Big was Tom Hanks first major summer hit. He had already scored some spring time hits with Bachelor Party and Splash (both 1984). But Big really put him on the map and it was no looking back after that. And what a wonderful and fun summer movie it is. The premise has 12 year Josh Baskin who wishes to be big at a fairground machine. He actually wanted to be taller but lo and behold the next morning he wakes up as a fully grown man (Hanks) even though he still is a 12 year on the inside. After a funny and tense stand-off with his mom (Ruehl) who chases him out the house with a very large kitchen knife. "What did you do with my son?" she asks. Hanks replies "I am your son, mom" And she promptly chases him through the house. It's a very funny scene and Josh tries to find the machine that he made the wish on but the carnival has already moved on. So Josh grabs his best friend Billy and they make way for New York to find the machine. Along the way Josh gets a job at a toy company (which is a dream job for a 12 year old) thanks to his play on the giant sized piano in the store with the toy company owner MacMillian (played by Robert Loggia), which is one of the most fun scenes in movie history. Josh also has to deal with the romantic advances of his new co-worker Susan (in Elizabeth Perkins best film role to date). Their scenes together are just heavenly. Things wrap up quite nicely and you leave a great feeling after watching this movie. One of Tom Hanks best movies and one fun summer movie.
Hanks was the first choice to play Josh Baskin but was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts with the films Dragnet (1987) and Punchline (1988). Robert De Niro was then offered the lead role, and was rejected because his salary demand ($6 million) was too high. Tom Hanks then became available and accepted the lead role for $2 million. David Moscow was originally cast not as young Josh, but as Billy, since he didn't look like Robert De Niro. When Tom Hanks was given the role, David Moscow was recast as young Josh.
One of five body-swap movies all released around the same time. The others were 18 Again! (1988), Vice Versa (1988), Like Father Like Son (1987) and Dream a Little Dream (1989).
Penny Marshall became the first female director to ever direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million at the box office with this movie.
The musical version of "Big" opened at the Shubert Theater on April 28, 1996, ran for 193 performances and was nominated for the 1996 Tony Awards for the Best Original Book and Score.
According to actor Robert Loggia, on the day they filmed the famous keyboard scene at F.A.O. Schwartz, 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.
Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Fantasy" in June 2008.