One of Tom Cruise's Best '80s Movie Is Now on Paramount+

Paramount+ is the place to go for Tom Cruise fans, as he made many of his best movies at Paramount Pictures. However, the streamer is also home to one classic he made for another studio, Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money. The 1986 movie is one of the few sequels that are as good as the original, as it features Paul Newman reprising his The Hustler role as Fast Eddie Felson.

The Color of Money starts over 25 years after the events in The Hustler. Fast Eddie no longer hustles pool but is a liquor salesman in Chicago. He soon meets a young Vincent Lauria, played by Cruise, whom he sees great potential. Vincent's girlfriend Carmen, played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, joins the two on their journey, leading to an Atlantic City tournament. The script was written by Richard Price, and adapted from the novel by Walter Tevis, who also wrote The Queen's Gambit and The Hustler.

(Photo: Touchstone Pictures/Getty Images)

It's not hard to see the parallels between The Color of Money and Top Gun: Maverick. Both aren't just "legacy sequels" featuring Cruise. They involve a former protege becoming the teacher. In The Hustler, Neman's Fast Eddie was the brash young pool hustler taken under the wing of Bert Gordon, played by George C. Scott. In The Color of Money, Fast Eddie is the one who takes on a young protege in Cruise's Vincent.

Meanwhile, Top Gun: Maverick picks up 36 years after the events in Top Gun. In the earlier movie, Cruise's Pete "Maverick" Mitchell needed to learn important life lessons both in the air and on the ground to become a better pilot. In Maverick, which hits theaters on Friday, Maverick is now a flight instructor, with his late friend Goose's son Rooster (Miles Teller) as one of his students.

In an interview with Roger Ebert around the time The Color of Money hit theaters, Cruise showed praise on Newman, but he said the two didn't really talk about the craft of acting. "With acting, there are no tricks of the trade," Cruise told Ebert. "That's what I think. You learn the basics of creating the character, and you do the best you can. He never said, 'This is how I do things.' He never pulled the wise old guy routine."

Cruise also told Ebert that he made most of the pool shots himself. "For this movie, I spent months learning to shoot pool," Cruise said. "Mike Siegel, the world straight pool champion, was my coach. There is one scene where the camera goes in a 360-degree circle without a single cut, and I have to clean off the whole table. We shot it 18 times." Considering how much work Cruise puts in for his Mission: Impossible stunts, it's safe to say his dedication to authenticity hasn't waned in the 36 years since The Color of Money was made.

The Color of Money was a critical and financial success, and Newman finally won the long-elusive Best Actor Oscar for the movie. Price, Mastrantonio, and art directors Boris Leven and Karen O'Hara also earned Oscar nominations. The film is a Disney movie, as it was produced by the studio's sadly defunct Touchstone Pictures label.

Paramount+ is home to a handful of other Cruise movies at the time of this writing. Top Gun, Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible 2, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Jack Reacher, and War of the Worlds are streaming on the platform. You can also find Taps, a 1981 military school drama that features Cruise's first major performance, on Paramount+. Coincidentally, Taps also stars Newman's Hustler co-star Scott!