The 25 Tom Cruise Movies That Are Essential Viewing

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Tom Cruise has settled into the role of action-movie star over the last decade or so, and a aims to keep that momentum going. But, zooming out, Cruises filmography is actually a patchwork of more complex characters and roles. Picking the best Cruise movies is no easy task: Hes traversed comedy, rom-com, drama, thriller, horror, historical epic, action.

Of course, there areaspects of Cruises personal lifethat are distressing to some and likely drove viewers away from the box office. Nonetheless, the guy has Mission: Impossible films announced into 2022 (!), so fans have that to look forward to. Perhaps Mission: ImpossibleDeepfake will be next.

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Meanwhile, here are Tom Cruises 25 best movies to watch.

The 25 best Tom Cruise movies, ranked

1) Eyes Wide Shut

Rent it:Amazon for $2.99,FandangoNow for $2.99, andVudu for $2.99

Movieclips Classic Trailers/YouTube

Themaking of Stanley Kubricks final filmoften outshines the actual movie. However, what was once panned as an out-of-touch male fantasy reads a little differently 20 years later.Eyes Wide Shut is often reduced to itsorgy scene, but its exploration of the fragile male ego is much more interesting. The fact that its become a holiday classic is even more perverse. Audra Schroeder

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2)Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles

Rent it:Amazon for $3.99,FandangoNow for $2.99, andVudu for free

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The 1994 movie adaptation of Anne Rices vampire novel cast Tom Cruise as Lestat, a charming vampire who kills with gusto. Additionally, Brad Pitt stars as Louis, a lost soul whom Lestat turned immortal and who has agreed to a present-day interview with a journalist (Christian Slater). Louis recounts the blood feasts and erotic adventures, but the film also conveys the eternal sadness of being a vampire. Rice reportedly slammed Cruises casting as Lestat, but sheapologized to Cruiseafter seeing the film. I cant imagine what a John Travoltaled film would have looked like. A.S.

3) Magnolia

Rent it:Amazon for $2.99,FandangoNow for $2.99, andVudu for $2.99

Movieclips Classic Trailers/YouTube

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Paul Thomas Andersons intersecting-lives ensemble piece is an engaging collection of performances and quite a feat of storytelling. The generational effect of pain and trauma is the throughline. As a follow-up to Boogie Nights,it ropes in some of the same players (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly), but it takes the story in a different direction. A.S.

4) Tropic Thunder

Rent it:Amazon for $3.99,FandangoNow for $3.99, andVudu for $3.99

Stream it: for subscribers

Movieclips Classic Trailers/YouTube

Ben Stillers Hollywood spoof tracks a film crew making a war movie and inadvertently overstepping their bounds, ending up in unfriendly territory. Naturally, hilarity ensues. Its easy to forget that Robert Downey Jr. (whose comeback started in summer 08 with this and Iron Man) was Oscar-nominated for his work as Kirk Lazarus, a cocksure Australian actor playing a black American character. However, hes great, Stiller is great, Jack Black is great, Matthew McConaughey is great, everyones great. Eddie Strait

5) Collateral

Rent it:Amazon for $3.99,FandangoNow for $3.99, andVudu for $3.99

Movieclips/YouTube

Michael Mann knows how to film Los Angeles, and 2004s Collateral gets you acquainted right away. Additionally, Mann knows how to draw out tension between male leads in this movies case, Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise. Here, Max (Foxx), an aimless taxi driver, and Vincent (Cruise), a hardened hit man, are locked in a psychological battle after Vincent commandeers Maxs cab for a night. A.S.

6) Jerry Maguire

Rent it:Amazon for $2.99,FandangoNow for $2.99, andVudu for free

Stream it: CBS All Access for subscribers

YouTube Movies/YouTube

Cameron Crowe is stuck in his fall-from-grace period, but its worthwhile to dig back to when Crowe was still consistently great. Consequently, itll help restore your faith in the man after his recent run of movies has just about burnt up all his goodwill. Jerry Maguire is a quintessential 90s movie that still holds up more than 20 years later. E.S.

