Tom Cruise has been one of the biggest stars in Hollywood for decades, with a tenure spanning over 40 years since his debut in the early 1980s.
With a filmography of more than 40 movies, Cruise has built a career few can match. The Magnolia star has dabbled in every genre but is best known for his work in various action flicks — including the Mission: Impossible and Top Gun franchises, which have been some of the biggest blockbusters in all of history.
With his level of success, there are a great number of contenders for Cruise’s best overall features, however, Rotten Tomatoes — a review-aggregation website for film and television which launched in August 1998 — collects data from critics and audience members throughout the United States to craft a definitive list of the New York native’s films from worst to best.
Scroll down to see which film takes the top spot:
42. Cocktail (1988)
With a score of only 9%, Cocktail comes in as Cruise’s lowest-ranked film ever. Despite his work as a headliner, the Legend actor’s attempt at a romance film fell flat with viewers. The movie made Cruise the only winner of the notorious Razzie Award for Worst Picture to star in an Oscar winner for Best Picture.
41. The Mummy (2017)
The Mummy was Universal’s failed attempt at a quasi-Marvel Cinematic Universe with what they contended to be their own “Dark Universe.” Cruise starred in a resurrection of the original 1999 film and was intended to get fans excited for a new shared universe with all of Universal’s “Monsters” properties. Unfortunately, this film tanked, and the entire “Dark Universe” concept was scrapped.
40. Losin’ It (1983)
One of Jack Reacher star’s earliest films — and perhaps the first to cast Cruise as its star — Losin’ It opened to lackluster reviews and bombed at the box office.
39. Lions For Lambs (2007)
Co-stars Meryl Streep and Robert Redford couldn’t save this drama and Lions For Lambs was panned by critics upon opening. However, according to IMDb, the film did manage to almost double its $35 million budget, totaling around $63 million in the final box office tally.
38. Days of Thunder (1990)
This NASCAR-themed film didn’t make it to the finish line, despite all its stunts and thrills.
37. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)
One of Cruise’s more recent flicks (and a sequel to a film with a higher ranking), the second Jack Reacher movie failed to capitalize on the success of the first, with plans to finish the John Grisham trilogy being tossed.
36. Legend (1985)
This film has all the makings of a Ridley Scott film, but it’s neither Scott’s nor Cruise’s best work.
34. Rock of Ages (2012)
One of Cruise’s only musicals to grace this list, Rock of Ages gives a perfectly solid performance from its star-studded cast. The film also features a singing Cruise, giving a rare peek at another one of his many talents.
33. Far and Away (1992)
Far and Away pits Cruise against his then-wife Nicole Kidman in this ’90s drama that screened at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival and had a score composed by John Williams. In the romantic drama, Cruise and Kidman play Irish immigrants coming to the US in search of fortune.
32. Knight and Day (2010)
In this action-comedy, Cruise and Diaz team up for another mid-level hit. Knight and Day marked the second time Cruise and the Bad Teacher actress star together in a film after 2001’s Vanilla Sky.
31. Oblivion (2013)
Cruise stars opposite Morgan Freeman in this 2013 sci-fi adventure. Oblivion was praised by critics for its visuals and effects, but ultimately, other aspects of the film fell short.
30. Top Gun (1986)
Despite its only average reviews, the original Top Gun was a massive commercial success. The entire film was shot with only a $15 million budget, but it managed to net more than $350 million worldwide, according to IMDb.
29. Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
The lowest of the franchise to grace this list, the second Mission: Impossible is fairly universally panned as the series’ worst, despite spawning a number of sequels. It was directed by the legendary John Woo.
28. Valkyrie (2008)
Set in Germany during World War II, Valkyrie depicts the true story of a group of German officers who plotted to assassinate Hitler and take back control of the country. Despite the subject matter, critics considered the film only “mildly entertaining.”
27. All The Right Moves (1983)
Another one of Cruise’s earliest films, All The Right Moves, is a sports drama and coming-of-age film led by Cruise as the star of his high school’s football team.
26. Jack Reacher (2012)
Based on Lee Child’s novel One Shot, Jack Reacher opened to mild success in its attempt to become the next big crime franchise. While the first Reacher film was a success by most metrics, the sequel failed to live up to the hype.
25. Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Interview with the Vampire stars Cruise as Lestat de Lioncourt in an adaptation of Anne Rice’s first The Vampire Chronicles novel.
24. Mission: Impossible (1996)
The film that would kick off one of the biggest movie franchises in history, Mission: Impossible, changed the genre of spy films as the world knew it. Directed by Brian De Palma, Mission: Impossible continues the story set out by the 1966 television show and 1988 sequel series of the same name.
