Tom Cruise is one of the biggest movie stars in the world. That much is without doubt. However, in the last decade or so, he has also been something of a controversial figure in Hollywood due to his beliefs in the Scientology religion. There have also been rumours of him being a very controlling influence on his movie-sets, although you would be hard pressed to find a co-star who will say anything bad about him. Instead, they mostly praise his relentless enthusiasm about movie-making and his intense commitment to every movie he makes.
His most recent movie, The Mummy, which was the first entry in Universal's proposed Dark Universe of films (which will unite all their classic movie monsters) was released a few weeks ago to absolutely vitriolic reviews and suitably diminished box-office in the USA. However, the receipts for the rest of the world are looking much healthier, and the movie could turn out to be a success based on the fact that the rest of the world still seems to believe in Cruise as a marquee star.
It's easy to forget, given his spate of blockbusters in the 2010's, that Cruise is also a highly capable actor in serious dramas, and he was a big part of a few of the best films ever made in Hollywood history. In fact, up until the 2000's, Cruise's appearances in large-budgeted blockbusters were fairly few and far between. This quiz will span the entirety of his career, from comedy to Oscar-winning drama, and from blockbuster to literary horror adaptation.
He's done it all, and we've quizzed you on it all!
This sci-fi action spectacular was based on a Japanese illustrated novel
Tom Cruise's latest move, The Mummy, was released last week and underperformed at the US box office, finishing in second place behind Wonder Woman (in its second week of release). However, the worldwide box office receipts have been strong, so there might still be hope for the prospective franchise. The very same thing happened in 2014 with this movie, which was directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity). It only made $100 million in the US, but it was reviewed well and worldwide takings took it to a very respectable $370 million. There has been talk of a sequel, and both Liman and Cruise seem enthusiastic, so it could happen sooner rather than later!
This 2002 sci-fi thriller was directed by Steven Spielberg
We're in sci-fi thriller territory again for this one. An adaptation of a Phillip K. Dick story, Cruise starred as John Anderton, the Chief of PreCrime in Washington DC in the year 2054. He is accused of a crime he is supposedly going to commit in 36 hours; the murder of a man named Leo Crow. Anderton goes on the run in order to prove his innocence. This was Cruise's first collaboration with Steven Spielberg, and was a big hit, both critically and commercially. It is also the movie that first brought Colin Farrell, so good in a supporting role, to people's attention.
Cruise played a villain for the first time in this literary adaptation
Another first for Cruise here; the first time he played a true villain on-screen. This 1994 horror drama was directed by Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Michael Collins) and was based on a 1976 novel by Anne Rice. Cruise starred alongside Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater and, in a performance well beyond her years, an 11-year-old Kirsten Dunst. Cruise played Lestat de Lioncourt, a vicious vampire who turns Louis (Pitt) in 1791. While Lestat revels in his monstrous nature, Louis rebels against it, refusing to kill humans and drinking animal blood to sustain himself.
Tom Cruise as a movie star was born with this 1983 comedy
This was Tom Cruise's breakthrough role, and one that launched him to stardom. He starred as Joel Goodson, a high-achieving high school student who lives with his parents in the North Shore area of Chicago. He is bound for Princeton University, but when his parents go away on a trip, his friend Miles convinces him to have some fun while they're away. This involves him enlisting the services of Lana, a gorgeous blonde call girl, played by Rebecca De Mornay. Arguably the most iconic scene in the movie comes when Joel dances around his living room in his underwear and a pink dress shirt, to the tune of 'Old Time Rock n' Roll'.
This 2010 action comedy failed to set the world alight
In 2010, Cruise starred with Cameron Diaz in this so-so action comedy, which was directed by James Mangold (Logan, Cop Land). Cruise played eccentric Secret Agent Roy Miller, who was on the run from the CIA, and Diaz was June Havens, a classic car restorer who unwittingly becomes caught up in his shenanigans. The movie co-starred Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Dano and Maggie Grace and was a box-office disappointment. In fact, its opening day gross was the worst for a Cruise film since 1992's Far And Away. Ouch.
This historical war epic took Cruise to 19th Century Japan
This historical war drama was very well-received upon its release in 2005, being nominated for four Academy Awards and making $456 million at the worldwide box office. This was despite some claims of the movie being racist and naive (at worst), or well-intentioned and historically inaccurate. Cruise starred as former US Army Captain Nathan Algren, an alcoholic traumatized by atrocities he committed during the American Indian Wars. He is approached to train the new Japanese Imperial Army, and over time develops an affinity for their culture, as well as a strong friendship with their leader Lord Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe).
Cruise's casting in this 2012 book adaptation was extremely controversial
When Tom Cruise was cast in this particular role, fans of the popular series of novels, upon which the film was based, were not very happy. You see, in the books, their hero was described as 6 feet 5 inches tall; a man-mountain, who took no prisoners and had insane amounts of sheer physical presence. At 5'7", Tom Cruise is obviously nowhere near that height. This led to the author of the books defending Cruise's casting, saying that he portrays the character's 'unstoppable force' nature in his own way.
