Since his debut on-screen appearance in the 1981 romance Endless Love, Tom Cruise has risen to the top of Hollywood’s royalty list and has managed to stay on top right up until the present day. Although Cruise has a wide variety of titles in his filmography, the majority of audiences love him most for his inescapable charisma that can captivate within an instant. His latest film, American Made, has been hailed as a return to the kind of characters that offer just that; relying on the sheer moxie of pilot Barry Seal, who manages to dig himself into a deeper and deeper hole when working for the CIA in South America and simultaneously moonlighting as a drug trafficker. With American Made available on Digital from December 18th and 4k Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM and DVD from December 26th, we see no better time than to take a look back at some of the best roles of Tom Cruise’s career.
Top Gun (1986)
The first film on our list will forever be synonymous with the career of Tom Cruise, becoming his first smash hit at the box office and showcasing the charismatic persona he’s become known for. For the rare few of you who haven’t seen this epic 80s action masterpiece, Cruise’s devil-may-care navy pilot Pete Mitchell is sent to Miramar Naval Air Station for advanced fighter jet training where he vies with Tom Kasansky (Val Kilmer) for the coveted “Top Gun” award. When not so occupied in the cockpit, Mitchell carries on a romance with civilian consultant Charlotte Blackwood, played by Kelly McGillis (cue blue light and ‘Take My Breath Away’). The film made more money than any other film in 1986 and with audiences still reeling from Cruise’s charm and the vertigo-inducing visuals, it’s no surprise a modern sequel has just been announced.
Rain Man (1988)
One of Cruise’s more notable performances within the film industry, Barry Levinson’s Oscar-winning drama put his talent at the forefront, perfectly complimenting Dustin Hoffman’s incredible central performance. His character, self-centred, avaricious Californian Charlie Babbitt, is challenged with taking care of his estranged, autistic-savant older brother Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman), takes him on a cross-country odyssey (including a particularly successful stop at a Vegas casino), in an attempt to use him as leverage for his recently deceased father’s inheritance. Although Cruise was overlooked once awards season rolled around, this helped enhance his reputation as a serious on-screen presence and one of Hollywood’s most coveted leading men.
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Any idea what Tom Cruise said when they offered him the role of Jerry Maguire? “SHOW ME THE MONEY!!” All jokes aside, Cruise must have jumped at the chance to play this wise-cracking NBA agent after reading Cameron Crowe’s fantastic script. As the title suggests, the film focuses on Mr. Maguire – a loud-mouth, big-shot who after being unceremoniously fired from an international sports management company, decides to get his life together and is joined on his journey of soul-searching by his only remaining client, Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.), and wistful single mother/possible love interest Dorothy Boyd (Renée Zellweger). Though the film is set within the world of American Football, Cruise’s central performance helps it focus on his character’s journey of self-reflection, relatable to all walks of life.
Mission: Impossible Franchise (1996 – present)
You can’t even think about Tom Cruise’s greatest ventures into film without mentioning his many missions to complete the seemingly impossible, in the Mission: Impossible series. Starting in 1996 with a fairly grounded spy thriller and one hell of a robbery scene at its heart, the franchise has developed into one of the most consistent box office breaking series of films in modern cinema. With the latest instalment alone featuring our film superstar hanging off the side of a jet plane whilst it takes off (no CGI, just Cruise), the series has pushed itself – and it’s star talent – to take it one step further every time. We for one can’t wait for the upcoming sequel, and can’t imagine what’s next in store for agent Ethan Hunt because at this point, literally, anything’s possible!
Minority Report (2002)
This modern day Sci-Fi classic was built on the recipe of Steven Spielberg, Philip K. Dick and Tom Cruise, so it was hard to believe this wasn’t ever going to be anything other than incredible. The film focuses on Dick’s familiar preoccupation with themes of concealed identity and mind control. Cruise plays John Anderton, a Washington D.C. detective in the year 2054, who works for special unit “Precrime” that arrests murderers before they have committed the actual crime based on the visions of three psychics whose prophecies of future events are never in error. When Anderton discovers that he has been identified as the future killer of a man he’s never met, he is forced to become a fugitive from his own colleagues as he tries to uncover the mystery of the victim-to-be’s identity. The film is bursting with interesting ideas on where modern society is heading, with a powerful moral message at its heart, all of which is powered by the film’s star led performance.
American Made (2017)
Cruise’s latest film has been heralded as a return to the energetically charismatic Tom Cruise that thrived so much earlier in his career – and it doesn’t disappoint! Based on true events, the film follows Barry Seal’s story as he soon finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the United States. The secret operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair scandal spawns the birth of the Medellin cartel and almost brings down the Reagan White House. In the film, airline pilot Seal has to dig himself out of a number sticky situations with the Columbian cartel using his – you guessed it – charm, but eventually finds himself in way too deep in one of the biggest international scandals in US history. Cruise, as promised, is on sizzling form and you can’t help but root for his less than morally-obliging character, a spell he’s managed to cast over audiences for over 20 years now and one that looks set to continue.
AMERICAN MADE IS AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL ON DECEMBER 18 AND 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY™ AND DVD ON DECEMBER 26, 2017 FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT UK