Maverick: I feel the need... Maverick and Goose: ...the need for speed!
Tom Cruise flies F-14 Tomcats and gives the Commie Landers the finger while playing volleyball.Okay, a bit more detail. Top Gun (1986) was inspired by a magazine article on Navy pilots. The screenwriters and director Tony Scott viewed it as "Sports Movie meets jets". In it, a hotshot pilot named "Maverick" (Cruise) is sent to the TOPGUN training school, a five-week workshop where pilots learn how to really kick ass in an Old-School Dogfight. Here Maverick has to deal with competition from fellow pilots, and conquer his own demons.The film had full cooperation from the Pentagon, and much of its aerial combat was shot "reel for real" using actual Navy hardware. (So real, somebody died making it.) It was an unanticipated success and caused an immediate boost in Navy enlistment figures, to the point that they started putting recruiting booths right there in the theatre.
Anonymous Ringer: The nation whose air force the main characters fly against is never named. Speculation pegs it as South Yemen, a then Soviet client. IMDB suggests it was intended to be North Korea, which is rather unlikely as dialogue in the film establishes the setting as the Indian Ocean.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: Averted by the instructors at Top Gun; while they may be stern taskmasters at times, they never raise their voices very much and really have their students' best interests in mind.
The Dreaded: Viper. Oh, sure, he might just be an instructor, but even his presence on the field is enough to give the trainees pause.
''Good morning, gentlemen. The temperature is 110 degrees..."
"Yeah, Mav, I'm sure that's exactly what he's saying."
Faceless Goons: With visors and masks, everyone is technically faceless in the fighting scenes, but the U.S. pilots wear coloured helmets with their names on them and rarely use their visors, while the enemy pilots just have black always-visored helmets with a red star on.
Notably, the U.S. pilots are also frequently shown flying with their oxygen masks dangling to the side. This provides a minor Lock and Load Montage - the pilots snap their masks in place when they are about to enter combat.
Fanservice: The volleyball scene, the shower scene(s).
Fatal Family Photo: Subverted — Cougar has such a photo, but Maverick prevents him from crashing. He then resigns his commission.
Inspired several imitators, including Fire Birds and the short-lived TV series Supercarrier, the long-running TV series JAG, as well as multiple air-combat video games.
The movie Navy SEALS with Charlie Sheen was requested by the Navy, who hoped it would provide a bump in enlistments the way Top Gun did.
Gatling Good: The shots of the MiGs firing their guns during the final dogfight cut to a shot of a Minigun firing. The F-14 carries an internal 20mm Vulcan cannon as well, but it's never used on-screen.
Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: While all pilots do wear helmets, none of the named characters have their sun visors covering their eyes while flying (not even strict "by the book" pilots like Jester or Viper).
Heroic BSOD: Maverick is stuck in one after Goose's death.
Cougar has one in-flight after an enemy fighter gets a missile lock on him.
Heterosexual Life Partners: Maverick and Goose. It is strongly implied that they have been friends and flight-team partners for quite some time, and at one point Maverick calls Goose "the only family I've got."
Just Plane Wrong: Very much so. Most notably, all combat takes place within what the military would consider spitting distance; the flame-out scene, which is a real defect of the F-14, should have happened much earlier than it did. In all fairness, the military pilots doing the flying pointed this out, and the filmmakers agreed to try shooting actual aerial combat. The result was that you couldn't see anything, and Real Life bowed to Rule Of Cool.
Missile Lock On: Constantly during the aerial combat scenes. Ironically, most of the dogfights in the film take place INSIDE the minimum effective range of the missiles carried by the aircraft in the film, as noted by several characters when 'switching to guns', yet they go back to missiles by the time they actually fire.
Nice Guy: Goose, in spades. A devoted family man, liked by everyone, and pretty much the only one who can rein his impetuous partner in. Naturally, he dies two-thirds of the way through the film.
Nintendo Hard: The NES video game, thanks to those aforementioned carrier landings.
Throw It In: Iceman biting his gum and snapping his jaw at the end of the locker room scene was not scripted. Val Kilmer just did it, effectively getting the final word over Cruise.
Time Marches On: The Top Gun school left Miramar years ago. It's now based in Nevada under a different name and teaches both air combat -and- ground-attack.
F-14s, which feature so prominently in the film, have all been retired from service with the Navy. Similarly, the A-4s and F-5s flown by the instructors have since been replaced with F/A-18s and F-16s.
It would now be very unusual for absolutely no women to be seen serving aboard a carrier, either as aviators or shipboard specialists.
Truth in Television: A-4s and F-5s were chosen by the actual TOPGUN training seminar for "Dissimilar Air Combat Training," which is military jargon for, "We can't get real MiGs, but these planes have similar flight characteristics to them, so they'll do." (They did actually have some in the Constant Peg programme, but its existence was classified at that time.)
Life Imitates Art: The F-5s "playing" the part of MiG-28s in flat black paint jobs were planes from the actual seminar. They kept the paint job after filming was done.
“Well Done Son” Guy: Inverted. Maverick's dad died in air combat, and Maverick is constantly reassuring himself that his father was, indeed, the ace that he has told himself since childhood. Viper, whose role is partly Big Brother Mentor, eventually assures him that this was the case.