What Tom Cruise Films Tell Us About Sexism In Hollywood

Tom Cruise is sixty years old! And he’s out with his sequel to Top Gun, Top Gun:Maverick. He’s had a remarkable career and has been in the A-list since the 1980s. The duration of his career allows us to look at how the ageing process affects the roles offered to male actors compared to female actors.

Take some of his 1980s movies – in Risky Business (1983), Cruise was 21 years old while his female co-star, Rebecca de Mornay was 24. In Top Gun (1986), Cruise was 24 while Kelly McGillis was 29. Fast forward to the 2000s, in Vanilla Sky (2001), Cruise was 39, while Penelope Cruz was… 27 years old. In Mission Impossible III (2006), Cruise was 44, while Maggi Q was 27. So, he was twenty years older, yet his female co-stars were still in the mid-twenties.

Now over the past ten years, things have changed a bit – his female co-stars have not been in their twenties, but rather in their thirties!  He was in his fifties in the most recent Mission Impossible films, while his co-star, Rebecca Ferguson, was in her thirties. In Edge of Tomorrow (2014), he was 52, while Emily Blunt was 31. But that means the age gap has been a whopping 20 years!

But things could be changing, in the new Top Gun movie, Cruise is 60, while his female co-star Jennifer Connelly is 51. That’s only a ‘nine’ year age gap. We’ll see if this is a one-off, but could it be a sign of social progress in Hollywood?!


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