Stars' Big Breaks

Tom Cruise, Taps

The then-unknown A-lister played a cadet at a military academy alongside Sean Penn in the 1981 thriller. Though he only uttered one line during his audition, Cruise felt confident he'd landed the part. "It wasn't arrogance," he told Esquire mag. "I had a quarter in my pocket -- and that was it." After hitchhiking back home, "I walked up the driveway and saw my mother . . . She looked at me and I looked at her, and I thought, I got it."

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