Exploring Tom Cruise’s First Movie in the Classroom
As K-12 educators, it is vital to engage students with captivating and relevant content. One stellar way to pique students’ interest is by introducing them to early works of popular actors. Today, let’s dive into Tom Cruise’s first movie, “Endless Love” (1981), and discover how to incorporate this classic film into our lesson plans.
To begin, provide students with background information about the movie. “Endless Love” captures the tale of two teenagers’ intense passion derailed by their parents’ disapproval. While the film was a moderate success at the box office and received mixed reviews, it launched Cruise’s extraordinary career. Although he played a minor role as Billy, one of the friends of the main character, this experience helped him find his footing in Hollywood.
Now that students are familiar with the premise of the movie, create engaging activities such as:
Assign students to analyze Tom Cruise’s character and discuss how he contributed to the plot. Encourage them to research Tom Cruise’s background and identify any similarities or contrasts between him and his character.
Organize a supervised viewing of selected scenes from “Endless Love,” focusing on Tom Cruise’s performance. Engage your students in conversations about themes and acting techniques observed in those scenes.
Inspire budding writers in your classroom by having them develop an alternate version of the story that expands upon Billy’s life and includes his perspective on events.
Pop Culture Comparison:
Lead a discussion comparing “Endless Love” to present-day teen drama films or television shows. Encourage students to analyze how societal values have changed over time in terms of scriptwriting, acting styles, dialogue, and expressions of emotions.
The Impact of Music
To develop an appreciation for music in movies, teach students about the iconic theme song, “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross. Explore how music can set the tone, evoke emotions, and support the film’s storytelling.
Integrating Tom Cruise’s first movie into the classroom not only provides opportunities for stimulating discussions and activities but also helps students learn about filmmaking, pop culture history, and the power of perseverance. By teaching students about Tom Cruise’s humble beginnings, we can motivate them to pursue their own aspirations with resilience, creativity, and passion.