Here is a look back at some of Tom Cruise’s finest performances, from his first major part in Risky Business through the most current installment in the Mission: Impossible series. To get his hands on an inheritance, Cruise’s shady character tracks for his long-lost brother, but instead forms a close relationship with the sibling he never knew he had. Outstanding work.
1. Collateral (2004)
While Cruise is often associated with bad teen comedies and stunt-based spectacle, he’s also capable of some more nuanced performances. Collateral is one of those. The movie follows Max Durocher, a Los Angeles taxi driver who accepts a fare from a mysterious passenger named Vincent. The two soon discover that the passenger is a hitman on a killing spree.
The surface-level plot is easy to follow, but the movie gets more complicated as it moves forward on pelispedia. The film is anchored by the incredible performance of Tom Cruise as prosecutor David Kaffee. His intensity is perfect for Aaron Sorkin’s dense dialogue, and director Rob Reiner captures it all beautifully on film. Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, and Kevin Bacon round out the impressive cast.
2. Edge of Tomorrow (2011)
A cocky Marine officer who knows nothing about war is forced to fight an alien invasion in this sci-fi thriller. This movie may be a bit too campy for some, but it’s still an exciting ride with plenty of action and comedy. This classic courtroom drama showcases Cruise’s wit and charisma in one of his best performances. His character Kaffee tries to get the truth from his Marine client, who responds with a line that never gets old.
3. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2013)
With the sixth installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise hitting theaters, our content partners at Stacker decided to take a look back at Cruise’s best movies. From teen comedies to over-the-top action, there isn’t an aspect of the franchise that the actor hasn’t brought to life on screen. This is peak Tom Cruise – running, jumping, shooting, and swimming his way to the top of his game. The Christopher McQuarrie-directed film is relentless, and the jaw-dropping stunts are breathlessly exciting. Whether it’s a HALO jump or flying a helicopter in a single take, the film is knuckle-chewing entertaining. This is Mission: Impossible at its best.
4. Jack Reacher (2014)
In this courtroom drama adapted from Aaron Sorkin’s play, Cruise delivers one of his finest performances. He portrays Lt. Daniel Kaffee, a Naval lawyer trying to defend two Marines on trial for murder, with tremendous intensity and conviction. While not a great film, it was still entertaining. However, Cruise seemed to be redoing his generic action hero appearance here. It would’ve been better if they could’ve gotten a different actor to play the role.
Silver-haired and slender, Cruise was never more menacing than he was as Vincent, the tunnel-visioned assassin who drags Jamie Foxx’s reluctant cabbie Max into a night of bloody mayhem. This movie’s classic moment is when Cruise glides across his living room entryway, lip-syncing Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll.” It was the moment that established him as a Hollywood icon.
5. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2017)
The fifth installment in the Mission Impossible franchise didn’t quite top the first, but it still offered some of the most thrilling action set pieces in recent memory. The plot may be a little too outlandish for some but this is a fun film that is well worth your time. Loosely based on the H.G. Wells novel, this sci-fi drama finds Cruise as Ray Ferrier, a dock worker who is in the midst of an alien invasion. He’s a convincing hero concerned with his family, and Spielberg skillfully combines story and action for some high-powered popcorn entertainment.
This movie is also a reminder of how far Cruise has come since his days hanging from the Burj Khalifa in Minority Report. He is a movie star who is unafraid to do whatever it takes for his art.