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Tom Cruise's Best Sci-Fi Films

Scientology isn't the only sci-fi Tom Cruise stars in.

Tom Cruise is one of the top sci-fi movie stars in history. Ironic that he is the most important celebrity in a religion, Scientology, that is founded by a science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard. It begs the question, is Tom Cruise a science fiction fan or does he actually believe L. Ron's fantastical views? He has worked with the great sci-fi directors of his generation. From Ridley Scott in Legend to Steven Spielberg in War of the Worlds, Cruise has always been a hit in the science fiction genre.

Minority Report

An excellent Philip K. Dick book to film adaptation, Minority Report is an action-detective thriller set in Washington D.C. in 2054, where police utilize a psychic technology to arrest and convict murderers before they commit their crime. Tom Cruise plays the head of this police unit, named Precrime. The Precrime force uses Pre-Cogs, people gifted with the ability to see into the future, to arrest people before they commit crimes. Things go awry when the Pre-Cogs accuse Cruise’s Chief John Anderton of committing a murder in the next 36 hours of a man he hasn't even met. Cruise decides to solve the mystery by finding the “minority report” — the prediction of the female Pre-Cog Agatha (Samantha Morton) — that might tell a different story and prove Anderton innocent. Cruise will never be a master thespian, but there's no one better at putting across the charisma of control, and the opening sequence of Report is an astonishingly fluid demonstration of his gifts.

Oblivion

In Oblivion, Cruise plays a guy named Jack Harper in the year 2077. Jack Harper is a security repairman on an Earth left empty and devastated after a war with aliens. The Earth was ravaged by years of war with the Scavs. Harper and his lover and partner Vika Olsen (Andrea Riseborough) are assigned to protect the gigantic offshore fusion energy generators that provide power to the Tet, a large space station used as a launching pad to transport humans to the Saturn moon Titan for relocation. Harper has two weeks left before his mission ends and he will be able to join his fellow survivors. However, while checking out a signal, he discovers the pre-invasion spacecraft Odyssey that finally has crashed on Earth. Harper’s concept of reality comes crashing down after he rescues a beautiful stranger Julia (Olga Kurylenko) from the downed spacecraft. Julia’s arrival triggers a chain of events that start with Harper and Julia admitting they had prewar connections and memories at the Empire State Building. Before they can investigate further, they are attacked and captured by the Scavs who turn out to be human survivors led by Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman). Beech urges Harper to help them destroy the Tet by using a number of unstable fuel cells. Beech is trying to tell Harper that everything he knows is a lie, but Harper is just trying to single-handedly save mankind.

Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow

This is an unquestionable tale of bravery. Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow is a movie that clearly tells us there are things worth fighting for. When Earth falls under attack from invincible aliens, no military unit in the world is able to beat them. Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), an officer who has never seen combat, is assigned to a suicide mission. It's a treat to watch the typically heroic Cruise lose his shit, sweating and panicking at the thought of getting up close and personal with an alien race called Mimics. Killed within moments, Cage finds himself thrown into a time loop, in which he relives the same brutal fight -- and his death -- over and over again. However, Cage's fighting skills improve with each encore, bringing him and his comrade Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) closer and closer to defeating the aliens. The film is based on the 2004 Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.

War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds is Tom Cruise’s second collaboration with Steven Spielberg. In this film, Cruise plays Ray Ferrier, a divorced dockworker and less-than-perfect father with a barely amicable relationship between his teenage son Robbie and his young daughter Rachel (Justin Chatwin and Dakota Fanning). When his ex-wife and her new husband drop off the children for a weekend visit, a strange and powerful lightning storm suddenly touches down, and Ferrier finds himself and the world under attack, with huge mechanical beasts bent on taking over the world, thrusting him into a role of being resourceful or perishing, along with his family. This remake of the 1953 classic film, which, along with Orson Welles’ earlier, terrifying radio broadcast, was based on the H.G. Wells story and earned three Academy Award nominations in technical categories.

