Fresh from producing “Flashdance,” Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean series) read an article from an issue of California about fighter pilots training at The US Navy’s Fighter Weapons School in San Diego. Afterwards, Jerry became fascinated over the subject. He hired writers Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr. to craft a screenplay. The pair wrote a first draft. They showed it to Jerry, he disliked it. Luckily, they polished the script with another draft. Jerry liked it and got the project green-lit under the name, “Top Gun.” Ridley Scott’s late younger brother Tony, (True Romance, Man on Fire, Unstoppable) accepted directing duty. Tom Cruise officially signed on as Maverick, Anthony Edwards & Val Kilmer signed on as Goose & Iceman. After several months filming complex aerial footage, Top Gun was officially distributed worldwide.
Top Gun was released in 1986. (same year Aliens came out) It received mixed reviews from critics. Regardless of divisive reactions, the film managed to become a huge success at the box office. Over the years, Top Gun continues to be a pop culture phenomenon pilot enthusiasts, labeled as one of the most quotable movies. Especially the infamous line. “I feel the need, the need for speed!” Ranked #94 on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes. Top Gun is either referenced or parodied in other works. Most notably, “Hot Shots!”
The film also made Tom Cruise an action star. The 80s was a Renaissance in the action genre featuring many high profile stars in groundbreaking movies like Sylvester Stallone, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, Bill Murray, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Eddie Murphy, Harrison Ford, Dolph Lundgren, Ralph Macchio, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn & Hulk Hogan.
After nearly three decades debating on a sequel, it was finally becoming a reality. Sadly, Tony tragically killed himself. A few years later, Tom Cruise confirmed a sequel is happening and it will honor the original and dedicate Tony’s legacy. Originally intended for a 2020 release, “Top Gun Maverick” was delayed a few times due to COVID-19. After a lengthy wait, it’ll finally come out on May 27th, 2022. As a huge fan of Tom Cruise’s work since childhood, I’m psyched to see the highly anticipated sequel.
This review contains no crucial SPOILERS whatsoever. I’m giving some of you a chance to see it. Does Top Gun remain as a classic gem? Let’s find out, shall we?
High & Low Aspects
High: Tom Cruise did an excellent job for his performance as Maverick.
Other Cast Members such as Anthony Edwards, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Tom Skerritt & Michael Ironside all did a great job for their respective performances.
Tony Scott did a decent job directing the film.
Fun Fact: Both Cruise & Skerritt worked with Tony’s older brother Ridley in separate films. The former was in “Legend” and the latter was in “Alien.”
Jerry Bruckheimer served as a producer.
Action Sequences showcase Maverick’s flying skills. Tom actually flew on a jet. In real life, he has a pilot’s license.
To prepare for the roles, Cruise, Anthony & Val participated in actual training in order to make their characters feel realistic.
Cinematography captured breathtaking flight scenes.
Harold Faltermeyer (Beverly Hills Cop) orchestrated the soundtrack.
Chemistry between Maverick & Goose serves as the main highlight. Their close friendship factors in the story. Maverick’s romance with Charlie felt normal.
Humor has some good moments with Maverick & Goose’s scenes.
Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” is without a doubt, one of the best theme songs in a movie. The song was played in the Opening Credits similar to “I’m Alright” from “Caddyshack” and Peter Quill’s favorite movie, “Footloose.” Basically, a “Rule of Three.” Danger Zone earns Bonus Points, because it never gets old.
Berlin’s Oscar winning song, “Take My Breath Away” is the love theme.
Character Development involving Maverick. As the film progresses, he goes from a hot shot to a responsible fighter pilot fulfilling his duty.
The main HQ is Enterprise. A year later, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” aired.
During a briefing, The Vietnam War was mentioned. Oliver Stone’s “Platoon” won Best Picture back in 1986.
Stinger is played by the bald principal from “Back to the Future.” As a kid, I didn’t notice.
Maverick did a barrel roll before “Star Fox” existed.
One of the pilots is named, Hollywood. Hulk Hogan renamed himself as Hollywood Hogan in the NWO era.
Penny Benjamin is mentioned. Jennifer Connelly portrays her in the sequel.
An important character’s death indicates he died on July 29th. A day before Christopher Nolan’s sweet sixteen. He must’ve gasped while watching.
Low: I couldn’t find anything wrong. I’m giving The Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless film as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
To this day, Top Gun remains as a classic gem. Some of the stuff I’ve listed, indicates why it’s one of the best films from The 80s. If you’re gearing up to see Top Gun: Maverick, I strongly recommend it.
Rest In Peace Tony Scott. Your work will never be forgotten.