7) Edge of Tomorrow

Rent it:Amazon for $3.99,FandangoNow for $3.99, andVudu for $3.99

Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube

This 2014 film was one of those big-budget action sci-fi comedies that found a fanbase and critical consensus. As a result, it isgetting a sequel. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt battle an alien army in the Doug Liman movie, though the premise is what could set it up for endless sequels: Cruises Maj. William Cage cant really die. Hes stuck in a loop where he lives the same day over and over. A.S.

8) Minority Report

Rent it:Amazon for $2.99,FandangoNow for $3.99, andVudu for $3.99

Stream it: Hulu and Amazon Prime for subscribers

Movieclips Classic Trailers/YouTube

Steven Spielbergs 2002 adaptation of Philip K. Dick doesnt feel outdated quite yet. In this movie, Tom Cruise gets more comfortable as an action star a role that defined a majority of his aughts output. The film is set in 2054, when crime can be stopped before it happens, but what makes it feel less like science fiction is the way surveillance tech is depicted. A.S.

9) Top Gun

Rent it:Amazon for $3.99,FandangoNow for $3.99, andVudu for $3.99

Movieclips Classic Trailers/YouTube

Is Top Gun a satire of masculinity? An exploration of homoeroticism? A woo-filled action blockbuster from a bygone era? People are apparently still engaged enough with this 1986 film about guys and their big jets to warrant a sequel, but the original is a subtext-laden curiosity of mid-80s cinema. A.S.

10) Mission: Impossible

Rent it:Amazon for $3.99,FandangoNow for $3.99, andVudu for $3.99

YouTube Movies/YouTube

Its hard not to love the Mission: Impossiblefranchise (even with the ludicrous John Woo contribution), and its easy to make the argument that, save for No. 2, each movie in the series has gotten better. Much like with the Terminator films, however, I hold the original nearest and dearest. E.S.

11) Risky Business

Rent it:Amazon for $3.99,FandangoNow for $3.99, andVudu for $3.99

Stream it: Showtime for subscribers

Movieclips/YouTube

Tom Cruises breakout role in this movie inspired Halloween costumes for years. It presents a premise in which a well-to-do teenager ends up housing a sex worker (Rebecca De Mornay) while his parents are out of town. But this isnt another horny 80s movie: Risky Business looks at the pitfalls of capitalism and social climbing. Bonus points for the Tangerine Dream score. A.S.

12) Born on the Fourth of July

Rent it: FandangoNow for $2.99, andVudu for $3.99

Movieclips/YouTube

Oliver Stones 1989 movie places Tom Cruise in the role of Ron Kovic, a Vietnam veteran who was paralyzed in combat and uses a wheelchair. Kovic, who wrote the autobiography the Vietnam drama is based on, went on to become an anti-war activist, but the film shows the broken path back from war for so many veterans. Cruises performance swivels from rage to anger to acceptance and back. A.S.

13) Legend

Rent it: Amazon for $3.99, FandangoNow for $2.99, andVudu for $2.99

Stream it: Starz for subscribers

Movieclips Classic Trailers/YouTube

This 1985 Ridley Scott film was no doubt illuminating for horny adolescents (I certainly had some confusing feelings about Tim Curry), but its still pretty dark. The gauzy forest romance between Tom Cruises Jack and Mia Saras Lili is doomed when the Lord of Darkness (Curry in full prosthetics) snatches her away, and Jack embarks on a heros journey. The acting and set design doesnt quite hold up, but Legend remains one of those fantasy films that benefits from its weirdness. A.S.

14) Vanilla Sky

Rent it: Amazon for $3.99, FandangoNow for $3.99, andVudu for $3.99

Movieclips Classic Trailers/YouTube

Tom Cruise reunited with Cameron Crowe for this 2001 puzzle piece of a movie about memory and time. Penlope Cruz (who appeared in Open Your Eyes, the film Vanilla Sky is adapted from) and Cameron Diaz also star. Though the film didnt get glowing reviews when it was released, its seen renewed appreciation over the last decade or so. A.S.

15) A Few Good Men

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Movieclips Classic Trailers/YouTube

Aaron Sorkins first screenplay, A Few Good Men, is a courtroom drama that explofres the death of a Marine at Guantanamo Bay, which was inspired by real events. The heated exchange between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson is the movies dramatic high point, but it also features solid performances from Demi Moore, Kiefer Sutherland, and Kevin Bacon. A.S.

