No one has made a better case to be Hollywood’s most enduring movie star over the past four decades than Tom Cruise. With this year’s Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One and last year’s Top Gun: Maverick, the 61-year-old continues to prove he’s ageless in real life and bulletproof on-screen. His career, much like his Top Gun and Mission: Impossible characters, simply cannot be killed.
In the 40 years since Cruise slid across a hardwood floor in his socks, button-down shirt, and tighty-whities in 1983’s Risky Business, he has remained at the forefront of the cultural conversation, thanks to a virtually unrivaled string of hits. More than just about anybody from his generation of actors, Cruise has created a body of work that’s notable for its consistent quality, versatility, and his fierce commitment to pushing his own limits.
To commemorate the penultimate film in the Mission: Impossible series, Dead Reckoning Part One, The A.V. Club is ranking Cruise’s 25 best movies, a considerable challenge for a performer with at least 56 credits under his belt since 1981.