All of the Mission: Impossible movies have stories full of twists and turns, characters who undergo emotional transformations, and the rest of the basic building blocks of basic cinematic storytelling. But let’s face facts: These movies are all about the stunts. Specifically, they’re all about Tom Cruise putting himself in harm’s way for your amusement. A new series of posters celebrating the release of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation recognizes this fact.

The ads recreate the most famous scene from each film in the series in a stylish, slightly abstract way. And since everyone likes a trip down memory lane, let’s go through these one-by-one and compare the posters to the actual scene they’re representing.

Mission: Impossible


Although the stunts have gotten bigger and grander, the break-in at the CIA headquarters in Brian DePalma’s first Mission: Impossible movie is the definitive sequence of the entire series. And for good reason – it’s still incredible cinema nearly 20 years later. Like any great movie heist, the film sets up a seemingly impossible task and then revels in watching our heroes overcome the odds. In this case, it all revolves around Cruise’s Ethan Hunt sneaking into a secure room from the ceiling and trying very hard to not sweat or breathe too loudly. In fact, the image of Cruise, suspended from ropes, arms spread wide, is often the first image people think about when they talk about these movies.

Mission: Impossible II


John Woo’s Mission: Impossible II is a far sillier film than its predecessor and it makes this known before the credits have even finished rolling. Trading in sleazy, European-inspired weirdness for for bombastic action and tons of slow-motion face-kicking, this entry in the series is dedicated to one purpose only: making Cruise look as effortlessly cool as humanly possible. So, naturally, the film opens with the fearless movie star climbing a mountain without any visible support and his only reaction to nearly tumbling to his death is a bemused smirk.

Mission: Impossible III


Mission: Impossible III took the series back to its twisty, espionage roots, but it still found plenty of opportunities to up the ante in the crazy stunt department. Although we’re big fans of the climactic scene where director J.J. Abrams utilizes Cruise’s skills as cinema’s greatest runner to amazing effect, the poster depicts what is arguably the film’s Big Shot, which graced every single trailer and inspired all kinds of internet debates about the physics of the scene. Yes, it’s that moment when missiles are launched at the car right behind Ethan Hunt, sending his body flying against a nearby vehicle. It’s the only huge stunt in the series that doesn’t glorify our hero in any way – this looks like it really, really hurts.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol


Those who saw Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol in a proper IMAX theater witnessed one of the greatest feats in blockbuster filmmaking. The sequence where Cruise scales the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is nothing short of breathtaking, capable of inspiring vertigo in people who didn’t think they were afraid of heights. Paramount’s advertising campaign ensured that everyone in the world knew that Cruise actually climbed the tallest building in the world for this scene, but no amount of marketing over-saturation can diminish one of the most impressive, heart-in-your-throat, hand-gripping-your-armrest scenes of the past ... ever.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation


Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation has been borrowing heavily from the Ghost Protocol playbook, selling itself on the fact that the movie is all about Tom Cruise putting himself in absurd amounts of danger to pull off actual stunts. While director Christopher McQuarrie and his cast have teased all kinds of insane scenes, every preview has been built around one scene. You know the one, even if you haven’t seen the movie: Cruise clings to the side of an airplane. As it takes off. And he just dangles there, helplessly. Mission: Impossible 6 will probably toss him into orbit without a spacesuit.