Here Are Tom Cruise’s Most Dangerous Stunts From the “Mission: Impossible” Movies

Cruise is known for nail-biting stuntwork as well as sprinting everywhere.

July 23, 2018 5:00 am
tom cruise
A screengrab from a video showing Tom Cruise skydiving down to a desert in Abu Dhabi as part of a stunt for Mission Impossible: Fallout. (Mission: Impossible/Twitter)

Tom Cruise is known for being his own best stuntman, but that means he sometimes ends up injured in the process. For example, while filming a scene for Mission: Impossible 6, Cruise hurt his ankle when he had to jump between two buildings and production had to be halted. In honor of Mission: Impossible – Fallout coming out July 27, we look back on some of the riskiest stunts the superstar took on during filming the classic movies.

And you can keep seeing Cruise’s ridiculous, and impressive stunts in action when Mission: Impossible — Fallout hits theaters on the 27th.

Hanging off the Side of a Plane In Mission: Impossible: – Rogue Nation

Tom Cruise hanging off a plane during a stunt for “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation.”

Cruise himself has described this stunt as “undoubtedly the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done.” It kicks off the opening sequence of the fifth Mission: Impossible movie. According to director Christopher McQuarrie, the idea for the stunt started as a joke, but then they made it a reality. Besides the obvious danger factors of hanging directly off a plane as it takes off at full speed, the star said he was really worried about staying in the camera’s shot.

Holding His Breath for Over Six Minutes in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Tom Cruise had to hold his breath for over six minutes while filming “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.”

Cruise learned how to hold his breath for six-and-a-half minutes for one scene. He and his co-star Rebecca Ferguson trained with professionals to learn how to hold their breath for long periods of time.

Scaling the World’s Tallest Building in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Cruise scaled the world’s tallest building for “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.”

During the series’ fourth installment, Cruise hung off the world’s tallest building: Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which stands at 2,722 feet. The film’s stunt coordinator, Gregg Smrz, later told the New York Daily News that he thinks he “probably aged 10 years” while Cruise was hanging 1,700 feet in the air with a wire for support.

Almost getting stabbed in the eye for Mission: Impossible 2

Tom Cruise had a knife within a quarter inch of his eye for this fight scene with Dougray Scott for Mission: Impossible 2.

This stunt required a lot of trust between Cruise and Dougray Scott. In this epic fight scene in Mission: Impossible 2, Scott takes out a knife and stabs it within a quarter of an inch from Cruise’s eye. Cruise wanted the scene to be as realistic as possible, which meant no stunt doubles. Everything was measured out and built to avoid disaster and the blade was connected to a cable to ensure it didn’t reach Cruise’s eye.

Flying a Helicopter — and Manning the Camera for Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Tom Cruise is flying a helicopter and manning the camera in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.”

Not only did Cruise learn how to fly the helicopter on his own for this stunt, but he also manned the camera, all while playing Ethan Hunt. Special camera rigs were created to show that Cruise is flying the helicopter on his own. Thirteen helicopters were in the air at once, which actually made the stunt more dangerous. It went off without a hitch, luckily.

Jumping across buildings in London for Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Cruise broke his ankle jumping from a platform to a building in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.”

Cruise got actually hurt on this one. He broke his ankle when he tried to run and jump from one platform onto another structure. He missed the mark and slammed into the building. They had to pause production while it healed.

Breaking into the CIA for Mission: Impossible 

For “Mission: Impossible,” Cruise had to break into the CIA.

For Mission: Impossible, Cruise had to break into the CIA wearing only a harness to stop him from falling to his death. He did most of it himself and had to stay in one position for the whole shoot.

Jumping out of a cargo plane and free-falling for Mission: Impossible – Fallout

A screengrab from a video showing Tom Cruise skydiving down to a desert in Abu Dhabi as part of a stunt for Mission: Impossible – Fallout. (Mission: Impossible/Twitter)

Cruise jumped out of a military aircraft above the Abu Dhabi desert and fell almost 25,000 feet before his chute kicked in. Yup. It is called a High Altitude Low Open (HALO) Jump, and he was the first actor to do one on camera. You open the shoot under 20,000 feet, and the jump is most frequently used by the military to sneak into a country undetected. They had to develop a special helmet for Cruise’s safety, and the crew did over 100 jumps to get the scene. He fell at 200 mph and needed to land three feet away from the camera while 20,000 feet above the ground.

Climbing a cliff for Mission: Impossible 2

Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible II (2000) (IMDb)

Cruise scaled Utah’s Dead Horse Point with no safety net and wearing only harnesses (which were digitally removed in post-production. Cruise tore a muscle in his shoulder in the process of getting this scene shot.

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