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Tom Cruise Retrospective

Today’s episode of Sounds of Cinema featured guest co-hosts Andy Wardinski and Ben Wardinski in a look back at the career of actor Tom Cruise. One of the most successful performers in the history of Hollywood, Cruise’s career has crossed genres and mixed spectacle and drama while working with many of the great directors of the last forty years. This conversation considers many of the titles of Cruise’s career including blockbusters like Top Gun and the Mission: Impossible series as well as his dramatic turns in A Few Good Men and Born on the Fourth of July and his comic roles in Tropic Thunder and Rock of Ages.

From Taps to Top Gun

Tom Cruise’s early films were distinguished by the way he co-starred with other up and coming actors such as Giancarlo Esposito and Sean Penn in Taps and Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, and Diane Lane in The Outsiders. Cruise also starred in defining 1980s films Top Gun and Risky Business.

Tom Cruise in the 1980s and 90s

After the success of Top Gun, Tom Cruise established himself not only as a movie star but also as a serious actor with roles in The Color of Money, Born on the Fourth of July, and Interview with the Vampire.

Tom Cruise in the 1990s and 2000s

Continuing his run of dramatic roles in the early 1990s, Tom Cruise did some ambitious and interesting films in the late 1990s and early 2000s including Magnolia and Eyes Wide Shut. (Read a commentary about Tom Cruise 1999 films here.) He also stared in the thoughtful science fiction action picture Minority Report.

Tom Cruise in the 2000s and Beyond

In the early twenty-first century Tom Cruise did a few dramatic roles such as The Last Samurai and did some interesting character work in Collateral and Tropic Thunder but he also leaned into spectacle films with War of the Worlds and Edge of Tomorrow.

Mission: Impossible and Tom Cruise’s Legacy

In this last part of our discussion we address the trajectory of the Mission: Impossible series and the way it has come to define Tom Cruise’s career both for better and for worse. We finish by recommending three Tom Cruise films.