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The 25 Best Tom Cruise Movies of All-Time, Ranked

We're looking at some of his best

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Paramount Pictures

Tom Cruise’s official film debut was in 1981. It is now 2022. Over forty years later, and the man is still on top, likely to close out 2022 with the highest grossing movie of the year. There’s been an on-going debate about the topic of star power when it comes to today’s current movie scene. Sure you have franchises (Marvel for example) that are sure to get people to come out to the theater, but it appears as though the days of movie stars being the sole reason for tickets being sold and butts being put in seats are long gone compared to the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s for example. Only a handful of stars still have that power, and Tom Cruise is one of them. And with one of the best Tom Cruise movies of all time released recently, it's clear the power he still holds.

You shouldn’t need any proof of what we’re saying, but for extra measure, the box office revenue for Top Gun: Maverick was $1.454 billion (yes billion), making it the highest-grossing film of Cruise’s career on June 17th, 2022 (his previous high was $800 million). This, ladies and gentlemen, is with the movie actually being the follow-up to the original film that came out in 1986. That means Tom Cruise was able to take the sequel to a movie that was made 36 years ago, and not only outperform that film, but every single film he has ever made up to this point… bruh.

RELATED: The 13 Best Morgan Freeman Movies, Ranked

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IMDB/Paramount Pictures

When it comes to the topic of which Tom Cruise movie is the best, well, what do you do? Do you include every single movie he has ever made? What about the Mission Impossible franchise? Should every Mission Impossible be included? That, our friends, has left us with an incredibly tough task, but we’re going to try. Below is a list of the best Tom Cruise movies according to ONE37pm.

Here. We. Go.

The Best Tom Cruise Movies at a Glance

The Outsiders

Risky Business

Top Gun

Mission Impossible

Mission Impossible 2

Jack Reacher

Interview With The Vampire

The Last Samurai

The Firm

Mission Impossible III

A Few Good Men

Tropic Thunder

Magnolia

Jerry Maguire

War of the Worlds

Collateral

Rain Man

Born on the Fourth of July

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Minority Report

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Mission Impossible: Fall Out

The Color of Money

Edge of Tomorrow

Top Gun: Maverick

25. The Outsiders

Year Released: 1983

It’s always interesting going back in time and seeing an actor’s journey before hitting it big. While not officially a household name yet, Cruise’s role as a nonchalant cool youngster named Steve Randle was the blueprint attitude wise for the types of characters that we would see him portray in the earlier part of his career. Paving the way for Risky Business so to speak.

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24. Risky Business

Year Released: 1983

Speaking of Risky Business, this is the movie that would officially launch Tom Cruise into Hollywood superstardom. The movie centers around high school senior Joel Goodsen (Cruise) who makes the decision to hire the services of a call girl. Upon receiving the bill the next morning, the teenager goes into a state of panic, which only gets worse after he crashes his father’s Porsche. You’ll have to watch the movie to see what happens next.

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23. Top Gun

Year Released: 1986

The movie that got it all started. The original 1986 version featured a young Tom Cruise as a cocky fire pilot named Maverick, who is sent to the Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School where he is determined to be the top fighter, all while rubbing everybody the wrong way with his nasty attitude while in the process. Oh, and he’s trying to get a hot girl too. Lots to unpack here.

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22. Mission Impossible

Year Released: 1996

Alright, here we go with the Mission Impossible franchise. First released in 1996, the story is about U.S. government agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) who along with his mentor Jim Phelps (Jon Voight), embarks on an assignment that in turn results in Jim being killed. Now a murder suspect, Ethan recruits both a hacker (Ving Rhames) and a maverick pilot (Jean Reno) to help him sneak into the CIA to retrieve a file that will prove his innocence.

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21. Mission Impossible 2

Year Released: 2000

Many thought that Mission Impossible was a one-off movie because it ended with him proving his innocence. Many were wrong. Four years later, a sequel was released, this time with Ethan Hunt leading his IMF team on a basically mission to capture a deadly German virus before being released by terrorists. This was also the beginning of the “Tom Cruise haircut” phase that was heavily talked about in the early 2000s.

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20. Jack Reacher

Year Released: 2012

When in doubt, go get Jack Reacher to handle your business for you. Released in 2012, Jack Reacher tells the tale of Jack Reacher having to take on a tough assignment when a town is hit by a vicious shooting attack that leaves five people dead. As Reacher digs deeper into the investigation, he realizes that there is much more to the story then he initially thought.

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19. Interview With The Vampire

Year Released: 1994

Going back to 1994, Interview With The Vampire chronicles an 18th century lord, Louis, who is now a bicentennial vampire with an urge to tell his story to a biographer (hence Interview With The Vampire). Louis’ recent years have been filled with tragedy after the loss of his entire family, and with Louis struggling to find the motivation to go on, he just so happens to meet another Vampire named Lestat who becomes his friend and helps him out.

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18. The Last Samurai

Year Released: 2003

When you have a film catalog as deep as Tom Cruise, it sparks a debate as to which should be included in your “best movies” list. For some, The Last Samurai doesn’t make the cut. For us, it does. The film focuses on the story of an American Military officer (Cruise) who’s caught in the middle of two completely different worlds when he is hired by the Emperor of Japan to train the country’s first army in modern warfare.

This is actually one of our favorite Tom Cruise movies of all-time. It’s also very reflective of 2003 movie culture in terms of the films that came out during that era.

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17. The Firm

Year Released: 1993

Going back ten years earlier to 1993, The Firm really highlighted Cruise’s acting chops as he portrayed a young lawyer joining an established law firm, only to discover that there is quite a bit of illegal activity going on behind closed doors. Soon enough the FBI is involved, and with his life threatened, he basically has to make a decision on whether or not he is going to snitch. Does he end up snitching? Watch and find out.

