The MBTI Of Tom Cruise Characters
Known for his megawatt smile and his All-American charm, Tom Cruise has made a career out of playing likable rebels like Joel Goodsen in Risky Business and brave action heroes like Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible. But “Mr. Hollywood” has occasionally flexed his acting chops with dramatic turns in A Few Good Men, as well as demonstrating his comedic timing in Tropic Thunder. Just when you think you’ve got Tom Cruise all figured out, he goes and pulls a Lestat out of his bag of tricks in Interview with a Vampire.
There often seems to be a pattern with the driven men Cruise usually portrays, resulting in his characters sharing similar popular archetypes. But Cruise hasn’t had a career that’s lasted over three decades in Hollywood because he refuses to think outside the box. Here are ten roles that prove his versatility, with a variety of types as classified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
10 JERRY MAGUIRE (JERRY MAGUIRE): ESFJ
As a slick sports agent Jerry Maguire seems to have it all; top athletes as clients, a successful career, and a smooth life ahead of him full of opportunity. Like all ESFJ’s, he’s a social butterfly that has a need to make people happy, which is why he’s so beloved and respected in his firm. When his clients are happy, he’s happy, and his boss is happy.
An ESFJ is well-liked, but not impervious to failure. When he has a moral dilemma and ends up sending a company-wide memo detailing it, he gets fired. Having to start from scratch with his own management firm and one football star client, it’s because of his previous concern for others that makes them rally around him in his time of need.
9 MAVERICK (TOP GUN): ENFP
A person that identifies as an ENFP sees the world for its infinite possibilities, and is resistant to anything that typifies them in a cookie cutter role. Maverick perfectly captures the essence of an ENFP in Top Gun, as a highly individualistic hotshot pilot within the highly regimented world of the Navy.
Never afraid to push the boundaries with his reckless flying techniques, Maverick is nevertheless successful in his flight simulations as long as they’re stimulating. He’s a team player, often putting the welfare of his fellow pilots ahead of his own safety. Though Maverick’s actions are often dictated by his feelings, his intuition is usually correct, which makes his fellow pilots trust him no matter how wild his ideas are.
8 LESTAT (INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE): ESFP
Tom Cruise brought his own special magic to the role of Lestat the Brat Prince, the debaucherous vampire from Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. Though fans of the books weren’t initially thrilled with his casting, he captured the robust vampire’s garrulousness, his love of the spotlight, and his appetite for socializing and seduction.
Such showboating qualities are typical of an ESFP, who often have strong interpersonal skills, with lively and dominating personalities, perfect for vampires seducing humans for a snack. Lestat is able to persuade his progeny Louis to begrudgingly enjoy a vampire’s life, which Lestat embraces with abandon. Though Lestat often appears selfish, his main drive deep down is creating a vampire family of like-minded people that will share his zest for (un)life.
7 CHARLIE BABBITT (RAIN MAN): ENFJ
As an ENFJ in Rain Man, Charlie Babbitt is people-focused, which makes him a great car salesman. Because ENFJ’s are perceived to be authentic, people don’t often question their motivations. This means some can be master manipulators, which is why Charlie is able to con the mental facility looking after his autistic brother Raymond to release him into his custody, ensuring he’ll inherit the $3 million dollars his father left for his care.
Beneath his exterior, Charlie is a loyal and genuine person. He passes on some of his human intuition to Raymond, who in turn awakens Charlie’s compassion and forces him to confront his past. Though Charlie begins his journey as a disingenuous heel, if he wasn’t an ENFJ, he wouldn’t have been able to change into a selfless provider.
6 ETHAN HUNT (MISSION IMPOSSIBLE): ENTJ
Tom Cruise has made a career out of playing action-oriented men, exemplified no better than in the six (and counting!) Mission Impossible movies. In embodying the daring IMF agent, he’s brought all of Ethan Hunt’s ENTJ traits into focus. His insane valor coupled with his take-charge attitude makes him a natural born leader and a man on the move.
