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Tom Hanks: A Viewer’s Guide
The highs (and lows) of his career in movies

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If life is like a box of chocolates, Tom Hanks’ life is one of those really expensive ones handcrafted by Belgians with PhDs in cocoa in a lab made entirely of praline. He is, quite simply, the biggest movie star of all time, with the box office ($8.5bn and counting) and Oscars (two, plus three nominations) to prove it. He’s regularly been tagged ‘cinema’s Average Joe’, a Norman Rockwell portrait of American’s best face, but like his predecessor in that niche, Jimmy Stewart, there’s an awful lot more to him that that. Beyond his acting, he’s a veteran producer, two-time director, screenwriter, environmentalist, part-time rapper and the man who taught us that “There is no crying in baseball!”. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Thomas Jeffrey Hanks...

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Tom Hanks: A Viewer’s Guide |

ESSENTIAL VIEWING: Apollo 13 (1995)

The First Law Of Tom Hanks is that any long-haul journey that he embarks upon will inevitably end in catastrophe, usually followed by a frenzied improvisation and ultimate triumph (See also: Cast Away, Captain Phillips, Joe Versus The Volcano). It’s the real reason he wasn’t allowed to board that flight in The Terminal and it’s borne out in spades in Ron Howard’s clammy slingshot into space. As the Californian has proved time and again, these Hanks-in-distress roles draw in audiences like a tractor beam. Along with Saving Private Ryan and Cast Away, Ron Howard’s retelling of the 1970 Apollo mission is the perfect showcase for his relatable Everyman. John Travolta was first choice to play astronaut Jim Lovell, a man paid to travel through space in a giant baked potato and look happy about it, but for all his flying experience it wouldn’t have had half the romance of Woody becoming Buzz Lightyear.

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Your Comments

Wheres Forest Gump? Thats one of his top 5 performances! maybe Phil is just one of those cynics that didn't like Forrest Gump. More

Posted by Darren47 on Sunday January 5, 2014, 15:54

Wheres Forest Gump? Thats one of his top 5 performances! maybe Phil is just one of those cynics that didn't like Forrest Gump. More

Posted by Darren47 on Sunday January 5, 2014, 15:53

how can forrest gump get 5 stars by this very magazine and not get in ? More

Posted by fowler100 on Wednesday October 23, 2013, 10:26

4 yeah where is the rest?
Yeah rather a short list? BIG is for the fan only? Really? Ok. I guess you can say that of any film. Still at list they didn't succumb to Forrest Gump. More

Posted by blindfold on Tuesday October 22, 2013, 13:05

5 His early funny ones
Splash, Bachelor Party, The 'Burbs, The Money Pit, Volunteers, The Man with One Red Shoe....all classic! His Spielberg films are all great too, yes even Terminal! More

Posted by zeech1941 on Monday October 21, 2013, 18:10

6 A League of Their Own
Okay so it has Madonna in it, but this was the first film Hanks really tried to fly free of the pigeon hole, piled on the weight, playing the drunk baseball manager. Good film. Also have love for Turner and Hooch and Saving Private Ryan, none for Castaway, and little for Apollo 13. More

Posted by RichChills on Monday October 21, 2013, 10:00

7 Where are his three best films?
Intriguing, but no mention of the THREE BEST FILMS he's been in :Road to Perdition, Catch Me If You Can and Charlie Wilson's War. More

Posted by Aidseen on Saturday October 19, 2013, 20:44

8 the burbs and splash!
burbs ,splash and dragnet were clearly his early classics. More

Posted by wilsyboy1978 on Saturday October 19, 2013, 15:04

9 Forrest Gump - Good omission
Im pleased this wasn't on the list. Its just a bit too obvious. Shout outs to Dragnet, The Man With One Red Shoe, Saving Private Ryan and Turner and Hooch! More

Posted by guysalisbury on Saturday October 19, 2013, 00:06

Am I the only one who liked The Da Vinci Code? AND Angels and Demons? ... I'll get my coat. And I would've picked The Terminal over Big as For the Fan! Seriously underrated movie! More

Posted by Doctor Batman on Friday October 18, 2013, 20:46

11 Splash
Splash More

Posted by pablo233 on Friday October 18, 2013, 19:36

12 Where's Forrest Gump on this List?
How is Forrest Gump not considered an Essential viewing? More

Posted by Foldenhauer on Friday October 18, 2013, 18:20

13 You mean $8.5 BILLION
Tom Hanks' movies have made $8.5 billion, not $8.5 million, at the box office. And thanks for the awesome feature! :) More

Posted by Madhava on Friday October 18, 2013, 17:47

14 Another one to add to the list of stinkers...
"Joe vs The Volcano" Count yourself lucky if you've never heard of it! More

Posted by Jade Blue Afterglow on Friday October 18, 2013, 16:53

15 The Burbs
I loved the burbs ......classic More

Posted by lentrix on Friday October 18, 2013, 16:27

16 Er, The Burbs, or The Money Pit??
Seriously, you can't get much more "Everyman In Screwed Up Situation" than those. More

Posted by Arfpint on Friday October 18, 2013, 15:43

You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list

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