8 movie stunts that injured or nearly killed Tom Cruise


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Let’s be real: Tom Cruise, as popular as he is, is not exactly the quintessential Shakespearean actor capable of evoking deep emotions or introspection. But, when it comes to delivering thrills and risking his life on screen, in action movies the man deserves all the credit.

Ever since his first taste of the action genre in 1986’s “Top Gun,” Cruise has been looking for ways to, well, let’s be honest, kill himself on screen. Whether climbing Burj Khalifa ( the tallest skyscraper in the world) or hanging off of the side of a plane, the actor, who is not a professional stunt man, is known for doing a large chunk of his own stunts in movies. That’s lead to a lot of broken bones and a lot of anxiety for the cast members on set.

Here are 8 times that Tom Cruise was pretty severely injured while performing a stunt.

‘Mission: Impossible - Fallout' (2018)

1. ‘Mission: Impossible — Fallout’ (2018)

In the sixth instalement of “Mission Imposible,” Tom Cruise flew a helicopter, rode a motorcycle through the city streets—without a helmet—as it crashed into a car and jumped between buildings. Of course he did all the stunts himself, and miracously he got away only with an ankle injury. The stunt which was caputured on footage  went wrong when Cruise hit a roof instead of sticking a landing. While production ultimately halted because of Cruise’s injury, the actor complete the scene even with a shattered leg.

“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,” Cruise revelead on The Graham Norton Show.

‘Edge of Tomorrow’ (2014)

2. ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ (2014)

In this incident, it wasn’t technically Tom Cruise who performed the potentially disastrous stunt. During an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s talk show, Emily Blunt, Tom Cruise’s co-star in “Edge of Tomorrow,” shared an anecdote about causing a stunt accident on set. “I drove us into a tree and almost killed Tom Cruise,” Blunt revealed. Recounting the incident, she shared that during a driving scene, Cruise quietly muttered to her, “Brake, brake, brake. Brake. Brake, brake, brake… Oh, God. Brake, brake, brake. Brake hard! Brake hard!” However, Blunt’s delayed response led to an unfortunate outcome as she drove them into a tree, putting Cruise’s life in danger. Reflecting on the incident, Blunt admitted to initially dismissing Cruise’s instructions, considering them as mere unpleasant advice. Nevertheless, both actors were able to find humor in the situation afterward.

‘The Last Samurai’ (2003)

3. ‘The Last Samurai’ (2003)

During the filming of 2003’s The Last Samurai,  the invincible Tom Cruise narrowly escaped a life-threatening situation, yet once again. During a fight sequence with co-star Hiroyuki Sanada atop mechanical horses, Cruise faced a terrifying near-decapitation incident. As Sanada swung a real-life samurai sword towards him, the horse meant to stop in time failed to do so, putting Cruise in imminent danger.

Luckily, Sanada managed to pull back his sword in the nick of time, averting a tragedy that had everyone on set in a state of shock and relief.

“Tom’s neck was right in front of me, and I tried to stop swinging my sword, but it was hard to control with one hand,” Sanada said in an interview. “The film crew watching from the side all screamed because they thought Tom’s head would fly off.”


’Top Gun’ (1996)

4. ’Top Gun’ (1996)

In the 1986 blockbuster film “Top Gun,” Tom Cruise portrays the reckless Navy pilot Maverick, who plays “dice with death.” But during production, Cruise, who was still new to the stunt game and had yet to break any bones, had a close brush with death himself.  During the filming of the heart-wrenching scene where the character “Goose,” played by Anthony Edwards, tragically dies in an aborted mission, an actual accident occurred that almost cost Tom Cruise his life.

According to Barry Tubb, who portrayed “Wolfman” in the film, Cruise came perilously close to death on set. While shooting a scene where Cruise’s character, Maverick, cradles Goose’s body in the ocean, waiting for rescue, Cruise was unaware that his parachute had begun filling with water.

