Mission: Impossible Movies Ranked

We ranked the Mission movies!

hello

Ranking The Missions!

Ranking The Missions!

For over two decades now, Tom Cruise has brought audiences some of the most thrilling movies on the big screen. With the release of the sixth film in the franchise Fallout we ranked all of the Missions from worst to best. From the stunts and chases to the characters and stories, this franchise has delivered on every aspect of filmmaking including gorgeous cinematography and score. The casts are great, the scripts are smart, and we benefit from every part of it. Here is our list of the Mission: Impossible rankings.

6. Mission: Impossible 2

6. Mission: Impossible 2

Even though it's not a bad movie, Mission: Impossible II is the worst of the series thus far. When Cruise started producing these films he wanted each movie to have it's own unique style and tone, so after the original's spy-thriller, neo-noir aesthetic, the sequel went into extreme action movie territory under the guidance of director John Woo. The sequel has a vibe all it's own with Woo's signature slow-motion on full display which is overused at times, but is done in such a stylish way that it distracts in the best way possible. There's also a solid story here, but you don't care much for the characters outside of Cuise's super-spy Ethan Hunt and Thandie Newton's sexy thief Nyah Hall. The film is ultimately a serviceable action flick with a brilliantly staged high-octane third act, even if the first two are a bit meandering.

5. Mission: Impossible

5. Mission: Impossible

This tale is full of twists and turns as we follow Agent Ethan Hunt, who is framed for the murder of his IMF team and must discover who really done it and why. Brian De Palma directs this film with a keen eye for it's pitch perfect spy-movie feel and crafts some of the most high-tension thrills in the series. Cruise's manic performance holds the whole film together, but his co-stars are equally memorable in each of their respective roles, especially Ving Rhames, Jean Reno,  Emmanuelle Beart, Jon Voight, and Vanessa Redgrave. It's got wonderfully paranoid cinematography by Stephen H. Burum and a suspenseful score from Danny Elfman. This one set the tone for the series, established Hunt as our hero, and delivered the franchise's first signature stunt.

4. Mission: Impossible III

4. Mission: Impossible III

With J.J. Abrams' feature film debut, the writer/director manages to craft Ethan Hunt's most personal mission yet, and set the tone for the rest of the series moving forward with it's character-centric balance of heart and humor surrounding the adrenaline-fueled action sequences. The third Mission bring us home with Ethan to show us he's settled down and is about to get married before throwing him into a frantic mission in which our hero is more emotional and dangerous than ever before. Casting is fantastic here as we get more hilarious banter with Ving Rhames' Luther, an excellent Michelle Monaghan as Ethan's fiancee Julia, and the great Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing dastardly arms dealer Owen Davian, who is as smart as he is ruthless, making for the most menacing villain yet. Dan Mindel keeps the camera active for each of the fast-paced action scenes, and Michael Giacchino composes the best score of the series to this point. The franchise gets new life here by setting it's signature tone and making us care about these characters.

3. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

3. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Pushing the series forward is this action extravaganza from Brad Bird as the animation director's first foray into live-action is a kinetic spy adventure in which the team is the highlight. While some entries put Ethan at the forefront, this one focuses on his team made up of a great cast including Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, and Jeremy Renner, making this a true ensemble as each member of the IMF must work together and do their part to accomplish the impossible mission. When Ethan and his team are framed for bombing the Kremlin, the President initiates Ghost Protocol, thus disavowing the entire IMF and forcing Hunt and his team off-grid to stop a nuclear weapon from being launched. While the Russian villain is very one-note and doesn't get much screen time, his plan is the most threatening making these the highest stakes of the series. Giacchino ups himself with the score this time around, the big stunt is the most spectacular and sweat-inducing yet, and the story remains personal and character-driven giving this one the edge over previous missions.

2. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

2. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

It's rare that a film series continues to get better, but that's been the case with the last three entries. Bringing in brilliant writer/director Christopher McQuarrie was a stroke of genius as he manages to pen the best dialogue of the series and tell a complex spy story that never gets bogged down in too much exposition or becomes too confusing. McQ also directs his cast flawlessly as each of them brings something new to the franchise or expand on what we've seen before, especially Sean Harris' Solomon Lane who's as creepy as he is intelligent and who's plan has global implications making him the series best villain. Meanwhile, Rebecca Ferguson is stunning physically and mentally as she gives us a nuanced performance which shows her ability to play the action and emotional scenes with equal ferocity, and the rest of the cast including Pegg, Renner, Rhames, and Baldwin each have important roles and play them well. Cruise plays Hunt here as an obsessive and unhinged rogue agent stopping at nothing to complete his singular mission. Each element of the filmmaking from the cinematography to the musical score to the writing and acting gives the film a sense of urgency and uneasiness. The stunts are again taken to another level from the jaw-dropping plane ride to the opera house fight to the unnerving underwater heist to the cliffside motorcycle chase and everything in between, each sequence is breathtaking, but remains focused on what's important: character and story.

1. Mission: Impossible - Fallout

1. Mission: Impossible - Fallout

The latest installment in the series has Ethan Hunt and his IMF team tracking down what remains of the criminal Syndicate and their new supplier, the mysterious John Lark. Hunt is at the end of his rope desperately trying to figure out who Lark is and how to stop him from unleashing nuclear devastation on the world. Breaking the franchise rules, Chris McQuarrie returns to write and direct the film bringing his signature penchant for excellent dialogue and complex narratives to the forefront while also delivering on the exhilarating action sequences. It's got a stellar cast with Henry Cavill, Vanessa Kirby, and Angela Bassett standing out alongside series vets Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, and Alec Baldwin. Along with star Tom Cruise, the actors and actresses bring their characters to life giving each of them complexity and trademarks that set them apart, plus they all get satisfying arcs. This story has strong dramatic themes, the right amount of humor, again ups the stakes, delivers shocking stunts, and also provides more development for the character of Ethan Hunt than any Mission before it making this the ultimate Mission: Impossible movie.

Mission: Impossible