The Directors: Who’s Behind the Best Tom Cruise Movies?

Tom Cruise’s action comedy Knight and Day is one of many instances he’s worked with an outstanding director throughout his career. Knight and Day auteur James Mangold is the latest, but his past collaborators are widely considered to be among the very best of all-time.

Tom knows how to pick a director! Not that awards are everything, but these movie maestros combine for a total of 9 Academy Awards for Best Director. Even further, filmmakers Tom’s worked with garnered an astounding 28 nominations for this highest directing honor!

That’s impressive! :o You could get sore arms carrying that many little statues. ;)

Tom has said many times that he loves movies and loves the study of filmmaking. Nothing proves that more than his desire to work with the best – other than the best’s desire to work with him!

Check below for quick summaries of some of the highlighted directors, including many of those Oscar winners and nominees along with some masters of genre movies Tom’s appeared in.

Let us know who your favorite directors are!


WAR OF THE WORLDS, MINORITY REPORT – Steven Spielberg: Quite possibly the most successful director in the history of cinema, Steven Spielberg worked with Tom Cruise twice in his last seven movies, the science fiction blockbusters War of the Worlds and Minority Report. Spielberg not only has broken box-office records with legendary summer movies like JawsE.T. and the Indiana Jones series, but he scored a Best Director Oscar for his gritty drama Schindler’s List. The filmmaker also earned four other nominations from the Academy for the directing prize.


A FEW GOOD MEN – Rob Reiner: While not an Oscar winner, Rob Reiner guided Tom to one of his all-time great performances in the military courtroom drama, A Few Good Men. The iconic scene with screen icon Jack Nicholson – the famous “You can’t handle the truth!” moment – was pitched perfect by Reiner. The versatile moviemaker also directed fan favorites like The Bucket List andThis is Spinal Tap.


RAIN MAN – Barry Levinson: Tom’s work with Levinson on this project yielded the director an Oscar for Best Director. The serious drama also won Best Picture, and landed co-star Dustin Hoffman the award for Best Actor! Levinson went on to earn another Best Director nomination for his work on the movie, Bugsy.


THE COLOR OF MONEY – Martin Scorsese: Among the most respected filmmakers in movie history, Tom Cruise had the privilege earlier in his career of working with this movie master while co-starring with another legend of the silver screen – Paul Newman. Scorese earned an astonishing five nominations for the Best Director Academy Award – with work on classics like Raging Bull and Goodfellas – before landing a win with his work on The Departed in 2006.


BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY – Oliver Stone: Tom’s performance in the Oliver Stone war drama, Born on the Fourth of July, earned the actor his first nomination for Best Actor and won the director his second Academy Award for Best Director. Stone had previous taken home the Oscar for his work on the war drama Platoon and was further nominated for the thriller, JFK.


THE FIRM – Sydney Pollack: A respected veteran with Best Director hardware from the Academy for Out of Africa, Sydney Pollock helmed the legal thriller The Firm with Tom playing a lawyer dealing with dangerous forces within his own workplace. Pollock, also an accomplished actor and producer, had previously earned two Oscar nominations for direction.


Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut, alongside co-star Sydney Pollock. Pollock previously directed Tom in the legal thriller The Firm.

EYES WIDE SHUT – Stanley Kubrick: One of the all-time master directors, Stanley Kubrick worked with Tom on his final movie – Eyes Wide Shut. The legendary director took years to craft this movie, considered by many critics to be among his finest! Kubrick never won an Oscar for his directing efforts, but was honored with nominations four times for renowned films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange.


MAGNOLIA – Paul Thomas Anderson: Tom connected with Anderson for his third Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Anderson went on to get a nomination of his own for the period drama, There Will Be Blood.


COLLATERAL – Michael Mann: Hooking up with the mind behind Miami Vice and Heat moved Tom into an entirely new direction – as a villain! Critics gave the performance a big thumbs up as Tom tore into the material alongside Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx. Mann had been nominated himself for a directing Oscar for his work on the drama, The Insider.

Some other noteworthy directors Tom has worked with include the following:

  • THE OUTSIDERS – Francis Ford Coppola: Tom worked with the Oscar-winning director early in his career in this ensemble drama alongside now famous faces like the late Patrick Swayze, Emilo Estevez, Rob Lowe and Ralph Macchio.
  • MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II – John Woo: A master of action movies who earned his reputation with classic detective movies from Hong Kong, Hard Boiled and The Killer, John Woo teamed with Tom in the second edition of the Mission Impossible series .
  • JERRY MAGUIRE, VANILLA SKY – Cameron Crowe: Once a teen prodigy as a writer, Cameron Crowe has gone on to become one of Hollywood’s most respected directors. Working with Tom in Jerry Maguire, the director elicited one of the actor’s signature performances. The effort earned Tom his second Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, and won co-star Cuba Gooding Jr. the prize for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

So which of these directors are your favorites? Who did we leave off the list? Who should Tom work with next!? Let us know in the comments section!

Don’t forget to continue the conversation with us on the official Facebook profile or follow us @tomcruise through the official Twitter feed!

Don’t forget to sign up for the official Tom Cruise newsletter to keep up on all the freshest news.

We look forward to hearing back from you and keeping in touch. All the best!

