best film:  Saving Private Ryan and now that we’ve had a little bit of distance between now and Hanks’ best work I don’t think this one is particularly close. I think there are a number of top 10 (or close) of their year quality films Forrest Gump, Philadelphia, Big, Cast Away, Apollo 13, Road to Perdition and Captain Phillips but nothing that really gives me pause when going with Spielberg’s brilliant, visceral, war film.

best performance:  Philadelphia and to me this one is much more debatable than Hanks’ best film. I’m confident it’s either Philadelphia or Saving Private Ryan but could go either way. Both have tremendous scenes that showcase Hanks’ acting chops. In Philadelphia it’s the opera scene—just give him the Oscar right there (and they did). In Saving Private Ryan it’s the slow motion non-verbal distress sequences. Beyond the top two performances there’s great depth and debate here. I’m not even married to picks 3-5 below and think I could put Forrest Gump or Apollo 13 in there.

stylistic innovations/traits:  17 films in the archives (same as Denzel) with five Academy Award noms (zero since 2000 but Captain Phillips with his performance at the end—come on!) and two wins (Philadelphia and Forrest Gump in back to back years). Hanks has an undeniable gift for affability- tremendously likeable. He’s challenged himself (Cloud Atlas, Big, Road to Perdition) but can also play the sturdy leading man modern day Jimmy Stewart (without Stewart’s dark edge) in films like Sully, Bridge of Spies, The Post.

directors worked with:   Spielberg (4), Zemeckis (2), and then once a piece with Demme, Mendes, Mike Nichols and Eastwood.

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Philadelphia
  2. Saving Private Ryan
  3. Cast Away
  4. Big
  5. Captain Phillips


Archiveable films

1988- Big
1990- Joe Versus the Volcano
1993- Philadelphia
1993- Sleepless in Seattle
1994- Forrest Gump
1995- Apollo 13
1998- Saving Private Ryan
1999- The Green Mile
2000- Cast Away
2002- Catch Me If You Can
2002- The Road to Perdition
2007- Charlie Wilson’s War
2012- Cloud Atlas
2013- Captain Phillips
2015- Bridge of Spies
2016- Sully
2017- The Post