In a career that spans four decades, Tom Cruise has played a pilot, a barman, a killer, a billiards master and even saved humanity from aliens. From legal dramas to franchise films, here are the best Tom Cruise movies to watch. A satirical take on the life of a crazed Hollywood executive, this film showcases Cruise’s comedic range.
1. Mission: Impossible III
Four decades after Top Gun introduced Tom Cruise to the world, he proved his mettle as a blockbuster icon in this thrilling sequel. Reviving his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, Cruise carries the film with action, drama, and romance in a picture that’s a testament to Hollywood’s best. Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and Renee Zellweger support him.
While the first two Mission Impossible films struggled with the actor trying too hard to be a movie star and too much action without enough brains, this entry nailed it. Its dazzling air sequences and a terrific performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman helped make this the defining installment in a franchise that continues to thrill today.
2. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
The fourth entry in the franchise reshaped it into more of an action-based spectacle. It features a lot of the staples, including that iconic helicopter-in-train-tunnel chase and that classic lit-fuse theme song. But it also added a little more depth to Ethan Hunt. This was the movie that showed us a more human super-agent, who feared climbing buildings and suffered real injuries on the job.
It was a much more realistic portrayal than the previous films, which sometimes fell into the trap of turning him into an invincible action hero. While Rogue Nation leaned into that, Ghost Protocol focused on the failures of his team instead of merely his high-tech toys. It was one of the best entries in the series.
3. The Mummy
When it comes to Tom Cruise movies, there are few things that he can’t pull off. He can dance in his briefs and jump off the top of a building, and he can deliver a cynical performance that’s equal parts funny and ferocious. He’s also great at pulling off the kinds of visceral set pieces that make audiences swoon.
The Mummy is no exception, but the ibomma film also shows a lack of understanding of what made the original 1932 Boris Karloff film so special. Instead of focusing on horror, The Mummy aims for a more generic action-adventure. Despite the best efforts of Sofia Boutella and Jake Johnson, The Mummy feels stale and uninspired. It’s a misstep in Cruise’s quest to reboot the Universal Monsters.
4. The Mummy Returns
Despite being the lowest-grossing installment of the Mummy trilogy, The Mummy Returns is still a fun and exciting film. Action legend Tom Cruise stars as U.S. Army Sergeant Nick Morton, who pillages ancient artifacts for sale and unintentionally awakens the imprisoned Egyptian princess Ahmanet. This is one of the first movies in which Cruise proves he can branch out from his typical blockbuster fare and give a nuanced performance.
He also shows off his athleticism in the movie’s intense training sequences and provides an excellent contrast to Rachel Weisz’s Egyptologist Evelyn Carnahan. The sequel inspired the 2002 spin-off The Scorpion King, which introduced the eponymous character played by Dwayne Johnson in a franchise that continues to this day. It’s a must-see for fans of the original film. It was followed by a 2017 reboot that was a major box office bomb.
5. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
The third entry into the Mummy franchise, this swashbuckling adventure features Jet Li as the ruthless undead emperor. But while the film benefits from its star, the script fails to ignite much enthusiasm. Its tone vacillates between a wacky martial arts flick and the swashbuckling adventure of the first two films.
Despite being a little on the formulaic side, Top Gun still packs plenty of thrills and nostalgia. It also introduced audiences to Cruise’s big screen persona, a charismatic charm that would have been hard to match with any other actor.