Discography   Taken from Ultimate DVD #11

Tom Hanks in The Green Mile


Tom Hanks: Making it Big

Since he made his big Splash onto the Hollywood scene, Tom Hanks has shown time and time again, how versatile an actor he really is


Saving Private Ryan
(Region 2) review here


Feature by Anwar Brett

Tom Hanks's early film career gave little indication that he would become one of Hollywood's most personable, popular leading men. His screen début in the grim slasher tale He Knows You're Alone hardly gave a sign of what was to come.

After fleeting guest spots in several popular TV shows his career was given a huge boost when he was cast in Splash, as the nice guy who falls in love with mermaid Daryl Hannah. The film was a hit, and offered the cinema-going public its first glimpse of the everyman charm that would serve him well in the future. Following up a major hit is never easy though, and while the actor was good in the shamefully enjoyable Bachelor Party, the likes of Volunteers, The Money Pit and Dragnet did little to advance his career.

Big Break

But Big did. Crossing over between the comedic roles for which he was primarily known, and the drama that would cement his reputation as one of modern cinema's leading actors, he played the outsized kid whose wish 'to be big' comes unexpectedly true. He hit all the right notes of pathos, humour and bewilderment, and was rewarded with another smash hit and an Oscar nomination.

Once again moderate movies crowded his schedule, a combination of ambitious efforts that attempted to demonstrate a greater range such as Punchline, and easy going crowdpleasers like Turner & Hooch. In 1990 Hanks was cast with Melanie Griffith and Bruce Willis in The Bonfire of the Vanities, the eagerly anticipated film version of the cult book. Badly judged and horribly miscast, the film crashed and burned with both critics and audiences, causing an unprecedented blip on the Hanks career path. The same year he made Joe Versus the Volcano, a quirky tale that didn't quite work but showed him to good effect opposite leading lady Meg Ryan. The pair were reunited three years later in a film that was one of the most heartwarming romantic comedies of recent times.

Oscar Double Bill

Sleepless In Seattle was remarkable not least for the fact that its two protagonists spend most of the film apart - Ryan being just one of the radio listeners fascinated by the dialogue between Hanks's widower character and a late night radio phone-in host. But their chemistry held audiences in a thrall, as Nora Ephron's warmly romantic tale bristled with smart one liners while possessing tons of charm.

By way of an impressive contrast, he was cast as a gay lawyer in Philadelphia, who has to come to terms with life just as he faces death after contracting HIV. A groundbreaking drama, the film demonstrated impressive gravitas from an actor once dismissed as just a light comedian, and he earned an Academy Award for his touching performance. He repeated the feat the following year, when he was nominated for Forrest Gump. A sweet natured journey through recent American history, seen through the eyes of a simple minded savant, the film really caught the attention of audiences worldwide.

By now the actor seemed unstoppable, and when he was reunited with Splash director Ron Howard for Apollo 13 the idea that he might be the first actor to win three successive Oscars seemed a very real possibility. "If I should be nominated then I'd be shocked," he said at the time. "If I should win there'd be suicide jumpers in Hollywood. They'd be screaming 'not again, not again, not again!'." He turned in a compelling performance as Jim Lovell, commander of the stricken spacecraft who coined the immortal phrase 'Houston, we have a problem', but missed out on being nominated. He was a key part of another successful film though, and seemed to be hitting his stride in a career that was by turns impressive and surprising...

Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Images © Dreamworks, Warner
Not for reproduction

Hanks Discography

Tom Hanks

Region 1

Search Now:
In Association with Amazon.com

Apollo 13 Universal
Big Fox
Bonfire of the Vanities Warner
The Burbs Universal
Dragnet Universal
The Green Mile Warner
A League of their Own Columbia
Philadelphia Columbia
Saving Private Ryan Dreamworks
Sleepless in Seattle Columbia
Splash Disney
Toy Story/Toy Story 2 Disney
Volunteers HBO
You've Got Mail Warner

Region 2

Buy these Tom Hanks DVDs (and videos) at BlackStar!

Apollo 13 Universal
Bonfire of the Vanities Warner
The Green Mile Warner
A League of their Own Columbia
Philadelphia Columbia
Saving Private Ryan Paramount
Sleepless in Seattle Columbia
Splash Buena Vista
Toy Story Buena Vista
Toy Story 2 Buena Vista
Turner and Hooch Warner
You've Got Mail Warner

Biography continued in Ultimate DVD #11

UltimateDVD footer