6. 'Mission: Impossible' (1996)
When this action hit first came out, fans of the original series were upset that the film underplayed the whole cooperation-between-teammates-with-different-skills thing, focusing instead on the heroics of the lone Cruise character. Fair enough. But what a movie! Director Brian De Palma delivers an atmospheric Cold War thriller that turns into a North by Northwest-style adventure before transforming into a go-for-broke action spectacle. Meanwhile, Cruise becomes a bona-fide action hero here. (Previously, most of his action movies had simply asked him to control large, powerful vehicles.) Watch the justly celebrated, wordless Pentagon break-in sequence: what makes it work so well is the subtle slapstick Cruise brings to being suspended in air.