The 66-year-old made the fortune thanks to negotiating a specific clause in his contract, that saw him take home earnings based on a portion of box office receipts rather than a flat fee for his acting role.
As a result, Hanks took home $40 million from the 1994 hit movie, bolstered by extra earnings that he and Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis both earned thanks to each investing their own funds to keep scenes in the movie that Paramount Pictures wasn't willing to pay for.
Released in July 1994, Forrest Gump was a smash hit. The Hollywood blockbuster took home six Oscar wins including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. It became Paramount’s fastest grossing film, passing records of $100 million and $200 million.
Official records of Hanks' earnings have never been shared but it is thought the star could have walked away with a total earnings of $60 million for his role in the film.
According to Business Insider, the role of Forrest places Hanks ninth in the Top 20 paid movie roles of all time. Hanks also placed at 15th place for his role as Captain John Miller in Saving Private Ryan. Hanks had a similar contract for the 1998 film and is estimated to have earned around $40 million.
However, it's not always Oscar winning performances for Hanks. The actor also revealed in a 2001 interview his worst film role, and it's not what you think.
According to Hanks, the 'crappiest' film he ever made was The Bonfire of the Vanities.
Directed by Brian De Palma, the drama told the story of an investment banker (Hanks) who gets into trouble as his mistress kills an African American teenager by mistake.
Speaking to Oprah Winfrey for O, The Oprah Magazine in 2001, Hanks said: ""If I hadn't gone through that experience, I would have lost out on something valuable," the Toy Story actor said.
"That movie was a fascinating enterprise from the word go. It was bigger than life, and for some reason it had a huge amount of attention on it.
"I can go to Germany, even now, and people will say, 'How come you don't make good, gritty movies like The Bonfire of the Vanities anymore?'
"They have no concept of what it meant to be an American and have that movie enter the national consciousness.
"Bonfire taught me that I couldn't manufacture a core connection."
He continued: "And it came along at the right time. When I was playing Sherman McCoy [in Bonfire], people stopped me on the street to say, 'You're not Sherman McCoy'.
"I was like, 'Oh, yeah?' I was going contrary to everything about the character and even the screenplay, but I kept telling myself, 'No, no, no—there's a way I can get into this.'"
When asked why he decided to take on the role, Hanks said: "Because I was asked to—and back then, that was still a big deal. I thought I could bullshit my way through."
Featured Image Credit: Paramount Pictures / REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo