The Best Stunt From Every Mission Impossible Movie

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The Best Stunt From Every Mission Impossible Movie

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to watch this video loaded with epic Tom Cruise stunts! For this list, we'll be looking at the most outrageous, bombastic, and thrilling stunts from each installment of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise. Our countdown includes “Mission: Impossible”, “Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation”, “Mission: Impossible - Fallout”, and more!
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The Best Stunt from Every Mission: Impossible Movie


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the best stunt from every “Mission: Impossible” movie.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most outrageous, bombastic, and thrilling stunts from each installment of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise.

Which of these blows YOUR mind? Drop down into the comments and tell us!

“Mission: Impossible” (1996)

Cable Drop
Perhaps the most famous image from the “Mission: Impossible” series is Tom Cruise dangling from the ceiling, his face mere inches from the ground. It comes in the very first “Mission: Impossible” movie, when Ethan steals the NOC list from CIA headquarters. Cruise revealed in an interview that this stunt was the hardest of the movie. He had difficulties balancing to stay parallel with the floor, and he called the entire ordeal “exhausting”. Cruise eventually put a few coins into his shoes, effectively keeping him balanced and allowing the three shooting cameras to capture the magnificent stunt. It was a pain to film, but the results were well worth the effort, as the stunt is now an iconic piece of movie history.


“Mission: Impossible 2” (2000)

Knife to Eyeball
With a new millennium came a new Tom Cruise - bigger and more badass than ever before. The stunts of “Mission: Impossible 2” greatly exceeded those of the first movie in terms of risk and physicality. This is evident in the very first scene of the movie, which sees Cruise climbing in Utah’s Dead Horse Point State Park. He did actually have a harness, but no safety net. However, the most outrageous (and terrifying) stunt sees a knife dangling a quarter inch from Cruise’s eyeball. Director John Woo didn’t want the knife to get so close, but Cruise insisted for the sake of a great shot. To achieve the effect, the prop knife was attached to a cable which had been meticulously cut and measured to ensure that the knife stopped just before Cruise’s eye. The knife was dropped, the rope went taut, and a gripping movie shot was captured.

“Mission: Impossible III” (2006)

Bridge Explosion
The third installment of the franchise saw multiple production delays, with several directors and cast members eventually abandoning the project. Finally, J. J. Abrams took the helm, and boy did he deliver. Not only was “Mission: Impossible III” the most bombastic entry yet, but it contained one of the most famous stunts of the series. Ethan’s convoy is attacked on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and a missile is sent hurtling towards him. He escapes just in time, but the shockwave from the explosion sends him careening into a nearby car. The stunt was captured in one continuous shot, with a cable yanking the running Cruise into the car. The explosion and the car’s shattering windows were later added in post production. Luckily, Cruise was unhurt. In fact, he was immediately up and smiling, proud of the unbelievable stunt that he’d just performed.

“Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol” (2011)

The Burj Khalifa
If the cable dangling scene from the first “Mission: Impossible” has a challenger for the most iconic image of the series, it has to be Tom Cruise climbing the Burj Khalifa. The Dubai skyscraper was completed in 2009, becoming the tallest building in the world at 2,722 feet. All told, the Burj Khalifa stretches over a half mile into the sky. And Cruise was up there clinging to the side. He had stunt cables keeping him attached to the building, which were subsequently removed in post production. Cruise did everything himself, however, including the sequence in which Ethan runs down the side of the building, his face parallel to the ground some 2,000 feet below. Now how many people can say they’ve done that?


“Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation” (2015)

Ethan Underwater
The fifth entry in the series upped the ante even more, offering the most extravagant and sweat-inducing stunts yet. This was despite Tom Cruise being 53 years old at the time of the film’s release! The movie’s opening scene is obviously a classic, with Cruise hanging onto the side of a military transport plane. But for this entry, we’re going with the brilliant underwater sequence. The scene was shot by splicing various long takes together, and Cruise was required to hold his breath for each one. To perform the stunt himself, Cruise trained with a diving specialist by the name of Kirk Krack, the founder of Performance Freediving International. Stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood told Forbes that Cruise held his breath for “just over six minutes”, which is borderline supernatural.


“Mission: Impossible - Fallout” (2018)

Hanging Off a Helicopter
With “Fallout”, Cruise and the filmmakers somehow managed to top themselves yet again, offering up some unbelievable stunts, like the HALO jump. There was also that rooftop leap that saw Cruise breaking his ankle on the side of the building. But perhaps the craziest stunt of the movie involves Cruise dangling from a flying helicopter. Lifted high in the air, he eventually tries to swing his legs onto the helicopter’s landing gear. But he slips and plummets all the way down to the netting below. This was all real and captured in one take! Cruise had to deliberately let go, as if he had slipped by accident, and fall all the way back down. With this scene, Tom Cruise surely solidified himself as one of the greatest stuntmen in cinema history.
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