Tom Hanks: Overrated or Underrated?

You loved him in Forrest Gump. Or you hated everything about Forrest Gump. You cheered when he won his first Academy Award for Philadelphia. Or you thought the great Daniel Day-Lewis got gypped.

You thought he was fabulous in Cloud Atlas. Or you left the theater wondering what all the fuss was about.

Tom Hanks: Overrated…or underrated? Movie Irv renders his verdict:

Maybe you’ve been a Tom fan since Bosom Buddies, or perhaps you’ve been defending Joe Versus the Volcano since you can remember; you may have been ragging on Hanks ever since Dragnet and Turner & Hooch, or you may think the star of Nothing in Common, Punchline, and Catch Me If You Can has plenty earned his illustrious reputation, thank you very much. Have your say now that Irv’s had his!

  • Gene Bivins

    Movie Irv is a legend in his own mind. I’m sure Tom Hanks will lose a lot of sleep over this.

  • bonaparte3

    Hanks is overrated- I’ve never thought he was ever any better than a Bosom Buddy (and both Forrest Gump and Philadelphia are maudlin melodramas).

  • frankiedc

    I think Irv is well balanced in his remarks, and I like his remarks about Hanks being a modern Jimmy Stewart. I know it sounds silly but my favorite Hanks performance was in Bachelor Party, a totally mindless but funny movie. He turned in fine performances in Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, and Punchline. I havent appreciated his later movies, but he does take acting risks, such as Cloud Atlas. He seems to be a likable and caring individual, like Stewart, but I am afraid his later career might turn him into another DeNiro or Pacino, with predictable performances in ordinary movies.

  • Bill Weeden

    Tom Hanks is terrific in comedies and totally mediocre in anything else. His two Oscars for “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump” were the worst things that ever happened to his career. He was great in “Bosom Buddies,” “A League of Their Own,” and “Splash,” and as alcoholic Uncle Ned in “Family Ties.” He should have won the Oscar for “Big.” If he had, his career would have gone in the right direction–comedy all the way. Unforunately, he became a “serious” actor, and not a very good one.

  • Kathy K.

    I agree with Bill Weeden completely. His best movies are comedies — like The ‘ Burbs. But it seems he’ s chasing more Academy awards. Some say that comedy is harder than drama, but Academy awards aren’ t given to actors playing comedic roles.

  • Harry Palms


  • fbusch

    I’m afraid we might never know how good an actor Tom is, since he, like the duke, has reached the point where his roles are tailored for him. Unlike many, I’m a longtime fan, and I think Wilson would agree with me.

  • Stldjen

    I was never really a great Hanks fan but after watching such films as The Road to Perdition and The Green Mile and Philapdelphia, you have to admit that he has dramatic talent. And his beginnings were in blockbuster comedies! But anyone who hasn’t seen ‘Road to Perdition’ must; in my opinion it’s an academy award winning performance.

    • victor0630

      I’m with you. The Road To Perdition was a great movie. Loved the Green Mile and Forrest Gump also. For a guy doing a TV comedy to graduate to some very serious rolls is one hell of an achievement. And lets not forget Saving Private Ryan. Hey Raymond, watch soom of these films and get educated.

  • Virginia

    Come on people. Anybody with a body of work as large as Tom Hank’s, and 2 academy awards, can’t be considered Overrated. Just like other very good actors he’s going to have some hits and misses. Particularly as he ages. It is very hard to live up to and surpass an oscar winning performance. I would agree that he is better in comedic and light roles, and I think it’s because you REALLY want to like him. He just has that kind of face. (I think the same was true of other greats, like Cary Grant. He was very hard to “hate”, but a very good actor nonetheless.).

    Other greats who took regrettably bad roles as they aged were Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. More recently, Sidney Poitier, Robert DeNiro, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine and others. I know that actors want to act, and the money these days is off the charts, especially for an oscar winner, but you wish sometimes that they would think more about their legacies..

  • Jack Fitzpatrick

    Very underrated. Can act in all types of movies. (Comedy, war, detective, etc.)

  • James

    overrated; nothing special about his acting or his movies.

  • Roger Lynn

    very over-rated,when they gave him the AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD at 45 it diminished the greatness of that honor,,when they failed to give it to Cary Grant,John Wayne,Katherine Hepburn,Sidney Lumet,Elia Kazan,Paul Newman,Robert Redford,Gene Hackman,,,,,

    • tsh85

      I completely agree!

  • KarenG958

    Underrated. He’s been a great dramatic actor is Philadelphia, and an amazing comedic actor is The Burbs, to name just two examples. Plus he’s a genuinely nice guy.

