Tom Cruise has been Hollywood’s most lasting movie star for the past four decades, and no one has made a greater case than him. Top Gun: Maverick, which premieres May 27, is a fitting conclusion to his career because it connects to an overarching narrative that began with his breakout role in the original Top Gun.
With an almost unmatched streak of hits, Cruise has maintained his position at the forefront of cultural debate for many years to come As an actor of his generation, Cruise has produced a body of work that is renowned for its consistent quality, diversity, and his ferocity in pushing his own boundaries.
We, in honor of the release of Top Gun: Maverick, set out to rank Cruise’s 10 greatest films, a daunting task for a performer who has appeared in at least 56 films since 1981.
Top 10 Tom Cruise Movies
Here are the top 10 most popular Tom Cruise movies:
10. Risky Business:
Risky Business was the picture that truly established Tom Cruise’s professional career. The dark comedy about adolescence was Cruise’s first significant lead role, and it demonstrated that he could carry a film on the strength of his charisma alone.
Many significant issues are addressed in this novel, including how the upper class has become alienated from reality.
Goodsen (Cruise) is one of Princeton’s most promising students. His father, Nicholas Pryor, is an alumnus of the esteemed university. The fact that his parents are taking a vacation does not deter Joel from eagerly anticipating his opportunity to temporarily escape his home life while they are abroad.
When his friend Miles Dalby (Curtis Armstrong) employs the prostitute Lana (Rebecca De Mornay) on his behalf, Joel falls in love with her and finds himself in difficulty. Over the course of a frantic weekend, Joel is compelled to confess his affections to Lana, interview a Princeton recruiter, and restore his father’s broken automobile.
9. Mission Impossible:
Mission Impossible was not yet an action juggernaut when it was first released in the mid-1990s by Brian De Palma, who also produced and starred in the film, with Tom Cruise in both a producing and a leading role.
The most exciting moments were in the fish tank explosion and the helicopter chase through a train tunnel (which may have started Cruise’s habit of clinging to speeding vehicles). Nonetheless, this film forms the foundation of the Tom Cruise franchise.
The previous show’s twisted, double-triple-crossing plot was flipped upside down by the new one. Rug-pulls with rubber masks are available. The classic lit-fuse logo and theme song are there. It all revolves around Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, who is constantly on the run and has to cling to his life by the skin of his teeth.
Even in 1996, the Mission movies were known for their heart-pounding action sequences, but they were more about the beads of sweat forming on Sam Hunt’s forehead as he dangled in a temperature-controlled computer vault than Hunt being strapped to an airplane during takeoff.
8. The Firm:
“The Firm,” a 1993 film based on John Grisham’s writings, is one of the best courtroom dramas of the 1990s. The 154-minute film, directed by Sydney Pollack, examines a complex moral quandary.
Despite its length, the picture never drags. Tom Cruise is an actor who exudes self-assurance, making him an ideal choice for the role of a slick young lawyer.
Upon graduating from Harvard Legal School, Mitch McDeere (Cruise) receives an offer to join the famous law firm Bendini, Lambert & Locke (BL&L). Mitch takes his new employment and moves to Memphis, Tennessee, with his wife, Abby (Jeanne Tripplehorn).
Mitch discovers that Bendini, Lambert & Locke is embroiled in a money-laundering scandal as he’s blown away by the kindness of his new employer. As he uncovers the scheme, Mitch must be careful not to get implicated in the firm’s wrongdoings.
7. Minority Report:
Is it possible to penalize someone in advance of their committing a crime if you have prior knowledge that they are about to do so? In Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise’s gritty, noirish film Minority Report, that’s the thorny topic at the center of the plot.
John Anderton (Cruise) is a cop in the Pre-Crime squad of 2054, which proudly reduces the murder rate in Washington DC to zero through the visions of three psychic siblings (the ‘precogs’). When Anderton’s own face is put forth as the unit’s next target, the entire system is thrown into question.
Even though it’s a darker and more dystopian film than you’d imagine, Tom Cruise is on top form as an action hero, Agatha’s caretaker, and the man whose entire worldview is shattered, desperate to clear his name.
In addition, we get to watch him undergo eyeball surgery. That’s good for your illegally implanted eyes.
6. A Few Good Men:
There aren’t many legal thrillers in Hollywood these days. A Few Good Men by Rob Reiner was a standout among the top films of the decade of the 1990s. The film is based on a stage play by Aaron Sorkin, which examines the complexities of the American justice system.
Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, played by Tom Cruise, is given a difficult case in which he must defend two Marines suspected of murder.
In any event, they both maintain that they were operating under the direction of Colonel Nathan R. Jessup (Jack Nicholson). Dawson and Downey’s best hope of avoiding a conviction is to plead guilty, according to legal experts. As a result, though, he unexpectedly enters a plea for their innocence.
Attempting to expose Jessup’s ruthless methods will be a difficult task for Kaffee, as the Colonel wields considerable military power. During the climactic trial scene, Cruise does an outstanding job portraying Kaffee’s dignity.
5. Mission: Impossible – Fallout:
Mission: Impossible films might easily fill numerous positions on a list of Tom Cruise’s finest films. By focusing on only one aspect of his career, we would be neglecting the rest of Cruise’s impressive body of work.
Many of the action sequences are designed to highlight the fact that the film’s star is actually performing stunts including a single-take HALO jump, helicopter ride into the gorge, and rooftop jump over London (and, yes, breaking his foot in the process).
That provides for an exhilarating film experience that is lacking in nearly every other presentation in town. Together, Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie continue to make a great team, with the writer-director bringing a unique sense of style and energy to the stunt work.
This is the pinnacle of Mission: Impossible, as well as the pinnacle of Tom Cruise’s personal cinematic mission, one that feels like it will never end.
Following a visit to Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut set, Paul Thomas Anderson penned the role of Frank TJ Mackie for Cruise based on the actor’s craving for freedom.
It’d be great to see Cruise in the role of Mackie! Is there anything further to say about this self-help sexual guru? You be the judge. So it’s understandable that Magnolia is a hard film, but Cruise, as Mackie comes undone and reunites with his father Earl (Jason Robards), genuinely falls apart, the glam showbiz facade collapsing.
Unbridled humanity, shivering and trembling, is Mackie at his dying father’s bedside, away from Cruise’s trademark smile. His grief and wrath have given way to love. We all feel the impact of his bodily catharsis, and he feels the impact on himself.
3. Edge Of Tomorrow:
When we first meet Tom Cruise as Lieutenant William Cage, he’s a smarmy, cowardly PR guy who only grows into an elite soldier thanks to the repetitive, Groundhog Day-inspired, video game-esque nature of Doug Liman’s explosive sci-fi thriller. Edge Of Tomorrow (or, Live Die Repeat) was one of 2014’s biggest blockbuster surprises.
In order to thwart an extraterrestrial invasion, Cage teams up with steely fighter Rita (a great Emily Blunt) and must repeatedly live through his final two days, learning from each death and improving his skills.
Cruise and Blunt’s on-screen relationship is constantly captivating, thanks to the quality of her character and Cruise’s star power. But it’s the transformation of his character that’s most satisfying, going from a man who’s anxious to get out of doing anything selfless to the kind of all-out hero Cruise was born to play.
In other words, it’s the kind of film you could gladly watch over and over and over and over again.
2. Eyes Wide Shut:
Even though Tom Cruise has worked with a slew of incredible filmmakers, nothing could have prepared him for his time with Stanley Kubrick, the master of the genre. Cruise and Kidman starred in Kubrick’s final film, “Eyes Wide Shut,” two years before they divorced.
Christmas in New York City is the setting for “Eyes Wide Shut,” as Dr. Bill Harford and his wife Alice (Cruise and Kidman) attend a joyous holiday party. While at medical school, Bill reunites with his old classmate, Nick Nightingale (Todd Field), who has just returned from his own private ritual wherein the blindfolds were removed.
Bill, who is convinced that Alice is cheating on him, is intrigued by this When he is expelled from the estate, he becomes obsessed with what he witnessed and vows never to leave the mansion again until he discovers what the cult is hiding.
With Cruise’s portrayal of a jealous man unable to control his own emotions, “Eyes Wide Shut” examines obsession, toxic masculinity, and infidelity.
1. Jerry Maguire:
Almost as renowned as the movie itself are the iconic sequences and one-liners from Jerry Maguire, as with many other Cruise films. “You complete me” and “Show me the money!” have gotten a lot of attention, but they hide one of Cruise’s best and most heartfelt flicks.
In particular, when Jerry falls in love with his ex-secretary Dorothy (a star-making turn from Renée Zellweger), it’s adorable and charming as all hell, but it has a bite to it that is often overlooked, with a seemingly happy ending that may be nothing more than a sticking plaster over a fairly gaping wound.
Even so, you’ll be hooked with the first “You had me at hello” from Cruise and Cameron.