5 epic Tom Hanks roles you shouldn't miss

Best Tom Hanks roles (Images via IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes)
Best Tom Hanks roles (Image via Rotten Tomatoes)

Tom Hanks has aced both dramatic and comedic roles since early 1980s. One of the most popular stars ever, the veteran actor's career is peppered with some of Hollywood's biggest commercial as well as critically-acclaimed films. His accolades include two Academy Awards and seven Primetime Emmy Awards.

The superstar has starred in the recently released musical fantasy film, Pinocchio, directed by Robert Zemeckis, making it the fourth collaboration between them. The film has been released on Disney+ on September 8, 2022.

It is based on Italian author Carlo Collodi's classic 1883 childrens' book, titled The Adventures of Pinocchio. This is also a live-action remake of the 1940 Disney animated film of the same name.


The story revolves around the titular Pinocchio (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth), a wooden puppet created by a childless woodcarver named Geppetto (Tom Hanks), who wishes for Pinocchio to become a real boy. His wish is heard by the Blue Fairy (Cynthia Erivo), who visits his shop and brings the puppet to life.

While Geppetto raises him like his own son, Pinocchio soon finds himself embarking on a coming-of-age journey to learn how to become selfless, brave and true.

Check out these other epic roles portrayed by Tom Hanks before you catch him as Geppetto in Pinocchio.

Captain John Miller and 4 other Tom Hanks roles that stand testament to his brilliance

1) Chuck Noland in Cast Away


Directed and produced by Robert Zemeckis, this 2000 survival drama stars Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland, a busy FedEx analyst, whose flight crashes into the Pacific Ocean. He gets stranded on a deserted island with no one to talk to other than a volleyball named Wilson. The film showcases his multi-year journey to get back to civilization and to the woman he loves, Kelly (Helen Hunt).

Hanks' acting chops in the film earned him his fifth Academy Award nomination. His facial expressions, body language, and voice aptly deliver the emotions of the stranded character when he triumphantly declares, “I have made fire” or when he sobbingly apologizes to Wilson for deliberately tossing and then losing him.

2) Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump


Directed by Robert Zemeckis, this 1994 film is loosely based on Winston Groom's 1986 novel of the same name. The film explores four decades of 20th-century American history by following the life and journey of the titular Forrest Gump, a slow-witted and kindhearted Alabama man, played by Tom Hanks.

Hanks' brilliant portrayal of the lovable character won him his second Academy Award. His acting brought in the perfect balance of naivety, warmth, and comedic brilliance to the titular character. This protagonist quickly went on to become one of the most popular characters ever in Hanks' acting timeline.

3) Captain John Miller in Saving Private Ryan


Directed by Steven Spielberg, this 1998 war film set during the Battle of Normandy in World War II marked the first collaboration between Spielberg and Tom Hanks. The film explores the graphic violence of war and the tragic reality of many soldiers fighting in World War II, through following the journey of USAR (United States Army Rangers) Captain John Miller (Hanks) and his squad as they search for paratrooper Private James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon).

From portraying PTSD to the heartbreaking sacrifice at the end of the film, Hanks' performance as the leader who remained focused on keeping his men alive through all kinds of horrendous circumstances was top-notch. His performance in the film won him his fourth Oscar nomination.

4) Captain Richard Phillips in Captain Phillips


Directed by Paul Greengrass, this 2013 biographical action thriller tells the true story of the 2009 hijacking of Maersk Alabama by four Somali pirates. The film stars Tom Hanks as the eponymous Captain Richard Phillips, a merchant mariner who was taken hostage by the Somali pirates.

Hanks' portrayal of the captive captain, who needed to calmly navigate the situation, was praiseworthy. His body language and facial expressions genuinely portray the mental stress, anger, and desperation of his character. He also accurately portrayed the shock and trauma his character experiences through his stuttering.

5) Sheriff Woody in Toy Story


Tom Hanks is also a renowned voice actor. In 1995, he voiced the animated character Sheriff Woody, a classic cowboy doll, in the highly successful Disney film Toy Story. Without Hanks' voice performance, the film would not have developed into a successful franchise with multiple spin-off short films and animated series.

Hanks' performance helped Woody become one of the most beloved animated characters ever with countless memorable lines and heartfelt moments with Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen).

So all in all, Hanks has wooed us with his several performances over the years now, and we are sure that the veteran actor's recent release, Pinocchio, also will steal hearts away in the true 'Tom Hank' style. Don't forget to watch Pinocchio only on Disney+.

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Edited by Abhipsa Choudhury