Trivia / Top Gun


  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes:
    • #94, "I feel the need - the need for speed!"
  • Backed by the Pentagon: The US Navy backed this film in the hopes to boost recruiting numbers. The film was so successful in doing this that the Navy began setting up recruitment booths right outside theaters so that enthusiastic viewers could sign up immediately.
  • Cast the Expert: Real-life fighter pilots (wearing darkened visors) played enemy MiG pilots.
  • Deleted Scene: The film was originally going to have a scene near the end where Maverick visited Goose's grave. A filmed version of this scene was never released, however still screen shots from what such a scene would have looked like are available on the special edition DVD.
  • Development Hell: The sequel. It was set to be released in 2014, but Tony Scott's untimely death caused production to be on hold. As of 2017, it appears it's finally going to happen.
  • Discredited Meme: There's a ten dollar fine for anyone who quotes this movie at the real TOPGUN.
  • Dueling Movies: With Iron Eagle which was produced at the same time. Top Gun was far more successful, but Iron Eagle got three sequels, the last going Direct-to-Video.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Tom Cruise insisted that he get to fly in a real F-14 as a condition to star in this movie. The Navy paired Cruise with a pilot named "Bozo" who made it his personal mission to make sure that Cruise puked on every flight. Cruise frequently tells a story of how, after a particularly hard maneuver, he bent down to vomit into a bag when Bozo threw the plane into a climb so fast that his head was pinned to the cockpit floor by the g-forces.
    Tom Cruise: I'm trying to key the radio and trying to say "Bozo! Bozo!" and he goes: "They don't call me 'Bozo' for nothing!"
  • Fatal Method Acting / In Memoriam: During the filming of some sequences from civilian aircraft, longtime Hollywood stunt pilot Art Scholl was killed. A biplane he was flying crashed off the Pacific Coast. The film is dedicated to his memory.
  • Follow the Leader: Lead Fire Birds, which had a similar presence, but centered on attack helicopters, made with the assistance of the Arizona National Guard. Like Iron Eagle, it wasn't as successful. Unlike Iron Eagle, spawned no sequels whatsoever.
    • Also inspired 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.
    • The Navy also fully supported the production of The Hunt for Red October as they thought it would do for the submarine service what Top Gun did for Navy aviation.
  • Hostility on the Set: Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer didn't interact with each other at all, thus the tension between their characters is the real deal.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: An official release of Harold Faltermeyer's score for the film has never been done. Two pieces of score appear on the current soundtrack, but the complete score has yet to be released.
  • 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.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Val Kilmer did not want to be in this film, but was forced to by contractual obligations.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • The tension between Maverick and Iceman wasn't just down to good acting. Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer really disliked each other and wouldn't socialise or interact with one another.
    • The tension between Maverick and Charlie, as well as their hot-cold attitude in the beginning, was apparently the result of much the same between their actors.
  • The Red Stapler: Jackets and Ray-Bans experienced a peak in sales, and the Navy started putting recruitment booths in the theaters showing the film as enlistments saw a 500% bump.
    • Unfortunately, everyone coming to the recruiting booth after seeing the movie wanted to be a fighter pilot, and many were extremely disappointed to find out they didn't qualify, either for physical reasons (vision problems, etc.) or because they didn't have a college degree. The reason enlistments saw a 500% bump is because the Navy recruiters did a masterful job of redirecting the majority of them into other career fields.
  • Referenced by...:
    • Wing Commander famously centered on a pilot known as Maverick, with Iceman being one of his squadmates. However, in this case, "Maverick" is lampshaded as being an Ironic Nickname for the cool-headed by the book pilot. His wingman Maniac is another matter entirely...
    • Archer's Catch-Phrase is "Danger Zone", and both the song and film itself are frequently mentioned. Kenny Loggins also did an Adam Westing appearance in the episode "Baby Shower" and did a country-music cover of the song.
  • Romance on the Set: Meg Ryan and Anthony Edwards actually became an item after filming concluded.
  • Scully Box: Tom Cruise actually had to wear lifts in his scenes with Kelly McGillis. Cruise is 5'7" while McGillis is 5'10".
  • 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 Tom Cruise.
  • Truth in Television: The training accident that kills Goose was entirely possible due to the design of the Tomcat. Early Tomcats had Pratt & Whitney TF30 engines which were underpowered for the aircraft, resulting in compressor stalls at high angles of attack. The space in between the two engines would also easily result in a flat spin due to the massive amount of asymmetrical thrust should one engine crap out.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The top box office gross of the year, two huge hit songs, and capturing just about everything that was special about the decade, Top Gun practically is 1986.
  • What Could Have Been:

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