The 10 Best Tom Hanks Movie Quotes, Ranked

With a career dating back to the 1980s and never dipping in quality across the decades, Tom Hanks has become one of the most beloved stars in Hollywood history, putting in many famous performances and winning two Academy Awards. Known for his everyman charm and ability to balance endearing comedy with poignant, weighted drama, Hanks has lit up the screen in everything from romantic comedies to war dramas and biographical epics.

Throughout these many roles, Hanks has delivered a great many famous lines of dialogue, ranging from heartfelt, romantic odes to philosophical parables and, of course, to endlessly re-quotable and iconic one-liners. Given that Hanks has appeared in dozens of acclaimed masterpieces, many of which earned acclaim and accolades aplenty for their screenwriting, determining the actor's best quotes is an impossible task. However, these lines stand out because of their quotable and thought-provoking nature.

10 "One thing about trains: it doesn't matter where they're going. What matters is deciding to get on."

'The Polar Express' (2004)

The 10 Best Tom Hanks Movie Quotes, Ranked

While it was met with a mixed reception upon release, The Polar Express has become something of a cult classic animated Christmas movie. It follows a young boy who boards the titular locomotive to embark on a wondrous journey to the North Pole. On the way, he befriends many of his fellow travelers, including the train's conductor, who was one of many characters voiced by Tom Hanks in the Robert Zemeckis film.

The story is, admittedly, formulaic and over-stuffed, but it still has a few magical moments that endear themselves to lovers of animation. Many of its best moments come from the conductor, a character for whom Hanks did motion capture. The character's best quote, and the most powerful line from the movie, addresses the embracing of life and enjoying it for the adventure that it is, more so than where it may or may not lead. It's a beautiful metaphor, and with Hanks speaking it, it holds a gravitas and a resonance that has made it stick with lovers of the animated movie.

the-polar-express-poster

The Polar Express

G

Animation

Adventure

Family

Fantasy

Where to Watch

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Release Date

November 10, 2004

Director

Robert Zemeckis

Cast

Tom Hanks , Leslie Zemeckis , Eddie Deezen , Nona Gaye , Peter Scolari , Andy Pellick

Runtime

100 minutes

Writers

Chris Van Allsburg , Robert Zemeckis , William Broyles Jr.

9 "I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."

'You've Got Mail' (1998)

The 10 Best Tom Hanks Movie Quotes, Ranked

Tom Hanks has always had a happy knack for applying his charm in romantic comedies, with the 1998 Nora Ephron film You've Got Mail one of his best. Rom-com queen Meg Ryan plays Kathleen Kelly, the owner of a quaint bookstore in Manhattan, with Hanks as Joe Fox, whose family owns a major book chain. While Kathleen and Joe clash professionally, unbeknownst to both, they actually share a loving friendship through an anonymous chatroom.

With their shared passion for literature, their online relationship blossoms through many cute comments, with Joe's message about a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils a perfect summary of the nature of their budding romance. The film itself might be slightly derivative, elevated considerably by Hanks and Ryan's undeniable chemistry. However, this unconventional, loving, perfectly nerdy line serves as a wonderful encapsulation of Joe and Kathleen's relationship and one of the best rom-com moments of the 1990s.

You've Got Mail

PG

Comedy

Drama

Romance

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Release Date

February 26, 1998

Director

Nora Ephron

Cast

Tom Hanks , Meg Ryan , Katie Sagona , Greg Kinnear , Parker Posey , Jean Stapleton

Runtime

119

Writers

Miklós László , Nora Ephron , Delia Ephron

8 "I just know that for every man I kill, the farther away from home I feel."

'Saving Private Ryan' (1998)

The 10 Best Tom Hanks Movie Quotes, Ranked

Saving Private Ryan is famous for its awe-inspiring yet traumatizing battle sequences, a reputation well-earned as Steven Spielberg imbues them with a harrowing grandeur that leaves audiences speechless. The war epic follows a squad of American soldiers after the D-Day invasion as they are assigned the mission of locating Private James Ryan (Matt Damon), whose three brothers have all been killed in the war, so that he can be sent home.

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Throughout their journey, the characters frequently discuss their mission and their views on the war in general, with the movie providing many insightful quotes on the nature of WWII and life as a soldier. The best of which comes from Hanks' Captain Miller, as his squad argues they should be more involved in battle rather than wasting time on a sprawling manhunt. Reminiscing his life at home and how he yearns to be back with his wife, Miller shares his views on how serving and killing have affected him. Hanks excels at making the line poignant, tragic, and completely humane, echoing the film's themes in just a few expertly delivered words.

saving private ryan

Saving Private Ryan

R

Action

Documentary

Drama

History

War

Where to Watch

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Release Date

July 24, 1998

Director

Steven Spielberg

Cast

Tom Hanks , Tom Sizemore , Edward Burns , Barry Pepper , adam goldberg , Vin Diesel

Runtime

169

Writers

Robert Rodat

7 "I'm sorry, Wilson!"

