Tom Cruise is an American actor and producer who has starred in a wide range of films over the past several decades. He is known for his intense performances, action-packed roles, and commitment to performing his own stunts.
Cruise began his acting career in the early 1980s, and rose to fame with his roles in films such as “Top Gun,” “Rain Man,” and “A Few Good Men.”
He has since become one of the most successful and recognizable actors in Hollywood, with numerous blockbuster hits and critically acclaimed performances to his name.
In this article, we’ll explore some of Tom Cruise’s best movies, including his iconic performances, memorable characters, and standout roles.
Best Tom Cruise Movies
From action-packed thrillers to dramatic character studies, Cruise has proven himself to be a versatile and talented actor, and his films continue to captivate audiences around the world.
1. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
Born on the Fourth of July is a 1989 film directed by Oliver Stone and based on the memoir of the same name by Ron Kovic.
The film stars Tom Cruise as Kovic, a patriotic young man who enlists in the Marines and serves in Vietnam, only to return home paralyzed from the chest down and disillusioned with the war.
Here are some reasons why Born on the Fourth of July is worth watching:
Tom Cruise’s performance: Tom Cruise gives a powerful and nuanced performance as Ron Kovic, capturing both his idealism and his bitterness, his physical pain and his emotional turmoil.
Oliver Stone’s direction: Oliver Stone’s direction is intense and visceral, capturing the brutality of war and the emotional toll it takes on the soldiers who fight it.
The script: The film’s screenplay, by Oliver Stone and Ron Kovic, is both heartbreaking and inspiring, exploring themes such as patriotism, disillusionment, and the struggle for self-acceptance.
The supporting cast: The film features strong supporting performances from actors such as Willem Dafoe, Kyra Sedgwick, and Tom Berenger.
The music: The film’s score, by John Williams, is haunting and evocative, capturing the mood and emotion of the story.
The themes: Born on the Fourth of July explores themes such as the costs of war, the struggle for self-acceptance, and the transformative power of activism. These themes make the film both thought-provoking and emotionally resonant.
Overall, Born on the Fourth of July is a powerful and affecting film, with great performances, direction, writing, music, and themes. Its exploration of the human cost of war and the struggle for personal and political transformation make it a classic of American cinema.
2. Jerry Maguire (1996)
“Jerry Maguire” is a romantic-comedy-drama film released in 1996, directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, and Cuba Gooding Jr.
The movie follows the story of Jerry Maguire (played by Cruise), a sports agent who has a crisis of conscience and writes a mission statement calling for a more ethical approach to business.
As a result, he is fired from his job and sets out to start his own agency with the help of a single mother named Dorothy Boyd (played by Zellweger) and an eccentric football player named Rod Tidwell (played by Gooding Jr.).
As Jerry struggles to make a name for himself in the competitive world of sports management, he also begins to fall in love with Dorothy and develop a close friendship with Rod. Along the way, he learns important lessons about loyalty, honesty, and the true meaning of success.
“Jerry Maguire” was a critical and commercial success upon its release and received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Tom Cruise), and Best Supporting Actor (Cuba Gooding Jr.), with Gooding Jr. winning the award.
The movie is known for its quotable lines, memorable scenes, and its exploration of complex themes such as personal and professional identity, ambition, and love.
3. Rain Man (1988)
“Rain Man” is a 1988 American drama film directed by Barry Levinson and starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise.
The film tells the story of a selfish and abrasive young man named Charlie Babbitt (played by Cruise) who learns that his estranged father has left him with a substantial inheritance, but only if he can locate his autistic older brother, Raymond (played by Hoffman), whom Charlie never knew existed.
As Charlie tries to manipulate Raymond into signing over his share of the inheritance, he comes to understand and appreciate his brother’s unique abilities and perspective on the world.
The film explores themes of family, love, and the challenges faced by individuals with autism.
“Rain Man” was a critical and commercial success, earning over $350 million at the box office and winning four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman.
The film was praised for its sensitive portrayal of autism and its impact on family relationships, as well as the performances of Hoffman and Cruise. The film remains a classic of 1980s cinema and is often cited as one of the greatest films of all time.
4. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
“Edge of Tomorrow” is a 2014 science-fiction action film directed by Doug Liman and starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.
