Special Report

Tom Cruise's Biggest and Best Movies

Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Tom Cruise, who was born in 1962, has been a leading man for almost 40 years. His movies have grossed billions and billions of dollars, and have made him one of the highest-paid actors and biggest box office stars of all time.

Cruise’s breakout role came in the 1983 teen comedy “Risky Business,” and he achieved superstar status with the 1986 action film “Top Gun,” in which he played a naval aviator known as “Maverick.” (These are the movie roles that launched Hollywood’s biggest stars.)

As well as his star turn in a series of “Mission: Impossible” thrillers, Cruise has proved his acting chops in such serious movies as “Rain Man” and “A Few Good Men.” He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and garnered seven Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor, winning three times — including a Best Actor honor for his role as Ron Kovic, a real-life disabled Vietnam War veteran who became an anti-war activist.

Sequels to two of Cruise’s biggest hits are in the works. “Top Gun: Maverick” will be out soon and “Mission: Impossible 7” is due in 2022. These are the best movie sequels you can stream right now.

Click here to see Tom Cruise’s best movies, ranked

Cruise’s celebrity status means he often makes the headlines for reasons other than his movie roles. He has been married successively to actresses Mimi Rogers, Nicole Kidman, and Katie Holmes, and has been a prominent advocate for the Church of Scientology, which he credits with helping him deal with dyslexia.

24/7 Tempo has assembled a list of Tom Cruise’s 20 best movie performances, based on an index of IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes movie ratings.


The ranking is based on an index of IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes movie ratings. (IMdb is an online movie database owned by Amazon. Rotten Tomatoes is an online movie and TV review aggregator.) Only films with 25,000 reviews or more on IMDb were considered for this analysis. Each movie’s domestic box office was obtained from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by consulting firm Nash Information Services.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

20. Mission: Impossible (1996)
> Fellow leads: Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart, Henry Czerny
> Director: Brian De Palma
> Domestic box office: $180.98 million

“Mission: Impossible” is the first installment of the spy series based on a television show of the same name. Cruise plays Ethan Hunt, who has to uncover a mole who framed him for the murders of most of his team.


Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

19. Top Gun (1986)
> Fellow leads: Tim Robbins, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer
> Director: Tony Scott
> Domestic box office: $179.80 million

This is probably the movie that made Tom Cruise a superstar. He plays Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a naval aviator who is sent to the U.S. Navy’s Fighter Weapons School and finds rivalry and romance. A sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick,” was to be released in 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

18. Mission: Impossible III (2006)
> Fellow leads: Michelle Monaghan, Ving Rhames, Philip Seymour Hoffman
> Director: J.J. Abrams
> Domestic box office: $133.50 million

Cruise reprises his role as Ethan Hunt in the third installment of the spy series. After retiring from fieldwork to train new recruits, he is sent back into action to track down a villainous arms dealer played by Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

17. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
> Fellow leads: Nicole Kidman, Todd Field, Sydney Pollack
> Director: Stanley Kubrick
> Domestic box office: $55.69 million

“Eyes Wide Shut” is an erotic psychological drama directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick. Tom Cruise plays Dr. Bill Harford, a man who infiltrates a secret society’s masked orgy with his wife with unsettling consequences.


Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

16. Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)
> Fellow leads: Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Kirsten Dunst
> Director: Neil Jordan
> Domestic box office: $105.26 million

“Interview with the Vampire” is a gothic horror film based on Anne Rice’s novel of the same name. Cruise and Brad Pitt play the vampires Lestat and Louis, respectively.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

15. The Last Samurai (2003)
> Fellow leads: Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly, William Atherton
> Director: Edward Zwick
> Domestic box office: $111.11 million

In this period action drama film Cruise portrays a 19th-century American cavalry officer sent to Japan, where he comes into contact with samurai warriors rebelling against the Imperial Army.


Source: Courtesy of Geffen Pictures

14. Risky Business (1983)
> Fellow leads: Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano, Richard Masur
> Director: Paul Brickman
> Domestic box office: $63.50 million

The 1983 teen sex comedy “Risky Business” was Cruise’s breakout film. He plays Joel Goodson, a high school student whose parents want him to go to Princeton University. He has some appropriately risky adventures in the meantime.

