Date of Birth: 03/07/62
From: Syracuse, New York
Best Known For: Top Gun, Minority Report, Mission: Impossible
Regular Collaborators: Steven Spielberg
Over the span of his career, he’s been a secret government agent, a gifted pool hustler, a creature of the night and a Harvard lawyer with balls big enough to take down Jack Nicholson. Coinciding with the release of his latest film, Rock of Ages, there could be no better time to look back over the career of Mr. Tom Cruise.
The year was 1983 and the films in question were Risky Business and All the Right Moves. Both of these were responsible in handing Cruise his first leading roles and earning his first Golden Globe nomination (Risky Business). Risky Business is essentially Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with Cruise as the rebellious schoolboy instead of Matthew Broderick, propelled by a fantastically cool soundtrack and an energetic performance from Cruise. Risky Business was merely the tip of the iceberg for Tom and a signal of what was to come from this obviously talented young actor.
The next film to follow would be the one which would cement Cruise’s status as a superstar. That film was Top Gun. In 1986 Cruise donned the pilot uniform with Tim Robbins and Val Kilmer and the rest was history. Tom Cruise was a Maverick in more ways than one. Cruise followed up Top Gun by collaborating with two of the industry’s biggest names, Paul Newman and Martin Scorsese, in The Colour of Money. Cruise this time played a Newman-esque character whose attitude toward a pool hustler threatens his ability. Despite being less well received as some of Scorsese’s other films such as Goodfellas or Raging Bull, The Colour of Money remains a solid effort in both Cruise and Scorsese’s back catalogue.
The late 1980’s is still seen today as Cruise’s golden era of fantastic performances. Born on the Fourth of July and Rain Man were in no danger of staining the reputation of one of the biggest stars around at the time. Cruise earned his first Best Actor Academy Award nomination for the former as well as winning his first Golden Globe.
The versatility of Mr. Cruise continued into the 1990’s with strong turns in films such as A Few Good Men in 1992, Interview with the Vampire in 1994 and in 1996 as government agent Ethan Hunt in the first of four Mission Impossible films he would go on to star in. The same year earned Cruise his second Academy Award nomination for his performance as the title character in Jerry Maguire, starring alongside Renne Zellweger and Cuba Gooding Jr. Two more films followed in the 1990’s. The under-appreciated last film from director Stanley Kubrick Eyes Wide Shut, which paired Cruise with Nicole Kidman for the second time and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, where Cruise plays motivational speaker Frank T.J. Mackey, earning him a third Academy Award nomination.
By this point, Cruise had established himself as box office gold and more than capable as a leading man. The turn of the century saw more and more leading roles for Cruise in films such as Vanilla Sky, The Last Samurai and a slightly disappointing sequel to the 1996 film Mission Impossible where Cruise reprised his role as super spy Ethan Hunt. 2006 saw Cruise sign up for what is questionably his most recognisable role to date as Captain John Anderton in the science fiction film Minority Report, directed by Steven Spielberg. 2005 saw the pair team up together for a second time as Spielberg took on another adaptation, this time in the form of War of the Worlds, with Cruise yet again in the leading role.
2008 marked a significant point in Cruise’s career. With the release of Tropic Thunder, Cruise returned to the comedy genre in which he made his name. This performance added to his Golden Globe nominations and the film was deemed a financial and critical success, with many praising Cruise’s unrecognisable performance in particular. From comedy to action, Cruise reprised his role as Ethan Hunt for the third time in Mission Impossible III and for the fourth time in 2011 in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Cruise has proved his musical abilities in 2012’s Rock of Ages, a film in which he plays musician Stacee Jaxx. With such an impressive history it seems we’ve got much more to come from such a prolific actor who seems to defy the ageing process.
Eyes Wide Shut, Risky Business, Interview with a Vampire and The Last Samurai are all available on DVD and to download on iTunes now.