15 Tom Cruise Stunts That Were Wilder And More Impressive Than 99.9% Of Other Action Movies Out There

    According to director Christopher McQuarrie, Cruise and his training team were doing "30 jumps a day," eventually totaling over 500 skydives as training for Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One.

    Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One (yes, it's gonna be a two-parter!!) is the seventh installment in the Mission: Impossible film franchise. And in case you're wondering if it's gonna be any good...well, it currently has a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes.

    I have seen the film and can confirm it's pretty great and definitely worth watching on the big screen. Fun? Check. Action filled? Check. Does Tom Cruise run A LOT in it? Check! Check! Check!

    Now, at this point in his career, it's pretty well known that Tom Cruise LOVES to perform jaw-dropping stunts himself, especially in the Mission: Impossible films. So, for fun, here's a look back at some of the most extreme ones he's ever done:

    1. Like when he drove a motorcycle off a massive cliff...and then base-jumped off of said motorcycle (with NO safety harnesses, for the record) for Dead Reckoning Part One.

    The motorcycle stunts

    The stunt, which 61-year-old Cruise said took years to prep, included a year of base-jump training, as well as learning advanced skydiving, canopying, and tracking skills.

    Tom skydiving and doing other stunts

    And according to director Christopher McQuarrie, Cruise and his training team were doing "30 jumps a day," eventually totaling over 500 skydives for Cruise.

    Tom about to skydive

    Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably seen this stunt heavily promoted for the new film (and had to pick your jaw up off the floor afterward). But in case you haven't, here's a pretty great behind-the-scenes video of it:

    View this video on YouTube

    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    2. When Cruise REALLY ran on top of, hung off of, and performed stunt fights on a fast-moving train on a working railroad track, also for Dead Reckoning.

    Tom doing stunts on the moving train

    "We had this huge fight on the roof [of the train], going 60 mph through a real valley," the stunt coordinator explained.

    The fight on the train being shot

    3. And when he learned to speed-fly, which is apparently one of the most dangerous sports in the world, for Dead Reckoning.

    Tom speed flying

    According to the film's skydive/base/speed-flying coordinator, Jon Devore, it's a sport "very few people" do. He said you basically use a really small canopy and race down a mountainside just feet off the ground.

    Tom speed flying

    4. When Cruise hung off the side of an Airbus 400 for one scene in Rogue Nation. He went 1,000 feet in the air, going 100 knots for SEVERAL minutes, with only a few simple wires holding him to the plane's body. (Which were digitally erased in postproduction.)

    Close-up of the safety cable and the scene without it in the actual movie

    In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, cinematographer Rober Elswit said, "It’s pretty damn crazy; it’s over 100 knots when it takes off. They can slow down pretty quickly, but it still does ... a complete circuit."

    Tom on the side of the plane

    Elswit continued, "Tom was in a full-body harness, and he’s cabled and wired to the plane through [its] door. [...] He was also wearing special contact lenses to protect his eyes. If anything hit him at those speeds, it could be really bad. They were very careful about cleaning the runway so there were no rocks. And we took off in certain weather conditions; there were no birds."

    Arrow pointing to the safety harness and contact lenses

    Watch the iconic, heart-pounding scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Paramount Pictures

    5. When Cruise did 64 takes in actual zero gravity for the plane crash scene in The Mummy. The sequence, which was filmed in an aircraft that was developed for the Apollo missions, took two days to shoot and apparently four high-altitude flights.

    People in zero gravity in a plane

    Although Cruise was given the offer to film the scene on a soundstage instead, he insisted on filming it in real zero gravity because he wanted to make it as authentic as possible.

    A plane named "Zero G" in the air at a 45-degree angle

    According to director Alex Kurtzman, "There was a lot of barfing." Although not on Tom's part.

    People being filmed in zero gravity

    Watch the plane crash scene here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Universal Pictures / Via youtube.com

    6. When Cruise literally fractured his ankle during an "easy" stunt on the Mission: Impossible — Fallout set that required him to jump from one building to another. Of course, rather than stop, Cruise kept going to finish the shot, and they even kept it in the movie.

    Tom jumping between buildings

    Cruise explained on The Graham Norton Show, "I was chasing Henry [Cavill] and was meant to hit the side of the wall and pull myself over, but the mistake was my foot hitting the wall. I knew instantly my ankle was broken and I really didn’t want to do it again, so just got up and carried on with the take."

