Seven Great Tom Cruise Performances

With Knight & Day hitting cinemas, looks at Seven of Tom Cruise’s greatest performances


Who can forget the 21-year-old Cruise wearing nothing more than his tighty-whities slidding across the living room floor? The scene shot the actor to super-stardom in this coming of age dramedy — a genre that was never stronger than in the early 1980s…


Much like Top Gun, Cocktail may be a product of its time but the film is a firm ‘80s favourite. Cruise plays plays a young, arrogant bartender who falls for Elizabeth Shue’s character. Despite winning a “Razzie” as the”worst movie” of the year, it remains a classic.


Cruise’s fine work as an enigmatic vampire won over even his greatest doubters, including Anne Rice, whose novel inspired the film. Rice opposed his casting, but who later took out a two-page ad in Variety to admit she was wrong and apologize.


Cruise teams up with Dustin Hoffman in this road movie about two long-lost brothers on their way to Los Angeles. Hoffman won an Oscar for his portrayal of the autistic Raymond Babbitt, but Cruise also delivers a skilled performance as the self-centered younger brother who learns a series of painful (and valuable) lessons along the way.


With an A-list that included Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly and William H. Macy, Cruise may be the most controversial character in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia. Cruise plays the the motivational speaker Frank T.J. Mackeyin this depressing and eventually uplifting L.A. story. Watch Cruise’s performance above. WARNING – NSFW!


This quintessential Cruise performance, the actor plays a sports agent who gets canned after he expresses his doubt for what they do at his agency. He then takes his one client (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and an assistant (Renee Zellwegger) to make a go of it. Cameron Crowe adds his name to the directors who have gotten the most out of Tom Cruise as he showcases all of the intensity, charm, and sex appeal that helped him help you to make him the biggest movie star in the world during the nineties.


And who could ever forget the Tom Cruise exchange with Jack Nicholsan in the courtroom? Cruise: “I Want the Truth!” Nicholsan: “You can’t handle the truth!” In this movie, Cruise faces lots of adversity and his must think his way through to protect his defendants in a story based on real events.