Tom Cruise Actually Rode a Motorcycle off a Cliff for a Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Stunt

Tom Cruise is known for performing his own stunts, and he has done some doozies for the Mission: Impossible series. Memorable moments include his 25,000-foot skydive, climbing the world’s tallest building, and clinging to the side of a flying plane. But there is one stunt that Tom Cruise admits he has dreamed of doing since he was a kid but hasn’t pulled off until now: riding a motorcycle off a cliff and parachuting down.

Did Tom Cruise do his own motorcycle stunts in Mission: Impossible?

Tom Cruise performs all his own stunts. The Mission: Impossible franchise has become a vehicle for Cruise’s increasingly wild skydiving, rock climbing, and motorcycle riding stunts. Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning is no exception, with protagonist Ethan Hunt jumping a motorcycle off a cliff before deploying his parachute.

Actor Tom Cruise rides a motorcycle off a clifftop ramp for a Mission Impossible stunt, a helicopter visible in the background.
Tom Cruise performing a stunt | Paramount via IMAX on Youtube

Tom Cruise starred in the first Mission: Impossible film adaptation back in 1996. That movie featured some impressive action set pieces. But as film audiences demanded more Mission: Impossible movies, Cruise used the franchise to attempt the biggest sets in cinema history–himself.

When asked by the Hollywood Reporter why he attempts dangerous stunts himself, Cruise said, “No one asked Gene Kelly, ‘Why do you dance? Why do you do your own dancing?'” Obviously, performing his own stunts is part of Cruise’s identity as an actor and leading man. Check out a few of the wildest stunts from past Mission Impossible movies in the video below:

Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning will be the seventh film in the franchise and a sequel to 2018’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout. Paramount plans to launch it in theaters on July 14th, 2023. The final film in the franchise: Dead Reckoning Part Two is targeting a summer 2024 release. Part One’s notable stunts include launching a steam locomotive off a destroyed bridge, a vintage biplane chase, and riding a motorcycle over a cliff before parachuting to safety.

Dead Reckoning outdid all other Mission: Impossible stunts

The view of a ramp on set of Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Tom Cruise is using to jump a motorcycle off of a cliff.
Tom Cruise performing a stunt | Paramount via IMAX on Youtube

Tom Cruise admitted that he has dreamed of riding a motorcycle off a cliff and parachuting to safety since he was a kid. When Paramount and Cruise agreed that Dead Reckoning parts one and two would be his final outing as Ethan Hunt, Cruise knew it might be his final chance to make this dream come true. But the stunt would require him to merge two skills he had never used in tandem: motorcycle jumping and base jumping.

Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie had two distinct challenges in pulling off the motorcycle jump/base jump stunt: pulling it off safely and catching the action on camera. They selected a tall cliff in Norway and Cruise began preparing.

Firstly, Cruise refreshed his extensive parachuting expertise with over a year of advanced skydive and base jumping training. He also dove in Norway, getting used to the wind and weather. He even jumped along the cliff for the movie, leaping out of a hovering helicopter. Next, the film crew built Cruise a motocross track, and he practiced jumping bikes until he could clear an 80-foot tabletop.

While Cruise was practicing his motocross jumping skills, the film crew began to collect data. They attached a GPS tracker to Cruise and experimented with how far he and the bike would fly if he hit the jump at various speeds, or held onto the bike for different amounts of time. They would later use this data to place drone cameras in the perfect spot in the air to get the shot.

Tom Cruise actually rode a motorcycle off of a cliff while filming Mission Impossible number seven

A set photo of Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning shows Tom Cruise jumping a motorcycle off of a cliff while a helicopter films.
Tom Cruise performing a stunt | Paramount via IMAX on Youtube

Finally, the film crew also built a massive ramp off the cliff in Norway. They actually began principal photography with the cliff jump stunt. Cruise began with some warmup jumps from a helicopter, getting used to steering his parachute away from the cliff. Then he linked all his new skills together, riding a motocross bike off of the jump, letting it fall away, and pulling his parachute.

During that day of filming, Cruise completed the entire stunt several times so the director could capture it from different camera angles. Next, learn how James Bond used Coca-Cola to pull off the No Time to Die motorcycle jump or see behind the scenes of the upcoming Mission: Impossible motorcycle stunt for yourself in the video below:

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