For this week’s “Things That Bring Back Memories” post, I am going to pick something in the topic of “MOVIES” and go with Top Gun. This movie was released in 1986, and was one that almost everyone loved. I cannot believe it’s been so long ago. There are those certain movies that last forever and are always great to watch with family – again and again! I remember calling my son “Goose” when he was little, because of this movie that I had loved!
If, for some reason, you are of an age (or were just REALLY sheltered) and it’s difficult to remember Top Gun, here’s a preview of the movie that we all saw before it came out:
Did you ever watch the Top Gun movie when you were younger? or have you seen it on TV or Netflix later in life? Let me know what you thought of it, and if you have any memories of it in your life!
More Info on the Top Gun Movie:
Top Gun is a 1986 American action drama film directed by Tony Scott, and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, in association with Paramount Pictures. The screenplay was written by Jim Cash and Jack Epps, Jr., and was inspired by an article titled “Top Guns” published in California magazine three years earlier.
The film stars Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, and Tom Skerritt. Cruise plays Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a young Naval aviator aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. He and his Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Edwards) are given the chance to train at the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School at Miramar in San Diego.
In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
United States Naval Aviator LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and his Radar Intercept Officer LT(RIO) Nick “Goose” Bradshaw fly the F-14A Tomcat aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65). They, with Maverick’s wingman “Cougar” and his RIO “Merlin”, intercept fictional Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-28s over the Indian Ocean.
During the engagement, Maverick flies his Tomcat parallel to one of the MiGs and inverts his craft in order to give the other pilot the finger – a feat that adds to his already wild reputation. Cougar is almost taken out by one of the hostile aircraft, however, and afterwards is too shaken to land despite being low on fuel. In defiance of orders, Maverick aborts his landing and assists Cougar despite also being low on fuel. Cougar gives up his wings, citing his newborn child that he has never seen. Despite his dislike for Maverick’s recklessness, CAG “Stinger” sends him and Goose—now his top crew—to attend the Top Gun school at NAS Miramar.
Maverick flies recklessly in part to compensate for his father Duke Mitchell, a Naval Aviator with VF-51 aboard the USS Oriskany (CV-34) during the Vietnam War. The elder Mitchell died when his F-4 Phantom II was shot down in an incident Maverick refuses to believe was his fault. Goose is cautious and devoted to his wife Carol and child. The two officers are nonetheless close friends and effective partners. At a bar the day before Top Gun starts, Maverick, assisted by Goose, unsuccessfully approaches a woman. He learns the next day that she is Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood, an astrophysicist and civilian Top Gun instructor. Upon learning that Maverick is the pilot who flipped off a MiG-28 pilot (and as a result disproved her data suggesting the MiG-28 was limited in performing a “negative-G pushover” due to a “problem with its inverted flight tanks”), she is instantly more interested in him.
Maverick’s reckless flying both annoys and impresses LCDR Rick “Jester” Heatherly and other instructors. He defeats Jester in combat but breaks two rules of engagement in the process; becomes a rival to top student LT Tom “Iceman” Kazanski, who considers Maverick’s methods “dangerous”; and continues to pursue Charlie. During class she analyzes Maverick’s engagement with Jester’s aircraft, calling it “an example of what not to do”. Later, Charlie admits to him that she admires his tactics but criticized them to hide her feelings for him from the others, and they begin a romantic relationship.
During a training sortie Maverick abandons his wingman “Hollywood” to chase chief instructor CDR Mike “Viper” Metcalf. Maverick matches the older pilot move for move, but Viper maneuvers Maverick into a position from which his wingman Jester—who has already defeated Hollywood—can shoot down Maverick from behind, demonstrating the value of teamwork over individual ability.
Near the end of the training program, Maverick and Iceman both chase Jester; the latter attempts to gain a missile lock on the target. Under pressure from Maverick, Iceman breaks off the engagement. Maverick’s F-14 flies through the jet wash of Iceman’s aircraft and suffers a flameout of both engines, entering an unrecoverable flat spin, forcing him and Goose to eject. Goose is propelled into the jettisoned aircraft canopy, killing him instantly.
Although the board of inquiry clears Maverick of responsibility for Goose’s death, he feels guilty and loses his aggressiveness when flying. Charlie and others attempt to console him, but Maverick considers retiring. Unsure of his future, he seeks Viper’s advice. Viper reveals that he served with Maverick’s father in VF-51, and tells him classified details that prove Duke Mitchell died heroically. He informs Maverick that he can graduate from Top Gun if he can regain his self-confidence. Maverick chooses to graduate, but Iceman wins the award for top pilot.
During the graduation party Iceman, Hollywood, and Maverick are ordered to immediately report to Enterprise to deal with a “crisis situation”, providing air support for the rescue of a stricken communications ship that has drifted into hostile waters. Maverick and Merlin are assigned to one of two F-14s as back-up for those flown by Iceman and Hollywood, despite Iceman’s reservations over Maverick’s state of mind. The subsequent hostile engagement with six MiGs sees Hollywood shot down; Maverick is scrambled alone due to catapult failure and nearly retreats after encountering circumstances similar to those that caused Goose’s death. Upon finally rejoining Iceman they shoot down four MiGs and force the others to flee, and return triumphantly to Enterprise. Offered any assignment he chooses, Maverick decides to return to Top Gun as an instructor. At a bar at Miramar, Maverick and Charlie reunite, with that memorable scene.
Some of the Top Gun Characters:
Tom Cruise (LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell) was born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV on July 3, 1962. He is an American actor and filmmaker. Cruise has been nominated for three Academy Awards and has won three Golden Globe Awards. He started his career at age 19 in the 1981 film Endless Love. His first leading role was in the romantic comedy Risky Business, released in August 1983. Cruise became a full-fledged movie star after starring as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the action drama Top Gun (1986).
