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Trivia / Top Gun

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  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes:
    • #94, "I feel the need - the need for speed!"
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: The Naval Aviators who did the actual flying for the film were all excited to be picked because it meant getting to pull stunts that would have otherwise cost them their jobs.note  It certainly wasn't for the money, since they only received an extra $23 a day for their contributions.
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  • 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.
  • Contractual Obligation Project: Val Kilmer did not want to be in this film, but was forced to by contractual obligations.
  • 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.
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  • 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!"
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  • Fatal Method Acting: During the filming of some sequences from civilian aircraft, longtime Hollywood stunt pilot Art Scholl was killed when a biplane he was flying crashed off the Pacific Coast.
  • 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. It didn't.
    • 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:
    • A downplayed version with Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, who due to Enforced Method Acting, weren't made to interact with each other at all, so the tension between their characters is the real deal. That said, Kilmer denied on his Reddit page that outside of that there was any actual tension.
      He was a sweet heart. We were all quite rowdy me and all the real flyboys and the actors, so I actually felt a little sorry for him cause we all had time to play and date the cute extras and zoom around San Diego in muscle cars, but Tom was always in some scene and never go to play with us...
    • Neither actor was particularly popular with the Navy pilots who flew them around.
    • Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis loathed each other in real life.
  • In Memoriam: The film is dedicated to the memory of longtime Hollywood stunt pilot Art Scholl, who died during the filming of some sequences from civilian aircraft, when a biplane he was flying crashed off the Pacific Coast.
  • 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.
  • 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 like the ones in the film experienced a peak in sales.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, the film practically is 1986.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Bryan Adams was approached to use his song, "Only the Strong Survive," but he refused since he felt that the film glorified war.
    • Maverick's first real name was "Evan", but was changed to Pete as a homage to Pete Pettigrew, who worked on the movie.
    • Goose's death scene was originally supposed to have him perish in a flaming crash aboard an aircraft carrier but the Navy objected against this and the training accident was used.
    • Cougar was supposed to have crashed while trying to land back on the carrier, and his death was supposed to be why Maverick "slid into Cougar's spot", but this was similarly cut by the Navy. As this was intended to be a recruitment tool for the Navy, they didn't want attention drawn on a particularly hazardous aspect of serving on a carrier or flying fighters.
    • Matthew Modine turned down the role of Maverick because he objected to the film's Cold War politics. Kevin Bacon, Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, John Cusack, Robert Downey Jr., Emilio Estevez, Michael J. Fox, Tom Hanks, Sean Penn, Eric Stoltz and Patrick Swayze all turned it down. Rob Lowe was also considered. Charlie Sheen (who was deemed too young for the role) would later go on to spoof the role in Hot Shots!. John Travolta was rejected for being deemed box-office poison.
    • Kenny Loggins was not the first choice to record the song "Danger Zone" for the film. Toto and REO Speedwagon were two of the groups considered prior to Loggins.
    • Just before the film started production, one of the producers announced that they wanted to use the Bruce Springsteen song "Born in the USA" but attempts to secure the song were unsuccessful.
    • Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Diane Lane and Sarah Jessica Parker all turned down the role of Charlie. Carrie Fisher was also considered for the role.
    • Both John Carpenter and David Cronenberg turned down the chance to direct.
    • Jon Voight was considered for Viper.
    • Mickey Rourke turned down a role.
    • Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood's character metamorphosed out of a character called 'Kirsten Lindstrom'. She was originally a classic bimbo. Dawn Steel, then head of Paramount Pictures, allegedly refused to authorise the project until she was made a more real, intelligent woman.
    • Most of the footage of the cast in flight was going to be being filmed in real F-14s flying high-g maneuvers. But after a week, Tony Scott put an end to this costly techniquenote  because everyone looked too nauseous and sickly and shot most of the cockpit sequences on the ground.


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