Top Gun


1h 50m 1986

Brief Synopsis

A hotheaded pilot struggles to survive an exclusive training program.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Action
Adventure
War
Release Date
1986
Production Company
David Kelson
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Location
Fallon, Nevada, USA; Miramar Naval Air Station, San Diego, California, USA; North Island Naval Station, Coronado, California, USA; Chicago, Illinois, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m

Synopsis

A cocky Navy pilot, Maverick, and his co-pilot, Goose, are chosen to attend the Top Gun school. Training begins against other hot shots, and Maverick falls for one of the instructors.

Crew

Nick Alavarado

Camera Operator

Julianna Arenson

Production Auditor

Diana Austin

Production Auditor

Bill Badalato

Assistant

Bill Badalato

Unit Production Manager

Bill Badalato

Executive Producer

Bob Badami

Music Editor

Fred Baron

Assistant

Pamela Bentkowski

Foley Editor

Robert R. Benton

Set Decorator

Otis Blackwell

Song

Larry Blanford

Camera Operator

Michael W Blymyer

Lighting Technician

Jerry Bruckheimer

Producer

Peter Cairo

Special Effects

James Campana

Grip

David Carothers

Visual Effects

Patti Carr

Assistant

Jim Cash

Screenplay

James Cavarretta

Sound

Richard Childs

Assistant Editor

Richard F Clark

Video

Lisa Clarkson Milillo

Casting Associate

Sam Comstock

Animator

John J Connor

Camera Operator

Virginia Cook

Sound Editor

Jack Cooperman

Camera Operator

Patrick Cosgrove

Assistant Director

Bill Coss

Assistant Camera Operator

Steve Cropper

Song

Stuart Cudlitz

Animator

Dan Curry

Titles

John De Cuir

Production Designer

Paul Dean

Song

Dan Delgado

Lighting Technician

Jim Destafney

Dialogue Consultant

John Dexter

Song

Michael Dilbeck

Consultant

Teri E. Dorman

Sound Editor

Jim Duggan

Grip

John Michael Eaves

Visual Effects

Scott Eddo

Makeup

Craig Dennis Edgar

Set Designer

Ron Eiseman

Other

Juno J. Ellis

Adr Editor

Jon Else

Camera Assistant

Mark Elson

Assistant Editor

Gary Epper

Stunts

Jack Epps

Screenplay

Emilio Estefan

Song

Julia Evershade

Sound Editor

Harold Faltermeyer

Song Performer

Harold Faltermeyer

Music

Harold Faltermeyer

Song

John Paul Fasal

Sound Effects

Rick Fichter

Director Of Photography

Claudia Finkle

Assistant Editor

Daniel F. Finnerty

Apprentice

Stacey Foiles

Assistant Editor

Steven Foster

Special Effects

Paul Fox

Song

Roy Freeland

Song

John Gazdik

Camera Assistant

Barbara Gerard

Assistant

John Gilbert

Consultant

Franne Golde

Song

Whitney Green

Production Manager

Jeff Greenberg

Casting Associate

Larry Greene

Song Performer

William Groshelle

Animation Supervisor

Gary Gutierrez

Digital Effects Supervisor

Allen L Hall

Special Effects Coordinator

Cecelia Hall

Sound Editor

David Hallinger

Camera Assistant

Jack Hammer

Song

Mike Haney

Sound

Donald R Hansard

Other

Jack Hansard

Other

Thomas R Harmon

Consultant

C J Heatley

Camera Operator

Jan Heyneker

Grip

Steve Holladay

Stunts

Jake Hooker

Song

John Horton

Other

Frank Howard

Sound Editor

George Howe

Camera Operator

Joey Ippolito

Foley Editor

Sarah Jacobs

Foley Artist

Michael Jay

Song

Wingate Jones Jr.

