Tom Hanks

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Every day, every year, and for every graduating class, there is a choice to be made, the same option for all grown-ups to make: to be one of three types of Americans — those who embrace liberty for all, those who won’t, or those who are indifferent — and only the first do the work of creating a more perfect union.

Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks (born July 9, 1956) is an American film actor, director, voice-over artist, writer and film producer. He is of English, German and Portuguese descent.



66th Academy Award Speech (1994)

66th Academy Award Speech after winning best actor award, California (March 21, 1994)
  • Here's what I know. I could not be standing here without that undying love that was just sung about by, not Bruce [Springsteen], but Neil Young. And I have that in a lover that is so close to fine, we should all be able to experience such heaven right here on earth. I know also that, I should not be doing this, I should not be here, but I am because of the union of such filmmakers as Ed Saxon, Ron Nyswaner, Kristi Zea, Tak Fujimoto, Jonathan Demme -- who seems to have these [referring to the Oscar] attached to his limbs for every actor that works with him of late. And a cast that includes Antonio Banderas, who, second to my lover, is the only person I would trade for. And a cast that includes many other people, but the actor who really put his film image at risk, and shone because of his integrity, Mr. Denzel Washington, who I really must share this with.
  • I would not be standing here if it weren't for two very important men in my life, so... two that I haven't spoken with in awhile, but I had the pleasure of just the other evening. Mr. Rawley Farnsworth, who was my high school drama teacher, who taught me to act well the part, there all the glory lies. And one of my classmates under Mr. Farnsworth, Mr. John Gilkerson. I mention their names because they are two of the finest gay Americans, two wonderful men that I had the good fortune to be associated with, to fall under their inspiration at such a young age. I wish my babies could have the same sort of teacher, the same sort of friends.
  • And there lies my dilemma here tonight. I know that my work in this case is magnified by the fact that the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels. We know their names. They number a thousand for each one of the red ribbons that we wear here tonight. They finally rest in the warm embrace of the gracious creator of us all. A healing embrace that cools their fevers, that clears their skin, and allows their eyes to see the simple, self-evident, common sense truth that is made manifest by the benevolent creator of us all and was written down on paper by wise men, tolerant men, in the city of Philadelphia two hundred years ago. God bless you all. God have mercy on us all. And God bless America.

67th Academy Award Speech (1995)

68th Academy Award Speech after winning best actor award, California (March 27, 1995)
  • Thank you. I'm standing here in lieu of my fellow nominees who are just as deserving, if not more so of this moment.
  • I'm standing here because of an army of people who over the course of a back-breaking schedule that was set by Bob Zemeckis worked much harder than I did and who had much more at risk if our efforts were not successful.
  • I'm empowered to stand here thanks to the ensemble of actors, men and women, who I shared the screen with and who in ways they will never understand made me a better actor.
  • And I am standing here because the woman I share my life with has taught me and demonstrates for me every day just what love is. [Voice breaks as wife Rita Wilson tearfully mouths 'I love you'.]
  • Man, I feel as though I'm standing on magic legs in a special effects process shot that is too unbelievable to imagine and far too costly to make a reality.
  • But here is my mark, and there is where I'm supposed to look, and believe me, the power and the pleasure and the emotion of this moment is as constant as the speed of light. It will never be diminished, nor will my appreciation.
  • And the meaning between two simple words that I can only offer you here: Thank you, God bless you in this room and God bless you all around the world.


  • We live in a society where there is no law in making money in the promulgation of ignorance or, in some cases, stupidity. There are a lot of things you can say never happened. You can go as relatively quasi-harmless as saying no one went to the moon. But you also can say that the Holocaust never happened.
    • At the November 2002 Cape Canaveral premiere of the IMAX version of Apollo 13.
    • Associated Press: Hoaxers vs. Rocket Scientists: Even NASA unsure how to counter claims of faked moon landings, December 21, 2002.

Speech at Harvard graduation (May 25, 2023)

"Recruiting everyday superheroes for ‘cage match with agents of intolerance’" The Harvard Gazette" May 25, 2023
  • Every day, every year, and for every graduating class, there is a choice to be made, the same option for all grown-ups to make: to be one of three types of Americans — those who embrace liberty for all, those who won’t, or those who are indifferent — and only the first do the work of creating a more perfect union.
  • In the never-ending battle you have all officially joined as of today, the difference is in how truly you believe, in how vociferously you promote, in how tightly you hold onto the truth that is self-evident: that of course we are all created equally yet differently, and of course we are all in this together.
  • We are all in a cage match, mixed martial arts battle royale with agents of intolerance and braying incompetence, the malevolent equals to Imperial stormtroopers, Lex Luther, and Loki. And we could use a superhero right now.
  • The work that is called for is the construction of our ‘more perfect union. That job will never, ever be completed, one that requires rigorous attention and unfading wherewithal and all hands. The work is the keeping of the promises of our promised land, the practice of decency, the protection of freedom, and the promotion of liberty for all, with no exceptions. That takes a lot of work done on multiple job sites every single day, and you can call each of them a battle for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

Quotes about Hanks

  • Another day on the set we were brought into the room where they replayed the dailies. While me and Bill were watching the monitor, Tom Hanks come up from behind and said, "Bill, Babe, don't turn around yet." When we did, he was dressed in an English officer's uniform. He said, "They gave me a cameo role. I'm going to be an English officer." I said, "Good, Tom, you could use the work." I told Tom Hanks he could use the work! I forgot he was Tom Hanks. He's such a regular guy. I'll tell you, I'd like to put a medal on him. Couldn't do enough for us. He kept telling people, "Take care of Bill and Babe. Take care of my boys from South Philly." Tom Hanks is top shelf.
    • Edward "Babe" Heffron, Brothers in Battle: Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story (2007) by William Guarnere and Edward Heffron with Robyn Post. New York: Berkley Caliber, p. 266
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