Critics Consensus

Refreshingly sweet and undeniably funny, Big is a showcase for Tom Hanks, who dives into his role and infuses it with charm and surprising poignancy.



Total Count: 74


Audience Score

User Ratings: 401,819
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Movie Info

More than anything else, 13-year old New Jerseyite Josh (David Moscow) wants to be "big". That's the wish he makes at an odd-looking amusement pier fortunetelling machine. The next morning, Josh wakes up-only to discover that he's grown to manhood overnight! (At this point, the part is taken over by Tom Hanks). Still a 13-year-old mentally and emotionally, Josh 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). By cannily bringing a child's eye view to McMillan's business, Josh rises to the top-and in process, he falls in love with fellow employee Susan (Elizabeth Perkins). But he's still a kid, and he'd like to go back to his own world and own body. Written by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg, Big proved a crucial success for budding director Penny Marshall, who'd work harmoniously with Hanks again on the radically different A League of Their Own. The cinematography was by Barry Sonenfeld, who went on to become a director himself with The Addams Family. That Big was heavily reliant upon the input of Tom Hanks and Penny Marshall was proven by the failed attempt to turn the property into a Broadway musical. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Robert Loggia
as MacMillan
David Moscow
as Young Josh Baskin
Mercedes Ruehl
as Mrs. Baskin
Jon Lovitz
as Scotty Brennen
Josh Clark
as Mr. Baskin
Kimberlee M. Davis
as Cynthia Benson
Oliver Block
as Freddie Benson
Erica Katz
as Cynthia's Friend
Allan Wasserman
as Gym Teacher
Gary Howard Klar
as Ticket Taker
Alec Von Sommer
as lst Brother
Erika Katz
as Cynthia's Friend
Chris Dowden
as 2nd Brother
Rockets Redglare
as Motel Clerk
Nancy Giles
as Administrative Woman
Jordan Thaler
as Administrative Clerk
Dana Kaminski
as Personnel Receptionist
Harvey Miller
as Personnel Director
Tracy Reiner
as Test Market Researcher
James Eckhouse
as Supervisor
Jamie Tirelli
as Spanish Voice
Linda Gillen
as Woman In Red Dress
Mildred R. Vandever
as Receptionist
Debra Jo Rupp
as Miss Patterson
Keith Reddin
as Payroll Clerk
Lela Ivey
as Bank Teller
Paul L.Q. Lee
as 4th Executive
Dolores Messina
as Real Estate Agent
Gordon Press
as Moving Man
George J. Manos
as Limousine Driver
Vinny Capone
as Photon Laser Gunfighter
Pasquale Pugliese
as Tenor/Dough man
Vaughn Sandman
as Boy on Baseball Field
Bruce Jarchow
as Photographer
Samantha Larkin
as Girl Friend of Cynthia
Edward Schick
as Piano Player
Bert Goldstein
as Executive #1
Kevin Meaney
as Executive #2
Peter McRobbie
as Executive #3
Paul J.Q. Lee
as Executive #4
Tom Coviello
as Singing Waiter
Richard Devia
as Singing Waiter
Teddy Holiavko
as Singing Waiter
Augusto Mariani
as Singing Waiter
Alfredo Monti
as Singing Waiter
Sergio Mosetti
as Singing Waiter
Armando Penso
as Singing Waiter
F. Benjamin Stimler
as Boy in Leaves
Jonathan Isaac Landau
as Boy in Leaves
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News & Interviews for Big

Critic Reviews for Big

All Critics (74) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (72) | Rotten (2)

  • Director Penny Marshall doesn't hammer any themes or satire into the film; she, quite shrewdly, keeps Big likeably small. The comedy is natural and unforced, in no small part because of Hanks' wonderfully slapstick performance.

    Dec 26, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The film succeeds largely because of the splendid performance of Tom Hanks -- who is irresistibly funny as "big" Josh.

    Jul 28, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A delightful comedy-fantasy.

    Aug 2, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Penny Marshall brings a logic to the premise that is sustained through most of the movie. And where the other movies snickered at the sexual possibilities in the idea, she faces up to them with both candor and taste.

    Aug 2, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • This setup isn't exactly what you'd call plausible, but the follow-through is consistent and clever.

    Aug 2, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Big, which has been directed by Penny Marshall with verve and impeccable judgment, drops a child's innocence into the corporate rat race as if it were a depth charge.