Wardrobe

William B. Kaplan

Sound

Donna Keegan

Stunts

Donna Keegan

Stunt Man

William Kelly

Camera Operator

David Kelson

Cable Operator

Jeffrey L Kimball

Director Of Photography

Rick Kline

Sound

Catalaine Knell

Assistant

David Knoll

Other

Dan Koblash

Camera Operator

Dan Kolsrud

Assistant Director

Clay Lacey

Photography

George Leahy

Consultant

Chris Lebenzon

Editor

Stephen Lighthill

Camera Assistant

Kenny Loggins

Song Performer

Kenny Loggins

Song

Barry Mann

Song

Sharon Mann

Assistant Director

Teena Marie

Song Performer

Dan Marrow

Transportation Captain

Stacey S Mcintosh

Construction Coordinator

Marghe Mcmahon

Visual Effects

Scott Metcalfe

Assistant

Donald O Mitchell

Sound

Ted Moehnke

Pyrotechnics

Mae Moore

Song

Giorgio Moroder

Song Performer

Giorgio Moroder

Song

Michael Moskowitz

Apprentice

Earle Murphy

Visual Effects

Jon Napolitano

Wardrobe

Ralph Nelson

Photography

Kjell Ness

3-D Models

Bob Nichols

Sound

Martin Nicholson

Apprentice

Kenneth Nishino

Assistant Camera Operator

David Nowell

Camera Operator

Jon O'connell

Other

Kevin O'connell

Sound

Ron Oberman

Consultant

Al Orazi

Transportation Captain

Allessandro Palladini

3-D Models

Andrew G Patterson

Adr Editor

Gayle Peabody

Assistant

Bruce Pearson

Color Timer

Randy Peters

Transportation Coordinator

Randy Peters

Stunts

Peter Pettigrew

Technical Advisor

Joe Pizzulo

Song Performer

Gary Platek

Other

Thomas Prophet

Grip

Chip Proser

Other

Bobbie Read

Costume Supervisor

Otis Redding

Song

Otis Redding

Song Performer

Brian Reeves

Visual Effects

Mike Reno

Song

David Robertson

Assistant

Mitch Romanauski

3-D Models

R.a. Rondell

Stunt Coordinator

R.a. Rondell

Stunts

Ward T Russell

Lighting Technician

Earl Sampson

Boom Operator

June Samson

Script Supervisor

Steven Sanders

Visual Effects

Greg Schmidt

Assistant Camera Operator

Alan Roy Scott

Song

Rick Shap

Makeup

Margery Simkin

Casting Director

Don Simpson

Producer

Warren Skaaren

Associate Producer

Donald Smith

Animator

Matthew Snyder

Assistant

Phil Spector

Song

Mark Spiro

Song

Ron Stack

Assistant

Sandy Stairs

Other

Stephen Stalheim

Apprentice

Jeffery D Stanman

Lighting Technician

Edward Steidele

Foley Artist

Steve Stephens

Song Performer

Richard T Stevens

Consultant

Randy Stiles

Other

Peter Stolz

Pyrotechnics

David Stone

Sound Editor

Sally Syberg

Production Coordinator

Sally Syberg

Other

Wes Takahashi

Animator

Peter Thomas

Key Grip

Don Thompson

Camera Operator

Gary Tolbert

Camera Operator

James W. Tyson

Costume Supervisor

Joe Valentine

Steadicam Operator

Mark Wade

Property Master

Marietta Waters

Song Performer

George Watters

Sound Editor

Billy Weber

Editor

Cynthia Weil

Song

Barbara Weintraub

Assistant

D Michael Wheeler

Assistant Camera Operator

Tom Whitlock

Song

Christine Whitney

Production Coordinator

Robert Willard

Other

Robert Willard

Special Effects

Erick Willenbrock

Other

Robert Winder

Sound Engineer

Marshall Winn

Sound Editor

Ina Wolf

Song

Peter Wolf

Song

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Action
Adventure
War
Release Date
1986
Production Company
David Kelson
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Location
Fallon, Nevada, USA; Miramar Naval Air Station, San Diego, California, USA; North Island Naval Station, Coronado, California, USA; Chicago, Illinois, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m

Award Wins

Best Song

1986

Award Nominations

Best Editing

1986
Chris Lebenzon

Best Editing

1986
Billy Weber

Best Sound

1986

Best Sound Effects Sound Editing

1986

Articles

Top Gun


"I feel the need, the need for speed."
Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards in Top Gun.

