Top 10 Films – Tom Cruise


The smile that has served Cruise so well through over 3 decades in Hollywood

List compiled by Eddie on 31/07/2015

A polarizing figure off camera and a commanding presence on it, Tom Cruise’s stature as one of the industry’s highest earning and most renowned performers has set him on a pillar that makes him an easy target for ridicule that often pays no heed to his varied and often hugely impressive filmography.

Cruise is often thought of as an 80’s and 90’s heartthrob and an actor most at home performing death defying stunts and while these elements of his career are undeniable, a closer inspection into Cruise’s list of film unearths evidence of a talented actor who has been nominated for 3 career Oscar’s and worked with most of Hollywood’s directing A-list, a varying career that for many would be but a pipe-dream.

Picking the 10 top films from Cruise’s career is a tough task, and when reading this list one must take the biases they may harbor towards Cruise thanks to his well-known antic’s and appreciate the long standing career of an actor that is dedicated to his profession and often excels where others try but fail.

Disclaimer – As always these films are chosen on overall quality not Cruise’s performance alone.

Cruise looked a little different when he appeared in Tropic Thunder

Cruise looked a little different when he appeared in Tropic Thunder

  1. Tropic Thunder (2008)

Cruise plays – Les Grossman

Ben Stiller’s star studded send up of Hollywood and its overblown productions is one of the modern era’s funniest comedies. With a raft of memorable dialogue and set pieces, Tropic Thunder provides the belly laughs with a frequency many comedies can only hope for.

Does Cruise do any stunts? If dancing is included then Yes, a big Yes!

  1. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Cruise plays – Cage

By no means perfect, Edge of Tomorrow is without doubt one of the decade’s most enjoyable Sci-Fi romps. With great support from Brit Emily Blunt, enthusiastic direction from Doug Liman and a raft of quality set pieces, Cruise’s fun turn as unlucky soldier Cage helped create a summer blockbuster that deserved a little more love.

Does Cruise do any stunts? Yes.  

  1. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Cruise plays – Jerry Maguire

Whilst most famous for its memorable script and a career making and career peak turn from Cuba Gooding Jr., Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire is an ageless rom-com gem that was elevated to another level thanks to Cruise’s energetic turn.

Does Cruise do any stunts? No.

  1. Mission: Impossible 3 (2006)

Cruise plays – Ethan Hunt

Perhaps a controversial pick considering the other films in the Mission Impossible cannon, J.J Abram’s entry into the franchise is the film of the series when considering heart mixed with memorable set pieces. A hugely entertaining film for both young and old, this is a mission all can enjoy.

Does Cruise do any stunts? Yes, a casual under the truck roll a highlight.

  1. Top Gun (1986)

Cruise plays – Maverick

There’s so much wrong with the 80’s most memorable trip to the skies but there is also so much right. From Kenny Loggin’s, Anthony Edwards and dialogue worthy of a Pulitzer Prize, Top Gun is Cruise’s finest action moment and the quintessential entry into now sadly passed Tony Scott’s filmography. Take me to the danger zone indeed.

Does Cruise do any stunts? Yes.

Cruise like the audience, seemed to have a great time with Minority Report

Cruise like the audience, seemed to have a great time with Minority Report

  1. Minority Report (2002)

Cruise plays – Chief John Anderton

Teaming up with Blockbuster mastermind Steven Spielberg turned out to be a great decision for Cruise. Minority Report is both a smart and thrilling Sci-Fi/Actioner that has left a lasting legacy that has now evolved into an upcoming TV series.

Does Cruise do any stunts? Yes.

  1. Rain Man (1988)

Cruise plays – Charlie Babbitt

Displaying an oft underutilized compassionate side, Cruise along with Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman delivered a classic road trip movie like no other in this hugely loveable and moving story of two brothers learning to love each other for who they are. One of the 80’s most loved films is a winner to this day.

Does Cruise do any stunts? No.

  1. Collateral (2004)

Cruise plays – Vincent

One of Michael Mann’s most taught and sharp thrillers, Collateral is highly entertaining stuff that features a great one-two act of Jamie Foxx’s unwitting taxi driver and Cruise’s cold calculated hitman. Unique in many ways, this is the thriller genre on top of its game.

Does Cruise do any stunts? Yes.

  1. The Last Samurai (2003)

Cruise plays – Nathan Algren

A largely forgotten about and underrated epic from the always intriguing Edward Zwick, The Last Samurai is both a moving and entertaining film set in the later stages of the samurai era of Japan. A film well worth revisiting or catching for the first time, especially for those fans of handsomely made war epics.

Does Cruise do any stunts? Yes.

  1. Magnolia (1999)

Cruise plays – Frank T.J Mackey

An incredibly unique and in many ways brave film, Magnolia remains famed director Paul Thomas Anderson’s emotionally deepest film. Tom Cruise was one of many in the picture to deliver a stunning turn with his Oscar nominated performance as the conflicted Frank T.J Mackey. For an in depth analysis of this stunning piece of filmmaking read Jordan’s review here.

Does Cruise do any stunts? No.

