Moviegeek5: 1980s Tom Cruise


He is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood today and it all began in the 1980’s. It started with a small role in the unimpressive Endless Love (1981) but by the end of the decade, Cruise was already a big name, a status he would only strengthen in more dramatic roles in the 1990’s before returning to the entertaining action flicks he does so well, notably the excellent Edge of Tomorrow (2014) and the on-going Mission: Impossible series (1996 -).

There is lots in his filmography worthy of note, but already in the 1980’s did he produce some of his most memorable characters and movie moments. We have selected five movies from that decade below.

Let us know what you think in the comments below and tell us what your 1980’s Tom Cruise list looks like.




Risky Business (1983)

The first major part for young Cruise was this 1983 crime comedy about a teenager getting way in over his head. As young Joel falling for the prostitute Lana ( Rebecca de Mornay) and starting up business as a pimp when he finds himself in a tight spot, sees the actors making good use of his million dollar smile and natural charm, which lets him get away with just about anything without loosing the audiences sympathy. The movie was a hit and Cruise was an instant star, leading to several other hit in the decade.





Top Gun (1986)

If there is a quintessential 80’s Tom Cruise movie, this is probably it. Endlessly quotable: “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash”, “I feel the need… The need for speed” and so on, Top Gun is a smooth slice of entertainment. Cruise stars as the reckless but brilliant Navy elite fighter student who has to deal both with his fellow students, his traumatic past, the woman he falls in love with, and his giant ego. With thrilling flight sequences, a great soundtrack, and a total 1980’s feel, this is rightfully one of the highlights in the early part of Cruise’s career.







The Color of Money (1986)

In this sequel to the 1961 movie The Hustler, Cruise is set opposite the veteran Paul Newman reprising his famous role as Fast Eddie Felson. The experienced hustler sees himself challenged by trying to pass on the trade to the cocky young boy thinking he already got it all figured out. Cruise is slick, charming and annoying as the talented pool player and by managing to hold his ground next to the likes of Newman, gives a glimpse of the great actor he is today.





Cocktail (1988)

In this bar-themed romantic drama Cruise, as usual, delivers, even though the screenplay doesn’t give him much gold to work without – a part from some memorable zingers. But there is something incredibly likable about Cocktail that makes it linger in you mind beyond its merit. The love story is gripping, Elizabeth Shue is adorable, and Cruise just captivates his audience, on the other side of the bar as well as the movie screen.






Rain Man (1988)

The most lauded performance from Cruise of the 1980s is the Oscar-winning drama Rain Man. Cruise is the selfish yuppie Charlie who cold and distant father dies and leaves him with the discovery that he has an autistic brother that he knew nothing about and who has inherited the buk of daddy’s fortune.Cruise abducts him and the two of them travel cross country, a trip that turns out to be transformative for Charlie. Hoffman is rightfully lauded for his portrayal of the autistic savant, but Cruise is equally impressive in the less showy role.





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