Jerry Maguire (1996): Crowe Directs Tom Cruise in his Best Screen Performance

An enjoyable but not too deep tale of spiritual redemption, written and directed by Cameron Crowe, Jerry Maguire boasts one of the best performances given by Tom Cruise.

Cruise plays the titular role, a high-powered sports agent, who through his hustling and greed gets huge salaries and endorsements for his clients, which upset his competitors and repel his fans.


One late-night, experiencing an uncharacteristic crisis of conscience, Jerry gets inspire to write a personal memo that decries the greedy, debased, immoral norms that define his line of business.


Predictably, he loses his fiancee, but then meets and falls for a young, needy, and naïve single mother (Renee Zellweger).


More to the point, he is determined to resurrect the career of his client Ron Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.), a second-string football player.


Cruise is good in a flashy, arrogant role that enables him to demonstrate his skills in physical comedy. But it is Cuba Gooding Jr. (“Show me the money”), who effortlessly steals most of the scenes that they shared together, accounting perhaps for an Oscar-win in the supporting league.


The film has its share of charming but disingenuous scenes, such as the one in which Jerry “rescues“ Dorothy from sort of a therapeutic group for divorced women. The happy ending is too pat and neat and too generic, but it will make you feel good about yourself and your life—at least for a few moments.


Lines to Remember: “You complete me.”

“It was one of those lines that came so easily, it felt almost too easy,” recalled writer-director Cameron Crowe. “When I first gave the script to Tom Cruise, and we were reading through it, I said, ‘I’m going to change that line.’ He said, ‘Uh, I love that line. Why don’t you give me a crack at it.’ I left it in, and on the night of filming — it was 4 a.m., on a Friday, and everybody was dropping from exhaustion — Tom says the line. By the end of his speech, everybody was in tears. Renee was a wreck. Tom had delivered the line so powerfully, and so directly to her, she was still getting over it. Later he told me, ‘I had always wanted to say ‘I love you’ like that in a movie.'”


Oscar Alert


Oscar Nominations: 5



Actor: Tom Cruise

Supporting Actor: Cuba Gooding

Screenplay (Original): Cameron Crowe

Film Editing: Joe Hutshing


Oscar awards: 1


Supporting Actor


Oscar Context:


The Best Picture Oscar in 1996 went to “The English Patient,” which swept many other awards. 




Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise)

Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.)

Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger)

Avery Bishop (Kelly Preston)

Laurel Boyd (Bonnie Hunt)

Frank Cushman (Jerry O’Connell)

Bob Sugar (Jay Mohr)

Marcee Tidwell (Regina King)

Ray Boyd (Jonathan Lipnicki)

Chad the Nany (Todd Luiso)




Produced by James L. Brooks, Laurence Mark, Richard Sakai, Cameron Crowe

Directed by Cameron Crowe

Screenplay: Cameron Crowe

Camera: Janusz Kaminski

Editor: Joe Hutshing

Music: Nancy Wilson

Production design: Stephen Lineweaver

Art direction: Virginia Randolph, Clayton Hartley

Costumes: Betsy Heimann

F/X: Paul Haines


Running time: 135 Minutes