Top 10 Best Tom Cruise Films
He might not be everybody’s favourite, but it would be hard to disagree that Tom Cruise’s film back catalogue reads as one of the greatest of all time for any actor. Well, today the world’s biggest film star celebrates his 56th birthday, and while we usually celebrate by offering up a Top 5 list, the pint-sized Cruisader has just too many movies to choice from. So we’re giving you our Top 10 instead!
10) Risky Business (1983)
The film that started it all. Cruise’s performance as Joel Goodson, a high school student entrepreneur, is charismatic and the absolute definition of unearthing a star. Written and directed by Paul Brickman, Risky Business hits that sweet spot between cynical satire and charming rom-com with an exposé on adolescent sexuality and modern America’s thirst for capitalism. Add to the mix a mesmerising Rebecce De Mornay and a stonking soundtrack, and Risky Business is still one of Cruise’s best films.
9) Collateral (2004)
With a filmography so long, it’s no surprise that Cruise has had the chance to play virtually every role going. But really, he’s only played an out and out villain once, and that was in 2004’s Collateral. Cruise plays Vincent, a cold blooded hitman who enlists the help of an unwitting chauffeur (Jamie Foxx) while he goes on his rampage. The brilliance of Cruise’s performance in Collateral is that despite his disregard for human life, you’re still almost routing for him to get the job done. This might be Cruise’s coldest role to date, but it’s still incredibly watchable and arguably his best.
8) Minority Report (2002)
The first of Cruise’s collaborations with Steven Spielberg, Minority Report is a classic ‘on-the-run’ type of film we’ve become so accustom to seeing Cruise star in. Only this time it comes with a genre-spanning sci-fi neo-noir edge. While Cruise is still very much in leading man mode with plenty of running, brooding and giant leaps, it also provided him with one of the few opportunities to play someone troubled and deeply flawed. He plays it perfectly in a truly thrilling and always fascinating sci-fi thriller.
7) Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
The latest of his works to make our list, Edge of Tomorrow was arguably one of the most pleasantly surprising hits of the decade. The smart sci-fi action film gave Cruise the chance to play something he’s rarely if ever attempted before – a full blown coward. It’s brilliant casting in a film which defies pretty much every expectation you’d have going in. While TC’s tale of zero to hero gives you the payoff you want, Emily Blunt is really the star of a film which never falls into predictable gender roles.
6) A Few Good Men (1992)
The quoteability of a film isn’t always a good indicator of its quality, but it would churlish to ignore A Few Good Men and its abundance of memorable lines. Thanks to Aaron Sorkin’s incredible screenplay and some truly stellar performances from the like of Cruise and Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men is lifted from a story well told to something truly special.
5) Mission: Impossible (1996)
By the mid-1990s, Cruise was one of the biggest stars working in Hollywood and could start to take a risk or two. While it might not seem like a risk now, rebooting a much loved TV show is anything but a breeze, and Mission: Impossible was also Cruise’s first attempt at developing material as a producer. The rest, as they say, is history, and Cruise built a franchise for himself thanks to an original and thrilling blockbuster that comes with as much complexity as it does action.
4) Rain Man (1988)
While Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal as Raymond Babbitt, a man who lives with severe autism, rightfully received the plaudits, Rain Man wouldn’t be such a favourite among audiences and critics alike if it wasn’t for Cruise’s turn as his brother Charlie. The role was nothing new as such with the shallow and cocky relative going through a life-altering experience with his brother, but Rain Man works mainly thanks to both leading men’s performances, as well as some old-school filmmaking flair.
3) Magnolia (1999)
After the huge success of Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson was given carte blanche on his next directorial project, and boy did he take full advantage of the freedom with 1999’s Magnolia. Anderson’s film tells different tales of San Fernando Valley’s various residents. There are plenty of standout roles to mention, but really all of them pale in comparison to Cruise’s as sleazy ‘self-help’ guru, Frank Mackey. It’s powerful, packed with subtlety, and for us it’s definitely one the best of his career.
2) Jerry Maguire (1996)
If there’s one thing Tom Cruise isn’t known for, it’s for playing the everyman. And while Jerry Maguire is undoubtedly a man of huge ambition and charisma, he’s also by far the most relatable Cruise has ever been. The film itself is a rom-com at its core, but Cameron Crowe does away with usual the genre topes in favour of a smart, often funny and intimate story of a sports agent’s quest to do the right thing. Jerry Maguire packs hope, heart and a whole lot of catharsis.
1) Top Gun (1986)
Call it cheesy and insanely homoerotic as much as you want, they don’t make films like Top Gun every day. Tony Scott’s film of elite fighter pilots was a hit on its release, and it’s stayed that was ever since thanks to a perfectly balanced cocktail of love, loss, sex and beach volleyball. While Top Gun is of course incredibly masculine, it never verges into misogynistic. And while Scott’s direction deserves a mention here, much of that is down to Cruise’s Maverick. He’s the definition of alpha in many ways, but still manages to offer up a sense of vulnerability. For us, Top Gun is the ultimate bromance movie, and it’s Tom Cruise’s best film to date.