Home / Top 5: Tom Cruise Films

Top 5: Tom Cruise Films

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With so much bad criticism hitting Tom Cruise these days, I thought it’d be best to remember the reasons why Tom Cruise is so famous. He’s acted in successful movies – maybe because of his acting or maybe not; but, his films are enjoyable, and his films have earned buttloads of money.

1. Magnolia (1999) – Paul Thomas Anderson directs this epic movie about life and relationships. Magnolia‘s many characters interweave throughout the movie’s many subplots to create cohesion where once incohesion existed. Tom Cruise plays Frank T.J. Mackey, a male sex guru, who is crude, fake and frank. This is his best performance as an actor because his character might just be the most “real” person that he’s ever played.

2. A Few Good Men (1992) – Rob Reiner’s best film (other than Stand By Me) tells the tale of two marine cadets charged for the murder of a fellow marine. Tom Cruise is a hot-shot attorney assigned to defend the marine cadets. This movie is good, but is probably more well-known for Jack Nicholson’s protrayal of Col. Nathan R. Jessep.

3. Collateral (2004) – Michael Mann’s ode to Los Angeles was one of the best films of 2004. Tom Cruise plays a hitman, Vincent, who uses a cab driver (Jamie Foxx) to drive him to his killing destinations. Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx have tremendous chemistry, and it shows with their conversations on life and work.

4. Top Gun (1986) – The action scenes in this movie are terrific. I’m not praising Cruise’s acting in this movie, but I’m praising the movie’s entertainment value. The dialogue is cheesy, but fun. It helps create the standard for a guy film.

5. Minority Report (2002) – Tom Cruise’s first duet with Steven Spielberg is one of the best science-fiction films of the new millenium. Top-notch special effects and probably Spielberg’s best recent directing effort make for one entertaining and intellectual film.

Honorable mention: Born On The Fourth Of July (1989), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Interview With The Vampire (1994), Mission: Impossible (1996), Rain Man (1988)

When Tom Cruise was sprayed in the face during the London premiere of War Of The Worlds (2005), he said that he was upset because he doesn’t deserve being ridiculed when he “works so hard to make people feel good.” His statement was correct. Entertainers work hard to entertain us. Cruise works hard to make people feel good, and at the very least, we should cut him some slack.

I always quote from Top Gun because I’m always looking for a new wingman.

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About Tan The Man

Tan The Man writes mostly about film and music. He has previously covered events like Noise Pop, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, South By Southwest, TBD Festival, Wizard World Comic Con and WonderCon.
  • No Risky Business? A list of Tom Cruise’s greatest film performances, and you left off Risky Business? Oh, man, what happened?

    Brooke Shields works hard to make people feel good, too.

  • I didn’t like Risky Business that much.

  • I just watched Top Gun for the first time in years just last week, and it reminded me why I loved Tom Cruise. He just really annoys me now though.

  • Jerry Macguire?

  • -E

    Rain Man is the best one of his films! Eyes Wide Shut got an honorable mention? EWWW haha.

    In other words, I guess I don’t agree with your list.

  • rbp0554

    1) Rainman (Cruise play hot tempered spoiled little brat)
    2) The Color of Money (Cruise plays hot tempered spoiled little brat)
    3) Interview With A Vampire (Cruise plays hot tempered spoiled little blood sucker)
    4) Cocktail (Actually… this movie sucked donkey dicks… but guess what??? Cruise played a hot headed spoiled little brat)
    5) The Matt Lauer Incident (Actually this wasn’t a movie… but Tom Cruise was a hot tempered spoiled little brat)

    – RBP

  • People who hate Cruise have to admit that he’s been in some fine films.

    Vanilla Sky is brilliant — one of the most underrated Hollywood films of ever.

    Samurai was pretty damned good, a hell of an entertaining movie.

  • rbp0554

    It is possible for a person to simultaneously admire an artist and think that the artist is a scumbag.

    My point is that Tom plays a really good spoiled little brat b/c it’s not a stretch.

    – RBP

  • -E

    Vanilla Sky was alright until the last 30 minutes. A really bad ending can ruin a film for me.

    But I agree, one can find an actor entertaining while not liking them at the same time.

  • Mickey

    The reviewer is way off mark..

