Tom Cruise is a household name in American film, and for good reason: He's been nominated for - and won - Golden Globes, People's Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards. His movies have grossed about $7.9 billion worldwide. And as a producer, he's been called "one of the most powerful -and richest - forces in Hollywood."
But even the illustrious Tom Cruise has had a few low points in his career. Explore this gallery of Tom Cruise's best (and worst) acting moments.
Credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
#1 Best: "Risky Business"
1983 Rotten Tomatoes score: 96% certified fresh
The movie that started it all. A young Tom Cruise is Joel Goodson, a normal high school student who finds himself tangled up in a web of prostitution, burglary and teen party fantasies. This coming-of-age satire gave Cruise the platform he needed for his personality to come forward. This film is forever seen as a Generation X classic, and even with his recent performance on Jimmy Fallon, Cruise's underwear lip-syncing scene in "Risky Business" is still his best.
Credit: 1983 Warner Bros. Ent.
#2 Best: "M.I. Rogue Nation"
2015 Rotten Tomatoes score: 93% certified fresh
In this installment of the "Mission Impossible" series, Cruise is a little older, a little wiser, but a lot more reckless. He does his own stunts, and the film's editing makes sure you know it. At this point in the "Mission Impossible" franchise has found it's stride - the camera follows Cruise like a nature documentary while he brawls, swerves and stares his way through world-ending drama. Pure physicality and genius pacing bring Cruise to his full potential.
#3 Best: "M.I. Ghost Protocol"
2011 Rotten Tomatoes score: 93% certified fresh
The high point of the "Mission Impossible" series, here we find Cruise feeling out his true place in the series. As he hangs with his fingertips from the Burj Khalifa, it feels like something clicks, and suddenly each scene comes with more excitement and suspense than the next. It's not often one finds an action flick with this much physical poise and comedic relief. "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" shows us the "American James Bond" we've been looking for has been right in front of us the whole time, jumping on couches with Oprah.
Credit: Paramount Pictures
#4 Best: "Jerry Maguire"
1996 Rotten Tomatoes score: 85% certified fresh
It's hard to call "Jerry Maguire" good because of Cruise's performance alone. When partnered with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Renée Zellweger, Cruise is lifted to new heights. So many of Cruise's best films are high-flying action films, but "Jerry Maguire" shows Cruise is more than a typecast action hero. His conviction to his character is no different here, except his victories are won alongside Gooding Jr. and Zellweger in her breakout role.
Credit: Tristar Pictures
#5 Best: "Minority Report"
2002 Rotten Tomatoes score: 90% certified fresh
Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise pair up for a high-wire sci-fi thriller in "Minority Report," and the result is harmony. A twisting plot is rooted in familiar types of violence that takes us to philosophical cliffhangers. This was one of the first in Cruise's long line of action sci-fi flicks, and nobody is complaining.
#5 Worst: "M.I. II"
2000 Rotten Tomatoes score: 58%
"Mission Impossible II" fell to the curse of sequels. The punishing pace and action of the first installment is ill-revived in this sequel. The plot is as impossible as the characters, but you can't hate Cruise for trying so hard. "Mission Impossible" had to fall before it could fly. If you don't like to think during your movies, then sit back and let the explosions wash over you. Otherwise you might find yourself saying "really?" out loud. Sorry, but Tom Cruise can't hear you.
Credit: Paramount Pictures
#4 Worst: "Knight and Day"
2010 Rotten Tomatoes rating: 52%
It's good that "Knight and Day," an action/comedy starring Cruise and Cameron Diaz, is a total flop. Otherwise people might have thought Cruise could only play secret agents. An easily-guessed plot bores us through formulaic action sequences that don't hold up to Cruise's pioneering "Mission Impossible" stunts. It was fun to watch Diaz act outside her preferred genre, but for Cruise this was another day on the job and the movie suffers for it. The studio didn't suffer, though: It pulled in $261.9 million at the box office.
Credit: AP Photo/ddp/Timm Schamberger
#3 Worst: "Lions for Lambs"
2007 Rotten Tomatoes rating: 27%
Cruise is tugged away for a more serious role beside Robert Redford and Meryl Streep in this circling film about a bunch of soldiers, a US senator, a college professor and a reporter. It was bold but fails to entertain. Like a college lecture on the American military-industrial complex, "Lions for Lambs" is important but inevitably falls on deaf ears. It feels long and protracted and you wish it would say something, but it just confirms that Cruise needs more than a desk job in his films.
Credit: AP Photo/MGM
#2 Worst: "Losin' it"
1983 Rotten Tomatoes rating: 22%
Every great actor has one of these moments. A young Tom Cruise stars in a teenage flick where a bunch of young guys drive to Mexico to lose their virginity. Let's forget this ever happened, and let's hope Cruise took this role because he needed to pay rent.
#1 Worst: "Cocktail"
1988 Rotten Tomatoes rating: 5%
This time Cruise has no excuse. "Cocktail" is a romantic comedy-drama starring Cruise as a business student in New York City who picks up bartending to make ends meet. Somehow the movie was a commercial success, nabbing $171.5 million worldwide. Conversely, the film won two Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay while being nominated for Worst Actor and Roger Donaldson as Worst Director. The tagline from the theatrical release poster is "When he pours, he reigns." Enough said.