Why Tom Cruise Is the Last True Hollywood Movie Star: 4 Reasons

To this day, there's no other actor quite like Tom Cruise—and there may never be once he's gone. He's the last true Hollywood movie star.

We often recommend products we like. If you buy anything through our links, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Tom Cruise feels like a man who belongs on the big screen. Million of people queue up for his movies, and his movies are the kind that showcase the best of an actor's dedication to his craft.

Ever since his breakout role in Risky Business, Tom Cruise has topped the A-list and never surrendered his position. He tries his absolute hardest at all times to deliver films that make cinema audiences sit tight and grip the edges of their seats in excitement. 

Is he the most talented actor? No. Does he innovate and expand the limits of acting skill? Also no. But the one thing he does is push himself past his own limits, and always for the benefit of his audiences.

Over the course of his acting career, Tom Cruise has become known for the quality of his output, often in the most unexpected ways. Here's why we look to Tom Cruise as the last of a dying generation of cinema icons.

1. The Tom Cruise Brand

As far as acting range and reach, Tom Cruise's most difficult roles came earlier in his career. These days, he takes on less-challenging roles that don't demand much acting reach, but he also makes a clear effort to elevate the entire scope of whatever he's making to new heights. 

In Top Gun: Maverick—a film that, at first, sounded so out of touch with modern cinema that it confused many industry experts as to why it was being produced in the first place—Tom Cruise best showcased the brand that his name has become in cinema.

He's the actor who plays roles that all feel broadly similar: Ethan Hunt, Jack Reacher, Maverick. They're all characters who have become extensions of Tom Cruise as a whole. But, in doing that, Cruise has created his brand and he does it so well that he's beloved for it. 

Tom Cruise proved his talents many years ago in movies like Magnolia and Born on the Fourth of July, but to become so successful by playing similar characters and making audiences connect with you? That's a trait of actors long-passed, the likes of Bogart and Cagney.

2. The Blockbuster Specialty

Not only does Tom Cruise specialize in blockbuster Hollywood movies, he's restricted his working circle to those who allow him a great deal of control over his films. In doing that, he can offer what he does best without being hindered by others butting in.

This might be a system that fuels self-grandeur, but it has certainly allowed Cruise to be the actor he most wants to be.

For many, this would be the kind of move that sinks careers. For Cruise, it only highlights his efforts to ensure audiences see things they haven't seen before, and so viewers appreciate his dedication and craft.

Everybody knows how Tom Cruise puts more effort into making his films than 99% of Hollywood actors. He's the Daniel Day-Lewis of action reality on the screen, and that's why he has had such longevity. Tom Cruise doesn't merely appear in movies; his imprint is there for all to see.

3. He Doesn't Go With the Flow

As of this writing, Tom Cruise is slated to appear in a Marvel movie. But the fun thing about Cruise is that he doesn't really need the MCU to boost his stardom. If anything, his appearance will only further legitimize the blockbuster nature of the film series.

Tom Cruise is the man who has spent decades proving he knows better than anybody what it takes to give audiences a true experience in the theater. So, his role will come in a Marvel movie, not a series.

Whether or not he appears as Superior Iron Man—and we all hope he does—Tom Cruise has never gone with the flow. He always takes the road less traveled, the road that a true independent would take.

He knows his appearance in Marvel will be loved by fans, and sure, he's giving them what they want to some degree. But Cruise is who he is because he's constantly pushed to do his own thing on the big screen.

He isn't a person who uses blockbuster movies in popular franchises to boost his own career; he comes in and turns movies into blockbusters with his talents. He represents a dying breed of Hollywood actor: the hero who puts it all on the line to get the shot.

4. His Films Are Uniquely Entertaining

In the end, Tom Cruise's films rarely disappoint because he always fundamentally understands why he's making any given project.

He's a veteran who continually shocks audiences with his skill and his knowledge of what modern audiences want in films—sometimes by showing it to them before they even realize it's what they wanted.

He's a movie star with a style and motives that are quickly recognizable. We all know when we're watching a Tom Cruise movie, and that's a feeling very few other Hollywood stars can replicate.

All of it comes together to grant Tom Cruise a seat next to those historic actors who are still remembered to this day as icons. Only a handful of people in Hollywood history have been able to be so resonant with nothing more than their mere presence on screen.

In a movie industry that went right, Tom Cruise went left. He'll always be loved for being an individual in a land of trend-followers, for being the one who'd rather strap himself to a plane than paint it all in VFX post-production. He always pushes himself, and we adore that.

He's a true Hollywood star in every sense of the word: an icon, a touchstone, a hard-working genius who's truly peerless.

More Articles Like This

10 Perfect Movie Actor Castings That Should Never Be Recast

The 10 Best Paul Rudd Movies of All Time, Ranked

The 10 Best Disney Movie Voice Acting Performances, Ranked

The 7 Most Difficult Actors to Work With (Who Made Filming a Nightmare)

The 8 Best Movies That Cast Famous Musicians in Key Roles

The 5 Best Superhero Castings That Lived Up to Fan Expectations

Alec Guinness vs. Ewan McGregor: The Better Obi-Wan Kenobi, Compared

9 Actors and Actresses We Want to See in Future MCU Movies

10 Infamous Method Actors Who Went to Extremes for Their Roles