In honor of Tom Cruise’s new movie, and his refreshing act of self-discovery, we’ve decided to rank all of his movies in which he runs (19 of them, in all), in order of the best depictions of Tom Cruise’s running. Running is what we pay to see in a Tom Cruise film. Though, as you’ll see, not all runs are created equal.
I don’t know if it’s the suit, Cruise’s angular grey flat top, or the fact that it’s probably his best acting performance, but for me, Collateral has always been the gold standard of Tom Cruise running performances. He spends half this movie running, looking like a scary grey-haired robot the whole time. The fact that he’s always gritting his teeth and holding a pistol while he does it add to the degree of difficulty. You want to run fast, you gotta have a relaxed jaw, ask any sprinter. But Tom Cruise knows the rules so well that he can break them.
2. The Firm
Okay, I can’t deny it: I clearly have a special affinity for running a suit. Cruise’s running in The Firm doesn’t have the same maniacal charm as it does in Collateral, but you can tell he’s putting everything into it. A lot of actors they just jog when asked to run on camera, but Cruise legs it out like a champ. He looks like he’s going to pull a hammy. Anyway, I appreciate that his floppy hair bounces along with him in The Firm, and the fact that he’s running in suspenders. Let’s see you try that, Usain Bolt. In suspenders, in an overcoat, with a briefcase – if you like Tom Cruise running, The Firm really has everything.
3. Vanilla Sky
Probably my second or third favorite Tom Cruise movie overall, but in terms of running, it may not have the pure speed of The Firm or Collateral, but that shot of his hair swept back and his runs through Manhattan looking horrified is one of the all time iconic shots of Tom Cruise running.
4. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Tom Cruise runs a lot in Ghost Protocol, but rarely at full speed. Nonetheless, what it lacks in quality, it makes up for in quantity (he runs a LOT) and variety (he runs down a building, across a building through a prison, while dressed as a Russian officer, in a suit, and up and down countless stairs and escalators). If you can’t decide which type of Tom Cruise running you like best, this one offers a nice cross section.
5. Mission Impossible
Tom Cruise runs full speed, in a tux! Still, I could’ve done with more close ups. Tom Cruise running isn’t quite the same when you can’t see his pained facial expression. Come on, De Palma! Show the instrument!