'Cast Away' (2000)

The 10 Best Tom Hanks Movie Quotes, Ranked

A survival film that has become an essential viewing experience thanks to its star's Oscar-nominated performance, Cast Away sees Hanks portray a FedEx systems analyst who winds up on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean following a plane crash. Forsaken and alone, Chuck Noland uses every ounce of his resourcefulness to survive and forms a peculiar bond with a volleyball, Wilson, in the process.

As quirky as Noland's bond with the volleyball is, it paints a poignant picture of humanity's intrinsic need for connection. It is quite incredible how Wilson comes to occupy an integral role in Noland's life and how the audience embraces the ball as a meaningful character. The famous quote transpires when Noland escapes the island on a makeshift raft, only to lose the ball at sea. Hanks' powerful performance and the agonizing image of the volleyball floating ever farther away make for a heartbreaking scene that has become nothing short of iconic.

Cast Away 2000 Film Poster

Cast Away

PG-13

Adventure

Drama

Romance

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Release Date

December 22, 2000

Director

Robert Zemeckis

Cast

Tom Hanks , Helen Hunt , Paul Sanchez , Lari White , Leonid Citer , David Allen Brooks

Runtime

143 minutes

Writers

William Broyles Jr.

6 "I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home… only to no home I'd ever known."

'Sleepless in Seattle' (1993)

The 10 Best Tom Hanks Movie Quotes, Ranked

Another of the 90s rom-coms that Hanks appeared in, Sleepless in Seattle features a sweet story about a widower who is convinced by his eight-year-old son to participate in a radio talk show to find a new partner. The film is an interesting exercise in the genre as the main couple doesn't meet until the final moments, as Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) writes a letter to Sam (Hanks) suggesting they meet at the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day.

The set-up makes for a puzzling though emotionally rewarding movie, but one of its most powerful and profound moments comes when Sam speaks about his love for his dead wife and reflects on their first date. The text is sweet and somber, but it is Hanks' poignant delivery of it that makes it so heartbreaking and powerful. Sleepless in Seattle isn't the greatest rom-com ever made, but glimpses of brilliance like that line and the strength of Hanks' performance have made it a true classic and a great flick for the hopeless romantics.

Sleepless in Seattle

PG

Comedy

Documentary

Drama

Romance

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Release Date

June 24, 1993

Director

Nora Ephron

Cast

Tom Hanks , Ross Malinger , Rita Wilson , Victor Garber , Tom Riis Farrell , Carey Lowell

Runtime

105

Writers

Jeff Arch , Nora Ephron , David S. Ward

5 "Houston, we have a problem."

'Apollo 13' (1995)

The 10 Best Tom Hanks Movie Quotes, Ranked

A thrilling space drama based on the actual Apollo 13 mission, Ron Howard'sApollo 13 is a film defined by its heart-stopping tension, incredible ensemble cast, and sneakily excellent dialogue. Following the hazardous space mission, it follows the men aboard the spacecraft as it begins to malfunction while tracking the tireless efforts of the ground crew to ensure the astronauts get home alive and safe.

As issues begin occurring on the ship, Commander Jim Lovell (Hanks) famously says, "Houston, we have a problem." Interestingly, what Lovell actually said in real life was, "Houston, we've had a problem," but screenwriter William Broyles Jr. made the alteration to present a more intense moment with the line's present tense. It works an absolute treat, as the line has become a hallmark of the film while also becoming a re-quotable dialog that people use on a daily basis.

Apollo 13

PG

History

Adventure

Drama

Where to Watch

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Release Date

June 30, 1995

Director

Ron Howard

Cast

Tom Hanks , Bill Paxton , Kevin Bacon , Gary Sinise , Ed Harris , Kathleen Quinlan , Mary Kate Schellhardt , Emily Ann Lloyd

Runtime

140 Minutes

Writers

Jim Lovell , Jeffrey Kluger , William Broyles Jr.

4 "There's no crying in baseball!"

'A League of Their Own' (1992)

The 10 Best Tom Hanks Movie Quotes, Ranked

An endearing hit from the early 90s that stars Geena Davis, Madonna, and, of course, Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own is a sports comedy set during WWII based on a real women's baseball league. Offering playful and lighthearted fun, it follows Jimmy (Hanks), an alcoholic former star of the game, as he tries to coach the girls to success.

