Tom Cruise has had one of Hollywood’s most varied and exciting careers, from his days as a teen idol to his award-winning dramatic turns to his larger-than-life action-hero roles. Here are 10 of the best Tom Cruise movies to stream.
Update, 10/21/22: We’ve reviewed our guide and replaced links that had stopped working.
Tom Cruise is genuinely scary as a suave hitman in Michael Mann’s slick crime thriller. Jamie Foxx plays a cab driver who unknowingly picks up Cruise’s contract killer and agrees to drive him to various locations for a hefty sum. Foxx’s Max Durocher soon discovers that the man he knows as Vincent is actually on a killing spree, murdering different targets at each stop.
Mann builds a tense back-and-forth between the two men, making them into worthy adversaries even though Vincent seems to have every advantage. Mann gives Los Angeles at night a gorgeous, otherworldly feel, the perfect backdrop for this battle between the sadistic and the noble.
Collateral is streaming on Netflix ($9.99+ per month) and Paramount+ ($4.99+ per month after a seven-day free trial) and is available for digital purchase ($9.99+) and rental ($2.99+) at Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and other digital outlets.
Before “legacy sequels” were all the rage, Martin Scorsese directed this 25-years-later follow-up to 1961’s The Hustler, with Paul Newman returning as pool shark Fast Eddie Felson. Eddie is older but not necessarily wiser, and his love for the game is rekindled when he spots hotshot young player Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise).
Cruise and Newman have excellent chemistry as two control freaks who develop a wary respect but maintain their rivalry. Scorsese shoots the pool scenes with flair, bringing a dynamic excitement to the many games of nine-ball. The movie is a winning combination of Scorsese’s cinematic creativity and the Hollywood charisma of its two stars.
Although it underwhelmed at the box office, Doug Liman’s sci-fi action movie has proven worthy of its critical acclaim by building a dedicated following. Tom Cruise plays against his action-hero type as a whiny, self-serving military public affairs officer. He’s thrown into the middle of a battle against aliens and finds himself in a time loop, returning to the same point every time he gets killed.
Emily Blunt plays the hardened battlefield sergeant who trains him to harness this unexpected ability. It’s a clever, fast-paced, and playful take on a familiar sci-fi concept, with Cruise and Blunt making a perfect team of reluctant allies.
Author Anne Rice was initially outraged by the casting of Tom Cruise as her popular vampire character Lestat de Lioncourt, but she changed her mind completely after seeing Neil Jordan’s film. Cruise may be an unlikely choice to play the decadent, narcissistic Lestat, but he captures the dark hedonism of Rice’s vampires perfectly.
Brad Pitt matches him as Lestat’s protégé Louis, and Kirsten Dunst gives one of the best-ever child performances as forever-young vampire Claudia. Jordan brings the eroticism and menace of Rice’s vampires to life, telling a centuries-spanning story as narrated by Louis to a rapt reporter played by Christian Slater.
Jerry Maguire‘s catch phrases have been so extensively quoted and recycled that it’s easy to forget this movie is more than just a collection of quips. It’s a passionate, open-hearted romantic comedy from a master of the form, writer-director Cameron Crowe, and it features one of Tom Cruise’s most purely likable performances.
He plays the title character, an idealistic sports agent who leaves his secure job to start his own firm with just one client, NFL wide receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.). Jerry approaches negotiating with the same enthusiasm and honesty that he brings to his romance with single mother Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger).
Tom Cruise is only one part of writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s sprawling, multi-character epic, but he may be the most memorable part. Cruise was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of chauvinistic motivational speaker Frank T.J. Mackey, who’s long estranged from his father Earl (Jason Robards).
Frank’s arc of reconciling his feelings about his father ties into the movie’s overall theme of redemption and forgiveness, which plays out in multiple overlapping storylines. The stellar cast also includes Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and William H. Macy, but even among such amazing talent, Cruise stands out.
Magnolia is streaming for free via local libraries on Kanopy.
The Mission: Impossible movies have become an all-consuming project for Tom Cruise in recent years, and they remain one of the most satisfying blockbuster franchises in Hollywood. The series reached an apex with this fourth movie, directed by animation veteran Brad Bird.
Bird brings an animator’s anything-goes approach to the movie’s massive set pieces, including Cruise’s Ethan Hunt climbing the side of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, still one of the greatest stunts ever captured onscreen. He also puts together a top-notch team to support Cruise, adding Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner as Ethan’s fellow covert agents, and promoting Simon Pegg in what would become a key franchise role.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is streaming on Paramount+ ($4.99+ per month after a seven-day free trial).
A sci-fi movie focused as much on creative design and heady ideas as it is on action, Oblivion stars Tom Cruise as one of the last people left on Earth, ostensibly guarding the last remnants of human civilization following a deadly alien invasion. Cruise’s Jack Harper and his partner Victoria Olson (Andrea Riseborough) start to realize that something isn’t right about their supposed mission to repair essential technology before joining the human race’s migration into space.
Oblivion is full of plot twists that don’t always make sense, but Cruise convincingly plays every emotional reaction. He pulls the audience along on this sleek, mind-bending future journey.
Anyone who only knows Risky Business from the often-parodied moment of Tom Cruise dancing in his underwear may be surprised to discover an emotionally engaging and sometimes dark coming-of-age dramedy. It’s a bit like a cross between Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Graduate, with Cruise as a recent high school graduate who finds a connection with a prostitute played by Rebecca De Mornay.
It features the requisite crazy parties and occasionally crass jokes of an ’80s teen comedy, but that’s balanced by a strong undercurrent of melancholy. Cruise captures the emptiness of a privileged teen staring into a predetermined future that he starts to realize may be meaningless.
Tom Cruise is probably not the first name that would come to mind to play a German officer during World War II, but the filmmakers behind Valkyrie pull it off. They cast Cruise and actors of various nationalities as the members of a secret German organization that conspired to assassinate Adolf Hitler, and nearly succeeded.
Set in the waning days of the war, Valkyrie generates plenty of suspense, even though anyone watching almost certainly already knows the outcome. It’s a fascinating history lesson, a taut thriller, and a true ensemble piece. Cruise plays the man in charge of the plan, but he makes room for the likes of Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, and Kenneth Branagh, all working toward the same goal.
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