From the beginning, you knew Tom Cruise was going to be a star. Starting with movies such as Risky Business and The Color of Money, you could see that he had the acting chops. Then he started delving into action movies. When you think of James Bond, each generation pictures a different face. Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig. However, when you think the Mission: Impossible movies, there’s no one else but Tom Cruise. There is only one Ethan Hunt.

The Burj Khalifa

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation came out earlier this year. Tom Cruise hung off the side of an airplane as it was taking off, and while it was in the air. No big deal. It’s Tom Cruise, and this is another Mission: Impossible movie. With Mission: Impossible movies comes an array of incredible stuntwork. Fighting, running from explosions, and more, are generally what you expect out of your average action flick. These are the movies that stuntmen live for. Mission: Impossible is a bit different for a couple of reasons. One, the stunts are larger than life, and two, Tom Cruise performs them himself. No stuntman, no computer generated images (CGI), all Tom Cruise. From hanging off the side of an airplane, to almost having a knife stuck through his eye, to rappelling off the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, Tom Cruise does it all.

Tom Cruise is an action star, there’s no doubt about it. Something compels him though, to go above and beyond with his action movies. He doesn’t have to do the stunts himself. CGI does wonders nowadays, but he takes it upon himself to actually risk his life while making these movies. In Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Tom Cruise did just that.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the fourth movie in the Mission: Impossible franchise, came out in 2011. This was the first one in five years, so they definitely wanted this movie to release with a lot of buzz. Tom Cruise’s Burj Khalifa stunt definitely helped generate that buzz to the tune of nearly $700 million worldwide. The scene has Ethan Hunt free solo climbing on the side of the building with the use of special gloves. In reality, Cruise was attached to the building by multiple cables which were later digitally erased. The stunt was done 123 stories, or half a mile up. Initially, the studio could not even get insurance for the movie because of this stunt. Eventually, they found someone willing to insure it, and they managed to shoot the scene twice. Producer Bryan Burk said that the stunt double was actually scared of heights, so it was quite helpful for production that Cruise did the stunt himself.


The sequence was shot over a period of eight days. Roughly 200 hours were put into rehearsal and R&D, however that’s not a substitute for the real thing. There is no substitute for being 1,700 feet in the air. The sequence was for six minutes and forty-five seconds, which includes a four-story free-fall.

It makes you wonder what Tom Cruise will do next. How will he top these last two stunts? Mission: Impossible 6 is already in development, so it won’t be long before we find out.