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The List: Top 10 Tom Cruise movies

Tom Cruise’s 50th birthday on July 3 was overshadowed by the news that he and his wife of five years, Katie Holmes, were divorcing. Mr. Cruise’s film credits include “Top Gun”, “Days of Thunder” and “Jerry Maguire.” His crime thriller “Jack Reacher” will be released in December. The List this week looks at Mr. Cruise’s top films.

  • 10. The Firm (1993) - In this John Grisham thriller, Mr. Cruise plays Mitch McDeere, an ambitious young Harvard Law graduate who takes on a lucrative job offer from a Memphis company called Bendini, Lambert & Locke. But the dream turns into a nightmare when McDeere is approached by the FBI and informed that Bendini is a Mafia front targeted for federal investigation. The film also involves a touching a love story and includes a great backup cast including Gene Hackman and Holly Hunter.
  • 9. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) - Mr. Cruise is back in the fourth installment of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise as superspy Ethan Hunt. In this tense action film, Mr. Cruise does some of his own stunts as the character Hunt climbs the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. This is Mr. Cruise’s top box office film of all time, grossing more than $690 million worldwide.
  • 8. Valkyrie (2008) - This film is set in Nazi Germany during World War II, starring Mr. Cruise as Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, who attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler and enact “Operation Valkyrie,” a plot by a group of revolutionary Nazis to wrest control of Germany from Hitler. While Mr. Cruise may lack the gravitas to play a German aristocrat, but he does a good job overall as the real-life German colonel who harbors disgust with the Nazi regime. The message of the film is about the nobility of self sacrifice, even in defeat. The supporting cast is top notch, featuring British veterans Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Terence Stamp and Tom Wilkinson.
  • 7. Taps (1981) - While Timothy Hutton and George C. Scott were billed as the marquee stars, this film proved to be Mr. Cruise’s breakout role as a psychotic teen in a rebellion at a military academy.
  • 6. Days of Thunder (1990) - In this NASCAR-themed sports melodrama, Mr. Cruise plays a gifted but ignorant driving prodigy named Cole Trickle. This crowd-pleaser is a an irresistible mixture of comic, sentimental and heroic gratification. Robert Duvall and Nicole Kidman are expertly tailored for their roles.
  • 5. Rain Man (1988) - This film brought out the darker side of Mr. Cruise, who plays a crass conniver who grows a heart when exposed to his autistic brother (Dustin Hoffman) who has been left a huge inheritance. The film made more than $350 million.
  • 4. Jerry Maguire (1996) - Mr. Cruise earned his second Oscar nomination as a sports agent trying to rebuild his career with a single client (Cuba Gooding Jr.), a maverick, showboating wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. Mr. Gooding almost steals the show from Mr. Cruise, whose key assets are sincerity and a priceless smile. Renee Zellweger plays a smitten clerical employee in the film, which collected more than $270 million at the box office.
  • 3. Minority Report (2002) - A great experiment of a film. Mr. Cruise collaborated with director Steven Spielberg on this sci-fi film set in 2054. Mr. Cruise is cast as John Anderton, the chief of an experimental “pre-crime” unit that has proved foolproof in stopping intended murders. The movie made more than $350 million.
  • 2. A Few Good Men (1992) - Mr. Cruise plays Lt. Daniel Kaffee, an apathetic Navy lawyer whose life changes when he takes on a case involving a military scandal in this courtroom thriller similar to “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.” Mr. Cruise goes up against short-tempered base commandant Col. Nathan R. Jessup, played by Jack Nicholson. Like a matador, the cocky Kaffee lures Jessep to self-destruct. Demi Moore and Kevin Bacon also star in the film.
  • 1. Top Gun (1986) - This film shot Mr. Cruise into stardom. He played cocky Navy pilot Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who is sent to the Fighter Weapons School, known in the trade as Top Gun, to sharpen his dogfighting skills against the Navy’s best pilots. Mitchell has a combative personality and a father whose combat death remains clouded in scandal. It was the hottest film of 1986 and would pull in $353 million worldwide. The film also starred Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards.

Compiled by John Haydon
Sources: The BusinessInsider.com and the Associated Press.

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John Haydon
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