Tom Cruise is one of the greatest action stars of our time. Cruise began acting in the early ’80s and made his breakthrough with leading roles in the 1983’s Risky Business and 1986’s Top Gun. His upbringing wasn’t the glamorous life he has now. He grew up in near poverty with his three sisters, moved around a lot, and his father, as he described, was “a merchant of chaos,” a “bully,” and a “coward” who beat his children.
Tom’s Pursuit of an Acting Career
At 18 years old, Cruise moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. He then went to Los Angeles to try out for television roles, signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and began acting in films. His first movie appearance was a small role in 1981’s Endless Love with Brooke Shields. Later that year, he landed a major supporting role as a crazed military academy student in Taps with Sean Penn. 1983 was a big year for Cruise, landing a role with an ensemble cast in The Outsiders, All the Right Moves, and the career-making Risky Business.
With 50 acting credits under his belt, Cruise has been in a movie almost every year for the last 42 years. He shows no signs of slowing down, with Mission: Impossible Dead – Reckoning Part Two set to release on June 28, 2024. Cruise famously performs his own stunts, including some crazy ones in the Mission: Impossible franchise. He has put his life at risk in order to capture authentically thrilling action scenes time and time again without the use of CGI. As Cruise told Telegraph recently, “I want to give everything. To have that experience, to see that it communicates to an audience when it’s real. It’s different. There’s stakes, there’s real stakes.” Love him or hate him, Tom Cruise goes all in on every role he takes on.
See below our 5 picks of Tom Cruise’s wildest roles. Note that these aren’t the ones that are the most highly acclaimed, or even his most famous ones.