Tom Hanks: An American Cultural Icon

Tom Hanks is a definite household name in Hollywood. Chances are, if you’ve watched a significant amount of movies, you’ve seen him in one of them. With an acting career spanning 45 years, Tom Hanks easily fits into the top list of Hollywood legends.

Hanks is one of the most bankable actors, with most of his movies becoming box office hits. Hanks’ movies have collectively grossed over $9 billion globally. However, Hanks currently sits as the fourth-highest-grossing actor in North America.

Although he’s been starring in movies for around 15 years, Hank became globally famous with his Forrest Gump character in the 1994 Forrest Gump movie. Since then, Hanks has been featured in 69 films, 27 television shows and produced a couple of movies.

In honor of the legend, let’s take a look at some of his bankable movies from the 2000’s and onwards.

Cast Away (2000)

Tom Hanks

Credit: Cast Away

Cast Away was released in December 2000 and went on to net $429.6 million at the box office against a $90 million budget. Tom Hanks played the movie’s protagonist Chuck Noland. Noland is a FedEx systems analyst executive involved in an air crash over the Pacific Ocean.

He gets washed up on an uninhabited island, where he remains on the island for over four years after several unsuccessful attempts to signal for help. He creates and finds a friend in a volleyball he named Wilson. He would later leave the island with a raft and sail made when a segment of a portable toilet washes up on the island.

Back on land, life as he once knew it had moved on. Alone in the world, he sets out to find a new purpose.

You can trust Tom Hanks to deliver an amazing performance. For his performance as Chuck Noland, Hanks would go on to win the Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama category at the 58th Golden Globe Awards. He was also nominated at the 73rd Academy Awards in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category.

The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Tom Hanks

Credit: The Da Vinci Code

The movie The Da Vinci Code was an adaptation of Dan Brown’s 2003 novel of the same name. The movie would be the first in the movie series. Tom Hanks plays the lead role of Professor Robert Langdon, a Harvard University professor of religious symbolism.

To bring the novel to life, the movie was done on a budget of $125 million but went on to gross $760 million at the box office. The movie’s storyline begins with the death of Jacques Saunière, a Louvre curator. Then, Robert Langdon teams up with Sophie Neveu, a police cryptologist, in search of the Holy Grail.

On the other hand, a ranking leader of the Opus Dei puts plans in motion to stop Langdon from finding and revealing the Holy Grail. They believe its findings may threaten the foundations of Christianity.

The movie had two sequels, Angels & Demons (2009) and Inferno (2016). Hanks would reprise his role as Professor Robert Langdon in both sequels.

Sully (2016)

Tom Hanks

Credit: Sully

This Clint Eastwood-directed biographical drama was adapted from Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles’ 2009 Highest Duty autobiography. Tom Hanks plays the movie’s protagonist Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

As an adaptation of a real-life hero story and Hanks’ believable performance, the movie was a smashing success at the box office. It netted $240.8 million at the box office with a budget of $60 million.

Hanks’ character Sully was the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549. One morning in January 2009, Sully encounters a flock of birds just three minutes after departing LaGuardia Airport. With both engines damaged, Sully makes a crucial decision to land the plane on the Hudson River. Apart from minor injuries, all passengers and crew survive the heroic landing.

The story follows the publicity and investigation of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) trying to ascertain if landing on the Hudson River was indeed the safest and only option.

Finch (2021)

Tom Hanks

Credit: Finch

Tom Hanks stars in this post-apocalyptic survival movie playing the character of Finch Weinberg. The movie only has three notable casts, Finch, Goodyear, and Jeff.

The story follows a robotics engineer living in a world where a solar flare has destroyed its ozone layer. When Finch discovers he’s slowly dying; he decides to create a robot (Jeff) to take care of his dog (Goodyear) when he passes.

Finch would journey cross-country with Jeff and Goodyear to find a haven. Finch successfully teaches Jeff to take care of Goodyear by the end of the movie.

Elvis (2022)

Tom Hanks

Credit: Elvis

Tom Hanks delivers yet another fantastic masterpiece with his role as Colonel Tom Parker in Elvis. Parker was the former manager of musical icon Elvis Presley. The movie is a biopic of Elvis Presley but told from the perspective of Col. Parker.

Hanks’ performance allows viewers to see more into the life and time of Elvis Presley. The movie was directed by Baz Luhrmann. Since its release in mid-2022, the movie has achieved a $286 million success at the box office on an $85 million budget.

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