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5 Times Tom Cruise Should Have Died Making A 'Mission: Impossible' Movie

The daredevil actor's stunt work will make your hands sweat.

5 Times Tom Cruise Should Have Died Making A 'Mission: Impossible' Movie

The Mission: Impossible franchise is up to six films now with this weekend's release of Mission: Impossible - Fallout. It's a successful franchise that's stayed that way on the heels of a time-worn cinematic tradition when it comes to sequels: Raise the stakes. Every time we see Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt he's doing something crazier than the time before. He's jumping off helicopters onto planes. He's climbing sheer rock faces. He's dangling off skyscrapers! What's the end game here?

Hopefully, there is no end. Cruise, 56, is still the greatest action star in the world some 22 years after the first Mission: Impossible in 1996. His devotion to his craft and willingness to do his own stunts have made for some of the most incredible movie moments of all time. He's a modern day Buster Keaton and Evel Knievel rolled into one. Like those legends, he's laid his life on the line for entertainment. For us. Here's proof. We've collected the five most dangerous, incredible stunts of Tom Cruise's career. There wasn't even room for the train sequence, aquarium explosion, or motorcycle chase...

5. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) - HALO Jump 

HALO stands for High Altitude Low Open which basically means skydiving from space. Cruise became the first actor to HALO jump from 25,000 feet in a movie for 2018's Fallout. But he didn't just do it once. To get the sequence right, he made the jump over 100 times.

4. Mission: Impossible 2 (2000) - Rock Jump

The train sequence in the original Mission: Impossible was a dandy, but it was the opening of the sequel that really established the franchise as willing to go to crazy lengths in the name of action. Cruise climbs and dangles on the rocks of Dead Horse Point in Utah like a pro, wearing only a harness that was removed digitally. The most dangerous stunt was a 15-foot jump from rock to rock that Cruise made a number of times.

3. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015) – Six Minutes Underwater

After jumping from over 100 feet into an underwater vault, Cruise holds his breath for six minutes to break into the thing in Rogue Nation. To pull off the stunt, Cruise trained with a freediving expert, learning how to breathe from his stomach. It allowed director Christopher McQuarrie to film long takes for ultimate suspense. 

2. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015) – Airplane Take Off

Cruise admitted to "not sleeping" the night before he planned to hang on the outside of an ascending airplane in the fifth M:I movie, Rogue Nation. It was true commitment. The actor couldn't get into the plane once it was airborne so Cruise was hanging on until the thing landed. He did it eight times in two days.

1. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) – Burj Khalifa Climbing 

5 Times Tom Cruise Should Have Died Making A 'Mission: Impossible' Movie

You won't believe this one. Cruise dangled on wires outside the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, for the fourth Mission: Impossible installment, Ghost Protocol. He ran along the side of it, climbed on it with special gloves, and generally had a grand old time. He even perched on the tippy top for a chopper photo. Why not?

Director Brad Bird used a helicopter to circle the building while Cruise hung to the glass with a harness 2,722 feet above the ground. In the behind-the-scenes footage, you can see Bird nervously watching inside as his star dances with death.

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