Top 365 Films – #301 – Big (1988)

Top 365 Films - BigDIRECTED BY: Penny Marshall

STARRING: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Jared Rushton, John Heard, David Moscow and Robert Loggia

BUDGET: $18m

EARNED (Worldwide): $151.6m

AWARDS: Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical



When a boy wishes to be big at a magic wish machine, he wakes up the next morning and finds himself in an adult body.


A young boy named Josh Baskin, living in New Jersey, discovers a rather unusual fortune teller machine called Zoltar Speaks and makes a wish to be ‘big’. The next morning Josh has been transformed into a 30-year-old man and has to flee his home as he tries to explain his predicament to his mother, she believes he’s a stranger who has just kidnapped her son. With the help of his friend, Billy Kopecki, he learns that it’ll take a few months to find the machine and moves to New York City and gets a job at MacMillan Toy Company.


There’s been plenty of films that have come and gone that have tried to recapture the spirit of a child in a adult body, but none have been as universally received with praise as much as Tom Hanks performance here in Big for capturing just that. I mean after all, believe it or not, this performance ended up getting him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, effortlessly capturing the youthful innocence of Josh, in the way he interacts with the ‘younger’ kids and also the way he deals with the adults, in particular his colleague Susan played by Elizabeth Perkins. Not only do we get to see the transformation of Josh getting a glimpse of the future responsibilities of being an adult, we see the opposite in Susan in unleashing her carefree inner child and not taking life as seriously. Granted the two end up falling for one another and it is dangerously easy nowadays for a plot like that to fall into uncomfortable terrain (I highly doubt the two having sex (assumed?) would be accepted if it was made today). The supporting cast are good in their roles, particularly Jared Rushton as Josh’s best friend Billy, John Heard as Paul who manages to take life very seriously and then there’s Robert Loggia sympathetic portrayal of Josh’s boss MacMillian.


FAVOURITE SCENE: Josh and MacMillan meet The Big Piano. Definitely THE most iconic scene from the film and with good reason.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘MacMillan: You can’t see this on a marketing report.

Josh: Um, what’s a marketing report?

MacMillan: Exactly.’

DID YOU KNOW?: According to actor Robert Loggia, on the day they filmed the famous keyboard scene at F.A.O. Schwarz, he and Tom Hanks noticed that doubles dressed like them were on hand just in case the two could not do the dance moves correctly. It became their goal to do the entire keyboard number without the aid of the doubles. They succeeded.

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