23. The Last Samurai (2003)
Cruise stars alongside Ken Watanabe in this period action film as a 19th-century American soldier in Japan who eventually becomes a samurai.
22. Taps (1981)
Cruise’s second-ever movie, Taps, was a drama film centered around fictional members of the military. Timothy Hutton won a Golden Globe nomination for his performance, and Taps was Sean Penn’s first movie role. Clearly, this casting director had an eye for talent.
21. The Outsiders (1983)
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, The Outsiders centers around a group of teens in rural Oklahoma. It was one of Cruise’s earliest roles, and it was one of the earliest roles for actors Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, and Ralph Macchio.
20. Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Directed by J.J. Abrams, this third installment of Cruise’s famed spy franchise brings the Mission: Impossible series back from the lull it suffered during its first sequel. M:I III was the highest received film of the original trilogy at its release, though the more recent films have scored even higher than this one.
19. The Firm (1993)
Cruise brings a spectacular performance to The Firm. which opened as a major commercial success and starred fellow 90s icons Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, and Jeanne Tripplehorn.
18. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
One of Stanley Kubrick’s most celebrated films, Eyes Wide Shut stars Tom Cruise opposite then-wife, Kidman, for a second time. The steamy romance would be Kubrick’s last film, as he passed six days after its final showing for the studio — four months before the film was released.
17. War of the Worlds (2005)
Cruise teams up with acclaimed director Steven Spielberg for this adaptation of H.G. Wells’ famed sci-fi novel from 1897. Dakota Fanning also stars in the film, which was narrated by Freeman.
16. Tropic Thunder (2008)
This unforgettable satire stars Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. as actors making a movie about the Vietnam War. Tropic Thunder parodies a number of films and tropes and has a stacked cast also including Matthew McConaughey, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, and Cruise as Les Grossman.
14. Magnolia (1999)
This Paul Thomas Anderson film opened to mainly positive reviews, despite some critics calling it long and overly dramatic.
13. Jerry Maguire (1996)
Focused on both romance and sports, the Cameron Crowe-directed Jerry Maguire gives an unforgettable performance by Cruise, as well as great work from fellow co-stars Renée Zellweger and Cuba Gooding Jr.
12. American Made (2017)
Inspired by real events, American Made tells the story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who went from working for the CIA to smuggling drugs for the Medellin Cartel. Cruise plays the starring role in this well-rated drama.
11. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
This Oliver Stone-directed patriotic film follows a 1960s teen who enlists in the Marines. The story is based on Ron Kovic’s 1976 autobiography of the same name and follows the anti-war sentiment the book establishes.
9. The Color of Money (1986)
Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Paul Newman, The Color of Money was destined to be a success with Newman playing a former pool hustler who takes Cruise under his wing as a protége.
8. Rain Man (1988)
Cruise shares the screen with Dustin Hoffman in this 1988 film, which takes place over the course of a road trip. The film was a huge success, netting eight Academy Award nominations and winning four.
7. Minority Report (2002)
One of the most acclaimed science fiction films of the 2000s, Minority Report was directed by Spielberg and was loosely adapted from Philip K. Dick’s 1956 short story, “The Minority Report.”
6. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
This Doug Liman-directed sci-fi hit places Cruise alongside Emily Blunt as they are both tasked with saving the world from an alien attack.
5. Risky Business (1983)
One of Cruise’s first hits, this sex comedy follows the actor as a high school senior whose parents leave for a vacation. Naturally, chaos ensues.
4. Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (2011)
The fourth installment of the M:I franchise, Ghost Protocol, brings the series to new heights. This is the only of the M:I films to be directed by Brad Bird and also stars Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Paula Patton.
3. Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (2015)
A follow-up to 2011’s Ghost Protocol, Rogue Nation marks the fifth installment of the Mission Impossible franchise.
2. Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
Released in 2022, Top Gun: Maverick is Cruise’s most recent film to date. The action-adventure has made over $1 billion at the box office so far, completely eclipsing its predecessor in both ratings and profit. It is also the fifth highest-grossing film ever domestically and the top-grossing film of Cruise’s career.
1. Mission: Impossible — Fallout (2018)
The sixth and most recent Mission: Impossible film to date, Fallout is Cruise’s highest received film overall and was directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Fallout made almost $800 million worldwide and is Cruise’s highest-grossing film at the time of its release.
A two-part sequel to the film, Dead Reckoning, is in development and set to premiere in 2023 and 2024.
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