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In this blog entry for the Herald, timed to mark the release of the new Dan Brown adaptation, Inferno, I name the five best films Tom Hanks ever made. I also name his five worst movies. 

Few stars loom as large in the mainstream movie sphere as Tom Hanks, an actor who easily bears the mantle of being the “modern-day Jimmy Stewart”, an appropriate designation that nevertheless fails to honour Hanks’ versatility.

His new movie, Inferno, hits theaters this week, and it follows a ridiculously bountiful body of work.

I thought it would be fun to try identify Hanks’ five best and worst movies. It’s a tough call at both ends, as he’s starred in a huge number of stellar films, and has managed to avoid giant stinkers for the most part.

I’ve excluded voiceover performances here, so there’s no Toy Story, and I’ve only factored in films in which Hanks plays a leading role, which precluded the 1980 slasher film He Knows You’re Alone from appearing on the second list.

Here are the five best Tom Hanks movies, according to me, in chronological order:

Big (1988)

Hanks began his transition into more mature performances by playing a twelve-year-old in the body of a thirty-year-old who behaves like a nine-year-old in this beloved fantasy dramedy. Big represents the culmination of both Hanks’ youthful, energetic charm, until then liberally deployed in run of middling comedy roles, and the prevailing theme of pre-pubescent wish-fulfilment that defined ’80s cinema.