- Tom Cruise has been acting for nearly four decades.
- The almost 57-year-old is still making some of the best movies of his career.
- His top-rated movie is 2018’s “Mission: Impossible Fallout.”
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Tom Cruise is still dominating the box office after nearly 40 years in the film industry.
Beginning with 1981’s “Endless Love,” Cruise has risen to become one of the most recognisable actors of his generation. With a prolific career like his, not every movie can be a critical success, but most of the actor’s films have been hits, including “Risky Business” and most of the “Mission: Impossible” movies. 2018’s “Mission: Impossible Fallout” is his best film to date.
In honour of the actor’s 57th birthday on July 3, here are all of Cruise’s movies ranked according to the critics’ scores on Rotten Tomatoes.
42. In 1988’s “Cocktail,” Cruise plays a New York City bartender who moves to Jamaica for work and falls in love.
Synopsis: “A talented New York City bartender takes a job at a bar in Jamaica and falls in love.”
41. Cruise plays an Army sergeant in 2017’s “The Mummy,” a failed reboot of the “Mummy” franchise.
Synopsis: “An ancient Egyptian princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.”
40. Cruise is one of four boys who get into some wild adventures during a trip to Tijuana, Mexico in 1983’s “Losin’ It.”
Synopsis: “Set in 1965, four rowdy teenage guys travel to Tijuana, Mexico for a night of partying when they are joined by a heartbroken housewife who is in town seeking a quick divorce.”
39. Cruise made his film debut in 1981’s “Endless Love” with a minor role as a teen who says he started a fire as a kid.
Synopsis: “A high school student’s love for a 15-year-old girl is thwarted by parental disapproval, circumstance, and accident.”
38. Cruise is a senator who comes up with a new war strategy in Afghanistan in 2007’s “Lions for Lambs.”
Synopsis:“Injuries sustained by two Army rangers behind enemy lines in Afghanistan set off a sequence of events involving a congressman, a journalist, and a professor.”
37. Cruise lives in the forest, loves a princess, and must stop darkness from descending upon the land in 1985’s “Legend.”
Synopsis: “A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from both destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves.”
36. Cruise returned as the titular action hero in 2016’s “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.”
Synopsis: “Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.”
35. Cruise starred alongside his future wife Nicole Kidman as a race car driver in 1990’s “Days of Thunder.”
Synopsis: “A young hotshot stock car driver gets his chance to compete at the top level.”
34. Cruise is a rock star in 2012’s “Rock of Ages.”
Synopsis: “A small town girl and a city boy meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams.”
33. In 2001’s “Vanilla Sky,” Cruise is a playboy who falls in love but whose ex-girlfriend returns and changes his life.
Synopsis: “A self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident with a resentful lover.”
32. Cruise plays an Irish man who moves to America after his family’s home is burned down in 1992’s “Far and Away.”
Synopsis: “A young Irish couple flees to the States, but subsequently struggle to obtain land and prosper freely.”
31. Cruise portrays a high school football player in 1983’s “All the Right Moves.”
Synopsis: “A high school football player desperate for a scholarship and his headstrong coach clash in a dying Pennsylvania steel town.”
30. In 2010’s “Knight & Day,” Cruise plays a CIA spy trying to clear his name.
Synopsis: “A young woman gets mixed up with a disgraced spy who is trying to clear his name.”
29. Cruise stars in the 2013 post-apocalyptic movie “Oblivion.”
Synopsis: “A veteran assigned to extract Earth’s remaining resources begins to question what he knows about his mission and himself.”
28. Cruise is well-known for playing a naval pilot in 1986’s “Top Gun.”
Synopsis: “As students at the United States Navy’s elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.”
27. Cruise plays Agent Ethan Hunt in the “Mission: Impossible” movies, and of the six films released so far in the franchise, 2000’s “Mission: Impossible 2” has the worst rating.
Synopsis: “I.M.F. Agent Ethan Hunt is sent to Sydney, Australia to find and destroy a genetically modified disease called Chimera.”
26. Cruise portrays real-life Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, a German soldier who made a plan to assassinate Hitler in 2008’s “Valkyrie.”
Synopsis: “A dramatization of the July 20, 1944 assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Adolf Hitler during World War II.”
25. In 1994’s “Interview With the Vampire,” Cruise is a vampire named Lestat de Lioncourt who revels in killing humans.
Synopsis: “A vampire tells his epic life story: love, betrayal, loneliness, and hunger.”
