Tom Cruise first burst onto our screens as IMF agent Ethan Hunt in 1996's Mission: Impossible. Since then, we've been treated to a continuous spectacle of mad stunts and outrageous exploits, mostly conducted by Cruise himself.
Each successive Mission: Impossible movie has raised the bar in order to keep us on the edge of our seats, but which stunts are the most memorable? With sixth movie Fallout on release this July (check out the trailer here), we're taking a look back at some of the franchise's craziest scenes.
Mission: Impossible 2 – Mountain climbing
Mission: Impossible 2 sees Hunt going up against rogue IMF agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott), who is planning to release a deadly virus named Chimera to profit from its cure, Bellorophron. But before all of that happens, we find Hunt on holiday, relaxing with a spot of… free solo climbing?
For those who don't know, it's rock climbing without any ropes, harnesses or protective equipment. Sounds relaxing, right? We watch, heart in mouth, as Hunt makes his way over the rock faces, but he never puts a foot wrong.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – Chasing Ilsa
Things are not going well for Hunt in fifth movie, Rogue Nation. Not only has his IMF team been disavowed, but he's under threat from a shadowy organisation (is there any other kind?) called the Syndicate. Nobody knows they exist, but they're gunning for Hunt in a big way.
Hunt thinks he's found an ally in secretive fellow agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), but she betrays him and steals his USB drive containing top secret files (again, is there any other kind?) and drives off on a motorcycle.
Determined not to let her get away, Hunt grabs a bike and gives chase. What follows is a fast and furious ride, dodging traffic and evading armed henchmen while trying to keep up with Faust's bike. Unfortunately, it doesn't end well for Hunt – Faust pulls a surprise manoeuvre and he ends up crashing. Even so, it's enormously exciting for us watching.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – Infiltrating the power station
Rogue Nation again, in what is possibly the craziest IMF plan to date. In his bid to expose the Syndicate, Hunt needs to get his hands on a drive containing a ledger that holds the key to the organisation's finances.
The only problem is it's located beneath a Moroccan power station in an underwater safe… and he can't use breathing apparatus otherwise it will set off metal detectors and he'll be caught.
Not only does he have to hold his breath, he also must avoid being completely mangled by a giant rotating metal arm. The tension is ramped up to the max as Hunt tries to complete the mission and keep himself alive, all in one breath. Cruise actually held his breath for the duration of the scene, making it even more impressive and terrifying.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – Climbing the Burj Khalifa
More climbing craziness, this time in 2011's Ghost Protocol. Hunt and his team need to intercept a meeting between an assassin and a crazed nuclear strategist in Dubai's Burj Khalifa but, to do that, they need access to the building's server room.
Thing is, the server room is on the 130th floor – and they must access it from the outside.
Simple. Hunt uses magnetic gloves to scale the side of the building to get to the server room, but one glove fails, leaving him to finish the job one-handed. As if that wasn't enough, Hunt has to race back down to his floor by abseiling down the side of the building and freefalling back into his hotel room, but it's all in a day's work for the IMF's top agent.
Cruise, typically, performed this extraordinary feat himself, leaving our nerves attaining the consistency of grated cheese.
Mission: Impossible – Breaking into the vault
While this may no longer be the most visually spectacular scene in the franchise, it might be the most iconic. It also serves as a reminder that this franchise has been wowing audiences for the best part of 22 years.
Hunt needs to break into the CIA's Langley headquarters to retrieve a list containing the names of all covert agents in Eastern Europe. His mission: to trade said list with an illegal arms dealer called Max. This is in exchange for a meeting with an IMF mole named 'Job 3:14', who has betrayed the agency.
Still with us? Good. The list is being held in a secure room in Langley and the vault it's held in contains state-of-the-art sound and temperature sensors, a laser net and a pressure sensitive floor. The only way in is through an air vent and Hunt is lowered through and… well, you know the rest.
Well, that's our list. Agree? Disagree? Maybe you have a few heart-stopping moments of your own? Tweet us @Cineworld and catch Mission: Impossible – Fallout in Cineworld from 27th July.
Marvyn Wilson is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.