‘Top Gun’: How Old Was Tom Cruise When He Starred in the Original Movie?

by Chris Piner

While most teenagers relish in their newfound freedom and what awaits them, for actor Tom Cruise, he was already gracing movie sets, getting roles in films like The Outsiders in 1983. Only getting small roles at first, it wasn’t long before Cruise starred in the film that launched him – Risky Business. It came out the same year. And just three years after that, the star sat in the cockpit of a jet for the first time as he put on the Maverick helmet in Top Gun. Acting beside Val Kilmer, neither star had any idea of what the film would become. And as for Tom Cruise, the role of Maverick landed him his highest-grossing film ever. 

With the sequel Top Gun: Maverick dominating the box office week after week, many are wondering how long Tom Cruise has been in Hollywood. Released in 1986, the actor was only 24 years old when the film premiered. After not only the success of Risky Business and Top Gun, Tom Cruise quickly became a leading man in the movie business. Within the same decade, the actor starred in other iconic films like The Color of Money and Rain Man

Star On Screen, Powerhouse At The Box Office

Released almost two months ago, it has been nearly 36 years since Top Gun first thrilled audiences around the world. And showing the power behind Tom Cruise, his films grossed a massive $4 billion. By the way, that is only in North America. When looking worldwide, that number jumps to over $10 billion.

Besides reprising his role in Top Gun, the leading man helms his own action movie series Mission Impossible. In 2024, Tom Cruise is scheduled to wrap on his series that started in 1996. Playing master spy Ethan Hunt, fans watched Tom Cruise perform outrageous stunts over the course of 8 films. 

What It’s Like To Be Friends With Tom Cruise

Breaking records at the box office and for Paramount, Tom Cruise isn’t slowing down as he continues to push the limit as to what he can accomplish on screen. For Greg Tarzan Davis, the actor behind Coyote in Top Gun: Maverick, he learned quickly that being friends with the action star comes with a warning label.

Known for doing his own stunts, Davis recently discussed the problem of telling Tom Cruise he wanted to go skydiving. The actor woke up to an invitation to just that. “It’s a challenge, you know, because he’s the type of person that, if you say something is cool or you say that you wanna do something — like I said, ‘Oh man, it’d be cool to learn how to skydive,’ and he’s like, ‘Oh yeah? You think so?’ The next day I get a call saying, ‘Hey, yeah, so I was talking to Tom and Tom said that you wanted to learn how to skydive. I’m like, ‘Wait, wait! That was just the conversation starter, Tom! I didn’t really mean it.’”