Over the past decade, Tom Cruise has become well known for his dedication to Scientology and that batshit insane interview he did with Oprah. You know the one where he jumped on the couch like an unhinged mental patient? Well he also acts. And despite that moment of insanity, Cruise’s career hasn’t been affected, with the pint-sized actor still one of the few bankable leading men capable of headlining a Hollywood blockbuster.
Case in point: the Mission: Impossible franchise. What began as a one-off thriller has progressed into a high-octane action film series, with the sixth and latest film Mission: Impossible – Fallout already being hailed by critics as the best yet. The action thriller continues Cruise’s transformation from leading man to action star and is another standout addition to the actor’s filmography. To celebrate the film's release and Cruise’s three-decade career, here’s our pick of the 54-year-old's top five films.
Rumour has it, Tom Cruise still refers to his penis as "Maverick".
Risky Business might have been the film that kick-started Cruise’s career but Top Gun made him a bona fide movie star. The flimsy plot concerns Cruise’s "Maverick" and Anthony Edwards' "Goose" training with the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School to become, you guessed it, Top Guns. This is a classic 80s flick with big action set pieces, soft-core sex scenes and an unforgettable soundtrack including Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” and Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away.” Throw-in the much-discussed homo-erotic undertones and Val Kilmer’s steely "Iceman" and you’ve got a film that still stands the test of time.
This is what happens when you talk smack on Scientology. Tom Cruise personally hunts you down and makes you say sorry To L. Ron Hubbard.
Cruise went emo for his role as brooding contract killer Vincent in Michael Mann’s excellent Collateral. Bleaching his hair and adopting a cold demeanour, Cruise brings a dramatic and mature edge to his performance not seen before. The first major motion picture to be filmed with a high-definition camera, Mann masterfully captures the grimy landscape of Los Angeles as Jamie Foxx’s cabbie is forced to escort Cruise during his killing spree. Collateral remains one of Cruise’s finest performances and is the perfect example of his versatility as an actor.
Benefitting from a script written and directed by Cameron Crowe during his prime and a colourful support cast that turned Cuba Gooding Jr. and Renee Zellweger into household names, Jerry Maguire is a romantic comedy that tugs at the heartstrings. Sure it’s schmaltzy and contains too many subplots, but the film does a wonderful job accurately portraying the world of a sport's agent and allows Cruise to shine as the complex Maguire who’s struggling to juggle his career and personal life. Endlessly quotable (“You had me at hello,” “Show me the money!”) and featuring Cuba Gooding Jr’s best performance, Jerry Maguire is everything you want from a heart-warming drama.
A Few Good Men
So you're telling me an evil alien named Xenu dropped thousands of hydrogen bombs on Earth, and that's why I feel like shit on Mondays?
Courtroom dramas are rarely as thrilling as the Rob Reiner directed A Few Good Men. With a script by famed television writer Aaron Sorkin about two U.S. Marines charged with murder and a solid supporting cast including Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon and Kevin Pollack, A Few Good Men is an intense watch that will have you on the edge of your seat. While Nicholson’s Colonel Nathan R. Jessup is a scene-stealer and gets the memorable “You can’t handle the truth” line, Cruise more than holds his own against the elder statesman, and his chemistry with Moore surprisingly sizzles.
"Two parts gin, one part vermouth and a whole lotta Rohypnol. Gets the girl every time, my man."
Some might see this as a controversial choice but Cocktail is Cruise at his cocky best. The definition of a good bad movie, Cocktail is chock full of cheesy dialogue, hammy acting – in particular Aussie larrikin Bryan Brown – convoluted plots and a terrible 80s soundtrack. Despite all this, it’s actually an entertaining watch, along with being an absorbing look into the world of bartending and the pitfalls that come with the profession. The 1988 film may have won two Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay, but Cocktail remains a Cruise classic and is well worth a place in any film lover’s collection.