An ENTJ’s ability to internally process external obstacles and perceive them as challenges to be overcome make them extremely dependable. Whereas others may see impossibilities, they simply see an opportunity to push themselves. They make quick decisions but consider their options carefully, which ensures that Hunt’s team always trusts his judgment.
5 JOEL GOODSEN (RISKY BUSINESS): ESFP
Joel Goodsen is one of Tom Cruise’s most electrifying characters and a perfect example of an ESFP. The life of the party, born to capture the attention of others and hog the spotlight, it’s the very qualities that endear him to his fellow high school classmates that get him in trouble in Risky Business.
With his parents gone for the weekend, he just wants to party with a dream-girl prostitute, but he doesn’t realize there are consequences to fulfilling his fantasies, like her steep bill of service and crashing his dad’s Porsche trying to impress her. It’s his need to be the center of attention that is at the root of his problems; however, like a true ESFP, his charm makes it hard to stay mad at him.
4 VINCENT (COLLATERAL): INTJ
In the gritty action thriller Collateral, Tom Cruise plays very much against type as Vincent, a merciless hitman who enlists the services of Max, a Los Angeles taxi driver to chauffeur him as he fulfills various contracts. Vincent is reserved, comfortable with solitude, and self-sufficient, making him a perfect INTJ.
INTJ’s are methodical and observant, always questioning the world around them and developing strategies to navigate it. Although he’s a sociopath, Vincent understands the way people tick, allowing him to anticipate the habits of his victims. He doesn’t like uncertainty and minimizes it by adapting to the obstacles in his profession as quickly and as proficiently as possible. He values Max’s knowledge of Los Angeles, and the two unlikely companions reach insightful platitudes during their time together.
3 RON KOVIC (BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY): INFJ
After hearing an impassioned speech by two recruiting officers, a young Ron Kovic decides to enlist in the USMC. While serving in Vietnam, he accidentally kills a fellow soldier. He’s later paralyzed from the waist down in the ensuing battle and spends the rest of his days contemplating the complexities of war in a community for wounded veterans.
As an INFJ, Ron is an idealist, unaccepting of things at face value, and full of depth of character. It’s these traits that force him to travel to see the family of the man he killed in action, even though he knows he will not be forgiven. His introspective nature and regard for human life are driving factors in him becoming a war protester by the film’s end.
2 LES GROSSMAN (TROPIC THUNDER): ESTP
Les Grossman is one of the most bombastic displays of Tinseltown hubris in cinema and he’s hilarious to watch as he spits vulgarities in Tropic Thunder. As a petty, hostile, and abrasive studio executive, it’s not hard to see why he comes across as an ESTP. They’re often completely controlled by their emotions and lack the capacity to properly regulate their feelings.
Grossman is the first to chew out a new intern, or even a professional peer, expecting mistakes to be fixed on the fly (either his own, or those under his employ), while seemingly never having a contingency plan because everyone around him is too stupid (in his eyes) to carry it out. Grossman’s fanatical need for creative control makes him a crazy boss to have when you’re trying to make a movie.
1 LT. DANIEL KAFFEE (A FEW GOOD MEN): ESTJ
Standing up for what’s right, even if what’s right appears obscured by moral ambiguity and faulty bureaucracy, is at the essence of Lt. Daniel Kaffee’s case against Colonel Nathan R. Jessup in A Few Good Men. In the thrilling military courtroom drama, the young Naval attorney has to reveal the latter’s decomposing code of ethics even while he’s protected by Marine autocracy.
As an example of an ESTJ, Tom Cruise’s Daniel Kaffee is highly organized, dedicated, and a believer in traditional values. He is an example of the very best citizenry and knows when it’s present (or absent) in others, despite their rank. His discipline and long-game strategy help him win against Colonel Jessup, who is eventually bated into exploding and revealing his true colors.