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Creator / Tom Cruise

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"Tom Cruise is an amazing actor and generous co-worker whose personal life we, as a society, know far too much about."

Thomas Cruise Mapother IV (born July 3, 1962), better known by his screen name of Tom Cruise, is an American actor and film producer.

Forbes magazine ranked him as the world's most powerful celebrity in 2006. During his career, he has been nominated for three Academy Awards and won three Golden Globe Awards. His first leading role was in Risky Business, and since then he has become known for playing cocky, charismatic heroes, although he has sometimes stepped outside his comfort zone. He's famous for his dedication to the job; every starring action role of his has him either driving, motorcycling, flying, climbing, acrobatics or running, and he does the majority of these stunts himself, not relying on stunt doubles for them. He's also especially known for his running, which happens in nearly every movie.

Every few years, Cruise attracts some attention through some unusual antics that put him into the tabloids, such as his outspoken adherence to the Church of Scientology or his high-profile marriages (to Mimi Rogersnote , Nicole Kidman, Penélope Cruz, and Katie Holmes, all of which eventually ended). He is generally very friendly, but his intensity has led to some memetic moments in interviews, including jumping on Oprah's couch on her show telling her how much he loves Katie Holmes.

Despite all the crazy, Cruise is considered a genuinely good - sometimes even great - actor with great films and powerful performances under his belt. He has remained an A-list actor since The '80s, something very few can claim, starting around the time of Top Gun. So far, Cruise has exclusively appeared in theatrical films, and has yet to ever act for TV or streaming, prompting the New York Times to refer to him as "Hollywood’s Last Real Movie Star". He also opened the 2002 Oscars — just months after 9/11 — and gave a memorably powerful and heartwarming opening speech called "A Little Bit of Magic". Finally, even in his 60s, he remains Hollywood's preeminent Pretty Boy.

He is the first cousin of actor William Mapother. They have played together in some films.

Notable for:

Tropes associated with him:

