Best Tom Cruise Movies of All Time

Tom Cruise’s career in the film industry spans almost four decades and he is regarded as one of the biggest movie stars of his generation. He is undeniably talented, so TechTrends made a list of the best Tom Cruise movies of all time to help you know his greatest works.

As one of the most impressively talented actors in Hollywood, Tom Cruise has received many accolades and achievements. Aside from acting, Cruise branched out and added ‘esteemed producer’ to his long list of talents as well. The actor has had a successful career, receiving three Golden Globe Awards and being nominated for three Academy Awards. Notwithstanding going under fire for his controversial ties to the Church of Scientology, his power as a star did not dim. He keeps producing and being in the headline of great movies. Top Gun sequel Top Gun: Maverick is his highly-anticipated next project. Narrowing down a list of the best Tom Cruise movies of all time knowing that he has such a colorful and dynamic acting resume was not an easy task. However, TechTrends did not give up, and here are the best must see Tom Cruise performances.

Best Tom Cruise Movies of All Time

When we look at the best Tom Cruise films of all time, we see lots of fast running, performing magnetically intense, and feats of physical endurance. He has shown over the years that he is able to cling to or jump from every vehicle and building his movies dared him to. He is undeniably able to master any skill and showcase it on screen. Therefore, it is not surprising that he is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood; Cruise makes breathtaking movies. Without further ado, let’s get to the list of the best Tom Cruise movies of all time.

Risky Business 1983

  • Genre: Comedy/Romance
  • Director: Paul Brickman
  • Stars: Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano, Curtis Armstrong
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 92%, IMDb 6.8

The one Tom Cruise’s career in acting started with is the movie Risky Business and it is one of the best Tom Cruise movies of all time. This was his breakthrough role, playing a high school student named Joel Goodson, who is keen on going to Princeton University. However, when his parents go on a trip, Joel turns from a good boy to a bad one. He then gets involved with hooker Lana, played by Rebecca DeMornay and her pimp Guido, portrayed by Joe Pantoliano.

One of the most classic moments of the movie is when Joel glides across the entryway of his living room. He is wearing his pink shirt, underwear, and socks, lip-syncing Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll. Although that moment was only one minute long, it was enough to help him become a movie star. This is one of the most famous moments in cinema history. Tom Cruise’s career, therefore, skyrocketed and he continued to make great movies after that.

Top Gun 1986/Top Gun 2022

  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Director: Joseph Kosinski (2022) Tony Scott (1986)
  • Stars 2022: Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro
  • Stars 1986: Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Kelly McGillis, Meg Ryan
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 97%, IMDb 8.7 (2022) / Rotten Tomatoes 55%, IMDb 6.9 (1986)

In one of the best Tom Cruise movies of all time, Cruise played the role of Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. He is indeed a gifted actor at portraying total dickheads you can’t help but root for. He does that extraordinarily well in Top Gun. His role is a top US Navy aviator who has a knack for pulling off impossible mid-air maneuvers and is thrown into the program to compete with the best of the best. Cruise gives this action movie the spark of greatness.

The sequel of the movie, which took 36 years to be made, dealt with release date delays due to the pandemic. However, the movie came out a few days ago on May 27, 2022. There is a new writer and director on board. Nobody knew that the movie would soar higher, faster, and more full-throttle than predicted. Cruise pushed the boundaries of action filmmaking over the years and returned to the movie more prepared than ever. The director and the actors deliver aerial acrobatics, actually in the planes, that will have the audience aw-struck and heart in their mouth as watching. It is obvious why this is one of the best Tom Cruise movies ever.

