Total Recall: Tom Hanks' Best Movies

We run down the best-reviewed work of the Oscar winner and Angels & Demons star.

Co-starring in a short-lived sitcom about cross-dressing friends generally isn't the most direct path to superstardom, but there's an exception to prove every rule -- only one, though; sorry, Peter Scolari -- and after racking up over $3 billion in domestic ticket receipts, winning a mantel full of awards (including back-to-back Best Actor Oscars), and starring in some of the best-reviewed films of the last 25 years, Tom Hanks has demonstrated that he's pretty darned exceptional. With his latest project, the Da Vinci Code sequel Angels & Demons, arriving in theaters this weekend, we decided now was the perfect time to pay tribute to an impressive body of work by twirling the dials on the Tomatometer, making a list of Hanks' best-reviewed films, and playing Total Recall!

These lists are almost always greeted with cries of "I can't believe you left off [title of film]!" and Hanks' Total Recall is bound to be no different -- with a list of films that includes some of the most audience and critic-friendly releases of the '80s, '90s, and '00s, some fairly heavy hitters were bound to miss the top 10. Which of your favorites didn't make the list? To find out, join us as we relive the brightest critical highlights of a distinguished career -- then visit Hanks' complete filmography to read up on the rest!

Template Image

10. A League of Their Own

In the years immediately following Big, Hanks endured a period of professional disappointments, starring in a string of turkeys that included The 'Burbs, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and the dreaded Joe Versus the Volcano; his biggest hit during this period was 1989's Turner & Hooch, which hit paydirt at the box office despite generally lackluster reviews. By 1992, you wouldn't have been out of line to suggest that Hanks needed a comeback vehicle -- and he got it with A League of Their Own, the Penny Marshall-directed dramedy about the short-lived All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Playing the supporting role of team manager Jimmy Dugan, Hanks is free to leave the heavy lifting to his co-stars -- a list that included Geena Davis, Rosie O'Donnell, Lori Petty, and Madonna -- and, during a dugout rant about the mutual exclusivity of crying and baseball, scores the film's most memorable line. A huge hit at the box office, League was embraced less warmly by critics, many of whom tempered their generally positive reviews with words like "lightweight" and "watchable" -- although Netflix's James Rocchi was one who saw deeper value in the film, praising it as "a well-performed, snappily written and well-intentioned piece of entertainment that, surprisingly, has some historical information and a gently pitched line of social commentary running through the comedy."

Template Image

9. Cast Away

If there was ever any doubt as to the strength of Tom Hanks' appeal, it was thoroughly answered with 2000's Cast Away, a movie that asked viewers to spend over an hour watching its star wander an island with little to do and only a volleyball for companionship. He didn't just topline it, Hanks essentially was the film, absorbing a percentage of screen time that, in lesser hands, would have amounted to an endurance test for audiences. Happily, he proved up to the task, as attested by Cast Away's healthy $429 million worldwide gross -- not to mention the scores of overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics like Margaret A. McGurk of the Cincinnati Enquirer, who praised Hanks for rising to the challenges of the script: "The challenge to the character is matched by the challenge to the actor; for most of the movie Mr. Hanks is the only human being we see or hear. He tackles the job with stunning confidence in a performance stripped of gimmicks and driven by need."


Jacob D.

Jacob Dellmart

I'll let the jilting of You've Got Mail slide, but seriously, no Forrest Gump? Get over yourselves Tomatometer critics!

May 14 - 09:30 AM


Tyler Boone

Awesome list of films from one of the worlds most likable actors.

I dont have sound at work, but it looks like the Fonz taught Hanks a lesson the likes of which he wont soon forget.

May 14 - 09:37 AM


Ricky Tolentino

i loved him in the Simpsons Movie... "Hello, I'm Tom Hanks. The US Government has lost its credibility so it's borrowing some of mine"...

May 14 - 09:42 AM

G D.


when you go to click on the link for Toy Story 2, it goes to Star Trek: First contact.

May 14 - 09:54 AM


John Phillips


May 14 - 10:17 AM

inactive user

Jared King

It's not a list if "Forrest Gump" dosen't make it. I mean seriously, "Splash"?

May 14 - 09:55 AM

Sarthak Roy

Sarthak Roy

yeah,,and no green mile,, road to perdition,,,angels and demon???

Jan 22 - 10:43 AM


John Phillips


May 14 - 10:17 AM

King Thor

Chris Kalmin

Haha, good happy days clip.

May 14 - 11:12 AM


David Lu

lol how is it remotely possible that Forrest Gump did not make this list? Carelessness? Oversight? Where's RT quality control? It's like leaving Earth off the list of "planets you'd be able to live on."

