Fans have seen Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt execute countless thrilling stunts in the Mission: Impossible franchise, but the most memorable may be the vault scene in the first film.

If you don't remember, Cruise had to hang upside down on cables to film the scene, in which Ethan breaks into the CIA's most impenetrable vault.

Cruise recently revealed that the iconic moment nearly didn't happen because he kept falling during earlier takes and director Brian De Palma wanted to move on. In a past interview, Cruise said De Palma wanted to split the scene into two different shots if he couldn't get it.

"I remember we were running out of time and I went down to the floor and I kept hitting my face," the actor said, as part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the film.

As the team had a lot to do, Cruise figured out a solution quickly by putting coins in his shoe to balance himself.

"I put the pound coins in and I hung on the cable to see if I was level. And I had to make it. Brian [De Palma] was like, 'One more and I'm going to cut into it,' and I said, 'I can do it.'"

It may have looked slick on the big screen, but Cruise said going all the way down without touching the floor and maintaining his position was very physical and straining.

"I was holding it, holding, holding it, holding it, and I'm sweating, and I'm sweating, and he just keeps rolling," Cruise continued. And in that moment, he realized the director was testing to see how long he could go.

"And I just hear him off-camera, and he's got a very distinct laugh," the actor said. "I can just hear him start to howl, and he goes, 'Alright, cut.'"

Cruise spoke about the 1996 action classic while on the set of the latest Mission: Impossible movie, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Mission: Impossible 7 will be released May 27, while an eighth installment is slated for July 7, 2023.

If you haven't seen the famous vault scene yet, watch the clip below:

Mission: Impossible originally premiered on May 22, 1996. A newly remastered 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition Blu-ray is available now.

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Mission: Impossible
  • Movie
  • 110 minutes