20 Best Tom Cruise Movies of All Time

Tom Cruise started in the 80s and made his breakthrough with a leading role in the action drama Top Gun (1986). During the 90s he made several quality movies, including A Few Good Men (1992), Mission: Impossible (1996), Jerry Maguire (1996) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999).

He continued with the success in the 2000s, starring in the movies such as Minority Report (2002), The Last Samurai (2003), Collateral (2004) and War of the Worlds (2005).

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Interestingly, as he is getting older he’s making more and more action films. He made his best action movies in the last decade (2010-2019) in his 50s. Besides continuing with the Mission: Impossible series, he starred in excellent action movies like Jack Reacher, Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow.

The following is the list of best Tom Cruise movies of all time (ordered by release date):

1. Top Gun (1986)

Genre: Action, Drama
Director: Tony Scott
Starring: Tom Cruise (24), Kelly McGillis (29), Tim Robbins

In a movie that made him a superstar, Cruise plays Lieutenant “Maverick”, who is accepted into an elite flying school known as “Top Gun”. Here he will compete with the best of the best, such as his fellow pilot “Iceman”. He will also meet Charlie, a female instructor, with whom he will start a romance. After his friend dies, Maverick loses his nerve, but he will have the chance to redeem himself during the international crisis that evolves.

2. A Few Good Men (1992)

Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director: Rob Reiner
Starring: Tom Cruise (30), Jack Nicholson (55), Demi Moore (30)

Two U.S. Marines are charged with the murder of a fellow Marine. They contend they were acting under orders of Colonel Jessup. A young Military lawyer Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is assigned to defend the Marines because his superiors want the whole thing to go away quietly. Kaffee realizes that if he pleads the case out, Coronel will get away, so he decides to defend the marines.

3. The Firm (1993)

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Director: Sydney Pollack
Starring: Tom Cruise (31), Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman

A young Harvard law graduate Mitch (Tom Cruise) joins a small prestigious law firm in Memphis, but will soon discover that the firm is corrupted and heavily involved with the mob. Soon he is approached by FBI and told that many young lawyers have been killed. Now he needs to choose: either to stay loyal to the firm, or to work with the FBI to bring the corrupted firm down.

4. Mission: Impossible (1996)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Director: Brian De Palma
Starring: Tom Cruise (34), Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is a secret agent framed for the deaths of his IMF (Impossible Missions Force) team. Now he must discover the real mole who has framed him, while fleeing from government assassins.

Its success spawned the Mission: Impossible film series.

5. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Tom Cruise (34), Cuba Gooding Jr., Renée Zellweger

When a successful sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) starts questioning his purpose and gets fired because of that, everything turns upside down for him. Now he needs to resurrect his career with having only one client and former secretary staying with him.

The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Cuba Gooding Jr). The film was also nominated for three Golden Globes, with Tom Cruise winning for Best Actor.

6. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Tom Cruise (37), Nicole Kidman (32), Todd Field

After his wife, Alice, admits to him that she had contemplated having an affair, Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) sets out for a night of sexual adventure. When he meets an old friend in a nightclub, he learns about strange sex parties where all wear masks. Harford decides to infiltrate a masked orgy but quickly learns that he is in danger.

7. Minority Report (2002)

Genre: Action, Crime, Mystery
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Cruise (40), Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton

It’s the year 2054 and a special police department called “Precrime” is able to arrest murderers before they commit a crime based on psychics called “precogs”. Precrime officers use advanced technology to see what precogs see and than they analyze the data and try to stop the murder. John Anderson (Tom Cruise) heads Precrime and believes that the system is flawless. Everything changes for him after one day precogs predict that he himself will commit murder.

8. The Last Samurai (2003)

Genre: Action, Drama, War
Director: Edward Zwick
Starring: Tom Cruise (41), Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly

Set in Japan during the 1870s, this movie tells the story about Captain Nathan (Tom Cruise), a veteran of the Civil War, who is hired to train the army of the Japanese emperor in using firearms. The Imperial Omura want to repress a rebellion of Samurai warriors who remain devoted to a sacred dynasty and reject Westernized government policies. When Imperial soldiers are sent too early into battle against the samurai, Nathan will find himself captured and he will actually embrace the Samurai culture.

9. Collateral (2004)

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Director: Michael Mann
Starring: Tom Cruise (42), Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith

The story follows a cab driver Max who will become collateral after he meets his customer Vincent. He is offered a high fare to drive Vincent to several locations. Max will soon realize that Vincent is a contract killer and that he is driving him to victims’ locations.

10. War of the Worlds (2005)

Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Cruise (43), Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins

Tom Cruise plays a divorced dock worker Ray who gets to see his children only on the weekends. On one such weekend, when his ex wife drops off his son and daughter for a visit, a series of strange lightning storms hit his neighborhood. Ray will soon realize that advanced alien machines are invading the Earth. Now he must escape and protect his family.

11. Valkyrie (2008)

Genre: Drama, History, Thriller
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Tom Cruise (46), Bill Nighy, Carice van Houten

The story is set during World War II. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg is injured and sent back home to Nazi Germany. While there, he is recruited by General Olbricht to mastermind a plan to remove Hitler from power and save the country.

