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Ethan Hunt
Feature MissionImpossible3-med
Ethan Hunt appearing in the third film
Name: Ethan Matthew Hunt
Gender: Male
Hair color: Black
Eye color: Brown
Age: 59 (2023)
Date of birth: August 18, 1964
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin
Nationality: Flag of the United States American
Alias(es): Mr. Hunt

Philippe Douchette
Team Leader
John Lark
Mr. Lark
Robert Thorne
Dr. Robert
James Phelps
Vladimir Nekhorvich
Hugh Stamp
Owen Davian
General Anatoly Fedorov
Eugene Kittridge's adjutant
Eugene Kittridge

Affiliation: Impossible Mission Force
United States Army (formerly)
Profession: Field Team Leader
Training Officer (formerly)
Rank: Agent
Marital status: Separated
Spouse(s): Julia Anne Meade
Significant other(s): Love Interests:
Claire Phelps (deceased)
Nyah Nordoff-Hall (formerly)
Ilsa Faust
Father: Nathan Hunt
Mother: Margaret Hunt
Family: Uncle:
Donald Hunt
Status: Alive
Played by: Tom Cruise
Films: 8 films

Ethan Matthew Hunt is a senior field operations agent of the Impossible Mission Force, an elite, top-secret espionage and covert operations agency that handles dangerous and highly sensitive international missions that have been deemed "impossible" and the main protagonist of the Mission: Impossible film series.


Ethan Matthew Hunt was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the only child of Nathan and Margaret Hunt. Raised on a dairy farm in Middlefield, New York, he enlisted in the United States Army right out of high school. Ethan enlisted for the Infantry military occupational specialty and decided that he would become an Army Ranger. After graduating Basic, Advanced Individual, and Airborne Training, Ethan was sent to the Ranger Indoctrination Program. Upon graduation of RIP, he was placed in the 3rd Battalion of 75th Ranger Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Daniel David Briggs. He then attended and passed Ranger School, where he earned his Ranger Tab. Ethan eventually fought in combat during Operation Desert Storm.

After four distinguished years in the Army, Ethan went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a double major in Engineering and International Relations. Upon graduating from Pennsylvania, he immediately sought employment with the Central Intelligence Agency. Before Ethan could join the Agency, he had to go through background checks, take the entrance exam, and go through a series of interviews and psychological tests. Upon passing the entrance and psychological examinations, Ethan was contacted by Colonel Briggs, who had joined the CIA in a high-level position a few years before and he believed Ethan would be perfect for a secret organization outside of the CIA. In short order, he was recruited into an ultra-secret multi-national agency called the Impossible Mission Force.

Although he was initially told that he would only be tasked with "unconventional black ops", Ethan exuberantly accepted the job offer. Afterwards, he was informed of IMF's mandate. He then went through an intensive operational training course to learn the so-called "operational intelligence" or "tradecraft" skills, including surveillance, clandestine photography, infiltration and extraction techniques. He was also well-trained in night parachuting, tactical high speed emergency driving and rappelling from helicopters, as well as dry and wet demolition. Because of his military experience, Ethan excelled through training.

Once he completed his training, he was given the "cover legend" as a system analyst for the U.S. Department of Transportation and placed in a five-person team (called an "I.M. Force") as the team's point man. Led by Senior Agent James "Jim" Phelps, the team's job was to infiltrate secure installations, seize critical intelligence, destroy dangerous data or equipment, and neutralize the enemy as needed, without leaving a trace. The IMF is different than most intelligence agencies in that, once their orders have been given, there are no required procedures for the fulfillment of the mission. Therefore, Ethan and his fellow agents could use whatever means they deem necessary, and success was all that matters. The downside was, of course, obvious; if either Ethan or any team member was captured or killed, the Secretary of the IMF would disavow any knowledge of his or her actions.


Mission: Impossible[]

Just a few months into his IMF career, Hunt's team assembled for a mission in Prague that would change his life dramatically. On the first mission, Hunt acts as the IMF's point man for an experienced field team, led by veteran Jim Phelps, with whom he is closely bonded. While attempting to recover stolen files containing information on all IMF's field agents during a mission in Prague, the entire team, barring Hunt, is supposedly killed and the files are stolen, leaving Hunt the only suspect as he learns that the mission was a set-up to expose a mole who had been selling secrets to a Czech arms dealer. Hunt decides to steal the genuine list himself, demanding that the genuine mole be present at the exchange. He sets up a rogue team of other disavowed agents, including computer expert Luther Stickell, pilot Franz Krieger and Claire Phelps.

