Scraping The Sky (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol)
The Stunt: Ethan Hunt runs down the side of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Not one for those with vertigo…
Cruise Control: "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."
Cliffhanger (Mission: Impossible 2)
The Stunt: The film's dizzying opening sequence, in which Ethan Hunt goes free-climbing on Dead Horse Point, Utah.
Cruise Control: Ropes were obviously involved, but Cruise still pushed himself to the limit, tearing a shoulder muscle when jumping between rocks.
Showboat (Top Gear)
The Stunt: 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!
Cruise Control: Cruise was determined to beat co-star Cameron Diaz at all costs. "I felt the wind come underneath it," joked the star later.
Run Free (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol)
The Stunt: A free-running sequence where Cruise throws himself out of windows and through the streets…
Cruise Control: Not only does he leap from a considerable height, but he also does the sequence barefoot!
Dropping In (Mission: Impossible)
The Stunt: Ethan Hunt silently lowers himself from the ceiling, dangling from a wire just inches from the floor.
Cruise Control: Not the most dangerous stunt, but one of the most recognisable and thrilling. Cruise reportedly bumped his head a fair few times before they got it right.
Car Surfing (Knight And Day)
The Stunt: Cruise clambers atop a moving car in another of the film's many chase sequences.
Cruise Control: "I don't get scared," replies Cruise when asked whether the stunt was nerve-wracking. Fair enough.
Hoverpacks (Minority Report)
The Stunt: A breathtaking chase sequence in which Cruise's character uses an enemy's hoverpack (we know… we want one too) to his advantage and goes on the run…
Cruise Control: 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.
Dune Sprint (Oblivion)
The Stunt: Cruise's character sprints across the surface of a ruined Earth, pounding across the dunes as if they were a tarmac running track.
Cruise Control: 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!
Switcheroo (Knight And Day)
The Stunt: Cruise rides a motorcycle at breakneck speed, while co-star Cameron Diaz clambers over him to fire at their pursuers.
Cruise Control: This was one that Cruise dreamed up himself! "I called James Mangold," recalls Cruise, "and I said, 'I’ve got this motorcycle stunt. We’ve gotta put a motorcycle in this scene and I’ve gotta flip her around.'"
A Load Of Bull (Knight And Day)
The Stunt: The motorcycle sequence also takes in a sequence inspired by the Pamplona bull run. Bulls vs. bike… who wouldn't want to see that?
Cruise Control: 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."
Sandstorm (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol)
The Stunt: Cruise tracks a target through a vicious sandstorm that looks great on screen, and must have been hell to shoot.
Cruise Control: 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...
The Stunt: Cruise's first big stunt, in which he gets hold of a machine gun and swaps gunfire with a trained marksman.
Cruise Control: "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.'"
Swordplay (The Last Samurai)
The Stunt: A sword fight on horseback. The horse was mechanical, but the rider was all Cruise…
Cruise Control: 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!
Passenger Seat (Collateral)
The Stunt: A more passive role for Cruise, as Jamie Foxx sends their taxi hurtling through a high-speed chase, sideswiping various vehicles as he goes.
Cruise Control: While filming the sequence, Foxx was actually driving and Cruise was really in the car. Even when it crashes!
Hi Octane (Jack Reacher)
The Stunt: Jack Reacher's showpiece car chase, in which Cruise did all the driving himself. Handbreak turns and all.
Cruise Control: Cruise was even behind the wheel when the car ploughs into a barricade of barrels. Whiplash ahoy!
Water Water Everywhere (Mission: Impossible)
The Stunt: The restaurant scene in which a giant fish-tank explodes over poor old Ethan Hunt.
Cruise Control: The scene involved sixteen tons of water, but despite fears that he could drown, Cruise insisted on filming the sequence himself.
Eye Eye (Mission: Impossible 2)
The Stunt: The knife fight between Cruise and Dougray Scott, in which the blade strays perilously close to Tom's peeper!
Cruise Control: 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.
Breathe In (Minority Report)
The Stunt: The scene in which Cruise's character holds his breath in the bathtub, finally letting a little bubble of air escape his lips.
Cruise Control: 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.
Freefalling (Mission: Impossible 3)
The Stunt: 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…
Cruise Control: "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!"
Low Blow (Jack Reacher)
The Stunt: A lengthy sequence of hand-to-hand combat comes to an abrupt close with Cruise belting his opponent in the groin. hey, they can't all be skyscrapers!
Cruise Control: "We had to do the take over and over again," says Cruise, "and the first 10 times it was like 'Yeah!' After about 50 times in, my foot was swelling...I kept having to loosen my shoe."