We don’t just have Tom Cruise to thank for Mission: Impossible, he also made sure one of the best ’90s movies actually came out. Funnily enough, the Top Gun cast lead was an early advocate of Guy Ritchie, making sure Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels found screens.
Nick Moran and Dennis Fletcher, who both starred in Lock Stock, told The Independent they were close to heading to the DVD bin without more advocates. “The Americans just loved it. I went over to LA with Matt and Brad Pitt had seen it and said, ‘I don’t know what Guy is doing next but I want to be in it’,” Fletcher says. “Tom Cruise endorsed it as well. Tom fucking loved it and stood up for it publicly in a room full of very high-powered people and said it rocked.”
Guy Ritchie’s feature-length debut was one of the best thriller movies ever, but as a British upstart making a quintessentially British film, he needed that backing overseas. “I think [producer and filmmaker] Trudie Styler organized that screening with Tom Cruise. We were one show of hands away from going straight-to-DVD,” said Moran.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels became a runaway success from that point on. Starring Vinnie Jones and a young Jason Statham, the action movie follows two small-time crooks who try to rob a gang living in their building.
Ritchie became synonymous with looking at the English working class and the criminal world from that point, making some of the best comedy movies based on the subjects. He went on to direct Snatch, which Brad Pitt starred in, Revolver, RocknRolla, before graduating to bigger budget studio films such as Sherlock Holmes, The Man from UNCLE, and Disney movie Aladdin.
He recently made war movie The Covenant, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, and has spy movie The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare coming out in 2024. And to think, none of it could’ve happened without Tom Cruise.
You can see what Cruise is up to next in our guide to the Mission: Impossible 8 release date. We also have a guide to the Mission: Impossible movies in order so you know what’s going on in the franchise, and a list of the best Tom Cruise movies if you’d like to see more of him. Our best movies and new movies lists have plenty more entertainment otherwise, for you to watch out for the Guy Ritchies of tomorrow.