Cruise's most enduring franchise began with this 1996 thriller
Until recent years, Tom Cruise has mostly avoided sequels throughout his career. He has had a number of hits that could've easily had further installments, but aside from this one franchise, he never seemed interested. Maybe that's because this particular franchise has always been his surefire hitmaker, with the five films so far pulling in more than $2 billion at the box-office! This first entry came out in 1996, and co-starred Jon Voight, Ving Rhames, Vanessa Redgrave and Kristen Scott Thomas. It was directed by Brian De Palma (The Untouchables) and featured a bravura action set-piece involving a helicopter and a speeding train!
"You can't handle the truth!"
This was a 1992 legal drama, directed by Rob Reiner (Stand By Me) and starring Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon and Kiefer Sutherland. It was written by Aaron Sorkin, who would go on to create the hugely acclaimed TV series The West Wing. The story concerned the Court-Martial of two US Marines charged with murdering a fellow marine. The film was a massive hit, and was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Jack Nicholson.
Cruise is hysterical in his extended cameo in this 2008 comedy
In 2005, Cruise married Katie Holmes and famously jumped up and down on Oprah Winfrey's couch, on national TV, while he declared his love for her. Around this time, his views on the Church Of Scientology, of which he is a devout member, were becoming more and more controversial in the mainstream, and Paramount Pictures even ended their 16 year association with him, citing his behavior and views. Therefore, his public image took a bit of a hit for a few years. His response? To appear under heavy prosthetic makeup and look completely unrecognizable in an extended cameo. Cruise played a fire and brimstone movie producer. And he was hilarious!
"I feel the need. The need. For Speed!"
Arguably Cruise's most famous and beloved movie, this 1986 romantic action drama was the film that cemented him in the world's eyes as a superstar. It was directed by Tony Scott (Crimson Tide) and co-starred Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Tom Skerritt and Anthony Edwards. Cruise played fighter pilot Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell and the film focused on his romance with Charlie Blackwood, an astrophysicist and civilian instructor. Their relationship is played out to the tune of 'Take My Breath Away' by Berlin, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
This 2007 political drama co-starred Meryl Streep and Robert Redford
Cruise starred alongside two other Hollywood heavyweights (Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, who also directed) in this political drama that underwhelmed the critics and ultimately flopped at the box office. After Cruise had a very public falling out with Paramount Pictures in 2006, he and producing partner Paula Wagner, joined with United Artists, and this was the first film to come out under this banner. Cruise was reportedly worried about how Hollywood would view him if this movie flamed out, and though it did, in the end it had little negative effect on the star.
This beloved fantasy adventure was released in 1985
This dark fairy tale was released in 1985. Despite starring Cruise, fresh off Risky Business, and being directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner), the film disappointed at the box office, but has since gone down in history as a cult classic. Scott wanted the film to be more like the original, disturbing fables that were told during ancient times, before these stories were co-opted and spun into children's tales. Most people remember Tim Curry as the Lord Of Darkness in the film, and his performance was widely praised, as were the pioneering prosthetic makeup effects he sported.
Cruise played an ice cold hitman in this Michael Mann thriller
Tom Cruise has only played a true villain twice in his career. The first was Lestat in Interview With The Vampire, which we've already discussed. His second villainous turn came in this superlative 2004 Michael Mann thriller, in which he played Vincent, an ice-cold contract killer who takes Jamie Foxx's cabbie Max hostage on a dark LA evening and forces him to drive him around the city to his various targets. Foxx was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and Cruise's pinpoint performance was widely praised as well.
This visually stunning sci-fi spectacle was released in 2013
This 2013 sci-fi film, which was directed by Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy) had a strange trip to the big screen. It was initially created by Kosinski as a graphic novel, which he co-wrote with Arvid Nelson for Radical Comics. This was never published however, and by his own admission, it was never intended to actually be published as a graphic novel. Instead, Kosinski took all the artwork that had been built up over a period of years and used it as part of a pitch kit to the studio to make the movie!
Cruise received a Golden Raspberry nomination for this comedy drama
This 1988 romantic comedy drama starred Cruise as young New York City business student Brian Flanagan, who takes up bartending in order to pay for his studies. He is taken under the wing of his boss, Doug Coughlin (Bryan Brown), and ends up having a romance with Jordan Mooney (Elizabeth Shue), an aspiring artist. The movie got terrible reviews upon its release, as it was dismissed as vacuous and a waste of Cruise's talents. However, it has since become something of a beloved cheesy cult classic.
"Show me the money!"