24. Cruise portrays the titular hero in 2012’s “Jack Reacher.”
Synopsis: “A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.”
23. Cruise is introduced as Agent Ethan Hunt in 1996’s “Mission: Impossible”
Synopsis: “An American agent, under false suspicion of disloyalty, must discover and expose the real spy without the help of his organisation.”
22. Cruise is Steve Randle, a member of the poor Greasers gang, in 1983’s “The Outsiders.”
Synopsis: “The rivalry between two gangs, the poor Greasers and the rich Socs, only heats up when one gang member kills a member of the other.”
21. Cruise is sent to train an army in Japan but is captured by samurai and decides to join their cause in “The Last Samurai”
Synopsis: “An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.”
20. In 2006, Cruise once again returned to play Ethan Hunt in “Mission: Impossible III.”
Synopsis: “IMF Agent Ethan Hunt comes into conflict with a dangerous and sadistic arms dealer who threatens his life and his fiancee in response.”
19. Cruise plays a West Point cadet in 1981’s “Taps,” his second movie role.
Synopsis:“Military cadets take extreme measures to ensure the future of their academy when its existence is threatened by local condo developers.”
18. Cruise is a father who tries to protect his family when aliens attack in “War of the Worlds.”
Synopsis: “As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.”
17. Cruise plays a recent Harvard grad who joins a law firm but discovers it’s not what he expected in the 1993 thriller “The Firm.”
Synopsis: “A young lawyer joins a prestigious law firm only to discover that it has a sinister dark side.”
16. Cruise and Kidman starred together one last time before their divorce as a couple in 1999’s racy “Eyes Wide Shut.”
Synopsis: “A New York City doctor embarks on a harrowing, night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife reveals a painful secret to him.”
15. Cruise is unrecognizable as a studio executive in 2008’s “Tropic Thunder.”
Synopsis:“Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.”
14. Cruise is a Lieutenant and inexperienced lawyer given a case of defending Marines accused of murder in 1992’s “A Few Good Men.”
Synopsis:“Military lawyer Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee defends Marines accused of murder. They contend they were acting under orders.”
13. Cruise won a Golden Globe for playing a sports agent in 1996’s “Jerry Maguire.”
Synopsis: “When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent agent with the only athlete who stays with him and his former secretary.”
12. Cruise earned his last Oscar nomination for playing a motivational speaker in 1999’s “Magnolia.”
Synopsis: “An epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.”
11. Cruise is real-life CIA pilot Barry Seal who also started smuggling drugs for the Medellín Cartel in “American Made.”
Synopsis: “The story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug-runner for the CIA in the 1980s in a clandestine operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair.”
10. Cruise plays a hitman fired to kill five people in 2004’s “Collateral.”
Synopsis: “A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles.”
9. Cruise stars alongside Paul Newman in 1986’s “The Colour of Money” as a pool player.
Synopsis: “Fast Eddie Felson teaches a cocky but immensely talented protégé the ropes of pool hustling, which in turn inspires him to make an unlikely comeback.”
8. Cruise earned his first Oscar nomination for playing real-life Vietnam vet Ron Kovic who is left paralysed during the war and becomes a political activist in 1989’s “Born on the Fourth of July.”
Synopsis: “The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralysed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.”
7. In 1988’s “Rain Man,” Cruise plays a selfish rich kid who learns of his autistic older brother after their father dies and leaves most of his inheritance to the older sibling.
Synopsis:“Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt’s father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.”
6. Cruise is a soldier who finds that every time he dies, he relives the same day over and over again as he attempts to save the day in 2014’s “Edge of Tomorrow.”
Synopsis:“A soldier fighting aliens gets to relive the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies.”
5. Cruise plays a cop being hunted for a murder he’s predicted of doing in 2002’s “Minority Report.”
Synopsis: “In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder.”
4. Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt for the fourth time in 2011’s “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol.”
Synopsis: “The IMF is shut down when it’s implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organisation’s name.”
3. Cruise continues dominating as Ethan Hunt in 2015’s “Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation.”
Synopsis:“Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organisation as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.”
2. Cruise broke out as a teen whose plans to have fun while his parents are gone go awry in 1983’s “Risky Business.”
Synopsis: “A Chicago teenager is looking for fun at home while his parents are away, but the situation quickly gets out of hand.”
1. Cruise continues to prove that Ethan Hunt isn’t going anywhere in 2018’s “Mission: Impossible Fallout.”
Synopsis:“Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong.”
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