May 14 - 11:35 AM


Infernal Dude

The fact that Saving Private Ryan has only 91% for its tomato meter is a shame. It's one of the best films I've ever seen. I still remember the first time I saw it in the theater. I remember the still in the air after the Normandy invasion. Very few movies in the history of cinema have had that affect on audiences...... and it has negative reviews. B. F'n S. !!!

May 14 - 11:51 AM


kenny smith

this list is based on the tomatometer on this site. go look at forrest gumps page, and you will see how it doesnt make the list.

May 14 - 11:59 AM

Jason C Wilkerson

Jason Wilkerson

What about Philadelphia?

May 14 - 12:01 PM

Dan K.

Dan Kristensen

Interesting piece of trivia they considered Harrison Ford, Robert DeNiro, and Jeff Bridges for the character Tom Hanks played in Big. Cannot imagine that movie with any of those actors especially Robert DeNiro. Haha mental picture of DeNiro on the massive keyboard.

May 14 - 12:37 PM


Greg Guro

I thought Cast Away was one of the most boring films of all time. The only saving grace was "Wilson" the volleyball. . . and the whale.

May 14 - 12:38 PM

inactive user

Jared King

I wouldn't say "Cast Away" is boring. It's a guy on a island with a volleyball, and yet it works. I think "I Am Legend" would've worked better if it was just a guy in a deserted city.

May 14 - 01:17 PM

Mike P.

Mike Perr

you critics r a bunch of jokers...
my man forrest gump? philadelphia?

figure it out

May 14 - 12:46 PM

inactive user

Jared King

I wouldn't say "Cast Away" is boring. It's a guy on a island with a volleyball, and yet it works. I think "I Am Legend" would've worked better if it was just a guy in a deserted city.

May 14 - 01:17 PM


max davis

Obviously I'm not the first to point this out...but seriously, where is Forrest Gump. Thats an iconic character. Didn't he win his first Oscar for that role?

May 14 - 01:19 PM


Greg Guro

I just saw Forrest Gump again a few days ago. It was called "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

May 14 - 01:24 PM

Jeremy I.

Jeremy Indiana

to tomwaitsjr: you mean Benjamin Button was Forrest Gump, a film that came out almost fifteen years earlier.

and where is the green mile?

May 14 - 05:00 PM

Colyn B.

Colyn Bowman

What the hell!!! No Road to Perdition? That movie was amazing..... I hate your lists sometimes, stupid critics.

May 14 - 01:47 PM

Malcolm A.

Malcolm Aquinas

Are these movies meant to be rank-ordered? If so, what moron would put Toy Story 1 & 2 at the top! Splash? Splash. Are you frickin' kidding me. Conspicuously absent from the list is "Forrest Gump." I can only assume this list of Hanks' films was intended to generate responses; and, if so, kudos. "Saving Private Ryan" and "Cast Away" should have provided Mr. Hanks with two additional golden statues for his trophy case. (No apologies to the actual recipients or Spencer Tracy.) Just because there is the "Washington Tradition" of serving only two-terms as President of the United States (the Twenty-Second Amendment), doesn't mean Hollywood should accept this as a precedent for the awarding of Best Actor.

May 14 - 01:48 PM


Big Brother

Screw Forrest Gump and Philadelphia. Where're The Money Pit, Dragnet and Bachelor Party? That's the Tom Hanks I love.

May 14 - 01:50 PM

Cry-Baby Walker

Alex Flores

Better yet, where's the love for the underappreciated Punchline?

May 14 - 02:00 PM

sara C.

sara Cross

I am glad someone brought that up. I mean I love Forrest Gump and Philadelphia but The Money Pit and most definitely Bachelor Party. Love that move! I love TM, but Da Vinci Code was a let down from the book. I will have to see if that 39% is accurate for Angels and Demons.

May 14 - 10:32 PM


Big Brother

It;s really funny. I was watching an old SNL rerun with my niece who's 16 and they did an opening sketch where the premise was Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy and Tom Hanks were talking and one of the cast members says something to the effect of "Man, I wish I was a fly on that wall, those guys gotta be hilarious" and my niece was like "What's Tom Hanks doing with those guys? She didn't get that at the time that show was filmed Tom Hanks was a top comedien in Hollywood and had pretty much zero cred as a legit actor. Needless to say I forced her to watch Dragnet, Money Pit and Bachelor Party and it was like a revelation. I also love Splash, wouldn't be out of place on most actors top 10 lists, but may be a bit weak for Tommy.

May 16 - 06:26 PM

What's Hot On RT

Cosplay Gallery
Cosplay Gallery

See all the Comic-Con Costumes!

Weekly Binge
Weekly Binge

Check out Boardwalk Empire

Historical TV Shows
Historical TV Shows

40 TV depictions of past eras

Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey

A masochistic trailer

Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile