. He finds a volleyball and names it Wilson. Chuck soon starts talking to Wilson. With no hopes of being rescued, Chuck accepts his destiny and begins to live on the island. During one of the storms, Wilson is untethered and floats away. Chuck tries to bring Wilson back but fails and becomes unconscious. He is soon rescued and returns home only to find that his family has moved on.
#9 Catch me if you can (2002)
Catch Me If You Can is based on the life of Frank Abagnale. The movie saw Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks sharing the screen. The movie was commercially successful and is a must-watch.
Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a teenager who lives with his father and mother. Due to tax evasion, Frank’s father looses his business and his mother leaves his father. Circumstances lead to Frank running away from the home. Once he runs out of the money, he becomes a conman. He soon impersonates as a Pan An Airways employees and is successful in stealing millions of dollars by forging checks. FBI Bank Fraud Agent, Carl (Tom Hanks) gets a whiff and begins to chase Frank. Frank moves to France and continues forging checks. Carl arrives in France to convince Frank to turn himself. Frank believes Carl and turns himself. But escapes when Carl tells him that his father has died. When he returns to his home, he meets his mother, his step-father and half-sister. Frank turns himself and is imprisoned. During one of Carl visits, Franks tells Carl that Carl is holding a forged check. Impressed by Frank, Carl convinces FBI to hire Frank as a consultant.
#10 Savings Mr. Banks (2013)
This movie depicts the making of 1964 film Mary Poppins. Tom Hanks played the role of the world-renowned producer Walt Disney. Emma Thompson portrayed the role of Mary Poppins author, Pamela Travers.
The movie begins with Walt Disney trying to fulfill his daughters’ wish to make a Mary Poppins movie. He has been trying to convince the author, Pamela Travers, to sell the rights to let him make a movie. Pamela, who is absolutely against the idea, is forced to give rights because of her tight financial condition. She is flown to Los Angeles from London, and her struggles begin. Pamela is not happy with the portrayals of few characters and objects. Disney realizes that Mary Poppins is close related to Pamela’s past and trying to help her overcome her turbulent past by taking her to Disneyland. Pamela softens but she is angered when she finds out that the movie will have an animation sequence (something she demanded that should not be part of the movie). She leaves the team and goes back to London. Three years, Mary Poppins is all set to premiere but Pamela is not invited at the screening. She forces Disney to send her an invite.
#11 The Post (2017)
This is one of the best Tom Hanks movies and received six nominations at Academy Awards. The Post is based on a true story of The Washington Post journalists who published pentagon papers.
The film begins in 1966, Vietnam war is going on and Daniel Ellsberg is in Vietnam documenting military activities. Years pass, Daniel has left military and he works as military contractor. He decides to take copies of pentagon papers and leaks the documents to press. Simultaneously, Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) is struggling to run her family newspaper, The Washington Post. Her decisions are refuted by her male colleagues; one of them is Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks). When the journalists at the Post try to find Ellsberg, they are given more classified documents by Ellsberg. The Post lawyers advice Graham not to publish the documents but she decides to run the story. The newspaper is summoned by the court but in the end, Supreme court rules in favor of The Post.
Apart from movies, Tom Hanks is also noted for giving voice to Sheriff Woody in Toy Story movies. These were some of the best Tom Hanks movies. Have we missed your favorite Tom Hanks’ movies from the list? Leave a comment below.