When Top Gun, a testosterone-fueled tribute to the Navy's Fighter Weapons School hit the screen in 1986, it rocketed to the number one box office position, amassing $344.8 million in worldwide grosses. With stunning aerial photography, a glamorized male model-like cast with Tom Cruise in his prime and an omnipresent top forty soundtrack, the film even managed to snag four Oscar nominations including Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Film Editing, and Best Song, "Take My Breath Away" (by Giorgio Moroder), for which it won the Academy Award.

The idea for Top Gun was born when producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, two of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood history, saw an article in the May 1983 issue of California magazine called "Top Guns" about the world of top Navy flyers and their training school. They were impressed with the article's aerial photography, the larger-than-life characters and the fact that the students and faculty had developed a language of their own to deal with high-speed air defense. "The pilots that attend the actual Top Gun school are a combination of Olympic athletes in the sky and rock and roll heroes," said Bruckheimer. "We immediately saw a movie."

At first, however, the movie they saw starred Matthew Modine, the young actor who had impressed critics with his work in Mrs. Soffel (1984) and Vision Quest (1985). But Modine had other plans and turned the role down to star in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987). That opened the door for Tom Cruise, who had been building his fan following with roles as the young entrepreneur in Risky Business (1983) and the high-school football player in All the Right Moves (1983). The role would be his breakthrough, propelling him to the top of the box-office polls and marking the birth of a new superstar. Ironically, at 5', 7", he was an inch too short to become a Naval pilot in real life.

Cruise didn't let that stop him from spending months at the Miramar Naval Air Station near San Diego attending Top Gun classes so that he would know first-hand what it took to be a pilot. He even got to ride in a TA-4 with the famous Blue Angels squadron. During filming at sea on the carrier USS Enterprise, he learned how to land on an aircraft carrier, while also filming his own behind-the-scenes look at the film's making.

Joining Cruise for Top Gun were a crew of young actors on the rise. Anthony Edwards, as Cruise's radar officer, and Rick Rossovich would go on to starring roles on the NBC hit ER, as would character actor Michael Ironside. Edwards' on-screen wife and off-screen girlfriend, Meg Ryan, was three years away from her breakthrough performance in When Harry Met Sally... (1989). Tim Robbins, who appears in the second half of the film as Cruise's new radar officer, would go on to star in Bull Durham (1988) and The Player (1992) while also winning international acclaim as the director of Dead Man Walking (1995). Val Kilmer, who only appeared as Cruise's nemesis, "Iceman", because of a contractual obligation, would go on to stardom as Jim Morrison in The Doors (1991).

At a cost of $1 million, the film was made with the full cooperation of the U.S. Navy, which supplied training for the stars, technical advisors, air-sea rescue operations and five different types of aircraft for the filming. For all that, they still allowed some technical errors in the film. When the Top Guns take on a squadron of Soviet planes in the film's finale, the planes are incorrectly identified as MiG 28's, a nonexistent classification (the Soviets used even numbers for ground craft; fighter planes had odd numbers). The planes were actually specially dressed F-5 Tiger II's.

Despite the impressive aerial photography and high-speed action, Top Gun ran into trouble in previews when audiences felt that the love story was barely developed. The producers called back Cruise and leading lady Kelly McGillis six months after completing principal photography to add a love scene in an elevator. Since McGillis had cut and darkened her hair for another role, she had to wear a military cap through the scene.

With those changes, however, Top Gun became the top-grossing film of its year, a success that seemed to carry along almost everyone associated with it. Songwriters Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock scored an Oscar® and a chart-topping hit with their main theme for the film "Take My Breath Away," while also landing "Danger Zone" and "Lead Me On" on the hit parade. Kansas City BBQ in San Diego, where two scenes were shot, experienced an upsurge in business, particularly when they acquired a display of props and other memorabilia from the film, including Cruise's helmet. The biggest winners of all were the U.S. Navy; enlistments soared after the film became a hit.

