Tom Hanks Plays A Real-Life Hero In An Inspiring Biopic That’s Ruling On Streaming

Sully is climbing the streaming charts on Amazon Prime Video.

By Kevin C. Neece | Updated

tom hanks
Sully (2016)

FlixPatrol is reporting that the Tom Hanks film Sully is in the top 10 titles streaming on Amazon Prime Video this week. The 2016 film, directed by Clint Eastwood, stars Hanks as airline pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

Based on the 2009 autobiography by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles, the film tells the story of US Airways Flight 1549, which Sullenberger piloted to a successful emergency landing on the Hudson River.

The emergency landing that inspired the Tom Hanks film was dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson,” at one point a subtitle for the film, because all 155 passengers and crew survived. While there were of course injuries, most were minor, and Sully was celebrated as a hero.

The film retells the events of the landing, as well as the investigation and publicity that followed.

Tom Hanks was widely praised for his performance in the film, which debuted on September 2, 2016 at the 43rd Annual Telluride Film Festival. Warner Bros. released the film in the US a few days later and it was presented both on conventional screens and in IMAX.

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Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart in Sully (2016)

With a global box office gross of over $240 million, the movie opened to positive reviews and was included as one of the ten best films of 2016 by both the American Film Institute and the National Board of Review.

While there was some controversy regarding Sully‘s portrayal of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), it was nominated for and won several awards, including an Oscar for Best Sound Editing. Tom Hanks was also nominated for his performance in a number of awards races, ultimately winning a Hollywood Actor Award, an Icon Award, and a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor.

The picture even went on to win a Japanese Academy Film Prize for Outstanding Foreign Language Film in 2017.

Sully was part of something of a string of biographical and historical films for Tom Hanks, beginning in 2013 with three in a row: Captain Phillips, in which he played the titular ship captain, Saving Mr. Banks, where he portrayed Walt Disney, and Bridge of Spies, a Cold War historical drama.

In the next few years, Hanks would continue that trend with Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House alongside star Liam Neeson, the historical political thriller The Post, and as Fred Rogers in 2019’s It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. These films all show the actor’s penchant for inhabiting roles of dramatic weight that feature an everyman hero or father figure.

After all, Tom Hanks is often called “America’s Dad,” and that sense of safety and security was put to good use in his portrayal of Chelsey Sullenberger. For his part, the real-life Sullenberger wanted the film to give people hope.

Sullenberger pointed out that the Miracle on the Hudson occurred during the Great Recession of 2008 and that the sight of people working together to do what was necessary to make it through a difficult situation had been an important moment. His book, Highest Duty, on which the film was based, was published with a similar goal in mind.

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Tom Hanks in Sully (2016)

It was June 2015 when it was announced that Tom Hanks was in talks for the lead role in the film, and by September of that year, principal photography began in New York City with Hanks on board. The shoot eventually covered locations in Atlanta, New Mexico, Holloman Air Force Base, North Carolina, and Kearny, New Jersey. The crash sequences were filmed at Warner Bros. Studios and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Released theatrically in 2.39 in standard theaters and 1.90 in IMAX, director Clint Eastwood originally framed the film for the IMAX presentations. With Tom Hanks as its star, the film had no trouble attracting audiences in both formats, though the aviation effects, which utilized three decommissioned airplanes, made a literal splash on IMAX screens.

According to head screenwriter Todd Komarnicki, the really challenging part of the picture was the aftermath—all the forces working against Sullenberger and the push and pull of his rise to fame as a hero against the backdrop of the NTSB investigation.

If you want to see Tom Hanks as Sullenberger, now is a good time to do it, and FlixPatrol says you’re certainly not alone. Sully is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.