After recovering the list, Hunt is shocked to learn that the true traitor is actually Jim Phelps himself, who was completely unhinged and had become disillusioned with his career after feeling that he had become irrelevant. Phelps faked his own death in order to frame Hunt and he was working with Krieger and Claire to eliminate the other team members. Setting up a situation where Jim's continued survival and his criminal activity is exposed to the head of the IMF, Hunt kills Jim and Krieger as they attempt to escape from the train where Hunt had arranged to make the exchange. At the conclusion of the film, Hunt meets briefly with Stickell and is taking over Jim's position.

Mission: Impossible II[]

Hunt is tasked with retrieving a deadly genetically engineered virus, designated "Chimera", from a rogue IMF agent and his former colleague, Sean Ambrose. Hunt attempts to infiltrate Ambrose's inner circle through Ambrose's former girlfriend, Nyah Nordoff-Hall, a professional thief. During their recruitment, Hunt and Nyah engage in an affair that complicates the mission. At the climax, Nyah is forced to infect herself with the last virus sample in order to save Hunt; with Hunt having destroyed the only other traces of the virus, she was able to shield Hunt until he could escape. Subsequently racing against time—as the virus is incurable beyond twenty hours after infection—Hunt manages to acquire the cure, Bellerophon, and kill Ambrose, but even more so, bring a living virus sample to the IMF.

Mission: Impossible - Operation Surma[]

Ethan Hunt, Luther Stickell and the IMF are brought into an investigation of a shady international corporation, known as SURMA, that is in possession of a highly advanced computer virus known as Ice Worm. It has the power to break through any type of security system and could lead to the theft of any data ranging from nuclear weapons specs to intelligence of any government. When their own operations are sabotaged, Ethan and the IMF team find out that their secure databases have been hacked and that their enemies are now in possession of some of their deepest, darkest secrets. The team must find this worm to protect global internet security.

Mission: Impossible III[]

Hunt is now a semi-retired training officer for the IMF and plans a quiet life with his fiancee Julia Meade who doesn't know about his true IMF career. He is called back into service to rescue his protege captured during a surveillance mission in Germany and recovers confidential information via a number of stolen laptops. He is forced to go rogue once again in an attempt to track down the sadistic arms dealer, Owen Davian and secure a dangerous mystery item known as the 'Rabbit's Foot'. After an impromptu ceremony, Hunt and Julia are married, only for Owen, who has a double agent working within IMF named John Musgrave, to kidnap Julia. With the help of his IMF team, Hunt finds the Rabbit's foot, saves his wife and kills Owen Davian in Shanghai.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol[]

Hunt (having just escaped from Rankow Prison following a different reconnaissance mission) and his IMF team are being blamed for an attack that destroys the Kremlin in Moscow, causing the U.S. President to activate the fail-safe initiative, Ghost Protocol, to disavow the IMF. Despite the lack of usual resources, connections, technology and backup, their primary mission is to find and stop Kurt Hendricks, a former Russian nuclear strategist intent to instigate a nuclear war to usher in a new era of human evolution. As they chase Hendricks to Dubai and fly to India, they are being pursued by a team of Russian agents trying to apprehend them. The team becomes increasingly fractured as individual members fight their own demons while trying to trust each other. Hunt manages to pull the team together, stop a nuclear missile and clear the IMF of any involvement in the Kremlin bombing. It is later revealed that Hunt had faked Julia's death to protect her, something that only he and the IMF Secretary knew about, giving him the pretext to infiltrate the prison his team free him from there in the opening scenes.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation[]

With the IMF now disbanded by the oversight committee and Hunt out in the cold, a new threat - called the Syndicate - soon emerges. The Syndicate is a network of highly skilled operatives led by a former MI6 agent, Solomon Lane, who are dedicated to establishing a new world order via an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Faced with what may be the most impossible mission yet, Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with Ilsa Faust, who is later revealed to be an undercover MI6 agent while struggling with her loyalty between Lane, Attlee and Ethan and his IMF teammates.