Read more: Best Comedy Movies of All Time

Born on the Fourth of July 1989

  • Genre: War/Anti-War
  • Director: Oliver Stone
  • Stars: Tom Cruise, Oliver Stone, Tom Berenger, Caroline Kava, Willem Dafoe, Raymond J. Barry
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 86%, IMDb 7.2

After his unforgettable performance in the movie Born on the Fourth of July, Tom Cruise got some of his best reviews. He plays the role of a real-life disabled Vietnam veteran named Ron Kovic in the movie based on Kovic’s memoir directed by Oliver Stone. The character goes on to let America know that their vets were not being treated well. Cruise received his first Golden Globe Award for this performance and portrayal of the activist and got nominated for Oscar for the first time. Not only was Stone’s direction of the movie hailed, but the critics also insisted that Cruise had a newfound maturity. That was him not relying on his all-American boy looks but rather his great talent in acting and how he could turn good material into deep performances. Born on the Fourth of July is one of the best Tom Cruise movies of all time.

A Few Good Men 1992

  • Genre: Legal drama/Trial drama
  • Director: Rob Reiner
  • Stars: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 83%, IMDb 7.7

The movie A Few Good Men is based on a play in 1989 scripted by Aaron Sorkin, adapting the film’s screenplay into a courtroom drama, concentrating on the court-martial of two Marines who got accused of killing a fellow Marine. However, Sorkin did not tell the accuseds’ story, but rather the challenges lawyers Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Cruise) and Lt. Commander JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore) faced. Kaffee calls Marine Col to the stand when he feels like all is lost. For playing Kaffee, Cruise got nominated for the Golden Globe for the third time. Jack Nicholson’s “You can’t handle the truth!” is well-known but Cruise’s needling is what gets him there. This is one of the best Tom Cruise movies of all time you don’t want to miss it.

Read more: Best Leonardo DiCaprio Movies of All Time

The Firm 1993

  • Genre: Thriller/Drama
  • Director: Sydney Pollack
  • Stars: Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 75%, IMDb 6.8

The Firm is an adaptation of the novel written by John Grisham and tells the story of a recent graduate of Law School named Mitch McDeere, portrayed by Tom Cruise. After graduation, he joins a Memphis law firm, and one of the senior partners of the firm, played by Gene Hackman, takes him under his wings. However, as time goes by, Mitch realizes that the firm appears to be part of some shady dealings and then they expect him to take part. although he tries to get out, he is unable to do so. This is when the FBI gets involved. Cruise pulls off an impressive performance and with Sydney Pollack’s excellence in directing and turning the suspense screws, you have a very entertaining and one of the best Tom Cruise movies of all time.

Jerry Maguire 1996

  • Genre: Romance/Sport
  • Director: Cameron Crowe
  • Stars: Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr., Kelly Preston, Jonathan Lipnicki
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 84%, IMDb 7.3

Arguably, Jerry Maguire is known as Tom Cruise’s best movie ever as the actor is terrific in it. Moreover, he won his second Golden Globe Award for Best Actor after the movie. He also got nominated for both the Academy and the Screen Actors Guild. The movie is beautifully directed by Cameron Crowe and gets its inspiration from famous sports agent Leigh Steinberg. Tom Cruise plays the role of a sports agent (Jerry Maguire). Then, he comes across a moral epiphany and concludes that as a new independent agent, he needs to test his new philosophy. Playing the lead of the movie among other star cast, Cruise dazzled the audience, and his line “Show me the money” has become an unforgettable moment in the history of cinema. Jerry Maguire is one of the best Tom Cruise films of all time.

Read more: Best Johnny Depp Movies of All Time

Mission Impossible Series (1996, 2000, 2006, 2011, 2015, 2018)

  • Genre: Action/Thriller
  • Directors: Christopher McQuarrie, John Woo, J.J. Abrams, Brad Bird, Brian De Palma
  • Stars: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 66% / 57% / 71% / 93% / 94% / 97% – IMDb 7.1/ 6.1/ 6.9/ 7.4/ 7.4/ 7.7 (In chronological order)

One of the most well-known and best Tom Cruise movies of all time is the Mission Impossible series. It is an adaptation of the 1960s TV espionage series and the seventh and eighth installments are going to be released in 2023 and 2024. Cruise plays the role of Ethan Hunt, who has to become the leader of the IMF which stands for Impossible Missions Force since there has been a betrayal within the team. The first movie, which was directed by Brian De Palma, went on to make the most Iconic MI image ever, where Cruise was lowered by wires to avoid laser alarms. Due to the success the movie had, there were many series that followed, attracting well-known and respected directors like John Woo, J.J Abrams, Brad Bird, and Christopher McQuarrie.

