It's got to be a specific point in Tom Cruise's contract that, if he runs on screen, it has to be an extended two-minute scene and there's got to be thrilling music.
Granted, when he runs, he looks like Phoebe when she runs through Central Park (Friends reference, there), but it's still quite compelling nonetheless.
Here now, the seven best scenes of Tom Cruise running committed to screen.
7. 'Days Of Thunder'- Running after Robert Duvall
'Days of Thunder' is one of those time-capsule films that's absolutely hilarious to watch in the fullness of time. First off, it was written by Robert Towne - who also wrote 'Chinatown'. You've got Robert Duvall hamming it up as Foghorn Leghorn's race-car making brother and you've got Tom Cruise running in every other scene. Best bit? Right at the end when Robert Duvall tries to race him and it freeze frames in Tom Cruise mid-stride. "Are you gonna walk, or am I gonna have to carry you?" - "Hell, I'LL RACE YOU!" Oh, mid-'90s Tom Cruise. So young. So carefree.
6. 'War Of The Worlds' - Running from the unbelievably accurate-but-not-that-accurate alien beam
Seriously, you've got to think that those aliens were specifically TRYING to miss Tom Cruise. He runs through an entire crowd of people, half of them get vaporised and he survives? He's not even running that fast, either. Maybe it's because of his special powers bestowed upon him by Scientology. Or, y'know, maybe not.
5. 'Vanilla Sky' - Running towards that Oscar that he'll never reach
A film about existentialism, the nature of reality, Kurt Russell as a psychologist and they still manage to write in a scene where Tom Cruise runs. Down a deserted Times Square no less. 'Vanilla Sky' was clearly Tom Cruise angling himself towards that Oscar that he's always wanted. For all his cardio workouts, it just didn't happen. Keep running, Cruiser. Keep running.
4. 'The Firm' - Running into that perfectly placed truck for a soft landing
As much as we love 'The Firm' (genuinely, it's one of the best legal thrillers you're likely to see), it's definitely got some gigantic, gaping holes in the story. Case in point is this particular scene when Tom Cruise manages to dive right out of a building and into a perfectly placed truck that's transporting pillows. Granted, we do love the guy's line - "Take a seat!" - as he hurls said seat out the window.
3. 'Minority Report' - Running with jet-packs because it's the future and stuff
This is a film with running built right in. The film is literally Tom Cruise running, albeit at varying speeds, throughout the entire film. Hell, it's even in the logline - Everybody Runs. Not only that, it's Señor Spielbergo trying to hark back to the heady days of 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' and 'Jaws' with all those practical, in-camera effects. And there's running with jet-packs. Come on, like.
2. 'Mission: Impossible III' - Running through Shanghai, shouting at Chinese people
After the poor John Woo-fest that was 'Mission: Impossible 2', Mission: Impossible III was when they realised that the series is basically an excuse to have Tom Cruise running full-speed through exotic locales whilst Simon Pegg guides him. They've used variations on this in both 'Ghost Protocol' and 'Rogue Nation'. This, however, was the best. Serious question - how long do you think it'd take Tom Cruise to run a mile? Because if this scene is anything to go by, he can clear it under five minutes.
1. 'Mission: Impossible' - Slow-mo running out of a restaurant that he blew up because you've never seen him upset
What actually makes this scene isn't just the completely exaggerated way Tom Cruise dives over the tables to get out of the way, it's the fact that that amount of water clearly wasn't in the fish-tank thing behind them. That's simple physics, folks. Even accounting for the displacement of water in the tank, that volume of water isn't sufficient. Also, shout-out to the ultra '90s espionage dialogue beforehand with Underrated Character Actor™ Henry Czerny. "You wanna shake hands with the Devil, that's fine. I just want to make sure you DO IT IN HELL."