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Hanks for the Memories: Top 10 Tom Hanks Performances

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He's given us some of our favourite childhood memories, and lead some of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time. To mark the release of the acclaimed film The Post on DVD and Blu Ray on Monday, we’re counting the very best Tom Hanks films from his extensive career. 

1. Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump depicts several decades in the life of its titular character (Hanks), a slow-witted but kind-hearted, good-natured and athletically prodigious man from Alabama. Gump witnesses, and in some cases influences, some of the defining events of the latter half of the 20th century in the United States, specifically the period between his birth in 1944 and 1982. The film differs substantially from Winston Groom's novel, including Gump's personality and several events that were depicted.

The film scooped 6 Academy Awards in total, with Hanks winning Best Actor in a Leading Role.

2. Apollo 13 (1995)

Apollo 13 dramatizes the aborted 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission, starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, and Ed Harris.

In Los Angeles, Hanks and all the actors portray flight controllers enrolled in a Flight Controller School led by Gerry Griffin, an Apollo 13 flight director, and flight controller Jerry Bostick. The actors studied audiotapes from the mission, reviewed hundreds of pages of NASA transcripts, and attended a crash course in physics.

The film was named the #12 most inspirational movie by the American Film Institute in 2006.

3. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan is known for its graphic portrayal of war, and for the intensity of its opening 27 minutes, which includes a depiction of the Omaha Beach assault during the Normandy landings.

The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture; Spielberg's direction won his second Academy Award for Best Director, with four more awards going to the film.

In 2006, Hanks was inducted into the U.S. Army's Ranger Hall of Fame as an honorary member, largely thanks to his portrayal of Captain John Miller.

4. Cast Away (2000)

From the same director as Forrest Gump, Cast Away is the story of how obsessively punctual FedEx executive Chuck Noland (Hanks) survives on a deserted island following a plane crash.

To make himself look like an average, out of shape middle aged man Tom Hanks didn't exercise and allowed himself to grow pudgy. Production was then halted for a year so he could lose fifty pounds and grow out his hair for his time spent on the deserted island. 

Tom Hanks said one of the reasons he wanted to make the film was to reinvent the "stuck on a desert island" concept. He felt that up to that point, most people's association of the idea was limited to either "Robinson Crusoe" or "Gilligan's Island" and that there was room for a new take, one rooted in the modern day.

5. Toy Story (1995)

The first feature film to be produced by Pixar, Toy Story is is considered by many critics to be one of the best animated films ever made.

Hanks plays the lead character Woody, a toy cowboy. What attracted Hanks to the role was the fact that, during his childhood, he would always wonder if his toys were alive and moved around when nobody was in his room.  

Director John Lasseter always wanted Tom Hanks to play the character of Woody. Lasseter claimed Hanks had "the ability to take emotions and make them appealing. Even if the character is down-and-out and despicable."

6. Captain Phillips (2013)

Captain Phillips is inspired by the true story of the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking, an incident during which merchant mariner Captain Richard Phillips was taken hostage by pirates in the Indian Ocean led by Abduwali Muse.

The film received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Abdi.

7. The Green Mile (1999)

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, The Green Mile, told in a flashback format, tells the story of Paul Edgecomb's (Hanks) life as a death row corrections officer during the U.S. Great Depression, and the supernatural events he witnessed.

Stephen King said that Tom Hanks fit his part "like an old shoe” and Hanks stayed in character as Paul Edgecomb whenever Stephen King visited the set. King asked him if he would like to sit in Old Sparky, but Hanks refused, since he was in charge of the block.

8. Big (1988)

The story of a 12-year-old who wakes up in a 30-year-old’s body, this comedy was nominated for two Academy Awards. 

To give Tom Hanks an idea of how a twelve year-old would behave, director Penny Marshall filmed each "grown-up" scene with David Moscow (Young Josh) playing Hanks' part, who then copied Moscow's behavior. Hanks would go on to do something similar for Forrest Gump, when he would spend time with Michael Conner Humphreys (Young Forrest) and imitate his southern accent to prepare for the part.

9. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Catch Me If You Can is based on the life of Frank Abagnale (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), who, before his 19th birthday, successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars by posing as a Pan American World Airways pilot, a Georgia doctor, and a Louisiana parish prosecutor.

Hanks plays an FBI bank fraud agent, who tracks Frank and eventually catches him.

The blackboard that Carl Hanratty is writing on toward the end of the movie contains a small note at the bottom that says, "Steven and Tom's 4th project". Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, had previously collaborated on Band of Brothers (2001), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and Joe Versus the Volcano (1990).

10. Philadelphia (1993)

Philadelphia marked a huge step for LGBT+ representation on screen, since it was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and homophobia. Though it wouldn't be considered particularly progressive for Hanks, a straight man, to play the part now in 2018, at the time it had an undeniably huge impact.

Andrew Beckett (Hanks) is fired from his law firm when diagnosed with HIV, and he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.

Tom Hanks had to lose almost thirty pounds to appear appropriately gaunt for his courtroom scenes. Denzel Washington, on the other hand, was asked to gain a few pounds for his role.

The Post is released on DVD and Blu Ray on May 21st.

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