Today marks the anniversary of the day that Tom Cruise became a mega star, almost an instant overnight success story. Thomas Cruise Mapother IV a.k.a Mr. Tom Cruise career actually took off when he landed the lead in a 1983 teen sex comedy called Risky Business, which opened 25 years ago today.

Later he would have us at “hello.” Capture us with “Feeling the need, the need for speed” and spellbound us with turning another mega star into a vampire, also known as Brad Pitt.

1. The Smirk That Sold 360,000 Pairs of Ray-Bans: Cruise’s thick-browed gaze over a pair of black Wayfarers on the movie poster not only helped sell movie tickets but helped turn the sunglasses from a nostalgic item to icons of slick ’80s pop culture.
2. The underwear scene. As Joel Goodsen, Tom Cruise took dancing in one’s underwear (far left), air guitar and couch-humping – three things that on their own are fairly goofy – and combined them in one scene to make something surprisingly sexy. That Bob Seger song just sealed the deal.
3. The catchphrases. Risky Business began the tradition of pithy Tom Cruise catchphrases — “Sometimes you just gotta say ‘What the (bleep)'” and “Porsche: There is no substitute.”
4. The haircut. His bowl cut in the movie wasn’t, in retrospect, all that hot, but it was a great improvement over the wacky military- school buzz cut he had sported two years earlier in Taps. As an aside – did you notice that Joel’s hair gets more styled and feathered the less uptight he gets? It’s like sexual confidence = Dippity-do.
5. The tighty-whiteys. You know something else that’s not sexy? Tighty-whiteys. But somehow, like his greasy ponytail in Magnolia or whatever that blond foppish thing he was sporting in Interview With The Vampire, he made it work.
6. The megawatt smile. Because he didn’t do much smiling in Taps and The Outsiders – at least smiling that wasn’t menacing or psychotic – Risky Business was our introduction to one of Tom Cruise’s most famous attributes: that charming, toothy grin.
7. Skeevy, yet sexy. As Tom Hanks would demonstrate the following year in Bachelor Party, Cruise proved that it’s possible to play a character engaged in skeevy behavior in a lowbrow comedy, and still be sympathetic and sexy. Because part-time pimps? Not all that sexy.
8. The train scene. You know – the sex scene on the train with Rebecca De Mornay’s Lana is like a less-graphic preview of Cruise’s then-controversial clinch with Kelly McGillis’ Charlie in Top Gun – partly obscured in shadow, set to music (Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight here, Berlin’s Take My Breath Away in Top Gun) and, in retrospect, not as steamy as it seemed at the time.
9. Taking that iconic spin. Joel’s joy ride in his father’s forbidden Porche (left) seems to preview Cruise’s iconic rides in later movies, like Maverick’s motorcycle race with a jet in Top Gun, or Cole Trickle roaring around the track in Days of Top Gun … er … Days of Thunder.
10. Tom Cruise, before he became the Tom Cruise Character. Cruise would spend the next 15 years or so playing pretty much the same character – the cockiest pilot/race-car driver/Irish immigrant boxer/sports agent in the world. But Joel in Risky Business is remarkable because he’s solidly ordinary, something that Tom Cruise would never be again.
All I can say is that “I LOVE Me Some Tom Cruise 25 Years Later”

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