Welcome to the first in a series of ‘Top 10’ lists by Team CineChat, Top 10 Tom Cruise movies. Some would say (my brother, my wife and now even my daughters!) that I have a bit of a man crush on Tom Cruise, and that I like him just a little too much. That may well be slightly true, but I would argue that it is more about his impressive career of movies, and the consistent level of quality he’s maintained that draws me to him. Yes his movies usually have him running really fast, riding a motorbike or doing some ridiculous stunt. But, he also brings a serious level of dedication and passion to each project he stars in, above and beyond what’s required of him and often making a great movie all the better for his involvement. Many of the movies featured in this list aren’t just great Tom Cruise movies, they’re also among my favourite movies of all time.
Interestingly, you won’t find any mention here of his earlier movies – Top Gun, Jerry Maguire etc. I don’t know why that is, maybe I just didn’t find him that attractive back then…
10. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)
The Mission Impossible movies have always been about the crazy stunts that continuously try to outdo themselves and up the ante with each installment. Arguably, the best sequence of all of them is the one that features in Ghost Protocol. Set high above Dubai, alternating between the inside and outside of the 130th floor of the Burj Khalifa as Cruise climbs the sheer glass building, with just a pair of magnetic gloves to keep him from falling. Breathtaking stuff, probably getting me way more giddy than usual due to me watching it for the first time on the huge BFI IMAX screen in London. The plot is a bit weaker than previous entries in the franchise, but features Simon Pegg character Benji stepping into a more prominent role.
9. Vanilla Sky (2001)
It’s been a long time since I saw Vanilla Sky, but I remember it having a very strong and memorable impact on me at the time. It’s a very strange movie, hard to follow at times, and I do remember it giving my wife a huge headache after we saw it – the one thing she remembers to this day about the movie, and probably featuring in her top 10 worst movies of all time. For many though, this movie is probably best remembered for featuring Times Square, eerily empty apart from a very confused Tom Cruise.
8. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015)
Christopher McQuarrie came up with the screenplay for Rogue Nation before continuing writing duties on Fallout and the forthcoming two movies in the MI series. The IMF are really shaping up nicely as a team now, with Benji continuing to bring humour to the proceedings, and adding the incredible Rebecca Feguson into the mix. Rogue Nation also introduces us to The Syndicate and features a strong plot along with the usual, over the top action sequences that we know and love.
7. Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)
I reviewed Fallout at the time of it’s release, if you can call it a review. It described the level of excitement I had before heading into the cinema and included the words “breathtaking, exhilarating, outstanding” in my very brief summary. Fallout includes all the death defying stunt-work we’re so used to seeing from Cruise, not to mention the real life ankle injury which made the headlines at the time. It also benefits from having what was possibly the most intense final 20 minutes of a movie I’ve ever experienced in a crowded cinema. It’s a very tough call between this and the previous two MI movies in terms of quality, but for me this one only just sneaks ahead. It was also enough of a crowd pleasing success to ensure that another two Mission movies were recently given the go ahead, so good news.
6. Collateral (2004)
A big change from the usual Tom Cruise style of character, Cruise stars as hit man Vincent, who one night hijacks a cab driven by Max (Jamie Foxx), forcing him to drive to the various hits he needs to perform. The two men get to know each other a little better as the night progresses, while Max tries to figure out a way of stopping Vincent from completing his nights work. Beautifully shot, well acted and with some great John Wick style action too.
5. War of the Worlds (2005)
Cruise teams up with Steven Spielberg once more for this remake of the classic story and stars as a dockworker, struggling to form a strong relationship with his two young children. When his ex-wife drops them off at his house for the weekend, a nearby pulse of electromagnetic lightning decides to liven things up for them a little, heralding the start of an alien invasion and a tense, action packed roller-coaster ride for survival. We don’t just get your standard Cruise running scene either – this one is made all the more intense due to the disintegration of people and buildings all around him as he sprints. Dakota Fanning stars as Cruise’s daughter, and really shines in this movie.
4. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Tom Cruise stars alongside Emily Blunt in this futuristic Groundhog Day-meets-Independence Day movie with a dose of good humour, as he battles aliens yet again. Bill Cage (Cruise) has to try and work out how to go from being killed within minutes of arriving on the battlefield to surviving long enough to find a way of bringing down the aliens completely. Intense, action packed and hugely enjoyable.
3. Oblivion (2013)
Another futuristic Cruise movie. This time, Earth has already been attacked by aliens and what’s left of the human race have abandoned the planet in search of a new home. Jack (Cruise) and his wife Victoria are staying back on the planet in order to protect the machinery that is harvesting Earth’s resources. The movie blasts you with a hell of a lot right from the outset as it brings you quickly up to speed on the story so far, before slowing things down somewhat – following Jack as he goes about his daily duties on our desolate, barely unrecognisable planet, repairing drones and so on. It’s a movie which got a lot of mixed reviews but I really liked it, even more so on repeat viewings. I found the way in which our world is depicted and explored to be calming and tranquil and this is another Cruise movie in which I enjoyed the soundtrack enough to want to add it to my collection. Oblivion also features Cruise fighting himself and driving a futuristic motorcycle across the landscape, so extra points for that!
2. Magnolia (1999)
A very long film (3 hours), and one in which Tom Cruise and his character – self-help guru Frank TJ Mackey – are only a small part. Magnolia follows the lives of a number of different characters whose stories all intertwine through chance, human action and more, becoming one big story and continously building towards an incredible conclusion. This movie gripped me from start to finish, with incredible performances from everyone involved and a beautiful soundtrack that I remember buying on CD and listening to repeatedly at the time. As previously mentioned, Cruise is just a small part of the overall story, but does manage to get his fair share of memorable moments, particularly his “Respect the Cock!” speech.
1. Minority Report (2002)
Adapted from a Philip K. Dick short story from 1956, Cruise teams up with Spielberg in this futuristic sci-fi thriller. Mutant psychics, or Pre-Cogs as they’re known, are able to foresee murders before they happen and it’s up to detective Cruise and his team to then try and solve the case and secure an arrest before the crime even occurs. When Cruise gets identified as a potential murderer, he finds himself on the run in a bid to try and prove his innocence. Consequently, there is a LOT of running from Cruise, but this is a very slick and enjoyable offering from Spielberg and my overall favourite Cruise movie.
My watch-list of movies and TV shows continues to grow, while my spare time continues to shrink. Occasionally though, I’ll manage to tick one off the list, and then try to come up with some words about it that make me sound as though I know what I’m talking about. “Once he has discovered something, he wants to be off onto the next thing, rather than spending time and elaborating” – snippet from my primary school report, confirming that I am, and always have been, easily distracted.