Vanilla Sky

In this English-language remake of Alejandro Amenabar’s 1997 Spanish film, Open Your Eyes, Cruise plays David Aames, a wealthy owner of a publishing company who finds himself on an unexpected roller-coaster ride of romance, comedy, suspicion, love, sex, and dreams in a mind-bending search for his soul. It is a complex mix of incidents that may or may not be real, including a romance between Aames and the beautiful Sofia Serrano (Penelope Cruz), along with a jilted lover, Julie Gianni (Cameron Diaz), who tries to kill him in an auto accident. Disfigured from the accident, Aames meets a man in a bar (Noah Taylor), who informs him he that he signed a contract with a cryogenics company 150 years ago and that they have been preserving him in a cryonic sleep after he killed himself with a drug overdose. Eerie incidents have been making Aames question the reality of his existence and his control over his life, even while he is suspected of complicity in Julie's death. Aames soon learns that he had opted for a lucid dream under the “vanilla sky” from a Monet painting as part of his cryonic sleep. But, something in his dream world has gone horribly wrong and was attempting to incorporate elements from his subconscious.

He Can Still Act

Though famous for doing his own action stunts in many of his sci-fi films, Tom Cruise is still a respected "thespian". A nice balance to Cruising through the sci-fi roles is a trip through some of the more commercial hits of the noted Scientologist. Cruise's success in sci-fi is directly related to his star power and acting chops. In this film as well, he worked with some of the best. From producer Jerry Bruckheimer's Top Gun to co-starring with Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, his biggest hits stand up to the test of time.

Endless Love

A little known, but still adorable, Tom Cruise makes an appearance in this 1981 heart-wrenching classic. Though not a movie star yet, you can sense his star quality even from this supporting role. This film is a must see for anyone who has ever had a passionate teenage romance, or any romance for that matter. The movie revolves around Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt and their tumultuous relationship. Cruise’s role is that of Billy, friend to Hewitt’s character. The storyline is engaging and it’s always fun to watch Shields attempt to act, but the music from this movie is what has added to its unforgettable nature. 

Top Gun

After Top Gun’s 1986 release, you were either a Maverick or a Goose, but you definitely wanted to be a fighter pilot. This star-studded cast, headed by Cruise, was based on a training program at the Navy’s Fighter Weapons school at Miramar in San Diego. Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, and Tom Skerritt all contributed to a classic tale of love, loss, and adventure. Meg Ryan even has a small role as Goose’s wife. The music is all 80s awesome and still relevant today. The group Berlin released the hit song "Take My Breath Away" and it helped catapult them to superstardom. Not to mention the fact that the movie furthered Cruise’s leading man status. It is a must-see for anyone who loves the 80s or Tom Cruise. Or both.

Rain Man

Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman are the unlikely duo that make this movie such a success. Rain Man is based on the relationship between two brothers, Cruise, the playboy and Hoffman, the autistic savant who is living in a group home. When their very wealthy father dies, he leaves all of his money to Hoffman’s character, who Cruise did not even know existed. This movie is a must see on so many levels. The love that develops between two unlikely characters and the attempt to explore and understand the autistic mind are all components of this 1988 film. And since it was made in the 80s, the soundtrack is just incredible. If you are still not convinced, it also won four Oscars-Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Actor in a Leading Role went to Hoffman.

A Few Good Men

“You can’t handle the truth!!” Who hasn’t heard this infamous line uttered by Jack Nicholson in this 1992 legal drama? Originally a play by Aaron Sorkin, he adapted it to the screen with Tom Cruise at the helm of a brilliant cast. Based on the trial of two U.S. Marines charged with the murder of a fellow Marine, Cruise plays the inexperienced lawyer chosen to defend them. The intricate plot follows the unspoken rules of the Marine Corp and an attempt to resolve ethical and moral dilemmas. Kevin Bacon is also in this movie, helping even more actors only be six-degrees separated from him. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards and should be seen by anyone who ever wanted to be a lawyer.

The Outsiders

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and adapted from S.E. Hinton’s novel, The Outsiders features a fresh-faced Tom Cruise and a whole list of other up-and-coming film stars. Leading the star-studded pack are Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, and Diane Lane. Who really cares about the plot when you get to see all of these actors in one film? This teen-driven drama focuses on the Greasers and the Socs and the rumbles that ensue between the two. It was a great showcase for the talented young actors and it was the springboard for many successful careers. If you haven’t seen this classic tale, it is time to watch it.