  • Action Hero: Especially in the Mission: Impossible Film Series, which made his character a standard of a modern super spy. Jack Reacher practically cements it. His image as an action star is so ingrained in the public consciousness that it's easy to forget that he didn't start out that way, as much of his roles in the '80s and especially the '90s were of the dramatic kind, with a few action movies here and there. It wasn't until the 2000s and 2010s that he began to star in more and more action movies, to the point where they dominate nearly the entirety of his filmography of those decades (case in point: the only movie of his since the 2000s that isn't an action movie in some way is Lions for Lambs).
  • Adam Westing: Most of his roles are handsome and playboys, which gets into this trope, so it's very difficult to get rid of the idea that such characters are an Actor Allusion.
  • And Starring: A quirk of his more recent filmography is that he comes last in the Video Credits at the end of his films despite being the top-billed star and main draw.
  • Big Heroic Run: Famous for his on-camera sprinting ability; seems to work its way into most of his movies, regardless of the genre. As Cinema Wins says, "Tom Cruise sprints like a champ." Cruise even nods to its memetic status in his official Twitter bio: "Running in movies since 1981."
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: His reputation for eccentricity aside, Tom is undeniably a terrific actor and one of the last remaining stars who can make films successful largely on his name and charisma and his performances and track record of working with legendary directors are proof of why.
  • Career Resurrection: After an increasing amount of scandals and heavy tabloid coverage in the mid-2000s waned his star power a bit, he won back the crowd in 2011 with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which was a critical and box office success and renewed interest in the Mission: Impossible franchise. Even though he's had a few misfires and is still very controversial, he's been a consistent box office draw ever since and is considered to be one of the last in a dying breed of movie stars. This has been further seen with the critical and commercial success of Top Gun: Maverick, which became his first film in his 41-year career to gross over a billion dollars.
  • The Cast Showoff: The P-51 Mustang he flies into the sunset with Jennifer Connelly in Top Gun: Maverick is actually Cruise's own personal plane, and he's really flying it. He's been a licensed pilot since 1994.
  • The Charmer: Heroic or villainous, all of his characters tend to radiate charisma. His famous megawatt smile tends to help.
  • Chewing the Scenery: As much as his roles are understated, he knows how to shout and go nuts on occasion ("PENIS! PENIS! Big fucking erect penis, Mom!", "SHOW ME THE MONEY!", "DON'T EVER SAY HIS NAME!", "First, take a big step back... and literally, FUCK YOUR OWN FACE!", etc.).
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: He was the physical inspiration for the title character in Aladdin.
  • Cool Old Guy: His trademark role these days, especially in Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible where his age hasn't come close to slowing him down.
  • Dawson Casting: In 1983, he played teenagers in four separate movies, including his Star-Making Role in Risky Business, when he was twenty-one years old. His roles in the film adaptation of Endless Love and Taps two years earlier only barely skirted the line, since he was nineteen at the time.
  • Doing It for the Art:
    • He puts all his effort into every role, regardless if it is a romantic comedy or an action movie. It's almost Memetic Mutation to say "Cruise never phones it in." This extends both within his movies, where he often develops the big Money-Making Shot himself, and in advertising the films, where he goes above and beyond with interviews and promotions.
    • For most of his career, Tom Cruise has worked out percentage deals for his films rather than taking a salary, meaning he gets a portion of the gross when the movie comes out. This helps ensure his films stay under budget while ensuring the biggest pay-day for himself, but only if it succeeds. It also means he has to bust his ass to promote the movie and make it the best it can be before release. Most of this certainly motivated his infamous recorded rant on the set of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One when some crew members didn't respect the COVID-19 Pandemic production guidelines (though he didn't forget to mention it's also about ensuring the livelihood of everyone involved).
  • A Father to His Men:
    • Ethan Hunt and Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (in Top Gun: Maverick) will ensure that their team will pull off their missions while personally caring about them coming back alive from them.
    • Say what you want about his personal life but on a film set, Cruise has a reputation for being a tough but fair leader, with people like his Mission: Impossible co-star Rebecca Ferguson gushing about how warm and kind he is to them on set. On Edge of Tomorrow, he famously challenged the extras to reduce the time it took to put on their suits from 30 minutes to 3, which ended up saving hours of production time and millions in cost. The Covid-19 rant above was partly due to the fact that not only was the movie (which he is a producer of) providing jobs for the people working on it, but it was also shouldering the hopes of all the major movie studios for a major post-Covid blockbuster, which would have long-lasting ramifications for the rest of the industry.
    • His Top Gun: Maverick co-stars, most of whom are much younger than him, have praised Cruise's leadership during the press tour. Jennifer Connelly, who played his love interest Penny Benjamin, even credits him with helping her overcome a fear of flying by taking her through some aerobatics in his own P-51 Mustang for the final scene of the film. She notes that his meticulous approach to piloting made her feel extremely safe despite the tiny plane (and the aerobatics).
  • Height Angst: He is famously rather short in stature, somewhere in the vicinity of 170 cm (5'7"), so many serious or romantic scenes in his works are filmed so that he was at least on a par with his Love Interest. It's notably not necessary in the later Mission: Impossible films, though, opposite the 5'5" Rebecca Ferguson, and he is the same height as Jennifer Connelly, his love interest in Top Gun: Maverick.
