Ranking the 10 Best Roles of Tom Cruise’s Film Career
With “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” being one of the biggest fall films and 2016 sequels on the way, we thought it only right to rank the best of Tom Cruise. After all, he is one of the most distinguishable actors of our lifetime. Just look at that run!
From the days of “Endless Love” and “The Outsiders” to his recent remakes, sequels and action roles, there’s any number of ways this could shake out. It’s with great regret we couldn’t use all his movies. But look at that run!
10. “The Firm” (1993)
A young buck with his whole law career in front of him gets a big job at a small firm, too good to be true when it turns out his clients are working the wrong side of the law. Cruise plays Mitch McDeere in the Sydney Pollack thriller, based on the John Grisham novel. Cruise is about to come out in his sequel to “Jack Reacher,” both book adaptations to mystery novels.
9. “Magnolia” (1999)
Cruise’s role as Frank Mackey is as stunning as the rest of the cast, one of the most classic and expansive in ‘90s film. The passing lives of every kind of personality, all of which become intertwined into one story, are beautifully compiled by the writing and directing of P.T. Anderson. Cruise was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for his role as Mackey.
8. “The Last Samurai” (2003)
A tranquil foreign setting met by some ancient martial arts, Cruise trades his run to ride horseback, adopts a new ethnicity and switches sides as a harsh American war general who becomes a zen warrior. The movie is as insightful as it is action packed, giving us a very different side of Cruise altogether.
7. “Jerry McGuire” (1996)
The start-up spirit is alive and well in the good-conscienced sports agent, Jerry McGuire, whose most recent epiphany leads him to write an inspiring company letter that leaves him ankling for the door. He takes his star client and a whole hell of a lot of risky business to start his own practice, doing things the Jerry McGuire way and finding a little love along the way.
6. “Edge of Tomorrow” (2014)
Cruise plays Maj. William Cage, an inexperienced officer who gets assigned to a suicide mission, doomed to repeat his mistakes until he gets them right. This role, in particular, stands out, being one of the first times Cruise hasn’t played the confident heartthrob role. The film also stars Emily Blunt, who we all know to be both a total babe and a hot badass.
5. “Top Gun” (1986)
It was either this or “Days of Thunder,” and based on the ratio of people going as Maverick for Halloween each year compared to Cole Trickle, we had to choose “Top Gun.” Cruise, along with Val Kilmer and the lovely Kelly McGillis, make for a stunt-packed, barrel-roll of a love story, which only helped to make wearing jumpsuits cooler. With a “Top Gun 2” on the horizon three decades later, we’re excited to see a bit more Maverick and Iceman.
4. “Mission: Impossible” (1996)
Of all the actors who do their own expensive stunts, Tom Cruise is king, especially in the “Mission: Impossible” films. It’s debatable which Ethan Hunt mission is best (“M:I-2” is an argument for the original), but it’s not debatable how hot the M:I girls are. Twenty years in the franchise, Cruise just released their fifth installment with “Rogue Nation,” but he’s far from done with an “M:I-6” already in pre-production.
3. “Risky Business” (1983)
What else did you do when your parents left town, other than try to procure a prostitute, wreck your dad’s car and dance bottomless through the house? Oh yeah, you threw a big party in hopes to make a bunch of money to get yourself out of a jam. Tom Cruise and his risky business have clearly been an inspiration to us all since before we were born.
2. “Vanilla Sky” (2001)
Besides easily one of the best soundtracks in movie history, “Vanilla Sky” features Cruise as one of the coolest playboys of the Upper Manhattan publishing world. Shutting down Times Square for a classic Cruise jog, he’s torn between two of the hottest actresses in the business (Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz). Eventually, he teaches a generation of dreamers about freewheelin’ and having a life well lived without being frozen in time like Mel Gibson in “Forever Young,” but mostly the soundtrack is unreal, much like the women (Penelope Cruz shows a nip).
1. “Tropic Thunder” (2008)
Talk all you want, but Les Grossman is by far the most refreshing Tom role to date. Completely unexpected, unabashed and deeply engross(man)ed in enjoying himself, Cruise delivered knockout punch after knockout punch in one of his strongest, and yet briefest, roles amongst a study star-studded cast of A-listers in the jungle.