25. All the Right Moves (1983)
Cruise portrayed the first in a long line of cocky young gents in this sports drama. Think Friday Night Lights, but a couple of decades early. All the Right Moves has Cruise as the star quarterback of a small-town high-school football team, which he hopes will get him a one-way ticket out of his surroundings. This movie is also infamous because you briefly get to see his junk in one scene. Kind of.
24. Days of Thunder (1990)
Cruise re-teamed with Top Gun director Tony Scott for this racing drama, which has not aged well. (When I watched this, I kept thinking, "Jesus, this is so 1990.") Of course, he plays hotshot race-car driver Cole Trickle (how’s that for a name!), making all the right moves as a rising NASCAR star and making major moves on his doctor, played by future Nicole Kidman, whom he married the same year.
23. Mission: Impossible (1996)
Here is where Tom Cruise, Action Movie Star, was born. The first in the ongoing movie franchise started with this taut thriller, starring Cruise as jet-setting, danger-attracting spy Ethan Hunt. Although the movie had some full-throttle sequences courtesy of director Brian De Palma, the plot veers closer to a global detective story than a stunt-filled extravaganza. Anyone who claims to have fully understood the plot after one viewing is lying.