After breaking out as a young actor, Tom Cruise has undoubtedly put in amazing work in dozens of great starring roles. Whether you’re a fan of Mr. Cruise’s more serious, critically-acclaimed performances, there’s two Oscar contenders on the list. If your more a fan of Tom at his big-budget, popcorn-action movie best, there’s plenty of that too. In short, you can take a tour through some of the best performances that takes fans to date on a varied and excellent career.
The folks at TotallyTop10.com made some calls regarding Tom’s body of work, and plucked out ten of their favorite films for fans to feast their eyes on. Some are among Tom’s more recent work, while others are classics. What these movies all have in common is the connection Tom makes with audiences through his love of filmmaking. It’s what makes the movies and performances unforgettable.
So take a moment to look through the list below. One of your favorite Tom Cruise movies surely made the cut!
10. Risky Business – It makes sense the first movie on the list would be Tom’s first major breakout role – dancing and sliding to fame in Risky Business. Starring opposite Rebecca DeMornay in the coming-of-age story, Tom first showcased his killer smile and comic timing with the winning personality that would become his trademark. It probably also didn’t hurt sales of floor wax and oxford shirts with the iconic dance sequence to the strains of Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll.”
9. Mission: Impossible – With the latest incarnation of the series, Mission Impossible 4, set to hit theaters in 2011 as Tom’s next project, the original movie that kicked it all off is still among the favorites for Tom’s fans worldwide. It was the first time we get to see Tom as the super sharp and smooth agent Ethan Hunt go head-to-head with mentor John Voight in an international game of espionage. Among the iconic scenes that have worked their way into global consciousness from the film includes Tom suspended from a ceiling on wires, catching a drop of sweat prior to it hitting the ground. Intense!
8. Eyes Wide Shut – Tom teamed with cinema master Stanley Kubrick in what became the movie maestro’s final directing effort before passing away in 1999, the year of the film’s release. Tom stars as Dr. Bill Harford, a Manhattan physician stumbling into a dangerous world of deceit and power. The film pushes drama to a razor’s edge, with Tom delivering splendidly with his famed intensity. The film went on to be included in many critics’ Top 10 lists, including famed director (and Tom Cruise collaborator) Martin Scoresese calling it one of the four best of the decade.
7. Top Gun – The pattern was not full for Tom to push his need for speed straight to No. 1 at the box office through his portrayal of daredevil Naval pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the 1986 flying flick. Top Gun cemented Tom’s early reputation as an action star and propelled the actor to fame throughout the world. Not only has Top Gun lived on in the public consciousness through record-breaking home video sales, but even still captivates attention as a video game franchise this year!
6. War of the Worlds – Like he had previously in 2002′s Minority Report, Tom teamed with legendary film director Steven Spielberg to deliver science fiction thrills, this time in the retelling of the classic H.G. Wells story. Paired with wünderkind Dakota Fanning, Tom embodies the plight of the everyman doing what it takes to save his family from imminent threats: in this case a killer invasion of merciless aliens from Mars! Tom’s performance in the 2005 film earned him the nomination for a Saturn Award (for science fiction-related films) as Best Actor.
5. Magnolia – In director Paul Thomas Anderson’s gripping ensemble drama, Tom earned critical and industry accolades as an arrogant self-help guru Frank “T.J,” Mackey, culminating in an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Tom’s character undergoes a transformation from a heartless, self-obsessed businessman to engaged, caring son of a dying man. Many film writers point to this performance as one of Tom’s most poignant.
4. Collateral – The Totally Top 10 folks again turn to one of Tom’s more off-beat dramatic performances as one of their favorites, this time from the Michael Mann 2004 thriller. Tom makes a daring move in this movie playing directly against type, taking the role of a reprehensible villain! As the assassin Vincent, Tom terrorizes a Los Angeles cabbie played by Jamie Foxx. It’s the first time since 1994′s Interview with a Vampire that Tom takes on the role of the bad guy. The only other time he gets close to turning heel again is as super producer Les Grossman in 2008′s Tropic Thunder – but we were too busy laughing to really feel Les’ venom.
3. A Few Good Men– Another fan and critical favorite alike, Tom’s performance in the 1994 drama as Lt. Daniel Kaffee pitted the actor against the formidable Jack Nicholson in an epic climactic scene. The truth we could handle, the tension… barely! The Rob Reiner-directed movie also have Tom going toe-to-toe with acting veterans such as Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland and the late J. T. Walsh. Penned by super writer and producer Aaron Sorkin (famed for creating The West Wing television series), there’s plenty of drama to enjoy.
2. Rain Man – Again, one of the more critically lauded movies Tom starred in earns a top slot in the eyes of movie fans, this time for his transformative performance as Charlie Babbit in Barry Levinson’s 1988 drama classic. Starring alongside Dustin Hoffman – who earned the Oscar for Best Actor with the performance – Tom makes the change from fast-talking huckster to caring, compassionate brother to an autistic savant. The change is palpable, with Tom plumbing some deep emotional wells. Call us soft, but this performance always gets us choked up.
1. Jerry Maguire – In the spirit of the unforgettable line “You complete me,” this entry completes our list. Making choices from the heart for the first time in his life, Tom’s role as a slick sports agent trying to make good in a cutthroat world rang true then and now. As Jerry, Tom jumps through the hoops to keep his only client on board while nurturing an unlikely romance with the only other person who stuck by him: his long-suffering assistant Dorthy, played by Renée Zellweger. The movie is a favorite of Tom Cruise fans looking for laughs and love on their movie night.
So there you have it movie fans, another site weighing in on the best that Tom has offered us through his career. Do you think they got it right? Are there any of Tom’s movies you think are missing from the list? Let us know all about your favorites in the comments section!
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