One of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood, Cruise starred in several more successful films in the 1980’s, including the dramas The Color of Money (1986), Cocktail (1988), Rain Man (1988), and Born on the Fourth of July (1989).He has won Golden Globe Awards for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture in Drama in 1990 for Born on the Fourth of July; Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture in Comedy/Musical in 1997 for Jerry Maguire; and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture in 2000 for Magnolia. In 2002, Cruise won the Saturn Award for Best Actor for Vanilla Sky. In 2003, he won an AFI Movie of the Year Award for The Last Samurai and an Empire Award for Best Actor for Minority Report.
Anthony Edwards (LTJG Nick “Goose” Bradshaw) was born July 19, 1962, in Santa Barbara, California, the son of Erika Kem, an artist/landscape painter, and Peter Edwards, an architect. He has two older sisters, Heidi and Ann-Marie, and two older brothers, Peter and Jeffrey. Edwards was encouraged by his parents to attend college before pursuing his interest in acting. He received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in England and studied theater at University of Southern California but by the age of nineteen was being offered enough acting work to enable him to leave college. He is best known for his role as Dr. Mark Greene on the first eight seasons of ER, for which he received a Golden Globe award and six Screen Actors Guild Awards, and was nominated for four consecutive prime-time Emmy Awards. Additionally, he has appeared in various movies and television shows, including Top Gun, Zodiac, Miracle Mile, Revenge of the Nerds, Planes, and Northern Exposure.
Kelly McGillis (Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood) was born July 9, 1957 in Newport Beach, California, to Virginia Joan), a homemaker, and Donald Manson McGillis, a general practitioner of medicine. She has English, Welsh, Scots-Irish, and German ancestry. McGillis dropped out of high school to pursue a career as an actress, and attended Juilliard in Manhattan and Pacific Conservatory of Performing Art in Santa Monica, CA.
She held a variety of jobs while pursuing her career, such as waitressing, and snagged a few stage roles before landing a supporting part in the Academy Award-nominated Reuben, Reuben (1983). This led to a lot of TV work and a lead role opposite Harrison Ford in the highly acclaimed thriller Witness (1985). This box office hit, directed by Peter Weir, got her noticed around Hollywood and producers took note of her. One of them was Jerry Bruckheimer, who cast her as Charlie Blackwood in the mega-hit Top Gun (1986) which became the highest-grossing film of the year and gave her some major name recognition. She had two daughters in the early 1990’s, and worked more sporadically on TV and film so she could spend time with her family and owned her business, a restaurant in Florida.
Val Kilmer (LT Tom “Iceman” Kazanski) was born December 31, 1959 in Los Angeles, California, to Gladys Swanette and Eugene Dorris Kilmer. His mother, born in Indiana, was from a Swedish family, and his father was from Texas. His professional acting career began on stage, and he still participates in theater; he played Hamlet at the 1988 Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
His film debut was in the 1984 spoof Top Secret! (1984), wherein he starred as blond rock idol Nick Rivers. He was in a number of films throughout the 1980’s, including the 1986 smash Top Gun (1986). Despite his obvious talent and range, it wasn’t until his astonishingly believable performance as Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s The Doors (1991) that the world sat up and took notice. Kilmer again put his good baritone to use in the movie, performing all of the concert pieces. Since then, he has played two more American legends, Elvis Presley in True Romance (1993) and Doc Holliday in Tombstone (1993).
Tom Skerritt (CDR Mike “Viper” Metcalf) was born August 25, 1933. He is a lean, ruggedly handsome leading man and supporting actor whose “outdoor” looks have improved with age. He spent a lot of time in television, regularly appearing in Combat! (1962), Gunsmoke (1955) and 12 O’Clock High (1964). Several other film roles quickly followed, before he landed the plum role of Capt. Dallas of the ill-fated commercial towing vehicle Nostromo in the creepy sci-fi epic Alien (1979).
Skerritt turned up again in another thriller playing a cop hunting a serial killer in the eerie The Dead Zone (1983), as a Navy Officer Flight instructor in Top Gun (1986) , in the six-chick flick Steel Magnolias (1989), and then as the poster boy for a “Guess” Jeans ad campaign utilizing his mature, weather-beaten features. Skerritt has remained continually busy for the past decade, contributing natural, entertaining and reliable performances in TV series, made-for-TV movies and major theatrical releases. He recreated the role of Will Kane in the TV production of High Noon (2000), and appeared alongside Bruce Willis in the mercenary war drama Tears of the Sun (2003).
Top Gun Facts – Did You Know?
The real Top Gun School gives a $5 fine to anyone in the staff that quotes the movie.
The F-14 pilot who “flipped the bird” at the MiG pilot was Scott Altman of VF-51, who eventually became a NASA astronaut flying as pilot on two missions and as commander on two more missions.
The character portrayed by Kelly McGillis is based on Christine Fox, a civilian flight instructor the producers met on a visit to Miramar while doing research to prepare for the movie. 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 Department of Defense.
Tom Cruise had never ridden a motorcycle until this film. He actually went to House of Motorcycles in El Cajon, California to learn. They taught him in the parking lot of their shop.
The line “I feel the need…the need for speed” ranked at number 94 of AFI’s list of 100 Years 100 Movie Quotes.
When Maverick, Goose, and their dates are singing in a bar, the bar is real and is still functioning to this day. It’s called Kansas City BBQ, and is located on Harbor Drive in San Diego, California. In 2008, it suffered a fire destroying a lot of memorabilia. The piano is still there, and they still offer Top Gun t-shirts.
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