Though a bit outlandish at some points in his off-screen behavior I am always immensely drawn in for personal rags to riches stories. Surviving an abusive childhood and poverty then skyrocketing to fame is a feat I will always tip my hat to in life for any individual.
Actor Tom Cruise is that survivor, born in Canada, and first caught my attention in 1981 playing a psycho military cadet in “Taps”. When he followed that up with a role as a mining town high school football icon in “All The Right Moves” I was hooked. He never took his foot off of the acting accelerator and while just past the 50-year-old mark now he still knows no bounds to what film gem he can present us with. (*Editor’s Note – two readers very accurately caught that I made a mistake in my usually anal research on these lists. Tom Cruise was born in Syracuse, NY and spent part of his childhood in Canada. Great catch Rita and Nan…and thank you!)
Thank you to Google Images, You Tube, Wikipedia and IMDB for their help in putting this post together. So, here is my Top Ten Tom Cruise Movies list. Some of the ensembles he has been cast with are absolutely mind-boggling. Enjoy!
10 Oblivion (2013)
Question – How was the view on Tower 49 created?
I can be a contradiction in that I’ve been an introvert and a loaner most of my adult life despite being surrounded by tons of friends. That includes being outdoors or on road trips with Phoenix, To be out in space on a dangerous mission kinda tweaks that fear of, “am I really alone out here?”
Answer – That is the actual view atop the summit of Haleakala volcano in Maui and it was projected onto the screen. Those are the real clouds, real view and everything!
Playing Commander Jack Harper
Morgan Freeman – Malcolm Beech
Olga Kurylenko – Julia Rusakova
Andrea Riseborough – Victoria “Vika” Olsen
Director – Joseph Kosinski
9 Days of Thunder (1990)
Question – One day during filming, scenes were actually being written literally prior to shooting them live. What problem did this cause?
Despite being an (illegal) street racer I couldn’t stand watching stock car racing as a kid and my dad loved it. NASCAR was about to blast off in a couple of years but nobody knew it at the time. Though this movie is a tribute across the board to numerous legends of the previous good old boys of the South. It was also prophetic for a huge change on the immediate horizon in American sports. I got sucked in as well for a good 10 years as a diehard fan.
Answer – Cruise actually had to read his lines off cue cards attached to his windshield which resulted in a car accident. Going forward, he was fitted with a special earpiece to have lines fed to him.
Playing Cole Trickle
Nicole Kidman – Dr. Claire Lewicki
Robert Duvall – Harry Hogge
Michael Rooker – Rowdy Burns
Cary Elwes – Russ Wheeler
Randy Quaid – Tim Daland
Fred Thompson – Big John
Director – Tony Scott
8 Risky Business (1983)
Question – What was written in the script for Tom Cruise’s dance scene?
When I published My Top 10 Guilty Pleasure Movies I should have included Risky Business. I had just graduated from high school, moved away from home and everything was spectacular with my new life and everyday was an adventure. So, when Miles admonished Joel with, “…sometimes you gotta say what the fuck”, I became cockier than ever walking out of the theater. And wanting a hot blonde girlfriend who would go on train rides with me.
Answer – There was no script for it. He performed that entire scene ad-libbing the dance.
Playing Joel Goodson
Rebecca De Mornay – Lana
Joe Pantoliano – Guido
Bronson Pinchot – Barry
Curtis Armstrong – Miles
Director Paul Brickman
7 Interview With The Vampire (1994)
Question – How was the effect of swollen veins created on all of the actors faces who played vampires?
I’ve always been infatuated with the legend and myth of vampires along with loving several vampire movies. This one ranks way up towards the top of the list for me and I love their journey over the decades around the globe. Funny side note, Kirsten Dunst (12 years old) had her first on-screen kiss in this film with Brad Pitt. She said she thought it was gross at the time. I bet her opinion of that changed soon a few years later.
Answer – They were required to hang upside down 30 minutes at a time to force all of the blood to their heads. Then the make up artists gave them the eerie translucent-skinned vampire look.
Playing Lestat de Lioncourt
Brad Pitt – Louis de Pointe du Lac
Christian Slater – Daniel Molloy
Kirsten Dunst – Claudia
Antonio Banderas – Armand
Director Neil Jordan
6 Top Gun (1986)
Question – There were two classic scenes in the movie that were completely ad-libbed involving Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise, separately. What were they?
The first thing I will always remember about this movie are the two young boys I had in my life at the time. Top Gun had been playing in the theater for a few months and the three of us went to see it together for the first time on a Sunday afternoon. We would be picking up their mom a few hours later at the airport. I was so jacked up walking out of the theater that I took the boys down to Sears and we bought a huge new tv and a new VHS tape copy of “Top Gun”.
Answer – The first being when the students meet Charlie and Maverick explains about giving the MiG pilot the finger. Val Kilmer coughs, “bullshit” and all of the guys laug. That was all on his own doing spontaneously. Second, after the chase scene where Charlie catches up to Maverick. Well, Cruise completely forgot his lines so he just kissed McGillis and they kept the film rolling and that one take is what you see on screen.
Playing LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell
Kelly McGillis – Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood
Val Kilmer – LT Tom “Iceman” Kazansky
Anthony Edwards – LTJG Nick “Goose” Bradshaw
Tom Skerritt – CDR Mike “Viper” Metcalf
Michael Ironside – LCDR Rick “Jester” Heatherly
Barry Tubb – LTJG Leonard “Wolfman” Wolfe
Rick Rossovich – LTJG Ron “Slider” Kerner
Tim Robbins – LT Sam “Merlin” Wells
ClarWhip Hubley – LT Rick “Hollywood” Neven
Meg Ryan – Carole Bradshaw
Director Tony Scott
5 Valkryrie (2008)
Question – What set in the movie was an entirely accurate depiction of the real life story 65 years earlier?
