Since his star-making performance in 1983’s Risky Business, Tom Cruise has had a run of expected, interesting, and occasionally challenging roles. Here are five of his best and worst performances.
Risky Business, 1983: A darkly sweet and comical nod to the turbulence of late adolescence, this film launched Cruise’s career and defined the actor and his million-watt smile as a major sex symbol.
The Color of Money, 1986: Paul Newman won his only Oscar returning to the role of Fast Eddie Felson, but Cruise as a cocky young pool hustler matched the veteran actor step for step.
Jerry Maguire, 1996: We know the lines, but Cruise’s charisma and Cameron Crowe’s sharp script and direction make it work.
Magnolia, 1999: As a misogynist and profane dating guru in Paul Thomas Anderson’s intimate multi-character drama, Cruise delivered his most striking and powerful performance yet.
Minority Report, 2002: In this Steven Spielberg future sci-fi thriller, Cruise plays a Pre-Crime police captain on the run from government forces -- the actor’s best action film role and action film yet.
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Legend, 1985: Ridley Scott’s fantasy is beautiful to look at and difficult to watch, with a long-haired Cruise miscast as the hero.
Cocktail, 1988: Cruise is yet another cocksure young man with a lot to learn: a bartender caught up in romantic and career turmoil as he tries to win back the girl and open his dream bar.
Days of Thunder, 1990: Cruise cashes in on his celebrity in this auto-racing movie with a plot and characters as formulaic as the NASCAR tracks.
Far and Away, 1992: As a hot-headed Irishman who comes to the United States for a new life and free land, Cruise’s epic struggles with an Irish accent is what’s most remembered about Ron Howard’s historical drama.
Rock of Ages, 2012: Cruise plays a muscled rock singer whose drug addiction doesn’t keep him out of the gym, and sings just well enough not to startle audiences.