Ahead of his return in Top Gun: Maverick, fans are celebrating Tom Cruise on his 59th birthday.
Tom Cruise is getting a lot of love online from fans on the occasion of his birthday, even if some find it hard to believe that the actor is just one year shy of 60. Tom Cruise, who still insists on doing his own dangerous stunts in the Mission: Impossible films, officially turns 59 on Saturday. His name has since trended on Twitter, with fans worldwide celebrating the action star, who looks like he’s barely aged a day since Top Gun.
“Happy birthday Tom Cruise! You are proof that at 59 we can be wild and fabulous,” one fan wrote, attaching a handful of photos.
But instead of the usual stream of tweets from fans, we’ve put together what we think are Tom Cruise’s ten best and most famous films.
10. Top Gun (1986)
In the Navy’s fighter-rifle school, cocky, aviator-glasses-wearing Maverick (Cruise) tries to outsmart the cooler, egomaniacal pilot, the Iceman (Val Kilmer). The aerial combat rocks, with Tom Skerritt at his best as their tough but fair instructor.
9. A Few Good Men (1992)
In one of the greatest acting duels in history, Cruise, as a callous military defense attorney trying to save two recruits accused of murder, is confronted by the fearsome officer Jack Nicholson, who bellows, “You can’t handle the truth!”. Aaron Sorkin wrote this dazzling courtroom drama on cocktail napkins while working as a bartender, and it made him famous enough to create The West Wing and The Community Network.
8. The Color of Money (1986)
Another duel between Cruise as a young pool shark and Paul Newman as the returning Fast Eddie Felson. Newman received an Oscar nomination as the young Fast Eddie in 1961’s unmissable The Hustler, and won an Oscar for it – partly due to Cruise’s star-making support.
7. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
After six years of megastardom, Cruise received his first Oscar nomination for Oliver Stone’s film adaptation of Ron Kovic’s memoir about the Vietnam War and his campaign against it. Cruise’s fiery genius has once again helped win him an Oscar – this time for director Stone.
6. Collateral (2004)
In Michael Mann’s gorgeously atmospheric thriller set in East L.A. after dark, when coyotes and hiding men roam the streets, Jamie Foxx is a cab driver who hires Cruise, the prettiest hitman you’ll ever see. His fare is hundreds of thousands, and all he has to do is help kill five trial witnesses – and survive.
5. Minority Report (2002)
In the adult role of the young star, Cruise plays a high-tech cop who catches perpetrators before they commit a crime. When director Steven Spielberg made the paranoid futuristic tale of sci-fi master Philip K. Dick (Pengefoot), he said, “I’m in my mid-50s – I’m not afraid of the dark any more”. Cruise doesn’t crack his famous smile, and as a result we take him deadly seriously in this dark, clever thriller.
4. Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)
Interview with the Vampire is the second of only three forays into the supernatural world. Cruise was unseen to be berated for being chosen to portray the character of Lestat in the highly anticipated Anne Rice adaptation, but once people saw the film – including Rice herself – they changed their minds. Indeed, Cruise’s performance here is quite excellent: he brilliantly portrays the relationship between Lestat and Louis, played by Brad Pitt, embracing the romantic overtones between the two.
The film itself is creepy and sumptuous, but ends up being a little bloated and episodic. Jordan does most justice in capturing the tragic nature of vampirism, aided by excellent performances from Cruise and Kirsten Dunst (Pitt is good, though somewhat overshadowed). Lestat replaces Louis not out of gratitude or gift giving, but out of desperation and loneliness. This is an element of vampire stories that is often glossed over to offer escapism or cheap thrills to the audience, but its emphasis is a welcome and thoughtful angle to this particular story.
3. Rain Man (1988)
Cruise plays a selfish Californian ceo who is forced to go on the road with a kindly, idiot-saviour brother (Dustin Hoffman) he’s never met, to try to cash in on their father’s inheritance and use the older brother’s strange talent to win big in Vegas. Once again, everyone but Cruise won Oscars (for Best Picture, Actor, Director and Original Screenplay), and it was partly thanks to his supporting genius.
2. The Last Samurai (2003)
The Last Samurai is a surprisingly thoughtful and sensitive historical epic. Director Edward Zwick deftly handles this story set in post-civil war Japan, and the end result is something like Dances with Wolves, albeit with more heart. And Cruise is superb as the regretful, alcoholic soldier who immerses himself in the world of the samurai – an endangered species. Ultimately, The Last Samurai is a story of redemption, and while Zwick’s respect for the subject matter sometimes begins to stifle the film (the pacing is a little uneven), he ultimately gives a refreshingly unique twist to a genre that dominated the 90s. If anything, The Last Samurai is notable for being the only historical epic in Cruise’s CV.
1. Jerry Maguire (1996)
Cruise’s best performance is as the rebelliously idealistic sports agent Jerry, who quits his firm, stands up for an underdog client (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and courts his accountant colleague (Renee Zellweger) – and he gets it in Hello. The deeply authentic romantic comedy (which also rubbed off as a pop musical) earned Gooding an Oscar, as well as nominations for Best Actor (Cruise), Best Picture and Best Screenplay (for writer-director Cameron Crowe, who wrote the film as a critique of the film experience).