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Tom Cruise's Most Extreme Mission: Impossible Stunts (And How He Did Them)

Mission Impossible Helicopter Fall

5. Mission: Impossible - Fallout Helicopter Chase

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Mission: Impossible - Fallout climaxes with a breakneck helicopter chase where Cruise climbs onto a flying helicopter, takes control, and chases after another bird. Cruise spent 2,000 hours training and then performed the incredibly dangerous sequence as the helicopter's pilot himself, including a corkscrew dive in the Airbus H125 helicopter with mountains on all sides - all while acting in the scene and also serving as camera operator thanks to the camera rigged to his chopper.

4. Holding His Breath For Three Minutes Underwater

Mission Impossible Underwater Stunt

Christopher McQuarrie also directed 2015's Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, which pit the disavowed Ethan Hunt and the IMF against an evil version of the spy network called the Syndicate. In order to obtain a "red box" file containing incriminating financial data on the Syndicate, Ethan had to dive into a secure underwater facility to extract the file. This riveting sequence required Tom Cruise to hold his breath for three minutes for a single, unbroken take shot underwater (stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood claims that Cruise actually held his breath for just over six minutes, however.)

3. Hanging Onto A Plane As It Takes Off

Mission Impossible Airplane Stunt

In Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, once more, the craziest stunt opens a Mission film. In Minsk, Belarus, the IMF attempts to intercept a plane full of nerve gas. Ethan boards an Atlas C-1 plane, with Cruise actually hanging onto the exterior while it takes off - before Ethan is suddenly blown through an open hatch and nearly out of the ajar cargo hold! With only 48 hours to get the shot, the plane took off and landed eight times, with Cruise suspended on the aircraft over 5,000 feet in the air without a stunt double.

2. Climbing The Burj Khalifa

Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

2011's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol saw Brad Bird take over the director's chair. Ghost Protocol's nail-biting centerpiece sequence in Dubai required Ethan Hunt to scale the exterior of the Burj Khalifa over 119 floors. Tom Cruise actually climbed the outside of the Burj Khalifa without the use of a stunt double. Though the star was secured by multiple cables that were digitally erased, Cruise was still hundreds of meters in the air scaling the sheer face of the tallest building in the world, which Bird captured with IMAX cameras. Co-stars Paula Patton and Lea Seydoux were so inspired by Cruise, they also opted not to use stunt doubles and performed their fight scene against each other themselves.

1. HALO Jump Sequence

Mission Impossible HALO Jump Stunt

Despite beginning production without a finished screenplay and Cruise injuring his ankle, which halted production for eight weeks, Mission: Impossible - Fallout sets out to up the ante in every way, especially in the star's extreme stunts. The HALO jump sequence over Paris may well be untoppable, however. Cruise underwent rigorous training to personally perform Ethan's HALO (high altitude, low opening) jump from 25,000 feet, all while risking the bends or hypoxia and still acting in the scene and positioning himself for the camera in this insane skydiving stunt.

Key Release Dates
  • Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) release date: Jul 27, 2018
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