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16 Most Dangerous Stunts Tom Cruise Did Himself

03 May 2013 | Features, Other Lists | by David Zou

tom cruise stunts

Who is the bravest and most devoted action star in the movie business? Most people will say Jackie Chan, who has performed most of his own stunts throughout his film career and broken numerous parts of body.

Tom Cruise, not the toughest guy as he looks, has been underestimated of his dedication to his own stunt work. Here are 16 most dangerous stunts Tom Cruise did himself in some of his most iconic action movie scenes, you will respect the actor more after reading this list.


16. Freefalling (Mission: Impossible 3)


The Scene: A magnificent set-piece filmed in Shanghai among some of the city’s tallest skyscrapers. Needless to say, Cruise wastes little time throwing himself off them…

The Stunt: “I’d say, ‘You know, we shouldn’t write this because Tom’s going to want to do it,’” says J.J. Abrams of the sequence. “But it’s too good, we have to throw it in there and see what happens!”


15. Breathe In The Water (Minority Report)


The Scene: The scene in which Cruise’s character holds his breath in the bathtub, finally letting a little bubble of air escape his lips.

The Stunt: Quite a subtle one this, but while Spielberg wanted to use CGI to create the bubble effect, Cruise insisted on holding his breath for real, controlling his exhalation to create the perfect bubble effect.


14. A Close Knife(Mission: Impossible 2)


The Scene: The knife fight between Cruise and Dougray Scott, in which the blade strays perilously close to Tom’s eye!

The Stunt: Cruise reportedly insisted that Scott use all his strength in the struggle, and that the blade come within a quarter-inch of his eye. Incredible.


13. Water Everywhere (Mission: Impossible)


The Scene: The restaurant scene in which a giant fish-tank explodes over poor Ethan Hunt.

The Stunt: The scene involved sixteen tons of water, but despite fears that he could drown, Cruise insisted on filming the sequence himself.


12. Hi Octane (Jack Reacher)


The Scene: Jack Reacher’s showpiece car chase, in which Cruise did all the driving himself. Handbreak turns and all.

The Stunt: Cruise was even behind the wheel when the car ploughs into a barricade of barrels.


11. Passenger Seat (Collateral)


The Scene: A more passive role for Cruise, as Jamie Foxx sends their taxi hurtling through a high-speed chase, sideswiping various vehicles as he goes.

The Stunt: While filming the sequence, Foxx was actually driving and Cruise was really in the car. Even when it crashes!


10. Swordplay (The Last Samurai)


The Scene: A sword fight on horseback. The horse was mechanical, but the rider was all Cruise…

The Stunt: The stunt very nearly went badly wrong when the machine malfunctioned, failing to lower at the correct moment. Co-star Hiroyuki Sanada was an inch away from burying his blade in Cruise’s neck!


9. Shootout (Taps)


The Scene: Cruise’s first big stunt, in which he gets hold of a machine gun and swaps gunfire with a trained marksman.

The Stunt: “I didn’t want to look like I was dumb,” recalls Cruise, “but between takes I pulled the guy aside and said, ‘Have you done this before? You’re not going to shoot me, are you?’ I was terrified that my first big part would be my last.’”


8. Sandstorm (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol)


The Scene: Cruise tracks a target through a vicious sandstorm that looks great on screen, and must have been hell to shoot.

The Stunt: As if the howling wind and atrocious visibility wasn’t enough, Cruise has to mount a moving car for good measure. Never a dull moment…


7. A Load Of Bull (Knight And Day)


The Scene: The motorcycle sequence takes in a sequence inspired by the Pamplona bull run. Bulls vs. bike… who wouldn’t want to see that?

The Stunt: Instead of using CGI, those bulls were real. “Fortunately no extreme mishaps,” said Cruise of the shoot. “A little adventure with the bulls. Riding a motorcycle during a bull run, that was kind of interesting, down in Cadiz, but everything else went pretty well.”


6. Dune Sprint (Oblivion)


The Scene: Cruise’s character sprints across the surface of a ruined Earth, pounding across the dunes as if they were a tarmac running track.

The Stunt: Cruise does a lot of weapon work and hand-to-hand combat in Oblivion, but the difficulty of running at speed through sand should not be underestimated.


5. Hoverpacks (Minority Report)


The Stunt: A breathtaking chase sequence in which Cruise’s character uses an enemy’s hoverpack to his advantage and goes on the run…

The Stunt: The 80ft high stunt rig required 1.5 miles worth of cable and as many as 18 crew to keep Cruise suspended in mid-air.


4. Dropping In (Mission: Impossible)


The Scene: Ethan Hunt silently lowers himself from the ceiling, dangling from a wire just inches from the floor.

The Stunt: Not the most dangerous stunt, but one of the most recognizable and thrilling. Cruise reportedly bumped his head a fair few times before they got it right.


3. Showboat (Top Gear)


The Scene: Cruise’s guest appearance on Top Gear saw him take the Star In A Reasonably Priced Car challenge up a notch, rounding the final corner on two wheels!

The Stunt: Cruise was determined to beat co-star Cameron Diaz at all costs. “I felt the wind come underneath it,” joked the star later.


2. Cliffhanger (Mission: Impossible 2)


The Scene: The film’s dizzying opening sequence, in which Ethan Hunt goes free-climbing on Dead Horse Point, Utah.

The Stunt: Ropes were obviously involved, but Cruise still pushed himself to the limit, tearing a shoulder muscle when jumping between rocks.


1. Scraping The Sky (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol)


The Scene: Ethan Hunt runs down the side of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Not one for those with vertigo…

The Stunt: “I literally had to figure a way to fly,’ says Cruise, ‘because even with months of training, I didn’t anticipate the crosswinds you get when you’re up that high. Once I figured out how to use my feet as rudders and got the spatial awareness, we got the shots we wanted.”


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  • Susceptible Emilio

    He wants to maximizes the viewer’s money and time, which is fair.

  • MDS

    you know, I love Tom Cruise, and I think his popularity is well deserved. He is the embodiment of Hollywood and has an unmatchable charisma