Of course, there were a few dissenters. Songwriter Bryan Adams denied the filmmakers the rights to use his "Only the Strong Survive" on the soundtrack because he thought the film glorified war. More than one critic suggested that the film glorified more than war. They felt the loving photography of Cruise and his fellow flight students in various stages of undress gave the film a distinctly homoerotic quality. Writing in The New Yorker, Pauline Kael said the film redefined masculinity as "how a young man looks with his clothes half off" and called the picture a gay recruiting poster for the Navy. A few years later, writer-director Quentin Tarantino did a comic riff on the film in the independent Sleep With Me (1994) in which he had a cameo role as a party guest. In a speech he wrote himself, he goes on at great length about the film's gay subtext.

Producer: Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer
Director: Tony Scott
Screenplay: Jim Cash, Jack Epps, Jr.
Cinematography: Jeffrey L. Kimball
Art Direction: John DeCuir
Music: Harold Faltermeyer, Giorgio Moroder
Principal Cast: Tom Cruise (Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell), Anthony Edwards (Lt. Nick "Goose" Bradshaw), Kelly McGillis (Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood), Tom Skerritt (Cmdr. Mike "Viper" Metcalf), Val Kilmer (Tom "Iceman" Kasanzky), Michael Ironside (Dick "Jester" Wetherly), Rick Rossovich (Ron "Slider" Kerner), Tim Robbins (Sam "Merlin" Wills), John Stockwell (Cougar), James Tolkan (Stinger), Meg Ryan (Carole Bradshaw).
C-110m. Letterboxed.

