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Tom Hanks is an American institution, one of those actors everybody seems to know and recognize. Hanks has been a staple in Hollywood since the ’80s, appearing in movies like Big and The Money Pit. After making his breakthrough in comedic films, Hanks shifted his focus to drama. Over the past few decades, he has appeared in some of the most popular movies of all time, including Forrest Gump and Apollo 13. Not every Hanks film has been a smash, however. The actor has appeared in a few movies fans and critics deemed the worst.

Tom Hanks’ big breakout role is very poorly rated

tom hanks worst movie
Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis riding the bus in a scene from the film ‘The Bonfire of the Vanities,’ 1990. | Warner Brothers/Getty Images

Hanks got his start in television, acting in the series Bosom Buddies. The slapstick comedy series opened the door to landing roles in Hollywood. Throughout the ’80s, Hanks acted in such feature films as Splash, The Money Pit, and Nothing in Common. In 1990, when Hanks was on the verge of stardom, he landed a role in the satirical black comedy The Bonfire of the Vanities. While the film had a star-studded cast, including Hanks, Melanie Griffith, and Bruce Willis, it bombed at the box office.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 16% critical score from professional critics, and a 26% audience score. As one critic put it, “The film was cast wrong and written shallowly.” While Bonfire of the Vanities bombed, it didn’t slow Hanks’ roll by much. In the early ’90s, he enjoyed a string of big successes, including Forrest Gump and Philadelphia.

What is Tom Hanks’ worst-rated movie ever?

Although Bonfire of the Vanities has terrible reviews, it was eclipsed by another Hanks film years later. He starred in a 2017 release called The Circle. With a 16% critical score and a 21% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, it stands as Hanks’ worst-rated film to date.

“Bland performances from talented actors, and boring direction from a very talented director,” one review notes. Another slams the film by calling it “the sort of movie that’s convinced of its own urgency and importance, even as viewers only see something that’s obvious and overbearing.”

The Circle received bad reviews but didn’t sink at the box office. According to The Numbers, the film made $20,497,844 at the domestic box office. Over the past decade or so, Hanks has appeared in several other critical flops, including Cloud Atlas and the religious thriller The Da Vinci Code. The latter has just a 25% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tom Hanks has appeared in many highly-rated classics


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Any actor who has appeared in as many films as Hanks has is bound to act in a few flops. Still, the actor’s successes far outweigh his failures. For example, Toy Story, the animated classic featuring Hanks as the voice of Woody the cowboy, has a 100% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Big, the comedy that gave Hanks his start as a leading man, has a 97% critical score and an 82% audience score.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which features Hanks as the beloved television personality Mr. Rogers, has an impressive 95% critical score and a 92% audience score. Those are far from Hanks’ only hits. In classics like Forrest Gump, Catch Me If You Can, and Saving Private Ryan, it’s clear that Hanks has what it takes to make a film really land. Even if there have been a few snags along the way.