12. Knight and Day (2010)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Director: James Mangold
Starring: Tom Cruise (48), Cameron Diaz (38), Peter Sarsgaard

At an airport, heading home, a car restorer June (Cameron Diaz) gets mixed up with a spy (Tom Cruise) who is on the run from the CIA. Since he is under surveillance, she is approached by agents to help them catch him, just as he predicted. She now needs to decide who is telling the truth and on which side she will be.

13. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

Genre: Action, Spy
Director: Brad Bird
Starring: Tom Cruise (49), Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg

In the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible series, IMF is blamed for Kremlin bombing and as a result Ghost Protocol is initiated by the president. Ethan Hunt assembles a new team to uncover the truth and clear the IMF.

With $694 million, it’s the second highest-grossing film starring Tom Cruise (the first one is Mission: Impossible – Fallout).

14. Jack Reacher (2012)

Genre: Action, Thriller
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise (50), Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins

Random people are shot by a sniper and all evidence points to former marine named James Barr. He refuses to confess and instead tells his lawyer Alex to find a man called Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise). She learns that Jack is a former marine criminal investigator. Reacher has already hunted down Barr before, but now he suspects someone is framing him. After he is assaulted in a bar, it becomes certain that someone is trying to stop the investigation.

15. Oblivion (2013)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Tom Cruise (51), Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough

It is year 2077 and the Earth is decimated by a war against the alien invaders. The aliens were defeated by nuclear weapons. The majority of mankind has been relocated on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, since the planet was almost completely destroyed. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is a technician working from a surveillance station Tech 49. He repairs drones that hunt the remaining aliens and guard the power stations that use ocean to supply energy to Titan. Everything that he’s been taught so far will change after he witnesses a spacecraft fall containing a capsule with a woman.

16. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise (52), Emily Blunt (31), Bill Paxton

The movie takes place in the future where an alien race called Mimics invades the planet and no military can beat it. Major Cage (Cruise) who is a public relations officer is ordered to join an attack on the aliens planned by General Brigham. With no combat experience, Cage is killed within minutes, but he finds himself in a time loop where he relives the same day every time he dies. With each battle he improves his fighting skills and together with the Special Forces warrior Rita, he tries to find a way to defeat the enemy.

With a score of 7.9 and more than 500,000 votes, Edge of Tomorrow is the best rated Tom Cruise action movie on IMDb.

17. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise (53), Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner

The IMF is disbanded by the government and agent Ethan Hunt is on the run from the CIA which has labeled him as a rogue agent. Ethan tries to prove the existence of Syndicate international rogue organization, but the CIA don’t believe him and want to take him in. In the meantime the Syndicate is becoming stronger.

18. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

Genre: Action, Thriller
Director: Edward Zwick
Starring: Tom Cruise (54), Cobie Smulders, Aldis Hodge

After busting a human trafficking ring, Jack Reacher returns to his military headquarters to meet Major Susan Turner only to find out that she has been detained for espionage. He sets out on a mission to clear her name, but soon will find himself framed for a murder. While on the run, both Reacher and Turner will reveal a dark conspiracy.

19. American Made (2017)

Genre: Action, Biography, Comedy
Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise (55), Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright

It’s the story about an American pilot who starts working for the CIA. At first he gathers information, but later on he becomes a drug smuggler. Eventually the DEA got him and in order to avoid jail time he now needs to work for them.

20. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise (56), Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames

When a mission goes wrong and his loyalty is questioned, Ethan Hunt is forced to team up with a CIA agent to track down the missing plutonium. Hunt must outrun the CIA agent who has an assignment to shadow Hunt.

16 Best Tom Cruise Movies According to IMDb

According to IMDb, these are 16 best Tom Cruise movies in the lead role:

  • Edge of Tomorrow (2014) – 7.9
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) – 7.8
  • The Last Samurai (2003) – 7.7
  • A Few Good Men (1992) – 7.7
  • Minority Report (2002) – 7.6
  • Collateral (2004) – 7.5
  • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) – 7.4
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) – 7.4
  • Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – 7.4
  • Jerry Maguire (1996) – 7.3
  • American Made (2017) – 7.2
  • Born on the Fourth of July (1989) – 7.2
  • Mission: Impossible (1996) – 7.1
  • Valkyrie (2008) – 7.1
  • Oblivion (2013) – 7.0
  • Jack Reacher (2012) – 7.0

15 Best Tom Cruise Movies According to Box Office

  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) – $791 million
  • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) – $695 million
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) – $683 million
  • War of the Worlds (2005) – $604 million
  • Mission: Impossible II (2000) – $546 million
  • Mission: Impossible (1996) – $458 million
  • The Last Samurai (2003) – $458 million
  • The Mummy (2017) – $410 million
  • Mission: Impossible III (2006) – $398 million
  • Edge of Tomorrow (2014) – $370 million
  • Minority Report (2002) – $358 million
  • Top Gun (1986) – $357 million
  • Rain Man (1988) – $355 million
  • Oblivion (2013) – $286 million
  • Jerry Maguire (1996) – $274 million

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