Born on the Fourth of July

Tom Cruise is an immensely talented actor. This is no more evident than his role in this unbelievably powerful drama directed by Oliver Stone. The 1989 movie is based on the autobiography of Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic. Cruise takes on the role of Kovic with conviction and brutal honesty. Whether you are pro-war or not, it is impossible not to be moved by his story. It follows Kovic’s life from a pre-war boy pretending to fight, to joining the Marines and beyond. Born on the Fourth of July was nominated for eight Academy Awards and took home two: Best Director and Best Film Editing. It is a celluloid experience not to be missed.

Best Tom Cruise Thriller Movies

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Mission: Impossible

Tom Cruise epitomizes the leading man/action hero in these films. And the soundtrack is pretty catchy. Originally a television series, Mission: Impossible brought the “impossible” to the big screen. Directed by Brian De Palma, the 1996 film focuses on Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt, and his mission to uncover who is framing him for the murders of his entire team. The high-paced action film leaves the viewer breathless and it is a roller coaster ride that needs to be seen to be believed. And for the record, the film made over 450 million dollars. Not bad Tom, not bad.

Jack Reacher

Based on Lee Child’s novels of the same name, Tom Cruise leads this film in the title role. Filmed in Pittsburgh, the movie begins with a sniper shooting and killing five people. Upon being taken in for questioning, the shooter, James Barr (Joseph Sikora) writes down “Get Jack Reacher.” Enter Tom Cruise, portraying a former U.S. Army Military Police Corps officer. He is in a moral dilemma whether or not to help with the case. The film was originally supposed to be released on December 15, 2012, but due to the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings on December 14, the release was delayed for a week. The movie is extremely engaging and a sequel is scheduled to be released soon.

Collateral

Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx help take this film on a thrilling ride. The plot is simple: Tom Cruise plays a hit man that hires Jamie Foxx’s cab to drive him from hit to hit. Foxx doesn’t realize his purpose, at first. But as soon as he does, the film takes on a whole series of twists and turns. Unfortunately, Foxx’s mother is brought into the mix and becomes a pawn in Cruise’s game. The film has you gripping onto your seat, literally. Released in 2004, the film brought in a respectable 217 million dollars.

Valkyrie

Tom Cruise’s affiliation with Scientology was almost the reason why he did not get this part. The film is an American-German historical thriller and the Germans are a little suspicious of Scientology. In the end, it all worked out and Cruise was able to take on the role with his usual gumption and conviction. The plot of Valkyrie is both complicated and riveting. There is a planned assassination on Hitler and Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise) is recruited to assist in the mission. The film is a study in moral dilemmas and should be seen by all.

The Firm

Based on John Grisham’s best-selling novel, Tom Cruise takes on the role of Mitch McDeere and brings him to life. A naive recruit of a seemingly normal Memphis law firm, Cruise’s character soon finds out that things are not always as they appear. This legal thriller takes you on a journey through the unexpected. There is suspense, there is murder and there is a movie that actually does the book justice. Gene Hackman does a great job portraying one of the firm’s senior partners.

Best Tom Cruise Sports Movies

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Jerry Maguire

Cuba Gooding Jr.’s, “Show me the money!” earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. And it only gets better from there. Jerry Maguire is the story of sport agent Jerry Maguire and his attempt at reinventing himself, becoming a better person and falling in love with Renee Zellweger. Clearly this film was a winner. Cruise’s performances earned him a Golden Globe for Best Actor. The little boy who plays Zellweger’s son, Jonathan Lipnicki, is the cutest thing around.

Without Limits

Perhaps if Cruise acted in this film instead of just producing it, it might have done better at the box office. Based on the experiences of Steve Prefontaine, the record-breaking distance runner, Without Limits received decent reviews. Donald Sutherland plays coach Bill Boweman, who also co-founded Nike, Inc. Sutherland received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor. It is a wonderful story and deserves to be seen.

All the Right Moves

Tom Cruise heads this cast as a football player who wants to escape his small town and earn a scholarship to college. A fight with the coach, played by Craig T. Nelson, ends up getting him thrown off the team. The film focuses on the aftermath of this action and what happens to Cruise when he thinks his life will be lived in a dead-end town. But don’t worry, all’s well that ends well for a guy as talented and good looking as Cruise. This movie goes great with popcorn and someone to cozy up with.

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