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

13. The Color of Money (1986)
> Fellow leads: Paul Newman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver
> Director: Martin Scorsese
> Domestic box office: $52.29 million

In this drama, Cruise plays talented pool player Vincent Lauria, who is tutored by former pool hustler “Fast” Eddie Felson, played by Paul Newman.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

12. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
> Fellow leads: Bryan Larkin, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava
> Director: Oliver Stone
> Domestic box office: $70.00 million

“Born on the Fourth of July” is based on the autobiography of Ron Kovic. Cruise plays an idealistic Marine who is paralyzed in Vietnam and becomes a prominent anti-war activist.


Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

11. Jerry Maguire (1996)
> Fellow leads: Cuba Gooding Jr., Renee Zellweger, Kelly Preston
> Director: Cameron Crowe
> Domestic box office: $153.95 million

Cruise plays the title role in this story of a successful sports agent who has a crisis of conscience and starts his own firm with one employee and one key client.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

10. American Made (2017)
> Fellow leads: Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Jesse Plemons
> Director: Doug Liman
> Domestic box office: $51.34 million

This action comedy tells the story of an airline pilot who flew missions for the CIA and became a drug smuggler in the 1980s. In order to avoid jail time he becomes an informant for the DEA.


Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

9. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
> Fellow leads: Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton
> Director: Brad Bird
> Domestic box office: $209.40 million

This is the fourth installment in the spy film series. Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team have to locate an extremist who gains access to Russian nuclear codes when a mission goes wrong, resulting in the bombing of the Kremlin.

Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Distribution

8. Collateral (2004)
> Fellow leads: Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo
> Director: Michael Mann
> Domestic box office: $100.17 million

In this neo-noir thriller directed by Michael Mann, Cruise plays Vincent, a remorseless hitman on a contract killing spree in Los Angeles — an atypical role for him.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

7. Minority Report (2002)
> Fellow leads: Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow
> Director: Steven Spielberg
> Domestic box office: $132.02 million

“Minority Report” is a science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg and loosely based on a story by acclaimed writer Philip K. Diсk. Cruise plays the head of the futuristic PreCrime police department, which tracks down perpetrators before they commit their offenses.


Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

6. A Few Good Men (1992)
> Fellow leads: Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon
> Director: Rob Reiner
> Domestic box office: $141.34 million

In this stirring military courtroom drama, Cruise portrays an inexperienced lawyer who has to defend two U.S. Marines accused of murdering a fellow Marine.

Source: Courtesy of Alliance Atlantis Communications

5. Magnolia (1999)
> Fellow leads: Jason Robards, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman
> Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
> Domestic box office: $22.45 million

Cruise plays an unsavory motivational speaker teaching a course on how to pick up women in this psychological drama with an ensemble cast and interwoven storylines.


Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

4. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
> Fellow leads: Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg
> Director: Christopher McQuarrie
> Domestic box office: $195.04 million

“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” is the fifth installment in the spy film series. Cruise, as Ethan Hunt, is on the run from the CIA as he tries to prove the existence of the Syndicate, a freelance terrorist group made up of former intelligence officers from different countries.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

3. Rain Man (1988)
> Fellow leads: Dustin Hoffman, Valeria Golino, Gerald R. Molen
> Director: Barry Levinson
> Domestic box office: $172.83 million

This is the story of a selfish young hustler (Cruise) who discovers that he has an autistic savant brother, played by Dustin Hoffman, and ends up caring for him in spite of himself.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

2. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
> Fellow leads: Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson
> Director: Doug Liman
> Domestic box office: $100.21 million

“Edge of Tomorrow” is a science fiction action film in which Cruise plays a military public relations officer forced to battle alien invaders. He enters a time loop in which he repeatedly has the same experience while attempting to defeat them.


Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

1. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
> Fellow leads: Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg
> Director: Christopher McQuarrie
> Domestic box office: $220.16 million

“Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is the sixth installment in the spy film series, and the second to be directed by Christopher McQuarrie following “Rogue Nation.” Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team must track down missing plutonium while being monitored by a CIA spy after a mission goes wrong.

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