O Captain, My Captain

Tom Hanks has been a captain kind of a lot!

Recently, I saw Tom Hanks’s recent made for TV Apple TV+ movie “Greyhound”. In it, Hanks plays Commander Ernest Krause, captain of a World War II US Naval ship. By my count, it is the sixth time Hanks has played the role of captain. Let’s review, in reverse chronological order!

The Captaincies of Tom Hanks:

USS Keeling

Film: Greyhound [Link]
Year: 2020
Vessel Type: Fletcher-class destroyer
Note: Despite receiving second billing behind only Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Shue appears in the movie for just 153 seconds.

US Airways Flight 1549

Film: Sully [Link]
Year: 2016
Vessel Type: Airbus A320
Note: Two years after the release of “Sully” came a 2018 movie called “Tully”. I eagerly anticipate the 2020 release of “Uully”.

MV Maersk Alabama

Film: Captain Phillips [Link]
Year: 2013
Vessel Type: Container Ship
Note: I suppose it’s something of a spoiler, but partway through the film, Tom Hanks’s character is replaced as captain.

Army Captain

Film: Saving Private Ryan [Link]
Year: 1998
Vessel Type: N/A
Note: Rather than the captain of a vessel, in this film Hanks plays US Army Captain John H. Miller.


Film: Apollo 13 [Link]
Year: 1998
Vessel Type: Apollo Command and Service Module-109
Note: According to director Ron Howard, a comment card received after a test screening decried the “typical Hollywood” ending, stating that the crew would never have survived.


Film: Forrest Gump [Link]
Year: 1994
Vessel Type: Shrimp Boat
Note: If Forrest Gump held onto his Apple stock from the ’70s, he’d be worth tens of billions of dollars in 2020.

This concludes our look at the captaincies of Tom Hanks. For another look at actor’s roles, see The Jacks of Tom Cruise.