His usual tactics of screaming and shouting at his players tend not to work as well with the new team, a fact that is made abundantly clear when one of the poor girls gets upset after being on the receiving end of his tirade. His angry response is side-splittingly hilarious, especially as he is evicted from the ground soon after when he insults the referee, who interjects. It also perfectly re-enforces the animosity between Jimmy and the girls at the start of their journey, setting a platform for their relationship that would evolve throughout the film. Today, the quote remains among the most quoted from any 90s film and a landmark of the sports comedy genre.

a-league-of-their-own-poster

A League of Their Own

PG

Comedy

Drama

sport

Where to Watch

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Release Date

July 1, 1992

Director

Penny Marshall

Cast

Tom Hanks , Geena Davis , Madonna , Lori Petty , jon lovitz , David Strathairn

Runtime

128 minutes

Writers

Kim Wilson , Kelly Candaele , Lowell Ganz , Babaloo Mandel

3 "I can't stop Andy from growing up. But I wouldn't miss it for the world."

'Toy Story 2' (1999)

The 10 Best Tom Hanks Movie Quotes, Ranked

A highlight of animated cinema, the Toy Story films follow the toys in Andy's room on their many misadventures as their beloved Andy grows up. The movies have plenty of phenomenal lines, ranging from popular sayings like Buzz Lightyear's (Tim Allen) "To Infinity and Beyond" and Woody's (Hanks) "Reach for the Sky." Alas, some of the best quotes from the movies are the ones that left fans weeping.

Toy Story 2 focuses on Woody as he is stolen by a greedy collector and forms new friendships with toys that have been abandoned by their owners before. All the while, Buzz and the gang embark on a daring adventure to rescue him. An underlying crux of the movie touches on the abandonment the toys will inevitably face when Andy grows up, which translates to everything from a parent's relationship with their child as they grow up to the nature of friendships and even romances. Some people are not in one's life forever, and that's okay; what's important is to enjoy our time with them, which is precisely what this emotional, thought-provoking quote is all about.

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Toy Story 2 Film Poster

Toy Story 2

G

Animation

Adventure

Comedy

Where to Watch

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Release Date

November 24, 1999

Director

John Lasseter , Ash Brannon , Lee Unkrich

Cast

Tom Hanks , Tim Allen , Joan Cusack , Kelsey Grammer , Don Rickles , Jim Varney

Runtime

92 minutes

Writers

John Lasseter , Pete Docter , Ash Brannon , Andrew Stanton , Rita Hsiao , Doug Chamberlin

2 "There's no greater joy than that seen through the eyes of a child, and there's a little bit of a child in all of us."

'Saving Mr. Banks' (2013)

The 10 Best Tom Hanks Movie Quotes, Ranked

While it is a tad revisionist, Saving Mr. Banks largely excels as a beautiful and heartfelt story about Walt Disney's (Hanks) efforts to convince P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to let him adapt Mary Poppins for the screen. While Travers is initially reluctant to agree to the deal and finds plenty of issues with the production once it begins, a charming bond begins to develop between her and Disney.

One of the duo's best exchanges sees Disney utter the perfect and pure-hearted ode to the child-like wonder Travers' stories exhibit and the alluring nature that such joy has for people of all ages. Worded wonderfully and flawlessly delivered by Hanks, the line has become one of the greatest quotes in the actor's career. It was this kind of sentimental beauty that made Saving Mr. Banks an underrated gem in the context of Hanks' career.

Saving Mr. Banks

PG-13

Biography

Comedy

Documentary

Drama

Family

History

Where to Watch

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Release Date

November 16, 2013

Director

John Lee Hancock

Cast

Emma Thompson , Tom Hanks , Annie Rose Buckley , Colin Farrell , Ruth Wilson , Paul Giamatti

Runtime

125

Writers

Kelly Marcel , Sue Smith

1 "My mama always said 'life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'"

'Forrest Gump' (1994)

The 10 Best Tom Hanks Movie Quotes, Ranked

Following Forrest Gump (Hanks) as he relays his adventurous life to people waiting at his bus stop, Forrest Gump is one of the most quotable movies of all time, with its best one-liners ranging from witty to heartbreaking. A number of times throughout the movie, Gump calls back to his mother's sayings, with his reflection on her parable about the similarities between the unpredictable nature of life and boxes of chocolate.

The line itself has become one of the most famous lines of dialogue in the history of cinema, perfectly embodying Gump's simplistic yet hopeful outlook on life. Hanks won the Oscar for his lead performance, his second following his win for his role in Philadelphia the year prior. It remains one of the most renowned acting performances film has ever seen, with the wonderfully idealistic quote a perfect representation of the charm he brought to the role.

forrest-gump-poster

Forrest Gump

PG-13

Drama

Comedy

Documentary

Romance

Where to Watch

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Release Date

July 6, 1994

Director

Robert Zemeckis

Cast

Tom Hanks , Robin Wright , Gary Sinise , Mykelti Williamson , Sally Field , Rebecca Williams

Runtime

142

Writers

Winston Groom , Eric Roth

NEXT: Steven Spielberg's 15 Best Movies, Ranked According to IMDb

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