The film is based on the Japanese light novel “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and tells the story of a soldier, William Cage (Tom Cruise), who is caught in a time loop and forced to relive the same day over and over again during a battle against an alien race known as the Mimics.
With the help of a skilled soldier, Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), Cage uses his knowledge of the future to try to turn the tide of the war and find a way to break the time loop.
“Edge of Tomorrow” is noted for its innovative concept, fast-paced action sequences, and dynamic performances by Cruise and Blunt. The film was a critical and commercial success, and earned praise for its sharp writing, thrilling visuals, and engaging plot.
“Edge of Tomorrow” is considered one of Cruise’s best movies, and is often cited as an example of his ability to tackle complex, challenging roles. The film has been praised for its blend of science fiction and action, its intelligent plot, and its strong character development
5. Minority Report (2002)
“Minority Report” is a science fiction action-thriller released in 2002, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise as John Anderton, a police officer who works in a specialized department that uses precognitive technology to prevent crimes before they occur.
However, when Anderton is implicated in a future murder, he becomes a fugitive and must race against time to clear his name and prevent the crime from happening.
Cruise delivers a compelling and intense performance as Anderton, showcasing his range as an actor and his physical prowess as an action hero.
The film’s thrilling action sequences and intricate plot twists keep viewers on the edge of their seats, while its thought-provoking themes about free will and the nature of fate provide a deeper layer of meaning to the story.
“Minority Report” was a critical and commercial success, earning praise for its innovative use of technology and its gripping storytelling.
It remains one of the standout films in Cruise’s career, showcasing his ability to tackle complex and challenging roles while delivering exciting and entertaining performances.
6. Collateral (2004)
Collateral is a 2004 thriller directed by Michael Mann, starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. The film tells the story of a taxi driver named Max (Foxx) who picks up a passenger named Vincent (Cruise) who turns out to be a hitman on a mission to eliminate five targets in one night.
Here are some reasons why Collateral is worth watching:
The performances: Both Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx give standout performances in their roles, with Cruise delivering a chilling portrayal of a cold and ruthless killer, and Foxx bringing depth and nuance to his character as a struggling everyman caught up in a deadly game.
The direction: Michael Mann’s direction is stylish and atmospheric, capturing the dark and gritty underworld of Los Angeles at night, and creating a sense of tension and urgency that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.
The cinematography: The film’s cinematography, by Dion Beebe, is stunning, capturing the neon-lit streets and shadowy alleys of Los Angeles with a moody and evocative visual style.
The writing: The film’s screenplay, by Stuart Beattie, is sharp and well-crafted, with believable dialogue and a tight plot that keeps the action moving forward.
The themes: Collateral explores themes such as morality, identity, and the consequences of violence, making it a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant film.
Overall, Collateral is a thrilling and engaging film, with great performances, direction, writing, cinematography, and themes. Its exploration of the darker side of human nature, and the toll that violence takes on both the victim and the perpetrator, make it a standout in the thriller genre.
7. Magnolia (1999)
“Magnolia” is a drama film released in 1999, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring an ensemble cast including Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and John C. Reilly.
The movie weaves together multiple interconnected storylines that explore themes of chance, coincidence, forgiveness, and redemption in modern-day Los Angeles.
The film features a series of complex and flawed characters, including a motivational speaker named Frank T.J. Mackey (played by Cruise) who preaches a philosophy of male dominance and control, a former child prodigy named Donnie Smith (played by William H. Macy)
who is now a depressed adult seeking a new lease on life, and a dying television producer named Earl Partridge (played by Jason Robards) who is seeking forgiveness for his past misdeeds.
As the various storylines converge and intersect, the characters must confront their past mistakes, their present struggles, and their uncertain futures.
The film’s intricate structure and its use of recurring symbols and motifs create a sense of thematic unity and emotional resonance, culminating in a cathartic and unforgettable finale.
“Magnolia” was a critical and commercial success, receiving three Academy Award nominations, including Best Supporting Actor (Tom Cruise), and winning the Golden Bear at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival.
The film is known for its ambitious storytelling, its powerful performances, and its exploration of the human condition in all its complexity and unpredictability.
8. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
“Eyes Wide Shut” is a 1999 erotic drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
The film follows the story of a wealthy New York City doctor named Bill Harford (played by Cruise) who embarks on a surreal and sexually charged odyssey after his wife, Alice (played by Kidman), confesses to having sexual fantasies about another man.
As Bill ventures into the seedy underworld of sex and desire, he becomes entangled in a series of bizarre and dangerous encounters that threaten to unravel his sense of reality and push him to the brink of insanity.
The film explores themes of jealousy, desire, and the hidden underbelly of human sexuality.
“Eyes Wide Shut” was released to mixed reviews but has since gained a cult following for its striking visuals, atmospheric soundtrack, and complex exploration of human psychology and relationships.
The film was Kubrick’s final work before his death in 1999 and is often regarded as one of his most enigmatic and controversial films.
9. Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)
“Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” is a 1994 gothic horror film directed by Neil Jordan, based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Anne Rice.
The film tells the story of a 200-year-old vampire named Louis de Pointe du Lac (played by Brad Pitt), who is interviewed by a reporter (Christian Slater) and recounts his life as a vampire.
The film explores themes of immortality, morality, and the human condition, as Louis struggles to come to terms with his new existence and grapples with his relationship with his mentor and fellow vampire, Lestat (played by Tom Cruise).
“Interview with the Vampire” is notable for its strong performances, particularly by Pitt, Cruise, and Kirsten Dunst, who plays the young vampire Claudia. The film’s lavish production design, lush cinematography, and haunting score also received critical acclaim.
“Interview with the Vampire” is considered one of the most successful adaptations of Anne Rice’s work, and is often cited as one of the best vampire movies of all time.
The film’s exploration of complex themes and nuanced characters has earned it a cult following and cemented its place in the horror canon.
10. A Few Good Men (1992)
“A Few Good Men” is a legal drama film released in 1992, directed by Rob Reiner and starring Tom Cruise as Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, a military defense lawyer who is tasked with defending two marines accused of murdering a fellow marine.
As Kaffee delves deeper into the case, he discovers a complex web of lies and corruption that puts him in a dangerous position.
Cruise’s performance as Kaffee is nuanced and engaging, as he portrays the character’s initial indifference to the case and gradual transformation into a passionate defender of justice.
His chemistry with his co-stars, including Demi Moore and Jack Nicholson, is also a standout feature of the film.
The movie’s sharp writing and intense courtroom scenes have made it a classic of the legal drama genre. Its exploration of themes such as honor, duty, and the responsibility of those in positions of power make it a thought-provoking and compelling film.
“A Few Good Men” was a critical and commercial success, and it remains one of the most memorable films in Cruise’s career, showcasing his range as an actor and his ability to deliver powerful and emotional performances.
3 Reasons To Watch Tom Cruise Movies
Versatility: Tom Cruise has shown remarkable range as an actor, taking on a diverse range of roles throughout his career.
From action-packed blockbusters like Mission: Impossible and Top Gun, to intense dramas like Magnolia and Born on the Fourth of July, to offbeat comedies like Tropic Thunder and Jerry Maguire, Cruise has proven himself to be a versatile and talented performer.
Charisma: Tom Cruise has a natural screen presence and charisma that draws the audience in and makes them care about his characters. Whether he’s playing a hero, a villain, or something in between, Cruise has a magnetic quality that keeps the audience engaged and invested in the story.
Action: Tom Cruise is known for performing many of his own stunts, which adds a level of excitement and realism to his action films.
From hanging off the side of a plane in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, to free-climbing the Burj Khalifa in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, to performing high-speed motorcycle chases in Top Gun:
Maverick, Cruise’s dedication to his craft and fearlessness in the face of danger make his action films all the more thrilling to watch.
Best Tom Cruise Movies – Wrap Up
Tom Cruise is an iconic Hollywood actor who has delivered many memorable performances over the course of his long and successful career. Some of his best movies include:
Top Gun (1986)
Rain Man (1988)
A Few Good Men (1992)
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Minority Report (2002)
The Last Samurai (2003)
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
These films showcase Cruise’s range as an actor, from his charismatic leading man roles in action movies to his nuanced and complex performances in dramatic films.
Regardless of the genre, Cruise has a natural screen presence and an ability to captivate audiences with his energy and intensity.