Tom Cruise, Robin Williams, Keanu Reeves And 5 Other A-Listers Who Made Critics Look Like Fools With Their Cult Classic Movies

Hollywood A-listers who defied critics with cult classics.

Tom Cruise,Keanu Reeves and Robin Williams


  • Exploring movie stars who have won over audiences with their performances despite initial skepticism from critics.
  • Hollywood icons like Tom Cruise, Robin Williams, Keanu Reeves, and others have defied the odds with some of the most remarkable performances of their careers.
  • Not only did these films earn praise from audiences, but they also raked in significant box office returns
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In the ever-evolving world of cinema, even the most prominent stars occasionally encounter harsh and disappointing receptions of their work. While this is often unavoidable, numerous Hollywood icons like Tom Cruise, Robin Williams, Keanu Reeves, and others have defied the odds with some of the most remarkable performances of their careers. The following list explores such movie stars who have proven the critics wrong.


Tom Cruise – Vanilla Sky

Renowned for his action-packed roles, Tom Cruise showcased his versatile acting prowess in the 2001 psychological thriller Vanilla Sky. The film follows him as a wealthy publishing magnate David Aames, who finds himself in a complex web of romance, betrayal, and existential mystery after a life-altering car accident.

Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky
Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky | Credit: Paramount

Upon its release, the film received mixed reviews with criticism directed towards Cruise’s performance. Despite the disappointing critics’ reviews, the film soared at the box office, grossing over $200 million worldwide, and has since gained a cult following.


Currently holding a 49% critics’ score versus a 72% audience score, alongside films like Top Gun, which stand as a testament to Cruise’s ability to captivate audiences, transcending the limitations of genre expectations.

Vanilla Sky is available to stream on Paramount+.

Robin Williams – Hook

Robin Williams has been among some of the greatest actors of all time. Although the actor has been a beloved movie star, he has encountered both critical acclaim and disappointment throughout his illustrious career. However, the audience did not seem to agree with critics when it came to movies like Hook, starring Williams as Peter Pan.

Robin Williams in a still from Hook
Robin Williams in a still from Hook | Credit: TriStar Pictures

The film follows Peter Pan as he strives to rescue children from Captain Hook, played by Dustin Hoffman. While critics praised the cast’s performance they expressed reservations regarding the screenplay and overall tone, resulting in a modest 28% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite the disappointing critical reception, the film resonated with audiences, grossing $300 million at the box office and earning a commendable 76% audience score.

Hook is available to stream on Prime Video.

Sylvester Stallone – Rocky IV

Sylvester Stallone’s iconic Rocky franchise has solidified its place as one of Hollywood’s most beloved film series. While the series has spawned numerous sequels and future projects, not every installment has garnered universal acclaim. Rocky IV received criticism from reviewers who felt it didn’t quite measure up to its predecessors, earning a 40% critic score.

Rocky Balboa vs Ivan Drago in Rocky IV
Rocky Balboa vs Ivan Drago in Rocky IV | Credit: IMDb

Despite its lukewarm critical reception, Rocky IV became the highest-grossing film in the franchise up to that point, raking in $300 million at the box office. Audiences, in contrast to critics, rallied behind the film, awarding it a respectable 79% audience score. Over time, the film gained appreciation for its memorable training montages, an aspect initially criticized but later celebrated by fans.

Rocky IV is available to stream on Prime Video.

Keanu Reeves – Constantine

Prominently known as the star of the John Wick and The Matrix franchise, Keanu Reeves has given several hits throughout his career alongside some less well-received films. His 2005 superhero horror flick, starring him as the DC character John Constantine, earned a divisive critical reception.

Keanu reeves
Keanu Reeves in Constantine | Credit: Warner Bros

While some praised chilling infernal scenes and Keanu Reeves’ performance, others criticized the film for its confusing narrative and excessive exposition. Despite a critics’ score of 46%, audiences embraced Reeves in the lead role, reflected in the film’s robust box office performance, grossing $230.9 million worldwide and earning a solid 72% audience score.

The anticipation for Reeves’ return to the character has fueled reports of a sequel currently in development. Additionally, Reeves’ other films such as A Walk in the Clouds and The Lake House have also defied critics by earning favorable audience reception.

Constantine is available to stream on Prime Video.


Bruce Willis – The Last Boy Scout

Starring Bruce Willis alongside Damon Wayans, The Last Boy Scout follows a washed-up investigator who teams up with a scandal-ridden football star to uncover a political conspiracy. Initially receiving mixed reviews, the film has since developed a cult following, having a 46% critic score against a 68% audience score.

The Last Boy Scout
The Last Boy Scout | Credit: Warner Bros

The movie also performed significantly well at the box office, earning $59.5 million domestically. Willis’ star power and ability to attract audiences to theaters is further demonstrated in films like Die Hard With a Vengeance, Glass, Lucky Number Slevin, and Armageddon, which have enjoyed positive audience receptions despite mixed critical reviews.

The Last Boy Scout is available to stream on Prime Video.


Nicolas Cage – Gone in 60 Seconds

Nicolas Cage’s Gone in 60 Seconds follows him as a car thief who returns to his old ways to steal a hoard of cars in one night to save his kidnapped brother. Initially, the film received a negative reception, with criticism directed at the cast’s performance, direction, and action sequences. However, despite the critical response, it grossed $237 million at the box office.

Gone in 60 Seconds 
Gone in 60 Seconds | Credit: IMDb

Gone in 60 Seconds has since earned a cult following, boasting a 77% audience score compared to a 26% critics score. Cage has also starred in other films that defied critical opinions and performed well both among fans and at the box office including National Treasure, Con Air, and City of Angels.

Gone in 60 Seconds is available to stream on Prime Video.


Ben Stiller – Night at the Museum

Hollywood star Ben Stiller has successfully balanced his career as both an actor and director, cultivating an impressive filmography that showcases his diverse talents. The 2006 film boasting an ensemble cast alongside Ben Stiller follows him as a security guard at a museum where the exhibits come to life after closing.

Ben Stiller
Ben Stiller in Night at the Museum | Credit: 20th Century Fox

Despite having a 42% critic score, the film received a 67% audience score and has earned $574 million worldwide. It has since developed into a full-fledged franchise and is also considered a cult classic. His 2013 film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty also received mixed reviews, with a 52% critic score, it performed well at the box office and earned a 71% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Night at the Museum is available to stream on Disney+.


Bette Midler – The First Wives Club

The Oscar-nominated actress Bette Midler is also among some of the Hollywood stars who have defied critics with films like The First Wives Club. The movie follows three middle-aged women who reunite after their college friend’s death and seek revenge and empowerment after discovering they’ve all been wronged by their ex-husbands.

The First Wives Club
The First Wives Club | Credit: IMDb

Despite receiving a 50% critic score, the film garnered a 68% audience score and performed well at the box office, earning $181 million. Similarly, Midler’s other films, such as Beaches, Hocus Pocus, and Big Business have received favorable audience reception despite initially being critically panned.

The First Wives Club is available to stream on Disney+.


Written by Laxmi Rajput

Articles Published: 2367

Laxmi Rajput is a writer at Fandomwire. She finished her Post Graduation in Broadcast Journalism and worked as a Business News writer for a year. But her interest in entertainment and pop culture compelled her to find a way towards Entertainment Journalism. She has worked across various fields and has 2 years of experience in content writing. She likes reading, music, movies, and traveling. She aspires to become a fiction writer in the future.