by Frank Miller
Top Gun

Top Gun

"I feel the need, the need for speed." Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards in Top Gun. When Top Gun, a testosterone-fueled tribute to the Navy's Fighter Weapons School hit the screen in 1986, it rocketed to the number one box office position, amassing $344.8 million in worldwide grosses. With stunning aerial photography, a glamorized male model-like cast with Tom Cruise in his prime and an omnipresent top forty soundtrack, the film even managed to snag four Oscar nominations including Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Film Editing, and Best Song, "Take My Breath Away" (by Giorgio Moroder), for which it won the Academy Award. The idea for Top Gun was born when producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, two of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood history, saw an article in the May 1983 issue of California magazine called "Top Guns" about the world of top Navy flyers and their training school. They were impressed with the article's aerial photography, the larger-than-life characters and the fact that the students and faculty had developed a language of their own to deal with high-speed air defense. "The pilots that attend the actual Top Gun school are a combination of Olympic athletes in the sky and rock and roll heroes," said Bruckheimer. "We immediately saw a movie." At first, however, the movie they saw starred Matthew Modine, the young actor who had impressed critics with his work in Mrs. Soffel (1984) and Vision Quest (1985). But Modine had other plans and turned the role down to star in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987). That opened the door for Tom Cruise, who had been building his fan following with roles as the young entrepreneur in Risky Business (1983) and the high-school football player in All the Right Moves (1983). The role would be his breakthrough, propelling him to the top of the box-office polls and marking the birth of a new superstar. Ironically, at 5', 7", he was an inch too short to become a Naval pilot in real life. Cruise didn't let that stop him from spending months at the Miramar Naval Air Station near San Diego attending Top Gun classes so that he would know first-hand what it took to be a pilot. He even got to ride in a TA-4 with the famous Blue Angels squadron. During filming at sea on the carrier USS Enterprise, he learned how to land on an aircraft carrier, while also filming his own behind-the-scenes look at the film's making. Joining Cruise for Top Gun were a crew of young actors on the rise. Anthony Edwards, as Cruise's radar officer, and Rick Rossovich would go on to starring roles on the NBC hit ER, as would character actor Michael Ironside. Edwards' on-screen wife and off-screen girlfriend, Meg Ryan, was three years away from her breakthrough performance in When Harry Met Sally... (1989). Tim Robbins, who appears in the second half of the film as Cruise's new radar officer, would go on to star in Bull Durham (1988) and The Player (1992) while also winning international acclaim as the director of Dead Man Walking (1995). Val Kilmer, who only appeared as Cruise's nemesis, "Iceman", because of a contractual obligation, would go on to stardom as Jim Morrison in The Doors (1991). At a cost of $1 million, the film was made with the full cooperation of the U.S. Navy, which supplied training for the stars, technical advisors, air-sea rescue operations and five different types of aircraft for the filming. For all that, they still allowed some technical errors in the film. When the Top Guns take on a squadron of Soviet planes in the film's finale, the planes are incorrectly identified as MiG 28's, a nonexistent classification (the Soviets used even numbers for ground craft; fighter planes had odd numbers). The planes were actually specially dressed F-5 Tiger II's. Despite the impressive aerial photography and high-speed action, Top Gun ran into trouble in previews when audiences felt that the love story was barely developed. The producers called back Cruise and leading lady Kelly McGillis six months after completing principal photography to add a love scene in an elevator. Since McGillis had cut and darkened her hair for another role, she had to wear a military cap through the scene. With those changes, however, Top Gun became the top-grossing film of its year, a success that seemed to carry along almost everyone associated with it. Songwriters Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock scored an Oscar® and a chart-topping hit with their main theme for the film "Take My Breath Away," while also landing "Danger Zone" and "Lead Me On" on the hit parade. Kansas City BBQ in San Diego, where two scenes were shot, experienced an upsurge in business, particularly when they acquired a display of props and other memorabilia from the film, including Cruise's helmet. The biggest winners of all were the U.S. Navy; enlistments soared after the film became a hit. Of course, there were a few dissenters. Songwriter Bryan Adams denied the filmmakers the rights to use his "Only the Strong Survive" on the soundtrack because he thought the film glorified war. More than one critic suggested that the film glorified more than war. They felt the loving photography of Cruise and his fellow flight students in various stages of undress gave the film a distinctly homoerotic quality. Writing in The New Yorker, Pauline Kael said the film redefined masculinity as "how a young man looks with his clothes half off" and called the picture a gay recruiting poster for the Navy. A few years later, writer-director Quentin Tarantino did a comic riff on the film in the independent Sleep With Me (1994) in which he had a cameo role as a party guest. In a speech he wrote himself, he goes on at great length about the film's gay subtext. Producer: Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer Director: Tony Scott Screenplay: Jim Cash, Jack Epps, Jr. Cinematography: Jeffrey L. Kimball Art Direction: John DeCuir Music: Harold Faltermeyer, Giorgio Moroder Principal Cast: Tom Cruise (Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell), Anthony Edwards (Lt. Nick "Goose" Bradshaw), Kelly McGillis (Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood), Tom Skerritt (Cmdr. Mike "Viper" Metcalf), Val Kilmer (Tom "Iceman" Kasanzky), Michael Ironside (Dick "Jester" Wetherly), Rick Rossovich (Ron "Slider" Kerner), Tim Robbins (Sam "Merlin" Wills), John Stockwell (Cougar), James Tolkan (Stinger), Meg Ryan (Carole Bradshaw). C-110m. Letterboxed. by Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring May 12, 1986

Wide Release in United States May 16, 1986

Re-released in United States February 8, 2013

Released in United States on Video March 1987

The film was converted to 3-D by Legend 3D for an IMAX® 3D re-release, beginning on February 8, 2013.

To achieve its widescreen effect film was shot in Super Technicscope/Super 35, instead of the fully anamorphic widescreen process Panavision, due to the smaller, more manageable shooting lenses afforded.

Began shooting June 26, 1985.

Additional love scenes between Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis were shot in Chicago, Illinois March 1986 after a sneak preview in Dallas, Texas.

Released in United States Spring May 12, 1986

Wide Release in United States May 16, 1986

Re-released in United States February 8, 2013

According to the July 1991 issue of Esquire magazine, Warren Skaaren contributed to the screenplay.

aspect ratio 2.35

Released in United States on Video March 1987