    My top-5 Tom Cruise movies are >

    1.The Last Samurai
    2.Jerry Mcguire
    3.Mission Impossible
    4.Born on 4th of July

    …..and I have probably seen all TC movies…grew up on those….

  • Last samurai, that was a good film

  • You’re off that mark….

    … except with Mission Impossible, Born on 4th of July and Magnolia. Although Magnolia should be higher on your list.

  • omaha

    We do need to remember Tom for all the good movies he has given us. Thank you, for your positive article.

  • lizzyleita

    Tom Cruise is incredibly enjoyable to watch. He IS a perfectionist in his roll-playing. He’s handsome and has a wholesomeness that is great to see in today’s grundge-world of movie sleeze.
    Not only that, I like that Tom expresses his love for Katie openly. I don’t like today’s “burn-em-and-turn-em” trite handling of love these. Tom has depth of character where a lot of actors don’t.

  • I’m a fan of A Few Good Men primarily because, while you remember Nicholson, the whole cast is doing some of their best work, including a pre-augmentation Demi Moore, and Kevin Pollack, who can be an excellent dramatic actor (better than he is in a lot of comedies).

  • Uh…I have…two words…


    It is arguably Tom’s best performance and furthermore, film. With the constant box-office blockbuster crap Tom continues to spit out of his 4 foot ass, Jerry Maguire still stands as Tom’s most tender and emotional performance, and quite frankly my favorite. How you could even list Minority Report is beyond me.

  • Taloran

    How about that one where he’s a high school football player in a Pennsylvania coal mining town? I forget the name of the film, but thought it was one of his more credible performances.

  • All the Right Moves, I believe that was? Yeah, that was pretty good.

    And wasn’t Cruise (and half the planet) in The Outsiders? Great flick.

  • He was only in the Outsiders for like 5 min…

  • eXtreme caffeine

    Tom Cruise is an engaging, likeable actor who brings to his various roles a lot of earnest and serious dedication. But he underscores everything with a common personality trait–he’s a jerk, but he knows he can get away with it because he knows he’s a rare breed. He knows he’s a jerk you can like with a little effort.

    One further note, Cruise in Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut is one of the greatest films ever made. The film’s slow pacing is retro-1940’s and pays homage to that style.

  • What!? No love for Far And Away or Legend?!

  • I remember being too freaked out as a 10 year old when I first watched Legend.

  • Rain Man is certainly top three.

  • I dug Far and Away too. As a kid, that was like one of my favorite films.

    And I’m going to sit with Tan on Minority Report. That was a good film. It had a giant hole in the logic but the overall idea made for good discussion among friends post-watching.

  • celebcraze

    Thanks you for the article. It’s about time someone writes a good thing about Tom Cruise, that is his achievement in making great movies. I’ve seen all his movies and like most of them because each one is unique and different. If I want to see a touch of romance-Jerry McGuire; a dashing military pilot-Top Gun; a creepy vampire-Interview WTV; a villain-Collateral. The list goes on and on. He’s also a wonderful person and I wish him a long last career.

    love story that is beautifulis still my favorite movie. It has a strong charactersaw it so many times

  • dragonfly

    I have seen all of Tom Cruise’s movies. The last several years he has turned out blockbusters year after year. War of the Worlds scared the piss out of me. I honestly can’t wait to see what’s next!

    If Scientology has helped him lead a wholesome, drug free life, then all the more power to him. Other celebrities should be so lucky.

  • I don’t think anyone (well, at least most people) begrudges Cruise a happy, healthy life. But he gets into serious trouble with his very public persona when he tries to tell others what to do based on… questionable doctrine / intelligence.

  • Tom Cruise and the producers approached me about the character for Magnolia
    this is based on my real life. I9 was never paid but what the hell
    check out

  • Laurel

    Ok, he’s made good movies. If he were giving advice about acting, I wouldn’t mind. But he’s not a doctor so he shouldn’t be giving medical advice.

    I love to watch Top Gun, but I have to make a conscious effort not to think about scientology while I’m doing it. Scientology makes me nervous. You can look at http://www.xenu.net for more info.

  • Travis

    I didnt really grow p in the Tom Cruise era but have seen 90% of his films. Great actor.

  • Marcus

    Whatever you list has as long as the top two movies are:

    – The Last Samurai
    – A Few Good Men