The Tom Hanks niceness graph
Mathematically tracking the relative virtue of cinema’s ultimate good guy, across an extremely agreeable career
JOSH BASKIN BIG (1988)
Playing a 12-year-old in an adult’s body, Hanks is full of pre-teen fizz and fun, as charming and friendly as you’d expect — if childishly selfish and slightly creepily getting off with actual grown-ups.
FORREST GUMP FORREST GUMP (1994)
It’s hard to fault Forrest. This is the simple Southern gent who fights for his country, exposes the Watergate scandal and marries his childhood sweetheart. He may not be a smart man, but he knows what nice is.
WOODY TOY STORY (1995)
The nominal leader of the toys in Andy’s room, Woody should be steely and wise. But with Buzz on the scene, he’s extremely fallible: prone to jealousy and the sort of temper tantrums that would make Evil Emperor Zurg blush.
MICHAEL SULLIVAN ROAD TO PERDITION (2002)
In one of Hanks’ darkest and most mature roles, Hanks plays it sympathetically, exploring the moral cost of a father as a killer-for-hire. But let’s be clear, he is a killer. Which is not very nice at all.
PROFESSOR G.H. DORR THE LADYKILLERS (2004)
A rare bad guy in the Hanks filmography, although he is more of a comedic anti-hero than a full-blown villain. A cad, a thief, and a murderer, Dorr is among Hanks’ nastiest pieces of work. And yet, damn, if he isn’t still pretty likeable.
CHARLIE WILSON CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR (2007)
This Mike Nichols-aaron Sorkin satire told the story of a womanising congressman who secretly helped fund the Afghan Mujahideen during the Soviet-afghan War. His actions indirectly led to the Taliban forming, and that didn’t end so well, really.
WALT DISNEY SAVING MR. BANKS (2013)
There are plenty of scurrilous rumours about the legendary Mouse House founder, but Hanks plays him as an impeccable icon, cool and charismatic, in this behind-the-scenes Mary Poppins biopic.
FRED ROGERS A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (2020)
There is no dirt on Mister Rogers, the Presbyterian minister turned hero to millions of American kids. There are no skeletons in this man’s cupboard. His cupboard is probably just full of clean, neatly pressed, brightred cardigans.