As an actor who likes to perform his own stunts, Tom Cruise tends to set the bar high. Literally.

Having scaled the world's tallest building in "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" four years ago, the 53-year-old figured the only way to top that was to hang from the side of a flying plane in the new "Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation," opening July 31.

Certainly, there's something thrilling -- and probably a little sick -- about watching a person risk his or her life just to entertain us. Cruise has clearly gone above and beyond the call of duty for moviegoers many times, but he's also part of a movie tradition going back a century, of film professionals doing absolutely insane stunts just to wow us for a few moments. In honor of "Rogue Nation," here are 18 of the most astonishing stunts ever filmed.