Highlights: Tom Cruise

By Jason Barney

June 19, 2012

Whatever happened to Kelly McGillis?

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As we watch careers rise and fall, it is always fun to measure which films are memorable within the body of work of a particular actor or actress. As time passes and more films enter a performer's resume, it's interesting to see how certain films stack up against others. Such discussions are totally based on point of view, but every so often Box Office Prophets will be taking a look at an actor/actress and providing a list of their top five movies.

There is no secret formula. Money earned in the theaters isn't added to critical reception and then divided by how many times people have seen these films. The square root of how many quotable lines a picture has is not multiplied by how many people own a flick on DVD.

A number of factors are taken into account for each Career Highlights list. First, limited or small roles naturally hold down a film's chances of making the top five. The screen time of a role that merely lasts a few minutes is difficult to weigh against a film where a performer appeared as the star. In addition, box office success is not major factor. Some really awful movies that have made mountains of money. Perhaps the best way to define how a flick makes the Career Highlights list is by acknowledging the "Enjoyment Factor." Please feel free to agree, disagree, and offer a comment or two... and if you disagree, let us know which films should have been included!


Last weekend, Tom Cruise returned to the big screen with the musical Rock of Ages. His role as music star Stacee Jaxx was unconventional for the actor, reminding fans of his departure from the norm back when he did Interview with the Vampire. It may be surprising to grasp, but he has been making films for over three decades. Cruise has a long list of hits and box office draws on his resume and there has been some speculation that his best moving making days are behind him. Only the future will tell. The list of pics he has headlined is impressive, though. Here are the highlights of his career.

1) Top Gun (1986)

Cruise’s best film is 1986’s Top Gun. It was his eighth effort on the big screen and elevated him to superstar status. Top Gun pretty much has something for everyone: romance, action, a worthy story, emotional attachment to the characters, and a great ending. It is good enough to match up against any of the blockbusters that have come out over the last 26 years and has a special place in the hearts of many movie goers. The supporting cast is first rate, with the beautiful Kelly McGillis playing opposite Cruise. Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, and Mike Ironside all contribute in memorable ways, providing a solid foundation for Cruise’s character, Maverick.

The film involves the military’s best fighter pilots in a training program that pits their flying talents against one another. Cruise’s Maverick is the central focus as the plot develops, pushing himself against his already good reputation and the other aces in the military. He has struggles along the way. His copilot, Goose, is killed in a training accident, evoking sadness from watchers of all ages. From there, Maverick's relations with Charlie (McGillis) build and a steamy romance develops.

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