This 1996 comedy drama was one of the biggest films of the year, and both Cruise and co-star Cuba Gooding Jr attained Academy Award nominations for their performances in it. Gooding Jr took home the trophy for Best Supporting Actor, and while Cruise didn't do the same with Best Actor, he was widely recognized for his nuanced role (which was inspired by real life sports agent Leigh Steinberg, who acted as technical consultant on the crew). The film was written, produced and directed by Cameron Crowe, and it remains his biggest hit to this day.
Cruise played a Nazi plotting to kill Hitler in this 2008 thriller
In 2008, Cruise teamed with director Bryan Singer (X-Men, The Usual Suspects) for this historical thriller in which he played a real-life Nazi Colonel, Claus Von Stauffenberg, who plotted with other German Army officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944. Cruise's casting caused some controversy, due to his practice of Scientology, and it meant the filmmakers initially had difficulty setting up filming locations in Germany. However, access was later granted, as German media wanted to raise global awareness of Von Stauffenberg's plot.
This superlative 1988 drama won Best Picture at the Academy Awards
This 1988 road movie might still be Cruise's best film. It was certainly received as such upon its release, as it became the highest grossing movie of the year and was nominated for eight Academy Awards. It won four, including Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman's magnificent portrayal of Raymond Babbitt, an autistic savant who is the beneficiary of a $3 million estate that his younger brother Charlie (Cruise), wants to gain control of for himself. The film is both emotionally resonant and real, yet also funny at times, and is a real joy to watch.
Cruise scaled the outside of the world's tallest building in this 2011 sequel
This 2011 movie featured quite possibly the series' very best stunt sequence: a bravura setpiece in which Cruise's Ethan Hunt scales the outside of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. This is legitimately the world's tallest building and, Cruise being Cruise, he insisted on doing the stunt himself. The man is insane. And brilliant! This entry in the franchise actually went on to become the most financially successful, and is still the top grossing film in Cruise's career. It was directed by Brad Bird in his live-action debut; he had previously directed animations such as The Incredibles.
Cruise starred with then-wife Nicole Kidman in this erotic thriller
This 1999 erotic drama would prove to be the last film from legendary auteur Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining). The film follows Dr Bill Harford (Cruise), who is shocked to find out his wife Alice (Kidman) had thought about having an affair a year earlier. He goes on a night-long journey of the soul in which he infiltrates a massive masked orgy held by an unnamed Secret Society! Kubrick died six days after showing his final cut of the film to Warner Brothers, although there has since been some debate as to whether the film was really finished or not, given that Kubrick was known to tinker right up until the last possible minute.
Cruise played a rock star in this 2012 Broadway musical adaptation
Cruise's performance as fictional 80's rocker Stacee Jaxx in this 2012 adaptation of the 2006 Broadway musical is inspired. Seriously. He is utterly, amazingly hilarious in the film, and he gives genuinely awesome renditions of 'Wanted Dead Or Alive' by Bon Jovi and 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' by Def Leppard. Sadly, the rest of the film ain't all that great. In fact, nothing in it even comes close to Cruise. Which is a bummer. It also meant that, even though Cruise was so good, the movie stage dived flat on its face upon release, failing to make back the $75 million budget.
Cruise was nominated for Best Actor for his performance in this 1989 war biopic
Oliver Stone (World Trade Center, Natural Born Killers) directed this searing war biopic, which told the story of Ron Kovic, a paraplegic Vietnam War veteran. Kovic is paralyzed from the mid-chest down, and is traumatized by his experiences during the war. Cruise's performance as Kovic was widely lauded, and he received an Academy Award nomination. Stone initially read Kovic's autobiography and was stunned by what he experienced after the war. He wound up writing the screenplay for the movie with Kovic, who also appeared in the film as a soldier suffering PTSD who flinches at the sound of firecrackers.
This ensemble drama netted Cruise a Best Supporting Actor nomination
Director Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the few true auteurs working in Hollywood today. He consistently eschews more commercial projects, instead focusing on his own passion projects. Which attract an absolute shedload of top stars to work on them! This 1999 ensemble drama starred Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, William H Macy and John C Reilly, and followed the stories of a bunch of unrelated characters in the San Fernando Valley. Cruise co-starred as Frank Mackey, a sex-obsessed motivational speaker, and he received an Academy Award nomination.
Cruise's leather jacket is awesome in this 2005 sci-fi blockbuster
In 2005, Cruise re-teamed with Steven Spielberg for another sci-fi blockbuster: a 'reimagining' of a classic 1953 film, as well as the original 1897 novel by H.G. Wells. This film was filmed in an incredibly short 73 days, and was surrounded by an intense secrecy campaign. Upon release, it became the fourth highest grossing film of the year, and was Cruise's most successful film up until that point. Spielberg had told stories about aliens before, in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and E.T., but with this movie he purposefully wanted to depict the invasion as frightening. These aliens would not be benign; rather, they would be scary as all hell.