Magnolia 1999

  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Stars: Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 83%, IMDb 8

Magnolia is yet another one of the best Tom Cruise films ever. Although Cruise got used to being the leading man in his movies, he accepted to be playing a supporting role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia. He portrays the role of Frank Mackey, who is a self-help guru that may need help himself since he is hiding some family secrets. Although the cast was hailed, critics were especially blown away by the vulnerability seeping through Mackey’s self-help guru. Moreover, for his magnificent performance, he got his third Golden Globe award, and got nominated for Oscar for the third time. In addition, he was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild as well, for Best Ensemble and Best Supporting Actor.

Read more: Best Brad Pitt Movies of All Time

Eyes Wide Shut 1999

  • Genre: Drama/Mystery
  • Director: Stanley Kubrick
  • Stars: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Vinessa Shaw
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 75%, IMDb 7.5

A few people are able to say they acted in the last film iconic director Stanley Kubrick directed, but Tom Cruise can. He plays the role of Bill Harford, who is a doctor witnessing an orgy at a country mansion. The experience then raises questions about sex to his wife Alice, played by Nicole Kidman, who was Cruise’s real-life wife that year. When Alice admits that she had a sexual affair, Bill starts his own sexual exploration. The sex being explicitly depicted in the movie Eye Wide Shut is the farthest the two actors had ever done. Despite the mixed reviews of the movie, it is still the artiest “art film” Cruise ever played in. Also, Eyes Wide Shut is one of the best Tom Cruise movies of all time.

Minority Report 2002

  • Genre: Sci-fi/Action
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Stars: Tom Cruise, Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 90%, IMDb 7.7

Another one of the most impressive and best Tom Cruise films of all time is Minority Report. The tagline this movie had was “Everybody runs”; however, no one can run like Cruise. Critics also go on to praise why the actor in motion is very pleasing to the audience. They believe that the way his arms move, the sense of panic in his eyes, and his body’s physical structure are the reasons why. Cruise plays the role of John Anderton, who is a pre-crime detective that figures out the technology behind it all before his names come up as the next criminal. Trying hard to prove his innocence, which would be in contrast with the ethics of the system he dedicated his whole life to up to that moment.

Read more: Best Drama Movies of All Time

Collateral 2004

  • Genre: Thriller/Crime
  • Director: Michael Mann
  • Stars: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Mark Ruffalo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Javier Bardem, Jason Statham
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 86%, IMDb 7.5

Tom Cruise has silver hair and is super focused in the movie called Collateral. Cruise plays the role of a contract killer who makes his deadly rounds while taking hostage a taxi driver. Although Cruise’s character Vincent is sleek and cool, he is sociopathic and callous. Moreover, the way Cruise shows how Vincent loses control as the night goes by is breathtaking. This is indeed one of Tom Cruise greatest movie roles.

Edge of Tomorrow 2014

  • Genre: Action/Sci-fi
  • Director: Doug Liman
  • Stars: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Tony Way
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 91%, IMDb 7.9

Some of the best reviews in over a decade came after Cruise played in a sci-fi action movie named Edge of Tomorrow directed by Doug Liman. The movie is set in the future when aliens had invaded the Earth. Cruise (Bill Cage) is a PR guy sent into battle. He is very quickly killed but it appears as if Cage is in a time loop, where he goes back to the day before his death and is tortured by Sgt. Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), through whom he is taught new things. He then will go to the battle again and gets killed. After that, he comes back and learns another new thing. The movie’s tag line says “Live, Die, Repeat”, which is a very smart premise, greatly performed by Cruise and Blunt.

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