Today: June 12, 2024

Tom Hanks Retrospective

Available on digital platforms on 12th September and on Blu-ray and DVD from 19th September, 2016, A Hologram For The King is yet another classic Tom Hanks performance. In celebration of the man and his work, we take a look back at some of his most iconic roles to date…

A Hologram For The King (2016)
In Hologram For The King Hanks plays a man struggling to find his purpose in the world, but lost both figuratively and physically. Alan Clay (Hanks) hopes to sell a state-of-the-art 3D holographic meeting system to the nation’s King. But once he begins work he quickly learns that he will have to adapt to a different culture and way of doing business in order to be successful. After suffering a panic attack in his hotel room, Alan meets a beautiful Saudi Doctor whose presence has a profound effect, leading him to question the path his life has taken. Hanks’ signature charm and depth guides us on an inspirational journey of self discovery, leading to the conclusion that there really is nothing this man can’t do.

Big (1988)
Before the days of the multiple Oscar wins Hanks made hearts around the world melt as a child who was magically turned into a grown man overnight. Still living with 13-year-old’s mentality, Josh (Hanks) decides to hide out in New York City until he can figure out what to do next. He lucks into a job with a major toy company run by kid-at-heart McMillan (Robert Loggia) and falls in love with fellow employee Susan (Elizabeth Perkins). But he soon becomes desperate to go back to being scruffy teenager. Hanks brought his trademark wit and playfulness to the role, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else being able to play a giant keyboard with his feet as well as he does.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Steven Spielberg’s legendary WWII epic may be known primarily for its extremely intense and disturbing 24-minute long battle sequence on the beaches of Normandy, but at the films heart is a very grounded and relatable performance from Mr. Hanks. The film follows a group of soldiers led by Captain Miller (Hanks), who have been charged with the task of saving a young soldier fighting in France by the name of (you guessed it) Private Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in battle, and bring him home to his family. The film won five  Oscars in total but what was most notable about the ceremony was that it missed out on ‘Best Picture’ to Shakespeare In Love, which is still remembered as one of the biggest Oscar upsets in history. The film has proven to stand the test of time though, with Hank’s performance being one of the best of his career.

Toy Story (1995), Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010)
Despite all of Pixar’s successes, Toy Story still sets the bar. Hanks voices the charming cowboy doll Woody, who is seen as a leader of sorts for a group of toys who come to life when no one is looking. But when their owner Andy gets a new action figure for his birthday in the shape of Buzz Lightyear, he starts to lose his place as the ‘favourite toy’. Since it’s release in 1995, Toy Story has set the standard for every Summer’s big blockbuster animation.

Forest Gump (1994)
They say a career is never complete without a role that encourages millions of people around the world to impersonate nearly every line from the film in a ridiculous voice. If that’s true then Hanks has managed to complete that task with the title role in Robert Zemeckis’ film Forest Gump. The films follows Gump, from a young age right through to becoming a father, as he finds himself in many troubling and often enlightening times. Hanks gives a heart breaking performance that ended up winning him an Oscar, showing the importance of innocence in a world beset by chaos and darkness.

Captain Philips (2013)
With Paul Greengrass’ high-seas thriller Captain Phillips, we got a hero who was, above all else, brave and relatable. Based on the true story of the 2009 hijacking of U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates, the film not only works as an gripping and tense modern day action-thriller, but also successfully attempts to dissect deeper themes of poverty and globalisation. A truly heartbreaking final scene lifts this film way above other ‘action-adventure’ movies.

Cast Away (2000)
This intense drama about one man’s struggles to survive after being shipwrecked on a desert island can be summed up in one word: WILSON! Hanks manages to keep our full attention in a film that features only him for 90% of the film, along with a brilliantly understated performance from his volley ball friend. Of all the films Hanks’ films, h this is probably the most intense. In Cast Away, Hanks made us laugh, cry and learn how to appreciate life and everything it throws at us:  a magnificently rounded performance.


Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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