“Cruise came as close to dying as anybody on a set I’ve ever seen,” said co-star Barry Tubb. “They were refilling the camera or something, and luckily, one of the frogmen in the chopper saw his chute ballooning out. He jumped in and cut Cruise loose right before he sank. They would have never found him. He would have been at the bottom of the ocean.”

Days of Thunder' (1990)

5. ‘Days of Thunder’ (1990)

During the production of Jerry Bruckheimer’s 1990 action drama “Days of Thunder,” Tom Cruise learned a memorable lesson about stock car racing. Cast as the ambitious racer Cole Trickle, Cruise discovered firsthand that stock cars are specifically engineered to turn left.

To navigate the intricacies of the sport, Cruise enlisted the expertise of NASCAR racer Hut Sticklin, who served as an advisor on the film. Sticklin had cautioned Cruise about the risks associated with turning right, an aspect unique to stock car racing. However, Cruise’s understanding of the advice seemed incomplete.

Eager to experience the thrill firsthand, Cruise took the wheel of a stock car at the Volusia County Speedway near Daytona Beach, Florida. As he executed a maneuver attempting to turn right, the unexpected unfolded.

Sticklin elaborated, “He must have seen drivers on television making quick movements from side to side. He turned to the left, the car turned left. But when he attempted to turn right…”

Cruise’s car spun out, grazing the track’s wall. Remarkably, Cruise emerged unharmed from the incident. Unfortunately, a brand-new camera worth $100,000 fell victim to the minor collision.


6. ‘Collateral’ 2004

During the filming of 2004’s Collateral, Tom Cruise had a close call while shooting a car chase sequence with Jamie Foxx. As Foxx recounted the incident, he thought he had almost killed Cruise when his taxi collided with Cruise’s Mercedes head-on. The impact was so powerful that the Mercedes lifted off the ground and veered off the set. Fortunately, Cruise emerged from the accident unharmed, attributing his minor injuries to being tossed around inside the vehicle. While Cruise’s sprinting scenes have become iconic in his action films, this particular car chase mishap served as a reminder of the risks involved in filming intense sequences.

'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation’ (2015)

7. ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ (2015)

Tom Cruise hanging onto the side of an A400 in flight must be cool special effect, right? Nope. That’s all Cruise trying to see—whether he has become immortal. In “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation”Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt, finds himself clinging to the exterior of an A400 Airbus at dizzying heights exceeding 5,000 feet. Cruise, despite being in his 50s at the time,  positioned himself on the plane throughout take-off, flight, and landing, repeating the feat an astonishing eight times.

Even with the most meticulous precautions in place, the inherent danger in performing such a daring stunt is undeniable. During take-off, the high velocity at which the plane moves creates a perilous scenario with  the slightest intrusion, like a bird or a small stone propelled by the plane’s propellers, could transform into lethal projectiles.

“I remember I got hit by a stone that was so tiny, you cannot believe,”  Cruise told USA Today. “I thought it broke my rib. Lucky it went to my vest and not my hands or my face – it would have penetrated and gone right through.”

'Oblivion' 2013

8. ‘Oblivion’ 2013

In the 2013 post-apocalyptic action film Oblivion, set in the year 2077, Tom Cruise had the opportunity to ride a futuristic motorcycle, showcasing his daredevil spirit. Taking on his own stunts, Cruise navigated the treacherous terrain of the wasteland as his character raced through mountainous landscapes.

A video that surfaced online captured one particular moment during the filming. Cruise, attempting a jump on the custom-made motorcycle, lost control and crashed on the bumpy surface. The potential consequences were grave, as the motorcycle could have inflicted serious harm to the actor’s leg or even worse. Notably, Cruise was not wearing any protective headgear during the stunt.

Fortunately, Cruise’s experience and quick reflexes came into play. Despite the wipe-out, he swiftly regained control and emerged unscathed. Second unit director Robert Alonzo acknowledged Cruise’s remarkable agility, stating, “He junked the bike, but he was in full control of the situation, and his agility basically saved him.”

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.