Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, otherwise known as Tom Cruise, is one of the world’s leading actors. First appearing on the big screen in the 1980s, his breakthrough role came in 1983 with the comedy-drama, Risky Business. This was the first time Cruise had taken the lead and, following his portrayal of Joel Goodsen, his star was shining brighter than ever before.

By 1986, Cruise was one of Hollywood’s rising stars, which made him the ideal candidate for Tony Scott’s Top Gun. Cast as the slick-talking, high-flying Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, Cruise quickly went from rising star to action man of the moment. And, as we all know, he’s been flying high ever since.

Cruise is an Inspiration

You only have to look through his body of work to see that. From Top-Gun and Minority Report to the Last Samurai and, of course, the Mission: Impossible franchise, Cruise is Hollywood royalty when it comes to action movies. In fact, it’s not just his presence on the big screen that’s made him an icon. Some of Cruise’s best roles have inspired creative types across the entertainment industry.

For example, there are plenty of online casino slots inspired by movies such as Top Gun and the Last Samurai. If you scroll through the gaming lobby at a top-rated casino, you’ll see a game called Samurai’s Path. This slot alludes to the story of Captain Nathan Algren, the man portrayed by Cruise in the Last Samurai. Then, of course, there is the Top Gun slot from Playtech. That’s yet another example of a game inspired by Cruise and the movies he’s starred in.

By this measure alone, it’s fair to say the American is among the best action actors of all time. Indeed, anyone that can cross boundaries and inspire creative types outside of their own industry must be doing something right. However, that’s not the only reason Cruise has been making hit movies for more than 30 years or why he’s just reprised his role as Maverick. In our opinion, he’s also one of the greats for these reasons:

Looks

Cruise doesn’t have the grizzled look you’d normally associate with an action hero. For example, he’s not Harrison Ford in his prime or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Despite this, he’s managed to convince audiences that he’s a badass who also happens to have boyish good looks. Perhaps even more impressively, Cruise doesn’t appear to have aged.  

Awards

Awards aren’t necessarily a mark of greatness because they’re simply one voting committee’s opinion. However, it’s hard to say that someone with over 100 nominations and 38 awards, including three Golden Globe Awards, isn’t a top actor. The only problem here is that Cruise has never won an award for best actor in an action movie. He’s been nominated countless times but, at the time of writing, he’s fallen short of this accolade.

Stunts

Okay, so he looks good, and he’s won plenty of awards, but the real reason Cruise has to be considered an action movie great is his willingness to do things other actors won’t. Specifically, Cruise does almost all of his own stunts. That’s impressive in its own right. But, what’s more impressive is that his most death-defying stunts, such as hanging from the side of a plane, have come in later life. Cruise is still risking his life in his 50s. That’s the mark of a true action hero and, for us, the main reason he has to be ranked among the all-time greats.

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