Tom Hanks may have cemented a reputation as one of the finest talents of his generation when he scooped consecutive Best Actor Academy Awards in 1994 and 1995 for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, but during the early days of his career, the up and coming star was in real danger of being pigeonholed as a comedian, albeit a very gifted one.
Seven of Hanks’ first nine movie credits were in the comedy genre, and performances in the likes of Splash, The Money Pit and Dragnet all saw him win praise from critics for his effortless comic timing and natural charisma. However, it was the tenth entry on his filmography that rocketed him towards the top of the Hollywood A-list, and he still hasn’t come down over 30 years later.
Big saw the young star score the first Academy Award nomination of his career, while he also won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy thanks to a breakthrough turn that showed he could handle the dramatic heavy lifting just as well as the required slapstick and pratfalls.
A massive critical and commercial smash hit, many of Big‘s signature moments became firmly embedded in the fabric of pop culture, and any body swap comedy released in the last three decades owes at least some debt of gratitude to Penny Marshall’s classic. Big remains as watchable now as it ever was, and it’ll soon be able to win over a whole new generation of fans when it gets added to the Disney Plus library this Friday, as well as allowing older subscribers to bask in the warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia that come attached to the movie.