    Jul 29, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Big

  • Apr 21, 2017
    Tom Hanks is a fucking national treasure. That's just the way it is, as this is fact, it's not a matter of opinion or up to debate. If you disagree with me, you are DB Cooper, the Zodiac killer and a yellow terrorist communist who works for ISIS. You're, basically, the worst person on earth. Seriously though, I do love me some Tom Hanks. I don't think he really gets enough credit for being a truly tremendous comedic actor. This is probably a result of the fact that, outside of a few films, Hanks has pretty much stuck to more dramatic roles since he made the transition to serious actor in the 90s. He's obviously still done comedies here and there, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail and The Ladykillers come to mind, but, other than the latter, none of those films really compare to his 80s output, at least in terms of the manic comedic performances he gave in, say, The Money Pit (which was a great performance). But I digress, I don't really remember seeing Big in its entirety. Much like a lot of these classic 80s movies, or many movies for that matter, I remember catching glimpses of it here and there on TV, but I never actually sat down and watched it for good. Not a big fan of watching movies on cable TV, unless it's an HBO-type channel, simply cause of the fact that they're edited down and commercials. And when I watch a movie, I like to watch it as it was intended or, at the very least, since several directors have released their preferred cuts of their films on DVD, as it was when it first came out in theaters. Anyway, I finally got the chance to watch this in one sitting and I don't know what I think of this. It's certainly a good movie, but is it a very good movie? I don't know, I'll come to that determination as I write out this review. If I'm being honest, this is one of those movies that I probably would have enjoyed more closer to when it was released. But this movie was released the first day of 1988 and I was born in February, so there you go. You know what I mean. Part of me feels that this is just another one of those movies that time has played its wicked game on. It's certainly a good movie to watch, even to this day, but I think its impact has sort of lessened the more time has passed. And not to mention the fact that, to this day, the romance between Susan and Josh just feels so fucking odd and, honestly, kinda wrong. I get the whole idea, Susan has no idea that Josh was a 13-year-old boy stuck in a 31-year-old man's body (Hanks' age at the time of this film's release). But it's still so odd seeing it. It's a whole coming-of-age story, that's for damn sure. At the very least, the romance between Josh and Susan, for 80s rom-com standards, feels more believable than, say, the romance between the leads in Mannequin. Susan is fed up with the whole stuffy executive types and Josh, who behaves pretty much like a man-child, who plays around isn't afraid to get silly, is appealing to Susan. At least that part of the movie worked. What I felt didn't work was how Josh got to be big in the first place. He went to this carnival and he couldn't get on the ride because he was too small. Therefore he made a wish, at this Zoltar machine, that he wanted to be big. I realize that he's a kid, but I'd have liked there to have been more of a reason for him to wanna make this wish. I guess you could say that he could also date his crush if he was big, but they don't really make that obvious as one of the reasons why he made this wish. It doesn't really matter, in the long run, all that matters is turning Josh into an adult. This is, obviously, when the movie certainly picks up. Like I said earlier, this is a good movie, I had a really good time watching it. It's obviously not a complex movie, but it wasn't meant to be. Not every film can explore the more dramatic issues at the core of someone who truly goes through something like this. Not that anyone would, of course, but you know what I mean. I've always maintained the fact that films like this, more lighthearted and family friendly flicks, need to exist just as much as the arthouse films do. You gotta maintain a balance. The most memorable scene in the film would, obviously, have to be the piano floor mat scene. It's not the best scene in the movie, for sure, but it's certainly the most memorable one. It's a pretty cool scene regardless. Tom Hanks is great here, what a fucking surprise huh? He's perfect for the role because he's always had an everyman quality about him, but he's certainly not afraid to be goofy. The character in this movie seems more like Tom Hanks than, realistically speaking, any other character he's ever played. Not that he's a literal man-child, but just that he's a person who's not afraid to get outright goofy when he needs to. So, yes, he's great here. Elizabeth Perkins is good as well. The cast is strong all around, even if none of them have any real depth. This a well-written movie, for sure, the characters are likable, but they also do a good enough job at making you care about them. They don't do a great job, mind you, but they do it better than every Transformers film in existence. Having written this review, I honestly don't feel comfortable giving this film 3.5 stars. I can see how people would see this as a really good movie, but I felt it was missing more consistent laughs in order to get to that level. As it stands, this is still a good movie that I would certainly recommend if you've never seen it. It's good, Tom Hanks is great and the story is sweet.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Aug 22, 2016
    A thirteen-year-old boy wishes to be big, and his wish comes true. Except there's no time travel element, which really sticks in my craw. This kidult immediately lands a job in the big city and masquerades as a genius toy titan for an entire month? A thirty-something woman has sex with a pre-pubescent? The floor piano scene IS really cute, but was 1989 just a slow enough talent year for Tom Hanks to be Oscar-nominated for his perfectly ordinary performance?
    Alice S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 15, 2014
    Tom Hanks stars in the Penny Marshall family comedy Big. When 13-year old Josh Baskin makes a wish to be "big" at a carnival fortune teller machine he wakes up the next morning as a 30-year old man. It's a rather formulaic and overly simplistic fish-out-of-water story. And the comedy's pretty one note as well. Still, Hanks is able to make a lot of the material work, and his co-stars Elizabeth Perkins and Robert Loggia are also fairly good. While it delivers some laughs and is a bit of fun, Big never really goes anywhere.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 28, 2013
    Big is a pretty good film that I enjoyed, but I felt it wasn't as good as what everyone has said about. The film is good for what it is, but it leaves a lot of room for improvement. I enjoyed Tom Hanks in the film, but he has made far better films later on in his career. The film is pretty funny, but it could have been improved upon in some areas. The cast do a fine job and there is enough good humor to make this film worth watching. At times the film is cheesy, but overall it is a fun and entertaining film that has lots to offer. Although it is far from being the masterpiece that critics have claimed it to be. Tom Hanks is good in his role, but he has starred in better movies. Big has heart, and it's something that lacks in many of today's movies. Of course the film is not without its flaws, but it overcomes them by being an amusing film that viewers of all ages can enjoy. If you want to watch one of Tom Hanks earlier hits, then Big is the one to watch. Like I said, I found some parts to be a bit corny, but overall, the story and cast make it enjoyable and there are enough good gags to make it worthwhile. The film has enough memorable moments top make it a stand out comedy that will entertain you from start to finish. Although far from perfect, I really enjoyed the film for what it was and it is charming despite it being a bit silly, but in the end that's the point. After all it's a 12 year old trapped in a 30 year olds body, so you're going to watch an adult act like a kid, which I must admit is amusing. A must see film if you love Tom Hanks, and this film would showcase his early skills as an up and coming actor that would make an impact on film.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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