Tom Cruise is one of those rare actors who climbed to superstar status and never really vacated the position. Since the early ‘80s he’s consistently turned out top-notch, entertaining movies, and he has another on the way this weekend with Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation. To mark the occasion of his fifth time playing international secret agent Ethan Hunt, we thought what better time to count down his ten best characters.

This was a tough list to make. We have some die hard Cruise fans among us (Top Gun shaped my life more than I’m entirely comfortable admitting), and as we all have our favorites, there were some heated arguments had during construction. There are great movies where the character may not have been the most memorable, on the on other side of that coin, there are great roles in less notable movies. That said, we think this is a solid list. Let us know what you think we should have included or left off in the comments below.

Grossman
10. Les Grossman, Tropic Thunder
Tom Cruise isn’t known for being a comedic actor. He can certainly be funny, but scanning his resume, you don’t find a lot of straight-up comedy. That’s what makes his turn as hard-ass studio executive Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder so memorable and hilarious. It’s also one of the few roles, especially recently, where he’s heavily made up, to the point where he’s almost unrecognizable. You can’t help but laugh as Cruise, so out of his usual wheelhouse, screams and rages and belittles his subordinates. And who knew that you always wanted to see Tom Cruise dancing around his office to a hip hop jam, but there it is. So don’t piss him off or you’ll have to get a binding resolution from the United Nations, because he is talking scorched earth, motherfucker!

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