It’s probably more difficult to rank the films of a particular actor than those of a given director. A filmmaker’s ouevre is often bound together by similar thematic elements or stylistic trademarks, whereas most actors work within a wide range of styles and genres, with directors of vastly varying abilities. And while most dedicated cinephiles have seen the majority of Stanley Kubrick‘s or Martin Scorsese‘s features, how many can say they’ve seen even half of the performances from legends like Paul Newman or Robert De Niro (or even more modern stars like Sean Penn or Bruce Willis)?
No one would ever mistake him for Daniel Day-Lewis, but Tom Cruise has been nearly as selective over the course of his career, consistently working with prominent filmmakers: Scorsese, Kubrick, Spielberg, Coppola, De Palma, Mann, Stone, the brothers Scott. Seriously, who else’s resume reads like that? Even when collaborating with up-and-comers like Brad Bird or (at the time) J.J. Abrams, he finds those refreshing cinematic voices who can match that level of quality we’ve come to expect from a Tom Cruise project.
While I’m sure many will order their list of favorite Tom Cruise movies differently than I have, that’s the reasons we make these lists in the first place. All things said, here’s my take on the ten best movies starring an actor who, from Taps to Jack Reacher, has never made a truly bad movie. Beg to differ all you like, that’s just my opinion. Then again, I’ve spoken to at least three other people in the past week who openly admitted to enjoying Cocktail. Go figure…
#10 Minority Report
Steven Spielberg‘s futuristic thriller stars Cruise as a pre-crime fighter whose own unit suspects him of a future murder, with both star and director at the top of their respective game. This is one of those rare big budget blockbusters that’s both imaginative and thought-provoking, while still being downright entertaining.
“Listen, Wally – I like you. So, I don’t wanna have to kick you or hit you with anything hard, but only if you promise to help me.”
#9 Top Gun
You know it. You love it. Tony Scott‘s 2-hour military recruitment ad firmly established Cruise as a box-office powerhouse and Maverick as, well, pretty much the coolest dude ever.
“I feel the need… the need for speed.”