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16. Mission Impossible III

Year Released: 2006

It’s looking like we are indeed going to end up including every single Mission Impossible film on this list. Next up in the series is the third installment, in which Ethan Hunt is now a retiree focusing on training the next Mission Impossible recruits. As you probably guessed, the retirement doesn’t last for long as Hunt has to get back out there ASAP when he and the love of his life become the target of a new villain in the mix.

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15. A Few Good Men

Year Released: 1992

Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore all being together in one movie is the epitome of early 1990s Hollywood, and boy is it good. Really good. You’ll definitely want to check this classic out for sure. That’s all we’re going to say.

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14. Tropic Thunder

Year: 2008

2008 was a pretty good year for movies when you look at everything that came out that year, and Tropic Thunder is one of them. Starring Tom Cruise, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downing Jr. (talk about an A-List cast), Tropic Thunder is about a war movie that is in the process of being filmed. With the actors lacking motivation, the director decides to liven things up a bit by moving them to a real jungle. The situation goes awry when the actors realize after some bad luck that they are actually caught in the middle of a real-time war happening.

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13. Magnolia

Year Released: 1999

Backing it to 1999, Cruise starred in the drama film Magnolia alongside Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour, which was a multiple-plot story about a dying father, young wife, a police officer falling head over heels in love, a genius, an ex-boy genius, a gameshow host, and an estranged daughter who all end up together on a random day in San Fernando Valley. This is definitely a movie where you have to be paying attention at all times because you will be confused if you don’t. Trust us.

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12. Jerry Maguire

Year Released: 1996

When sports agent Jerry Maguire (Cruise) has a bad moment of judgment that leads to him getting fired, he is left with no other option but to start his own management firm. In the process of trying to launch his business, Jerry also ends up falling in love. Sports and love stories are always a good watch.

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11. War of the Worlds

Year Released: 2005

Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise joined forces on 2005’s War of the Worlds which was about a dockworker (Cruise) struggling to maintain a relationship with his two children. When the kids are dropped off by his ex-wife (Miranda Otto), the weekend takes an unexpected turn when an alien invasion happens. Classic Spielberg. War of the Worlds wound up grossing over $600 million at the box office. Not bad for a movie that originally had a $132 million budget.

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10. Collateral

Year Released: 2004

The year prior, Cruise also experienced box office success with the film Collateral, which also starred Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jamie Foxx, Mark Ruffalo, and Javier Bardham. The film is about an LA taxi driver named Max (Foxx) ready to call it a day, when he receives $600 from a sniper in disguise as a businessman (Cruise) to make six extra stops. As it turns out, those six extra stops are actually designated hit checkpoints that Max is now caught in the middle of. It’s not often that we get to see Tom Cruise as the bad guy, so this is a fun one.

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9. Rain Man

Year Released: 1988

Rain Man is another Tom Cruise movie that sparks debates over how high it should be ranked, but you can’t deny its emotional heart-tugging effect. Cruise and Dustin Hoffman also made for a pretty good team if you ask us. Grab your tissues because this is definitely one of those films that make you tear up a bit.

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8. Born on the Fourth of July

Year Released: 1989

Another 1980s Tom Cruise classic, Born on the Fourth of July is about a suburban NY teenager who decides to enlist in the marines to honor his patriotism. In his second year of active duty, the teen encounters some difficult challenges when he accidentally kills a fellow soldier and later ends up paralyzed during a battle. 

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7. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Year Released: 2011

Cruise returned as Ethan Hunt for the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible series, this time around having to deal with the blame for the terrorist attack on Kremlin. This marks the second time in his career where Hunt has received the blame for something completely out of his control, and once again he is forced to clear his name.

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6. Minority Report

Year Released: 2002

A thriller set in the year 2054, Minority Report is based on the story “Minority Report” by science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick, which is about a police station in Washington D.C. that utilizes psychic technology to help arrest and convict murders before they commit their crimes. Looking back, Minority Report was actually ahead of the game as many films since have mirrored its approach. 

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5. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Year Released: 2015

Rogue Nation is actually considered the most exciting Mission Impossible film to date (although that can be subjective). Now we’re at the point where the IMF is disbanded, and not only is it dead and gone completely with Hunt being kind of assed out, there’s also a new threat called the Syndicate that is now an immediate problem. It never ends for Ethan Hunt. It just never does.

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4. Mission Impossible: Fallout

Year Released: 2018

And since it never ends for Ethan Hunt, the sixth film in the series, Fallout, is about the newly rebranded IMF coming together with a CIA assassin to prevent yet another catastrophic event in the making that involves nuclear attacks on the Vatican, Jerusalem, and Saudi Arabia. How we got here from where we started in 1996, we don’t know. What we do know, however, is that Mission Impossible 7, Dead Reckoning Part One is due out July 14th, 2023.

And apparently it doesn’t end there because Part Two is due out June 2024. Like we said earlier, it never ends for Ethan Hunt. Now would be the time to catch up if you haven’t already.

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3. The Color of Money

Year Released: 1986

We’re going to take one final trip back to the 80s. The same year Top Gun was released, Cruise also starred in the film The Color of Money alongside Paul Newman, which was about a former pool hustler named Fast Eddie (Newman) who decides to make a return to the game with new young protege Vincent Lauria (Cruise). 

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2. Edge of Tomorrow

Year Released: 2014

Whether you have Edge of Tomorrow in your personal Tom Cruise top three or not, we can all agree that it is a heck of a film. Just about any movie that has the word “edge” in it is, and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint.

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1. Top Gun: Maverick

Year Released: 2022

We had to save the best for last. The highest grossing movie of Tom Cruise’s career which is sitting pretty at $1.4 billion, Cruise proved that he once again is that dude. Not bad for somebody who just turned 60. 

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