  • Dana Thompson

    I thought he nailed it in “Big” that was oscar worthy, nothing else he has done is Oscar Worthy, and when they compare him to Jimmy Steward it makes me sad, I like him alot, loved him in Bosom Buddies and many other things, like A League of Their Own, but overrated he is

  • superbuff53

    He is an O.K actor, but like most movie stars today, with the exception of people like Meryl Streep, Daniel Day Lewis or Javier Bardem, definitely overrated. Almost as much as Julia Roberts, but not quite.

  • Cara

    I thought an actor’s talent and greatness were based on his body of work, not just–what have you done for me lately. Hanks has starred is so many good and great movies in which Hank’s characters make everyone in the movie look good. If you’ve never seen Nothing in Common with Jackie Gleason, you’ve missed a masterful example of character development and growth. Hanks as Gleason’s son who is forced to grow up as his father declines is one of his finest performances. Jimmy Stewart in the 60s was a depressing parody of himself in earlier roles, yet no one, least of all me, would deny that Jimmy Stewart was a great actor. You don’t usually pull this sort of stunt. You usually look at the body of work or at least the arc or an actor’s career. I’m surprised at you.

  • Harry Robbins

    Tom Hanks is over rated. The movie world can do without him.

  • Ed

    Definitely over rated. I’m yet to see him in a film that I actually liked him in!

  • Carol331

    He’s over-rated. He’s wonderful in light comedy, but dreadful as a dramatic actor. He has absolutely no range. I thought he was awful in Philadelphia

  • Mom

    I caught him a few times on “Bosom Buddies” and since I wasn’t a big fan of the show, didn’t think much of him, but in “Splash”, in the scene where Daryl Hannah is splashed with water and turns into a mermaid in front of him, the expression on his face was so amazingly real, I decided the kid could really ACT! I watched his other movies and became a fan for a while, because he was able to become the character in each movie in a convincing way, where many of these younger stars seem to be the star and not really the role (I probably said that badly.) But for a while it seemed every movie was a Tom Hanks movie, and it became too much. Also, I am a senior citizen,…I am tired of actors using their popularity to sway people politically. Hollywood should stay out of bed with Washington DC.



  • Gary Aldrich

    Wow! I don’t GET these opinions! Tom Hanks is certainly NOT OVERrated……but I don’t believe he’s UNDERrated either. He’s an absolutely INCREDIBLE actor with an AMAZING range!
    Did none of you see FORREST GUMP…..or even the lesser known gem, THE TERMINAL??
    Hanks is truly an American treasure as an actor.

  • Seamus57

    He’s on his way up, but I see a potential there that I think has yet to be fully appreciated, he is underrated.


    Tom Hanks; we are a little prejudiced, in his favor, since he studied and performed at the great Cleveland Playhouse. The list of alumni has produced many Oscar winners and famous actors;

    (even Margaret Hamilton…the wicked witch, of the west, in the original Wizard of Oz). As for Tom’s career, it is so versatile; that comes from developing a great range, as an actor. I agree, as posted below, Tom’s performance as Uncle Ned, on Family Ties, should have given us, an early insight to his talent. However, for me, his best performance, was so honest, heartfelt, emotional, to the point of tearing up, almost crying….and in his own words, almost better than the performance, of which he was awarded his first Oscar….It was his Oscar acceptance speech for Philadelphia; onstage and more so, backstage, for the press. Next, came an Oscar for Forrest Gump; He almost was the first male actor to not only win 3 Oscars, for a leading actor, but to possibly win, three times consecutively…Apollo 13th, let him down… Thanks for listening…

  • david b cordick

    I loved a lot of hanks movies, especially the comedies. also enjoyed some of his dramas. but when he started spouting that left wing garbage, like the rest of those freaks out west. many of the stars I used to watch have shown their true colors. they have the idea that they know what is best for us common people. just because they can pretend to be someone else on the screen, they have the idea that we worship their personal opinions. sorry, it aint so. and a lot of the so called stars now are way way overrated. without these unbelievable special effects, they would be in b-rated films.

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  • LindaLou

    I think time will show that he is the Jimmy Stewart of our time. His comedic timing is excellent and so is his dramatic acting. I have enjoyed him in all his films, even the so called “flops”. He just has a very natural ability no matter what character he is playing and it shines through. I consider him one of the best if not the best of his generation. If he is in a film good or bad I will always see it just because he’s in it.

  • Mindy Newell

    I think he’s mult-talented!!!! So, no, definitely NOT underrated.

  • Sooty Sammy

    Tom hanks is way too overrated. He can only act two characters, sweet comical guy or serious good guy. His only controversial performance so far is in road to perdition. The rest is same old same got mail, the terminal , cast away ect all the same or apolo 13 , captan Philips , saving private ryan, the davinci code. Never ever did certain genres

  • Cristopher Toti


  • Laura D Young

    He is one of the great actors of our day. Someone here compared him to Jimmy Stewart. I couldn’t agree more.