New Delhi: Tom Cruise is known for blockbuster hits like the Mission Impossible series. He won Best Actor gongs at the Golden Globes for Born on the Fourth of July, and Magnolia, and was also nominated for Oscars thrice.
Cruise remains a supreme entertainer, a larger-than-life performer — an icon of the silver screen, truly. His persona transcends celebrity, and over the last 35 years he has delivered memorable performances. From the boyish 80s protagonist to classic leading man to action hero, Cruise’s film career is the epitome of success.
With a film career spanning almost 30 years, there are a lot of big hit films to Tom Cruise’s name. As the
actor turns 56 today, here is the list of his top ten films.
1. Tropic Thunder, 2008
Throughout the 2000s, Cruise had firmly left the comedic days of his early career behind. But following some bad PR and a couple of films that didn’t really work, the actor made one of his more ambitious leaps in filling the role of studio executive Les Grossman in Ben Stiller’s satirical comedy Tropic Thunder. The result is a somewhat shocking and altogether hilarious turn from Cruise, who’s nearly unrecognisable in the part.
2. Risky Business, 1983
This is the film that officially launched Tom Cruise into stardom. The actor’s turn in Risky Business is the very definition of a star-making performance, at once charming, relatable, and unforgettable. Risky Business hit the zeitgeist for Cruise’s good looks and the classic underwear moment, the film itself is really a brilliant and thoughtful treatise on adolescent sexuality, guilt, and capitalism.
3. Collateral, 2004
Turning to the darker side, Cruise portrayed his first true antihero role as a suave hitman in Michael
Mann’s gleaming Los Angeles thriller. Cruise brings a dangerous magnetism to the role of Vincent, while Vincent remains a guy you kind of want to see pull off this trio of hits in one night. There’s an internal struggle between wanting Jamie Foxx’s Max to come out of this thing alive and well, and the desire to see what Vincent will do next. There’s an immense watchability to this performance, and it stands as one of Cruise’s best.
4. Mission: Impossible, 1996
Cruise was firmly in the risk-taking part of his career, and Mission: Impossible marked his first foray into
developing material from the ground up. He essentially tailor made a franchise for himself by producing
the big screen adaptation. The result is a thrilling, complex, and twisty blockbuster with a brain, and Mission: Impossible provided Cruise with the perfect vehicle to flex his “hero” muscle. This first installment is the most heady of the series this far, with more focus on spycraft and the emotional journey of Ethan Hunt, and it still stands as one of the best entries in the series so many years later.
5. Magnolia, 1999
Still one of the most dazzling change-of-pace roles by any Hollywood actor, Cruise joined Paul Thomas
Anderson’s sprawling ensemble as a vacuous motivation speaker with secrets. Magnolia is a tale of an epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.
6. Edge of Tomorrow, 2014
In Doug Liman’s sci-fi action film, Cruise brilliantly poked holes in his own image as a cowardly soldier
stuck in a Groundhog-Day-style time-loop. A soldier fighting aliens gets to relive the same day over and
over again, the day restarting every time he dies.
7. Born on the Fourth of July, 1989
Oliver Stone’s 1989 Vietnam War film Born on the Fourth of July remains Tom Cruise’s most overtly
political and, by extension, the most controversial film to date. He immersed himself fully into the character of Ron Kovic to tremendous results. This is one of Cruise’s absolute best performances in one of Stone’s most
striking films, as he traces the life of Kovic from an eager young man ready to go to war to a disabled
and disgruntled veteran. It’s not an easy arc to cover during the limited runtime of a feature film, but
Cruise pulls it off beautifully with a number of tremendously moving moments throughout.
8. Minority Report, 2002
Cruise’s performance here is terrific, and this film came at a time in Cruise’s career when he was really diving deep into more complex characters. Indeed, the late 90s/early 2000s may be the most interesting part of Cruise’s filmography, and Minority Report was a perfect blend of his leading man blockbuster persona with a deeply flawed, deeply troubled character.
9. The Last Samurai, 2003
The Last Samurai is a surprisingly thoughtful and sensitive historical epic. Director Edward Zwick’s handling of this post-Civil War Japan-set story is deft, resulting in something akin to Dances with Wolves albeit with even more heart. And Cruise is pretty terrific as a regretful, alcoholic solider who finds himself immersed in the world of the samurai — a dying breed.
10. Eyes Wide Shut, 1999
Co-starring with then wife Nicole Kidman in director Stanley Kubrick’s final film, Cruise played a New York
City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long
odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him.