16) Rain Man

Rent it: Amazon for $3.99, FandangoNow for $2.99, andVudu for $2.99

Stream it: Netflix for subscribers

Movieclips Classic Trailers/YouTube

Has Rain Man aged well? Its depiction of an autistic savant (Dustin Hoffman) whose estranged brother (Tom Cruise) kidnaps him from an institution was based in research.However, 30 years later, ideas about people on the autism spectrum have changed. At its core, Rain Man is a dramedy about two strangers trying to figure each other out and adapt. A.S.

17)American Made

Rent it: Amazon for $3.99

Stream it: Cinemax for subscribers

KinoCheck International/YouTube

Another collaboration with Doug Liman, this movie stars Tom Cruise as Barry Seal, the real TWA-pilot-turned-drug-smuggler-turned-Drug-Enforcement-Administration-informant. The movie fast-tracks us through the unbelievable story, which involves Pablo Escobar and the IranContra affair. On the other hand, it pauses to show us the hubris, as well. A.S.

18) The Outsiders

Rent it: Amazon for $1.99, FandangoNow for $2.99, and Vudu for $3.99

YouTube Movies/YouTube

Francis Ford Coppolas adaptation of the classic novel offers a stark look at male friendship and troubled childhoods in small-town Oklahoma. Whats more, the movie is filled with the eras hunks: Tom Cruise, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, and Rob Lowe. A.S.

19) Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Rent it: Amazon for $3.99, FandangoNow for $3.99, and Vudu for $3.99

Stream it: TNT for subscribers

Movieclips Trailers/YouTube

While critics didnt quite get onboard for a second Jack Reacher movie, Never Go Back is still entertaining. Say what you will about Tom Cruise, but hes a magnetic screen presence. Moreover, hes always giving maximum effort. This time, Reacher finds himself at the center of a government conspiracy he will have to kick and punch his way out of. There is a certain baseline quality to Cruises action movies, and Jack Reacher may never reach (sorry) the heights of the Mission: Impossible movies, but its more than serviceable. E.S.

20) Days of Thunder

Rent it: Amazon for $3.99, FandangoNow for $3.99, and Vudu for $3.99

YouTube Movies/YouTube

This movie was probably meant to keep the momentum going after Top Gun, placing Tom Cruise in another need-for-speed role. He plays impulsive young NASCAR driver Cole Trickle, whose teammate becomes his rival. If this sounds familiar, its probably because you saw it all parodied in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. A.S.

21) The Color of Money

Rent it: Amazon for $3.99, FandangoNow for $2.99, and Vudu for $2.99

Amazon Prime Video

This movie isnt always brought up when talking about Martin Scorseses oeuvre, but its full of the directors usual themes. Paul Newman reprises his role as Eddie Felson from The Hustler. Felsonfinds new blood in Tom Cruises Vincent, a young pool player he thinks he can hustle into hustling opponents. Audra Schroeder

22) The Firm

Rent it: Amazon for $3.99, FandangoNow for $3.99, and Vudu for $3.99

Stream it: Amazon Prime for subscribers

Movieclips/YouTube

A year after A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise played a lawyer in a movie once again, but this one comes from a John Grisham novel. Mitch McDeere is a young, sought-after lawyer whos enticed by a Memphis firm that issurpriseactually very corrupt. A.S.

23) War of the Worlds

Rent it: Amazon for $3.99, FandangoNow for $3.99, and Vudu for $3.99

Movieclips/YouTube

Another Steven SpielbergTom Cruise project, this 2005 movie adaptation of the classic alien-invasion novel bumps up the action, offering a more modern take.A.S.

24) Cocktail

Rent it: Amazon for $3.99, FandangoNow for $2.99, and Vudu for $2.99

Stream it: Showtime for subscribers

YouTube Movies/YouTube

Now that the craft cocktail scene has gone beyond parody, this 1988 rom-com about a bartender who can juggle bottles (and babes!) is a painful watch. However, if youre looking for a movie that reallyscreams 1988 and made Kokomo a hit, this time capsule is for you. A.S.

25) The Mummy

Rent it: Amazon for $3.99, FandangoNow for $2.99, and Vudu for $3.99

Universal Pictures/YouTube

Did The Mummy really need another reboot? No, but we got one regardless in 2017, with Tom Cruise in the movies lead role. At least we got some laughsout of the trailer.A.S.

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