I have studied and been infatuated with the European Theater of WWII since I was in high school. There were over two dozen attempts on Hitler’s life with Stauffenberg making the last two. I hadn’t realized until about twenty years ago that the Wolf’s Lair was actually in the far northern part of occupied Poland.
Answer – The “central communications center” (teleprinter room) that had 30 historically correct machines from the Nazi era and were fully functional.
Playing Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg
Kenneth Branagh – Major General Henning von Tresckow
Bill Nighy – General Friedrich Olbricht
Terence Stamp – Colonel General Ludwig Beck
Tom Wilkinson – Colonel General Friedrich Fromm
Carice van Houten – Nina Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg
Gerhard Haase-Hindenberg – Hermann Göring
Anton Algrang – Albert Speer
David Bamber – Adolf Hitler
Director Bryan Singer
4 Far and Away (1992)
Question – Nicole Kidman wasn’t giving the facial reaction that Ron Howard wanted when she was lifting the bowl covering Joseph’s crotch. How did he get the reaction he wanted?
The early segment in the film when Cruise is at the Christie’s house is absolutely hysterical. I love the historic journey that so many immigrants were taking not only overseas but continuing out West to form the foundation of many towns and cities that Americans now live in. The married lives of Cruise and Kidman played out perfectly through Joseph and Shannon.
Answer – Unbeknownst to Kidman ahead of time, he had Cruise remove his underwear and that is the classic look on her face you see in the film.
Playing Joseph Donnelly
Nicole Kidman – Shannon Christie
Thomas Gibson – Stephen Chase
Robert Prosky – Daniel Christie
Barbara Babcock – Nora Christie
Director Ron Howard
3 Jerry Maguire (1996)
Question – How was the first scene in the living room between Jerry and the little boy, Ray, scripted?
This movie is always a reminder of when I was coming out of my marriage and decided then (and to this day) that I would never get married again. I also decided that I could easily have that special girl with me for the rest of my life. If she has an adorable child like Ray…all the better.
Answer – The entire scene was ad-libbed by both of them. That is soooo cool!
Playing Jerry Maguire
Cuba Gooding, Jr. – Rod Tidwell
Renée Zellweger – Dorothy Boyd
Kelly Preston – Avery Bishop
Jerry O’Connell – Frank “Cush” Cushman
Jay Mohr – Bob Sugar
Bonnie Hunt – Laurel Boyd
Regina King – Marcee Tidwell
Jonathan Lipnicki – Ray Boyd
Director Cameron Crowe
2 Rain Man (1988)
Question – What was unique about the phone booth farting scene with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman?
This was my very first introduction to the world of autism. While some of Ray’s behavior could be accurate for one autistic person I felt too many people (including myself) came away with a false picture that all autistics behave like Raymond. Regardless, the movie was knock your socks off spectacular. I love the brother bond that is built and Valeria Golino is insanely hot. If you want a real life education on autism go to my very close friend Kristi’s blog at Finding Ninee and you can read about her beautiful son, Tucker.
Answer – It was completely unscripted as Hoffman really did pass gas and both actors ad-libbed the rest. Hoffman said it is his favorite movie scene ever.
Playing Charlie Babbitt
Dustin Hoffman – Raymond Babbitt
Valeria Golino – Susanna
Gerald R. Molen – Dr. Bruner (as Jerry Molen)
Jack Murdock – John Mooney
Michael D. Roberts – Vern
Director Barry Levinson
1 A Few Good Men (1992)
Question – What happened when Kendrick was driving Kaffee’s group around the base and through the rows of Marines?
For me this was his best ever performance. Some of the expected off-the-cuff humor was briefly intertwined into an incredibly powerful achievement. This was based on a real life case in the military and I’m glad that some things were brought to light even in the armed forces we still have rules. Those two boys were counting on him and he didn’t let them down.
Answer – Keifer Sutherland was not used to the extra wide vehicle and hit Marines on multiple takes.
Playing Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, USN, JAG Corps
Jack Nicholson – Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, USMC
Demi Moore – Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway, USN, JAG
Kevin Bacon – Captain Jack Ross, USMC
Kiefer Sutherland – Lieutenant Jonathan James Kendrick, USMC
Kevin Pollak – Lieutenant Sam Weinberg, USN, JAG Corps
Wolfgang Bodison – Lance Corporal Harold Dawson, USMC
James Marshall – Private Louden Downey, USMC
J.T. Walsh – Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Markinson, USMC
J.A. Preston – Judge Julius Alexander Randolph, USMC
Michael DeLorenzo – Private William T. Santiago, USMC
Noah Wyle – Corporal Jeffrey Owen Barnes, USMC
Cuba Gooding, Jr. – Corporal Carl Edward Hammaker, USMC
Director Rob Reiner
What is your favorite Tom Cruise movie?
We wanted to give a thank you and shout out to our wonderful blogger friend, Aleah. She’s been a long time supporter and Phoenix and I were so lucky to come across her wonderful travel blog quite some time ago. She is an adventurer and explorer having journeyed extensively through Asia, Europe and points beyond. Please click on over to her great blog at Solitary Wanderer and see for yourself! Thank you so much, Aleah!