Tom Hanks turns 60: 10 of the Oscar-winning actor's best films


Tom Hanks, one of the most popular stars in Hollywood, celebrates his 60th birthday on Saturday.

The award-winning actor, writer, producer and director - who is equally at home in comedy and drama - has turned in masterful performances over the years.

Tom has been awarded accolades including Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Emmys and Screen Actors Guild awards for work ranging from Big to Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.

Tom Hanks turns 60 (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
Tom Hanks turns 60 (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Born in California, he first made his mark in comedies.

Tom dressed up as a woman in short-lived 1980s sitcom Bosom Buddies and he played the uncle of Michael J Fox's character Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties.

When Ron Howard cast Tom in his romantic comedy Splash, it turned out to be the breakthrough role that set him on the road to Oscar glory. As Tom reaches his milestone birthday, we celebrate his career with 10 of his best films.

1. Toy Story franchise

Tom will forever be loved for lending his voice to Pixar's ground-breaking favourite - the first full-length animated feature ever created entirely in the new medium of computer animation.

On its release in 1995, the original Toy Story quickly became a phenomenon. As Sheriff Woody, best known to millions around the globe as Woody, Tom has given all the Toy Story instalments heart despite not being seen on screen.

2. Philadelphia

Tom Hanks with his Oscar (Reed Saxon/AP)
Tom Hanks with his Oscar (Reed Saxon/AP)

Tom won his first Oscar for his moving portrayal of lawyer Andrew Beckett, a gay man dying of Aids. After being fired for having the condition, Andrew hires Joe Miller, played by Denzel Washington, and takes his company to court.

Philadelphia, released in 1993, was one of the first movies centring around HIV and Aids in mainstream Hollywood. To play the lead, Tom lost 26 pounds.

3. Forrest Gump

Released in 1994, this Oscar-winning picture secured Tom his second Academy Award. It also made him the first actor since Spencer Tracy in the 1930s to win back-to-back best actor Oscars.

Forrest Gump is the story of an Alabama native who goes through one memorable experience after another against a backdrop of American history from the 1950s to the present.

As the lead character, Tom endeared himself to millions with his sensitive portrayal - it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role.

4. Cast Away

Tom gave a towering performance as Chuck Noland, a time-obsessed FedEx systems engineer who is left alone on a remote island for four years after a plane crash.

Captivated viewers watched Chuck's battle for survival and his fight against depression and suicide, with only a volleyball he named Wilson as company.

First released in 2000, Tom once again underwent a dramatic weight loss for the role.

5. Saving Private Ryan

Set in France in 1944, anyone who has seen this 1998 Steven Spielberg movie will never forget the opening 20 minutes which graphically depict the Normandy beach landings.

Saving Private Ryan stars Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Edward Burns (Paramount Pictures)
Saving Private Ryan stars Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Edward Burns (Paramount Pictures)

Equally memorable is Tom's searing portrayal of Captain John Miller, a school teacher by profession who is tasked with a perilous assignment. Captain Miller must lead a squad deep into enemy territory to find and save paratrooper James Ryan (Matt Damon).

Rightly lauded for his performance, Tom missed out on another Oscar, but Saving Private Ryan won a host of awards.

6. Big

When it comes to body-swap comedies, you won't get better than this charming and funny tale of 12-year-old Josh Baskin. The youngster makes a wish to be "big" - and it comes true when he wakes up as an adult, played by Tom.

For the lead role, the star had to channel his inner pre-teen and make the audience forget they were watching a grown man - and he was easily up to the challenge. First released in 1988, Big remains a timeless favourite thanks to Tom's adorable man-child.

7. Splash

Tom's small role in an episode of sitcom Happy Days led the show's former star-turned-director Ron Howard to cast him as Allen Bauer in this romantic comedy.

Allen meets and falls in love with beautiful mermaid Madison (Daryl Hannah), but the course of true love isn't entirely smooth for the unlikely couple. This 1984 movie turned out to be a surprise hit and once again showcased Tom's flair for comedy.

8. The Green Mile

In the screen adaptation of Stephen King's best-seller, Louisiana prison guard Paul Edgecomb meets convict John Coffey (the late Michael Clarke Duncan) - and it turns out to be an experience that changes his life forever.

Released in 1999 to widespread acclaim, The Green Mile remains a powerful cinematic experience thanks to Michael's emotive performance. Tom's role was less showy, but his portrayal of a man with integrity was absorbing.

9. Bridge Of Spies

Tom and Steven Spielberg teamed up again for this 2015 acclaimed movie about James Donovan, an insurance claims lawyer who finds himself thrust into the centre of the Cold War.

James, played by Tom, defends Rudolf Abel (an Oscar-winning performance from Mark Rylance) against charges that he is a Soviet spy. He loses. But the CIA enlists James to negotiate the release of a captured American pilot.

British actor Mark won unanimous praise from critics, but Tom gave another of those performances where he effortlessly and intimately connects with his character.

10. Sleepless In Seattle

If you're in the mood for romance, this 1993 movie has to be high on the list because Tom and Meg Ryan made a winning pair in Nora Ephron's romantic comedy.

Tom played a widower named Sam Baldwin who moves to Seattle to bring up his son Jonah after losing his wife to cancer.

Sam ends up talking about his loneliness on a radio show and Annie Reed, played by Meg, hears it. The two central characters live in different parts of the country, but love eventually finds a way. The role of bereaved Sam gave Tom the perfect vehicle to demonstrate his comic timing and his grasp of drama.