    Close-up of Tom getting up during the scene

    Watch the ankle-breaking jump here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    7. When he performed an actual HALO (high altitude, low opening) jump for Mission: Impossible — Fallout, which involved the dangers of hypoxia, the bends, and other life-threatening risks.

    Tom during the stunt, wearing a helmet

    The stunt was so risky, in fact, that the filmmakers even developed a special helmet that was both a prop and a lifesaving device.

    Close-up of the stunt

    Because the scene took place at night, they only had one shot a day to get it right, filming as close to sunset as possible, with only three minutes to spare.

    Tom wearing the helmet during the stunt

    Watch the impressive behind-the-scenes footage here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    8. When he personally created a three-month "rigorous, Navy-approved" boot camp for the actors of Top Gun: Maverick in order to train for the film.

    Tom underwater

    BTW, Cruise — who is a licensed pilot — REALLY wanted to pilot one of the F-18 fighter jets for the film, but the Navy ultimately denied the request. Although he wasn't able to handle the controls, Cruise and the rest of the Top Gun pilots did ride in the F-18s (behind actual Navy pilots) in order to get the practical shots.

    Tom flying a plane

    And while he didn't get to fly an F-18 for the film, he did fly the P-51 Mustang, which he owns IRL.

    9. When he worked "around the clock" and learned to fly a helicopter in a short period of time just for one stunt in Mission: Impossible — Fallout...

    Tom flying a helicopter

    ...including how to learn how to do a "corkscrew downward spiral," which is HIGHLY dangerous.

    Tom doing the spiral

    10. When he learned how to hold his breath for SIX AND A HALF MINUTES to film a risky underwater scene in Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.

    The scene in the movie and behind the scenes

    Cruise explained on The Graham Norton Show, "These free divers came in and trained me how to do it. And ... it's not pleasant."

    Tom during the scene at the 5:15 mark

    Fun fact: Kate Winslet recently beat Cruise's record while training for Avatar: The Way of Water (a fact she's jokingly very proud of). She managed to get to seven minutes and 47 seconds.

    Kate emerging from the water with her hand raised and smiling

    11. When he got into a near-fatal car accident after making a rookie mistake while driving a real stock car for Days of Thunder.

    Tom walking by the stock cars

    According to NASCAR veteran Hut Stricklin, who was a stunt driver on the film, he told Cruise that stock cars are built to only turn left.

    Tom talking to another man

    Stricklin told USA Today that Cruise probably didn't understand what he meant. He said, “I guess he’d seen guys on TV squirming back and forth, left and right. He turned to the left, the car turned left. But when he goes back to the right...understood then. But too bad he had to kill a $100,000 camera.”

    A car upside down

    12. When he trained for several months, worked with professional rock climbers like Ron Kauk, and climbed a 2,000-foot cliff for that famous opening scene in Mission: Impossible II.

    Tom climbing a rock

    The film's stunt coordinator, Brian Smrz, explained, "Tom actually did the climb himself; the rope was just safety for if he were to fall ... which he didn't."

    Tom sitting on a very high rock

    13. When he scaled and did aerial stunts on the Burj Khalifa — the tallest building in the world — in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.

    Tom on the side of the building, seen from the bottom

    Not only was the stunt actually done high up on the building, but according to Screen Rant, the harness Tom wore was so tight that it cut off his circulation. So the shoot had to be done as quickly as possible.

    Close-up of Tom doing the stunt

    Watch this fun behind-the-scenes video to see the stunt in full effect:

    View this video on YouTube

    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com

    14. When he was totally cool with a practical knife (probably a stunt one, but STILL) being pushed just millimeters away from his eye in Mission: Impossible II despite the fact that they could've just CGI'd it.

    Tom's eye close-up

    According to Vox Cinemas, "Cruise had [Dougray] Scott try as hard as he could to push a real knife into his eyeball. The knife was carefully connected to a measured cable that kept it a quarter inch from his eye."

    The knife right near his eye

    15. And finally, when he stood on top of an old biplane, thousands of feet up in the air, simply to promote Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One.

    Close-ups of Tom on the plane

    Watch the entire OMG stunt here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Paramount Pictures / Via youtube.com