Tom Hanks Best Films – Ranked

Tom Hanks has given us some unforgettable moments on screen, seamlessly transitioning from heartwarming roles to characters that tug at our very soul. His ability to dive deep into the essence of each character, bringing stories to life with a relatable humanity, is unmatched. Here’s a look at fifteen films where Tom Hanks proved why he’s one of the greats, without following any repetitive patterns in our exploration.

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump showcases Hanks in perhaps his most iconic role, as a man whose simple outlook on life leads him through pivotal moments in American history. Hanks brings a sincerity and purity to the character that makes us reflect on love, loss, and destiny. It’s his performance that anchors the film’s fantastical elements to real, palpable human emotions, making it not just a good movie, but a profound experience.

Cast Away

In Cast Away, Hanks delivers a masterclass in acting, carrying the film almost single-handedly as a man stranded on a deserted island. The emotional journey of survival, resilience, and the human spirit’s indomitability is captured with raw intensity. Hanks’s transformation and commitment to the role elevate this movie to a riveting tale of isolation and redemption.

Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan sees Hanks as the leader of a squad tasked with finding and bringing home a single soldier. His portrayal of duty, courage, and the burdens of leadership amidst the horrors of war adds depth to the film. Hanks’s ability to convey complex emotions through subtlety and strength makes this more than just a war movie; it’s a poignant exploration of humanity.


With Big, Hanks effortlessly bridges the gap between childhood and adulthood, capturing the joy and challenges of both worlds. His performance is filled with a sense of wonder and discovery that is infectious, reminding us of the innocence and dreams of youth. This movie shines because Hanks makes us believe in the magic of wishing again.


Philadelphia provided a platform for Hanks to tackle a role filled with social significance, playing a lawyer fighting for justice against discrimination. His portrayal brought attention to the AIDS crisis and humanized the struggle, earning him an Oscar. The movie’s impact lies in Hanks’s ability to convey his character’s dignity and fight against prejudice, making it a landmark film in advocating for empathy and understanding.

The Green Mile

The Green Mile presents a supernatural drama where Hanks plays a death row guard who encounters an extraordinary inmate. His grounded performance amidst the mystical elements of the story highlights the themes of compassion and moral dilemma. Hanks adds a layer of gravitas and introspection, elevating the film beyond its fantastical premise to question the nature of justice and redemption.

Captain Phillips

Hanks brings to life the true story of Captain Phillips, a ship captain facing Somali pirates. The tension and fear are palpable, thanks to Hanks’s portrayal of bravery under duress. His nuanced performance captures the complexity of leadership and survival, making the film a thrilling and emotional journey.

Apollo 13

In Apollo 13, Hanks leads a mission fraught with peril, embodying the spirit of exploration and resilience. His portrayal of astronaut Jim Lovell highlights the collaborative struggle to avert disaster, grounding the film in authenticity and human perseverance. Hanks’s dedication to the role enhances the film’s gripping narrative, celebrating the triumph of the human spirit against the odds.

Sleepless in Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle offers a tender look at love and fate, with Hanks providing a heartfelt performance as a widowed father. His chemistry with Meg Ryan lights up the screen, crafting a romantic tale that’s both enchanting and sincere. Hanks’s ability to balance vulnerability with a sense of hope makes the film a memorable romantic comedy.

Toy Story

Through the voice of Woody in Toy Story, Hanks brings an animated character to life with warmth and depth. His performance is pivotal in exploring themes of friendship, loyalty, and acceptance. The success of this film lies not just in its groundbreaking animation, but in the emotional resonance Hanks lends to Woody, making him a character beloved by all ages.

Catch Me If You Can

In Catch Me If You Can, Hanks plays the determined FBI agent chasing a clever con artist. The dynamic between his character and Leonardo DiCaprio’s adds a thrilling edge to the film. Hanks’s portrayal of dogged perseverance mixed with moments of vulnerability makes the movie an engaging cat-and-mouse game that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking.

The Terminal

The Terminal showcases Hanks as an Eastern European visitor trapped in an airport, bringing humor and humanity to a bizarre predicament. His performance explores themes of belonging and the kindness of strangers. The film stands out for Hanks’s ability to invoke laughter and empathy, highlighting the absurdity and beauty of human connections.


In Sully, Hanks embodies the real-life heroism of pilot Chesley Sullenberger. His portrayal of calm under pressure and the weight of responsibility showcases Hanks’s range. The film is a testament to the actor’s skill in bringing true stories to the forefront, making us appreciate the extraordinary moments in everyday lives.

A League of Their Own

A League of Their Own features Hanks as a grumpy baseball manager who finds redemption coaching a women’s team. His comedic timing and eventual heartfelt support of his team provide a perfect balance to the film’s exploration of gender and sport. Hanks’s transformation from a cynical has-been to an inspiring mentor underlines the movie’s message of perseverance and teamwork.