When Lane is ultimately captured by Hunt and his team, Director Alan Hunley of the Central Intelligence Agency, along with Agent William Brandt, go back to the U.S. Senate oversight committee to reinstate the IMF. They explain that they used the disavowal of the IMF as part of their plan to expose and dismantle The Syndicate in which Hunley and a handful of IMF agents know about. The members of the oversight committee are uncertain whether they can approve Hunley's methods but agree when Brandt again refuses to discuss operational matters without permission. After the meeting, Brandt addresses Hunley as the new Secretary of the IMF as the agency is now restored.


Ethan is proactive, tending to initiate events rather than respond to them. Even before Jim Phelps betrayed him, Ethan tended to act independently; that trait became his dominant one after his time as a fugitive. He is capable of planning and undertaking very intricate schemes, particularly covert intrusions.

According to Ambrose, he prefers misdirection to confrontation, as is expected of a covert agent, and will do his best not to endanger innocent bystanders.

Ethan is extremely observant, with an almost-photographic memory, and his ability to make profound deductions with limited clues is very impressive. He is also very good at hiding his reaction to critical information; for example, during one mission he realized one of his hired hands was also one of the people who assassinated his former team, but he did not show any visible reaction that would have given away this revelation.

Ethan enjoys engaging in playful banter in conversation and often wins people over quickly by virtue of his charm.

He is also incredibly attentive and almost recklessly daring during his missions. He is highly cunning and extremely astute and calculating, especially when it comes to learn about the capabilities of his enemies. He is highly idealistic and devises philosophical traps during debates.

Finally, Hunt's personality is subdued in the first movie, but becomes more extravagant and extroverted during the next two films.

He is described as a tough, uniquely trained and highly motivated individual, who is a great expert without any equal, and described as immune to any countermeasures. In most of the films, he is depicted as an individual who is able to extract any secret data, to breach any security system, and able to become any person in the world easily via the latex masks provided by the IMF.

Alan Hunley, former director of the CIA, had described Hunt as the ultimate personification of destiny, in which he has proven the entire time during missions. Most of all, Hunt is a man of work; as he loves his job, and definitely almost nothing would stand in his way to finish his missions and defend the world as he knows it.


The characteristics evolve throughout the series. In the first movie, Hunt is a master of disguises, stealth, espionage tactics and, according to his profile, he has been taught the Brazilian martial arts of Capoeira. He shows limited fighting ability, kicking a CIA employee while stealing the Non-Official Cover list, but he is later knocked out in a confrontation by the elderly, but more experienced James Phelps.

As the series progresses, however, Hunt abandons many of his stealth tactics in favor of brutal, but sometimes non-lethal force: he uses various kicks, holds and flips during his assault on terrorist personnel in the next two movies. In Mission: Impossible II, we see him using techniques inspired by Capoeira, which fits his profile from the first movie.

In the third installment, while still using some Capoeira, he also utilizes techniques from the Keysi fighting method, and in a training scene with Lindsey Farris, we see him teaching her the Filipino martial arts of Eskrima. He displays several extremely complex Ninjitsu moves in the fourth movie, including a selection of Capoeira and Taekwondo moves. During his prison escape, Hunt mainly utilizes Kenpo, Karate and judo moves, and resorts to combined Capoeira, Ninjitsu, Taekwondo and Karate moves and strategies when fighting Kurt Hendricks. He also reuses his mastery of stealth and surprise while fighting the nuclear extremist.

His weapon of choice remains the Beretta 92FS 9mm semi-automatic handgun, which he uses in all three films. For the next films, his new weapon of choice is SIG Sauer P226 before switching to H&K USP Compact. Hunt is also fluent in multiple languages without accent like Spanish, German and French.

Behind The Scenes[]

Ethan Matthew Hunt is portrayed by the veteran actor, Tom Cruise, in all five films. He is portrayed by separate actors for two individual video game adaptations (one which is an adaptation of the 1996 original film and another which is an original 2003 video game spin-off - the latter in which he is voiced by Steven Blum).


Appearances in the Mission: Impossible franchise[]