  • Warllys Keullys

    Nossa, que filmografia brilhante o Tom Cruise tem!!! E sempre acompanhado de ótimos diretores, maestros, roteiristas, enfim… Os brasileiros são fãs dele!!!
    Wow, brilliant filmography that Tom Cruise is! And always accompanied by great directors, conductors, writers, anyway … The Brazilians are fans of him!

  • http://twitter cecilia trindade

    só um grande actor trabalha com grandes directores…fantastico tom cruise ..e ainda aki faltam outros grandes trabalhos…

  • patirck ford

    i like the movie rain man a lot)(:)~

  • Paula Barbosa

    I would like to see Tom work again with Cameron Crowe, who is one of my favorite directors. Spiellberg is one of my favorite too. Whatever the choice of director, Tom always have great performances!

  • http://@beto_lirax Roberto Araujo

    Thats a great list! Tom should work with Michael Bay or Christopher Nolan!! I hope some amazing director for ‘Mission: Impossible 4′ cause I’m such huge fan and feels like I own the serie haha

  • liu willing

    I think you are very hansome in impossbile .

  • Mayte

    John Woo

  • Luiz Paulo R. H.

    Adorei Rain Man…
    Um abração do seu amigo luiz paulo….

  • aruna thapa

    Hello i m ur big fan

  • http://facebook//JorgeGambino Jorge Gambino

    Good luck I see a soon George

  • steve buck

    would love to see another collaboration between tom and michael mann with another serious crime thriller

  • Oscar

    He really has worked with some outstanding talent. I think PT Anderson definitely got the best out of him and I would like to see him in similarly intense roles.

  • dodo

    i love this man

  • Gabriel_1987_7

    me recuerdas mucho,me encanta tus peliculas pero me siento orgulloso de saber en realidad quien eres.

  • Basma Ahmed

    love you TOM and love all you’r movies

  • Basma Ahmed

    love you TOM

  • Chris

    Hey, there! I read the article! I don’t have an agent yet, but I’ve ideas for a movie for you to put into a screenplay for you that I’ve rattling around in my head, but I’ve yet to begin writing down because I’m afraid of the spies in my head who see through my eyes and all!

  • Kristal09

    Tom, todos tus personajes son hermosos,porque le pones pasion y Amor a cada pelicula que haces!!
    ademas de ser relindo sos todo un Caballero por esos las mujeres te Aman♥ Kisses

  • Y..

    Steven Spielberg

  • Frome2u2002

    Just watched Knight and Day! Loved it! Tom, you and Cameron are truly in the right careers – you’re both so engaging and connected to your characters and audience, at the same time! Loved when you asked Cameron’s character what day it was at the end and she said “someday”. That was great, because that is how most of us live our lives – waiting for someday! Also, Tom, please be careful out there. It’s really okay if you use a stunt double more often! I’d rather have you be safe. You are truly amazing!

    Anyway, how do you pick from a list of directors like this? I’m most familiar with Steven Spielberg, so, if I have to pick, it would be him!


  • Anonymous

    Who was the Director of the last Samurai?

  • Anonymous

    Ok I’m Watching the last samurai again to see but I love the film director of that movie as well some very beautiful shots in that.

  • Holiday Mermaid

    I love Rob Reiner he seems to get the feel of a real person in his characters and he did with you. One day I would love to see you work with him again.
    I had a soft spoy for Sydney Pollock and I think he knew how to direct men so women never forgot them. He had a wonderful way with the camera.

    On the other side I was almost orgasmic as millions of women were when John Woo had you hanging off that cliff! Damn!I love when they capture the serious, amusing, sexy, screw you Tom! He did that very well! I found that in knight and Day to but not as suspenseful but more fun!

    Cameron Crowe ~ Jerry McQuire you desired the quan on that one dude !

    And Michael Mann turned you into my daughters older sexy Tom. She said I like Him mean & grey what does thar say about me? I said it says nothing about you it says everything about his charisma!

    That’s enough of my professional thoughts of the day. You are a good man a great actor and a wonderful teacher! This I can say for sure the nice guy is no act! Light & love!

  • Lou

    Wow…this is great stuff Tom! Thanks for creating it and getting it out here to us. – Lou

  • Artim sena

    I Like all youre movies TOM CRUISE

  • Soft_rose_80

    i love tom

  • Jo

    Would love to hear what was being said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Definitely Cameron Crowe….We need another juicy fall in love with Tom all over film!
    Love You Tom!

  • Barb Bell

    Tom is one of my favorite actors….I really like alot of the movies I’ve seen him in…..Tom I wish u all the best in ur acting career…..Ur awesome….

  • udumbara

    so amazing

  • Rohan Michael Morbey

    Very few actors working today can boast such a body of work as Tom’s, and the director he has choosen to work with, and have choosen to work with him, speaks volumes for the man’s career to date.

  • Diang huang

    you are the best in my hert ,forever…

  • Segura

    Tom should work with Guillermo del Toro. Best pairing ever. Both fun, talented, movielovers, intelligent people.

  • bab”s

    Tom cruise you’re my preferred player you are much stronger than the other

  • Marmartino

    You’re a great actor .. wonderful film,
    Ciaou ciaouu ..
    from Trieste – Italy

  • Sarfaraz Ansari2

    u r the best and handsome actor

  • Elena Rogers


  • Elena Rogers