Tom Cruise Pulled Off The Biggest Stunt In Cinema History in ‘Mission: Impossible 7’

"You know the only thing you have to avoid while doing a stunt like this is serious injury or death..."

Tom Cruise Pulled Off The Biggest Stunt In Cinema History in ‘Mission: Impossible 7’

Image: Paramount Pictures

Tom Cruise’s latest movie Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One has received widespread acclaim since it premiered worldwide this week, with Cruise upping the stakes for the seventh instalment in the Mission: Impossible franchise. But ahead of release to the general public, there’s one unbelievable stunt that has left everybody wondering… ‘How did they do it?!’

One cold September day in 2020, on Norway’s picturesque Helsetkopen mountain range, the ripples of a modified Honda CRF 250 motorbike engine cascaded across the vast glacial scene, as Tom Cruise and a Hollywood film crew put years of preparation into practice, to undertake the biggest stunt in cinema history.

The stunt was filmed on the first day of principal photography, “in classic Mission form,” says director Christopher McQuarrie, in which Cruise would charge a custom-built motorcycle over a sheer mountain edge and freefall almost 4000 feet before deploying a parachute canopy before certain death.

To pull something off of this magnitude required years of meticulous planning and training to achieve perfect execution. “There’s a lot going into this stunt. So Tom put together this master plan to coordinate all of these experts in each of the particular disciplines involved, to make this whole thing happen.”

WATCH Tom Cruise’s biggest stunt ever below.

“Don’t be careful. Be competent.”

Tom Cruise

Hollywood’s movie maverick Tom Cruise is well known for his daring on-screen stunts, whether it’s climbing a 2000-foot cliff in the opening scene of Mission: Impossible II; hanging onto the edge of a huge Airbus A400M plane as it takes off in Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation; or ascending 1700 feet up the tallest building in the world with no more than a harness for Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, Cruise is the king of on-camera chaos, bringing the Mission: Impossible story to dizzying new heights with each subsequent flick – literally.

The preparation for such a stunt was immense that Cruise had to master a year of BASE training and advanced skydive training, doing 30 jumps a day and 500 skydives to perfect his canopy skills and spacial awareness, tracking, freefalling and positioning.

This continued with specialised motocross training, carrying out over 13,000 individual jumps to determine the perfect speed, distance and overall trajectory of the final stunt. This is a feat in itself, not considering the fact that Cruise’s bike had no internal speedometer, so with each successive launch, he had to become so perfectly aligned with the determining factors of his jumps, using no more than his body to land effectively and safely.

“The key is me hitting certain speeds and being consistent with that. There’s no speedometer, so I do it by sound and feel of the bike. And then as I depart the bike, I’m using the wind that’s hitting me here and I’m cupping my chest. That will give me lift,” Cruise explains.

Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning – Part One. Image: Paramount Pictures

In Norway, where the final stunt was to take place for Mission: Impossible 7, a swarm of helicopters were brought in to expertly assemble the “masterful” track and ramp. Following years of precise preparation, the conditions were right for the real thing.

Defying gravity, fear and limitations require a specific piece of kit. For his death-defying stunt, Tom Cruise’s goggles in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning – Part One were Oakley’s one-of-a-kind ECLP23, featuring High-Speed Protection, an expanded field of view and Zero Gravity making sure that the eyewear was a perfect fit for his face, leaving no room for error as Cruise freefalls over a cliff edge with no stunt double in sight.

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Cruise would perform the final stunt a total of eight times off the sheer edge of the Helsetkopen mountains, at a height of 4,000 feet into a jagged and unforgiving ravine. “Every time I went off the ramp, it was dangerous,” explained Cruise. “It was risking my life. And we wanted to keep that to a minimum.”

The final cut is pure cinematic perfection; an addictive action sequence that raises the stakes in this latest saga of Ethan Hunt’s adrenaline-filled anthology. So there’s no surprise then that Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One has received a score of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and is set to be the highest-rated movie of the Mission: Impossible franchise.

As director, Christopher McQuarrie says: “This is far and away the most dangerous thing we’ve ever attempted. The only thing that scares me more is what we have planned for Mission 8…”