“Top Gun” (1986) starring Tom Cruise & Kelly McGillis

Up there with the best of the best. -A tagline for the movie

Y’all know the story of this iconic/’80s action movie, its young (soon to be famous) cast, and maybe even a few lines. This was my 1st time watching. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise- in a star-making role), whose father was also in the Navy, and his closest pal, Goose (Anthony Edwards), get into the best flying school (AKA “Top Gun”). While Maverick is a flirtatious bachelor prone to risk-taking, Goose is a cautious/devoted family man (w/ a wife and toddler son). After filming ended, Edwards and Meg Ryan (his onscreen wife- Carole) started dating IRL. The tension btwn Maverick and his classmate, Iceman (Val Kilmer), is NOT just acting; Cruise and Kilmer didn’t get along, so avoided each other on set and didn’t socialize. When the students are being briefed by Charlie (Kelly McGillis) in the hangar, Maverick says that he gave “the bird” to a MiG. Charlie asks how he saw the MiG up close, and he explains it was by flying inverted. Iceman coughs “bullshit” (ad-libbed by Kilmer); the reactions of the other actors are genuine.

(The Navy Blue Angels) take Tom up there, and they do five Gs. They do barrel rolls, they do everything. He’s heaving in the plane. He gets on the tarmac, runs to a pay phone… and he said, “I’m in. I’m doing the movie. I love it. This is great.” -Jerry Bruckheimer (a producer) on convincing Cruise to sign on to the film (after his initial reluctance)

All in all, the movie was both a blast and an education. -Val Kilmer (who initially didn’t want to act in the movie)

The action and music make this movie V entertaining, I have to admit! Yeah, I was moving my feet to the soundtrack. Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer produced some blockbusters over their long partnership; I’m a big fan of Crimson Tide. It’s also fun to see the young/cute actors; a few became movie stars, while others went on to good careers in TV. Though the romance w/ McGillis is lackluster (zero chemistry), I liked the friendship btwn Cruise and Edwards (best known for ER) and the father-son dynamic btwn Cruise and Tom Skerritt (Viper- the lead instructor). Of course, I teared up a BIT when Goose died (though I knew it was coming)!

The real stars are the pilots themselves. Top Gun is dedicated to Art Scholl, a stunt pilot (aged 54), who was killed when his camera plane failed to recover from a flat spin and plunged into the Pacific Ocean. Maverick’s stunt flying was done by Scott D. Altman, who eventually become an astronaut- wow! Charlie’s “older man” date at the officer’s club is the real-life “Viper,” Pete Pettigrew, a retired Navy pilot/Top Gun instructor, who shot down a MiG during the Vietnam War. Pettigrew served as the technical consultant on the film. Charlie is based on Christine Fox, a civilian flight instructor the producers met on a visit to Miramar while doing research to prep for the film. Fox eventually rose through the ranks at the Pentagon, retiring in May 2014 as Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense, the highest post ever held by a woman at the DoD. You can stream this movie on Amazon (Paramount+) or Netflix.

2 thoughts on ““Top Gun” (1986) starring Tom Cruise & Kelly McGillis

  1. I was the only person who didn’t see this in the theatres at the time (I was a teenager). It didn’t interest me. It still doesn’t! And now there’s a sequel! And it’s one of the two Best Picture nominated films I’ve not seen. And I’m still not going to see it! LOL. I didn’t know Anthony Edwards was in it; I loved him in ER. His character’s death was intensely affecting, and I was sad to learn that Edwards had died.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha- yeah, there is SO much love for this movie, which was OK IMO! The action scenes in the sequel are pretty impressive, BUT it’s leaning V heavily on nostalgia & staying non-political (which some ppl didn’t think was realistic). It’s just a “feel-good” type of movie where ppl shouldn’t think too hard. I will do review soon…

      Like

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