Perhaps his most iconic role, Hanks won his second consecutive Oscar when he followed Philadelphia with Forrest Gump. Taking viewers on an odyssey through a tumultuous period in American history, Gump proves to be the ultimate tour guide through all the events.
Once again, if a different actor portrayed Gump, the film could have failed miserably, but Hanks delivers. The script calls for Forrest to be in essentially every scene, and Hanks’ innocence and charm prevents the character from becoming an annoyance. Instead, the part allows him to show off his impressive acting range while giving viewers a different viewpoint of the States in the 20th century. Crafting one of the most memorable film characters ever, Hanks makes Gump an endearing and inspirational figure, showing that even a simple man can accomplish extraordinary things.
Both moving and heartfelt, Forrest Gump is the quintessential Tom Hanks performance and an easy pick for this list.