We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

The 12 best Tom Cruise movies of all time

We've listed the best Tom Cruise movies, so if you have a real need for speed, we can tell you the best action movies, drama movies, and more to check out.

Best Tom Cruise movies

What are the best Tom Cruise movies? We might have a lot of Hollywood Toms, from Hanks to Holland, Hiddleston, and Hardy — but there is irrefutably only one Tom Cruise. He’s been a mainstay from the ’80s up until the present day, and although he’s into his 60s now, he’s showing no signs of slowing down his dominance.

Since childhood, Tom Cruise has largely been his own stuntman, making the best action moviesbest thriller movies, and best science fiction movies all the more impressive. After his role in one of the best ’80s movies, Top Gun, which he returned to 35 years later, he even became a professional pilot, and trained to hold his breath for six minutes in preparation for Mission Impossible.

Cruise has made 56 films so far, so ranking all of them is a tricky task. Instead, we’ve decided to start with what we believer are the best Tom Cruise movies. And if you don’t agree, I guess you just can’t handle the truth!

Best Tom Cruise movies: Edge of Tomorrow

12. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Groundhog Day meets War of the Worlds? Where do we sign up? In all seriousness Edge of Tomorrow is a magnificent science fiction movie that takes the slightly stale promise of a time loop and does something unique with it; it turns it into a war movie.

The result is a propulsive and wildly entertaining action romp that plays to Cruise’s strengths as a charismatic action star who’s as comfortable in a mech suit as he is spewing cheeky one-liners. We have to shout out the wonderful Emily Blunt as well; she’s magnificent in this as the surly Rita Vrataski. We’ve got our fingers crossed that we get that long-promised sequel!

YouTube Thumbnail

11. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

It’s remarkable just how much Fallout adds to the Mission Impossible movies in order, but it’s by no means stale. The film is whiplash-inducing in the best possible way: providing dizzying spectacles with helicopter stunts while also not compromising on compelling character work, with plenty of high-stakes betrayals, passion, and scheming along the way — Cruise, of course, leads the way both in terms of stunts and acting.

Best Tom Cruise Movies: Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut

10. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

As Stanley Kubrick‘s last movie before he died, there’s a lot of debate over whether the final cut we saw was the final cut Kubrick always intended. Nonetheless, the psychological sex cult thriller Eyes Wide Shut is electrifying, with Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s IRL chemistry as a then-married couple definitely coming through on-screen.

Best Tom Cruise Movies: Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder

9. Tropic Thunder (2008)

Maybe it’s because we aren’t used to Tom Cruise looking ugly, but it’s hard to look away from his grotesquely hilarious character in on of the 2000s’ best comedy movies, Tropic Thunder. The best part is that, according to the film’s writer and director Ben Stiller, Cruise made up Les Grossman entirely on his own. Talented, funny, hot — is there anything he can’t do?!

Best Tom Cruise Movies: Tom Cruise in Top Gun

8. Top Gun (1986)

At this stage in his career, Cruise is still finding his feet, but the swagger of Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell acted as a blueprint for that now-trademark Tom Cruise confidence, and it also incredibly impressive in terms of stunts. It’s cheeky, it’s cringe, and it’s a little bit confusing (Why are they playing volleyball in jeans?), but we can all agree that Top Gun is just good fun and well-deserving of its status as a classic. And that soundtrack!

Best Tom Cruise Movies: Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men

7. A Few Good Men (1992)

You can’t handle the truth! Tom Cruise has had plenty of one-liners throughout his career, but his quotes from A Few Good Men are the cream of the crop. While the smarmy lawyer archetype is a bit overdone, Cruise is able to believably channel  Lt. Daniel Keefe’s transformation as he pursues justice and unravels a sprawling Naval conspiracy.

Best Tom Cruise Movies: Tom Cruise in Collateral

6. Collateral (2004)

You wouldn’t expect a thriller set in the dazzling lights of Los Angeles to make your blood run cold, but that’s exactly what Collateral does. Paired with Jamie Foxx, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role, Cruise is genuinely terrifying as a sociopathic, sadistic hitman posing as a taxi driver. If you’ve ever taken a late-night Uber, it’s your worst nightmare.

Best Tom Cruise Movies: Tom Cruise in Minority Report

5. Minority Report (2002)

Twenty years on, with facial recognition software being installed in busy London stations and algorithms and misinformation seemingly at an all-time high, Minority Report couldn’t be more relevant today if it tried.

Again, Tom Cruise arguably plays a murderer, but unlike Collateral, there’s a hell of a gray area because Cruise’s character hasn’t committed a murder yet — but a sophisticated computer system predicts he might do. He grapples with a lot of philosophical and moral questions that continue to make this movie a fascinating watch.

Best Tom Cruise Movies: Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire

4. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Every respectable actor needs a heartfelt drama and one of the best romance movies under their belt in order to make it in Hollywood, and with Jerry Maguire, Cruise is able to hit those two birds with one stone.

He plays an underdog we’re really able to root for as Jerry Maguire, balancing authenticity with genuinely hilarious moments and tender romance. It’s no surprise the film was a critical darling and breakout role for Renée Zellweger.

Best Tom Cruise movies: Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

3. Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

I know what you’re thinking — why is Top Gun 2 higher than Top Gun? The answer is simple: Top Gun is a classic, but it’s also corny as hell and, at moments, literally bananas. We can appreciate the movie for what it is 35 years later, but it’s not Cruise’s best work. Top Gun: Maverick, however, is definitely among some of the actor’s best.

Of course, it wouldn’t exist without Top Gun, and it’s that very same appreciation and nostalgia we have for it that makes the sequel such a compelling watch. It’s easy to revisit a popular film but something else entirely to be self-aware enough to make a meditation of nostalgia, bringing both growth and maturity to a character while being able to still capture the spirit that made audiences fall in love with them and the rest of the Top Gun cast in the first place. Cruise does an impeccable job at this.

Best Tom Cruise Movies: Tom Cruise in Magnolia

2. Magnolia (1999)

With all those big-budget action movies, it’s easy to forget that Tom Cruise is one hell of an actor — and with the complex, layered character of Frank TJ Mackie, he’s really able to show his incredible range. We get, for instance, his cocksure arrogance underlying crippling insecurity, keeping a tight lid on years of trauma, pain, and resentment before eventually exploding into grief, love, and anger.

Best Tom Cruise Movies: Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible

1. Mission: Impossible (1996)

The one that started it all. What else would be first but Mission Impossible? It’s one of the best spy movies for an insatiable audience, delivering a labyrinth of a plotline along with action sequences that, even 25 years later, filmmakers are still struggling to live up to. As one of the best ’90s movies, there is no film more deserving of the top spot.

If you are after more blockbuster stars, here are our guides to the best Dwayne Johnson movies, the best Keanu Reeves movies, the best Michelle Yeoh movies, and the best Colin Farrell movies. Have a look at our new movies guide to see what else is coming out of Hollywood, as well as our list of the best movies of all time.

You’ll definitely want to keep our guide to the Mission Impossible 8 release date handy as well. And hey, why not check out our guide to the Fast and Furious 11 release date while you’re at it?