In Magnolia, Cruise delivered what could well be his best performance

In Magnolia, Cruise delivered what could well be his best performance

Honourable mentions – Born on the 4th of July, The Colour of Money, Interview with the Vampire, A Few Good Men, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

What are your favourite Tom Cruise films? Are you a 1980’s cruise fan or do you prefer his later life work? Let us know in the comments below!

For our other actor Top 10’s check out –

Tom Hanks

Bruce Willis

Russell Crowe

Denzel Washington

Brad Pitt

Nicolas Cage

Leonardo DiCaprio

Robert DeNiro

70 responses to “Top 10 Films – Tom Cruise

  1. I’m a big Tom Cruise fan, I generally like most of his stuff, he’s just a great actor who’s constantly able to hold viewer’s attention! Solid list Eddie!

    • Yeh your spot on man, when looking back over his films it’s clear to see he really hasn’t made to many out and out duds! And his performances are universally solid.

  2. Great list, Eddie! I put my list together just before looking at yours and they are mostly identical. Vanilla Sky, Eyes Wide Shut, and Legend are the ones I loved that you passed up, although Tim Curry is 90% the reason for Legend being as good as it is. The Color of Money makes my list too. Cruise is a perfect cocky foil for the cool perfection that is Paul Newman.

  3. I love Abrams’ MI3. I think people need to reconsider it. Movie had the misfortune of being the first movie to open after Cruise’s disastrous War of the Worlds press tour and suffered in public perception for it.

    • I reckon your right Marshall, I remember seeing it at the cinema and loving it and same again once it was on disc. It’s just a great mix of humour, action and heart.

  4. He seems like a nut but there’s no denying he has incredible intensity on screen, he’s dedicated and very convincing in a variety of roles. Nice list! No matter what he’s in or how great, okay or disappointing the movie is, he himself is not only reliable but he seems to give his all every time and I appreciate that.

  5. I love Tom Cruise movies. Edge of Tomorrow was particularly dear to me as I have a crush on Emily Blunt. Also, I think his turn as Les Grossman brought a lot of fans over to his side, many of the “I don’t like Tom Cruise” people. One of my favorite characters, if I need a good laugh I watch his scenes from Tropic Thunder. I could go on and on about his films, but you covered them well. Thank you so much for the reviews.

  6. I’ve done a full circle on Tom Cruise over the years, from really liking him to being turned off when he jumped on that couch, to really liking him again in recent years. He’s a true movie star and always seems to give 110%. Plus, as a random aside, I was really impressed with his Russian accent in the last Mission Impossible movie – dodgy Russian accents are my personal peeve in movies and his was really quite good.

    Great list, though I’d chuck out The Last Samurai and put Interview with the Vampire instead. Lestat is one of my personal favourite performances of Cruise’s.

  7. cruise is definitely a case for having to seperate the art from the person. Magnolia is one of my favorite films of all time and is indeed one of Cruise’s finest roles.

  8. Cruise is definitely good at what he does. I quite enjoyed valkyrie too which didnt even make a mention. A decent watch if u havent seen it!

  9. I absolutely adore Tropic Thunder, very funny film.

    I consider Last Samurai Cruise’s best performance as he is not necessarily playing the action hero, but more a human being. I am surprised he has not taken more roles like that since (from what I have seen anyway).

  10. Just the thought of Tom dancing in Tropic Thunder is enough to make me laugh to the point of tears. But Rain Man will always be my favorite of his. I just really, really enjoy that movie.

  11. I never gave a rat’s ass about Cruise’s off-screen persona (no less crazy than any other Hollywood celeb, IMO), and quite frankly I don’t think anyone else should either. Look, most of us will never know any of these actors outside a movie-screen — you or I will probably never have a beer with Tom Cruise, though I’m immensely curious how a night out like that would be. All that matters to me is that he consistently, without fail, entertains and impresses me every time I watch a movie of his, as your list demonstrates so. Everything else is superfluous.

  12. Great list. This must have been a challenge. You made me realize how many great movies Cruise as appeared in. No mTter how bad a movie is, Cruise totally delivers. His commitment to excellence is unparalleled. He’s one of the few action heroes focused on stuntwork.

    For me, Magnolia is a great pick at number 1. However, I think 4th of July should be on there. He totally ditched his looks and charisma there. Like Tropic Thunder, he was nearly unrecognizable. The Firm was a good thriller I didn’t see mentioned in comments.

    Great selections though. Impressive.

  13. Okay Nice review of the top 10 film by Cruise. I think he should of done more independent film like Magnolia. Yes he is a great actor but what he should of done is a big budget film followed by a independent film. And you forgot Born on the 4th of July terrific performance there.

  14. Mission: Impossible 3 is a controversial pick indeed. I mean, I really liked Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character Owen Davian and think he might be one of the most intimidating spy movie antagonists yet, but to most, including me, the original still takes the cake.

  15. Magnolia is a great choice, the drawn out shots of his face as he reacts to the interviewer are bloody mesmerising!

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  21. Tom Cruise is definitely one of the best – I’m a massive fan of his early work – Cocktail and The Firm are incredible! Mission Impossible 5 was such good fun but definitely agree with your top 5 – The Last Samurai is beyond awesome and Magnolia is just a great movie!

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