  • Hunk: He may be short but is still handsome, muscular, and manly.
  • Large Ham: Averted with his characters, to the surprise of many who have never seen him act before — he is actually a truly gifted actor with a remarkable subtlety to his performances. Although he definitely corresponds to this trope in real life, most of his characters have a more restrained personality. Then there's Les Grossman. (That said, though, when he does decide to go for the Ham, he doesn't do it by halves.)
  • Keet: He's well-known for being very energetic and upbeat, something that hasn't waned a bit even though he's pushing sixty. However, this can lead to him getting intense at times, such as the infamous couch jumping incident.
  • Money, Dear Boy:
    • He reportedly said that this was his main reason for doing the '80s sex comedy Losin' It.
    • Also averted with his big franchises to some extent, as he has long refused to approve his likeness for merchandise, which is why you won't be finding an Ethan Hunt action figure any time soon. The last Mission: Impossible video game tied to his film series dates back to 2003, for this reason as well.
  • Mr. Fanservice: His films often take advantage of his boyish good looks and well-built physique, whether it be with tight shirts or going shirtless, most prominent in the Top Gun films and the Mission: Impossible series.
  • Nice Guy: Even with his controversial reputation in the tabloids, Tom is actually a lot more humble and friendly in real life.
  • No Stunt Double: He does the majority of his stunts personally and is proficient enough that he is trusted to do those high-risk stunts. On their own, each Mission: Impossible film tries to up itself with what he does. From rock climbing without a harness and having his co-worker actually try to stab him in the eye in MI:II to scaling the Burj Khalifa in Ghost Protocol, hanging on the side of a real cargo plane in Rogue Nation, performing over 100 HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) skydiving jumps for just a handful of usable takes, doing high-speed motorcycle chases through busy Paris streets sans helmet or any protection, and eventually breaking his ankle jumping between buildings in Fallout. Cinema Wins refers to this quite accurately as "Unnecessary Risks Taken by Tom Cruise Due to His Unimpeded Devotion to Realism." And he learned to pilot helicopters and jet fighters so that's really him in a cockpit that you see doing that onscreen in Mission: Impossible – Fallout and Top Gun: Maverick.note 
  • Older Than They Look: It's become widespread the joke that he stopped aging sometime around the 2000s (for reference: in Fallout, Cruise was one year older than Jon Voight during the first Mission: Impossible!), specially compared to former co-stars.
  • Perpetual Smiler: He's known for his famous million-dollar smile and displays it regularly. Mission: Impossible II even has the villain say the hardest part about impersonating Ethan Hunt was "grinning like an idiot every fifteen minutes".
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Famously on the shorter side compared to many other stars, but frequently plays characters who are extremely skilled fighters.
  • Playing Against Type: The roles of the cynical Anti-Villain Lestat in Interview with the Vampire, too-curious-for-his-own-good Dr Bill Harford in Eyes Wide Shut, villainous henchman Vincent in Collateral, divorced working-class father Ray Ferrier in War of the Worlds (2005), and Jerkass movie studio executive Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder.
  • Produced by Cast Member: He has invested a lot in his biggest movies since the 2000s, he doesn't merely play in them.
  • Production Posse: He's found himself a crack team for his major movies since about Valkyrie in 2008 with writer/director Christopher McQuarrie and directors Joseph Kosinski and Doug Liman (since Oblivion for the former and Edge of Tomorrow for the latter).
  • Romance on the Set: Started dating Nicole Kidman on the set of Days of Thunder, Penélope Cruz on the set of Vanilla Sky, and Hayley Atwell on the set of the seventh Mission: Impossible film.
  • Running Gag: For some reason, there seems to always be someone or something (even an Elvis bobblehead) named "Bob" in his films since at the very least The Last Samurai (at least those where he enjoys greater creative control as producer).
  • Scully Box: invoked He provides the trope image. Camera angles and other tricks are used to make him seem much taller than he is, and not be dwarfed by taller actors and actresses around him. Reportedly he was the only actor in Top Gun who actually met the height requirements for being a fighter pilot, with all the others feeling cramped.
  • Signature Style: It's probably written somewhere in his contracts that modern action films starring him include the following:
    • His peculiar way of running.
    • Him driving a motorcycle.
    • Him wearing a ballcap.
    • Someone or something in the film will have to be named "Bob".
  • Silver Fox: Has dyed his hair gray for roles, including Collateral. Still doesn't detract from his overall good looks.
  • Those Two Actors: He worked with his then-wife Nicole Kidman in three movies: Days of Thunder, Far and Away, and Eyes Wide Shut, with her playing his love interest in all three.
  • Troubled, but Cute: His roles at the beginning of his career.
  • Typecasting: In the early years of his career, he tended to play cocky but talented young hotshots. Around the mid-'90s, he became too old to play those roles, so he instead began to be typecast as suave, charismatic Action Heroes, usually of the Loveable Rogue variety.
  • Wag the Director: Generally exerts a lot of influence over the movies he's in, for better or worse. For The Mummy (2017) in particular, it got to the point where it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to suggest that Tom Cruise was effectively the movie's actual director.


Video Example(s):


You Can't Handle the Truth!

Lt. Kaffee and Colonel Jessup go all in this epic courtroom battle scene!

How well does it match the trope?

4.92 (38 votes)

Example of:

Main / HamToHamCombat

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