The many faces of Tom Cruise, his 10 best performances

Tom is an immensely important popular culture icon. He married three superstar women and broke up each time they turned age 33. From being supercool and romantic as a pilot in Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986) to being a scientology dork, he still is a great actor. Too bad, he sometimes gets casted in terrible, horrible movies.
But behold, these are his greatest performances:

Top 10 Tom Cruise Performances

10. Minority Report (Steven Spielberg, 2002)


Great science fiction thriller in the Spielbergian way, murders can be predicted, there are automated cars, flying cops, personalized advertising and Tom even loses his eye for a minute. Everything is possible in the future.

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9. Jerry Maguire (Cameron Crowe, 1996)


Show me the money!” Everybody has seen this film passing by on television. Tom plays ice cold sports manager that shows his human side when he falls in love with Renée Zellweger. Cuba Gooding Jr. and annoying child star Jonathan Lipnicki are also in the game.

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8. Vanilla Sky (Cameron Crowe, 2001)


A remake of Amenábar’s Abre los ojos (1997), some call it a rape, I think both films are charming for different reasons. Tom is good at playing a rich egocentric guy that loses his head literally and figuratively. Crowe did put some good shots and songs in this one, and Penelope plays the typical simple but gorgeous Spanish girl. I like Tom’s hair, it is so early nillies.

The intro gives me chills (Radiohead – Everything In Its Right Place):

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7. Rain Man (Barry Levinson, 1988)


Still arrogant and cool, now he discovers he has an autistic brother, Dustin Hoffman. First annoyed, but when Dustin seems to be genius at playing blackjack, Tom takes him to Vegas.

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6. The Color of Money (Martin Scorsese, 1986)


Paul Newman’s brilliant performance in The Hustler (Robert Rossen, 1961) received a follow-up in Scorsese’s The Color of Money (1986). In this sequel, still featuring Paul, Tom plays an up-and-coming pool table talent. Acting like a smug, it’s fun to watch him, example below:

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5. Born on the Fourth of July (Oliver Stone, 1989)


Wow, is that Tom Cruise? Yes, long haired and mustachioed, everything is possible with Tom Cruise. He plays an intense and melodramatic role as a broken, disillusioned Vietnam veteran in this typical political and overlong Oliver Stone flick. I was quite impressed actually, I did not yet see this side of Tom.

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4. Tropic Thunder (Ben Stiller, 2008)


You have to see this movie, also if it’s only because of Cruise’s role in it. He plays a proverbial dick in a fat-suit and has been probably inspired by ruthless and greedy Hollywood producers. His dance skills are pretty impressive too.

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3. Risky Business (Paul Brickman, 1983)


Awesome underrated film, beautifully shot, great style, great music, pretty girls and Tom looks cool. Home alone and an upper middle class kid, he borrows his dad’s Porsche. When that goes wrong, he needs money. Those pretty ladies I talked about are glad to help him.
Oh yeah, again, great dancer:

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2. Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999)


A Master Seducer. “Respect the Cock and Tame the Cunt!”, good advice coming from Tom. He is simply a genius performer in this film, acting like a self-righteous, arrogant asshole but still very cool. He is a popular narcissistic misogynist that gives a self-help course to desperate men how to seduce (& destroy) women. In the end he breaks at his father’s deathbed which is a quite memorable scene as well.

Magnolia is simply a masterpiece of its time, as we usually can expect with Paul Thomas Anderson’s films. It’s really hard to chose which one of the first and second film on this list is the best.

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1. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)

My favorite Tom Cruise picture and also one of my favorite films of all-time. Everything is perfect in this film, again something we see very often, if not always with Stanley Kubrick’s films. The tense atmosphere, the conversations, the dark, adventurous, sometimes absurd and Lynchean situations, Chris Isaak, everything is just right. The solid performances by Tom and Nicole, who was his partner at the time, just enforce that. Their emotional heated fight in the middle somewhere, when she lights a joint, is simply magnificent.


A couple of other memorable Cruise moments:


Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986)



Cocktail (Roger Donaldson, 1988)

Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (Neil Jordan, 1994)

Mission Impossible (Brian De Palma, 1996)



Collateral (Michael Mann, 2004)



And his adorable role in the recent Edge of Tomorrow (Doug Liman, 2014)


What’s your favorite Tom Cruise film? Please let us know below, in the comments!