You don’t become one of America’s most endearing actors without filing away a gaggle of unforgettable performances that both make you a household name and a bankable movie star. Tom Hanks is that type of Hollywood icon, and he brings his homegrown charisma and relatability to the role of Fred Rogers in the upcoming bio-drama A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
Seeing that film got us thinking about the milestone films in Hanks’ career that led him to be able to play Rogers convincingly. Fred Rogers, for so many of us, was our youth. But so, in a way, was Hanks. In the roles below, Hanks worked his way into the pop-culture landscape and became a virtual member of our cinematic family.
Which one of these Tom Hanks films is your absolute favorite?
A simple man shapes the defining moments of our nation in Robert Zemeckis’ sprawling yarn. Hanks is beloved as the innocent Forrest, a man who happens to be at the most important historical events of the 20th century. His catchphrases inspired a generation, and the performance earned Hanks his second Best Actor Oscar®.
It’s funny, because we only hear Tom Hanks in the TOY STORY movies, but don’t see him. And yet, we instantly associate Hanks with the animated cowboy who helped Andy transition from his adolescence to his college years. Hanks and Woody came back to theatres this year for TOY STORY 4, and to no one’s surprise, it became the highest-grossing entry in the franchise.
Tom Hanks has a hint of adolescence in his personality. His humor channels an energy and an enthusiasm that many of us had as children, but lost as we matured. This is why BIG was the perfect project for Hanks, as he played a teenager in the body of an adult. The 1988 comedy catapulted Hanks to a new level in the film industry, and he never really came back down.
"There’s no crying in baseball!" The line immediately conjures images from Penny Marshall’s winning A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, a movie about female ball players competing in their own league. Very few actors could steal scenes from the talented ensemble Marshall assembled, but Hanks’ flawed but earnest take on Dugan put him right into our hearts.
Do you know how many rom-coms keep their leads apart for the entire movie? Very few. But that formula worked incredibly well for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in the delightful and romantic SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE. Couples usually coast on their chemistry. Hanks and Ryan were wildly endearing in their own stories, making us root for them to finally meet. When it happens, movie magic occurs.
See Tom Hanks’ next memorable role when A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD opens in theatres on November 22.