For other co-stars in the film, “Top Gun” gave affirmation to their budding acting careers too. (Remember Anthony Edwards in “ER”?) The noteworthy acting performances, action sequences, special effects, and soundtrack all contributed to making this movie the classic it is today. There are many interesting things happening behind the scenes of the movie that even the biggest “Top Gun” fan has never heard about. Keep reading to find out what!
Cruise's Pivotal Role
In the film, Tom Cruise plays the role of Lieutenant Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, a young naval aviator aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. At just 24-years-old, Cruise became one of the biggest and most sought-after stars on the planet.
One year after the film's release, Tom Cruise married his first wife, actress Mimi Rogers. Mimi introduced him to Scientology.
A Young Anthony Edwards
Prior to being cast in "Top Gun", Anthony Edwards had already been making a name for himself in the Hollywood scene. Two years before the film hit theaters Edwards starred in the hit comedy, "Revenge of The Nerds". He had also previously co-starred in the TV series "It Takes Two", and had a guest appearance in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High".
It's safe to say that his role as LTJG Nick "Goose Bradshaw" gave him even more widespread recognition, especially among movie lovers. His character Goose is one of the most popular characters in the film who tragically loses his life in an aviation accident.
Edwards Was the Only Actor Who Didn’t Throw Up
Most of the actors filming the pilot scenes got sick during the filming due to flying around in actual VF-114 Aardvarks and VF-213 Black Lions. Apparently, Anthony Edwards, who played the role of Goose, was the only actor who didn't throw up during filming.
The fighter jets were flown by military pilots who wanted to give the actors as real of an experience as possible, similar to the ones they face on a daily basis. However, there was one major difference between the military pilots and the actors and that was their ability to stomach the flights.
Kelly McGillis as Charlie
One year before "Top Gun" was released, Kelly McGillis had already catapulted to fame for her breakout role as an Amish mother alongside Harrison Ford in the 1985 film "Witness". For her performance in the film, she was nominated for a Golden Globe. It's no surprise that McGillis gave a stellar performance considering the acting training she had received, having attended school at Julliard and the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts.
Once she landed the role of Charlie, she was already a well-versed performer. One of the most important casting calls of "Top Gun" was finding the right female lead to act as the love interest of Tom Cruise’s Maverick.
She Was the Best
As soon as director Tony Scott saw Kelly McGillis’s audition, he knew that he had found his “Charlie.” However, the executives had other ideas, as they were looking for someone younger and, in their words, “more fashionable.”
Despite their demands, Scott didn’t budge, and after some intense discussions with the studio, McGillis was finally awarded the part. Tony Scott seems to have made the right decision as the 5’8″ blonde stunner stole the hearts of viewers after playing the role.
Kelly McGillis’s character, Charlie, is based on a woman named Christine Fox who, like McGillis is tall, blonde, leggy, and has a liking for clacking high heels. “They always know when I’m coming,” Fox told People in 1985, “because I'm one of the few people around here whose heels click.” The fictional Charlie is an astrophysicist, while Fox is a mathematician who worked at the Center for Naval Analyses.
From December 2013 to February 2014, Fox was the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, which made her the Defense Department's highest-ever-ranking female officer.
At the time of "Top Gun", Meg Ryan had played several small roles in various films. Because she hadn't yet been in many films, "Top Gun's" director Tony Scott was apprehensive about casting the future superstar. He was unimpressed by her and didn’t consider her the first choice for the role. One of the reasons why he wasn’t comfortable casting Ryan, is because she had just worked on the soap opera "As The World Turns".
In the end, she won the part as the wife of Goose in Top Gun. While the role is obviously not her biggest to date, she gave a flawless performance and fans adored her. Meg would soon star in several films that would make her a household name and the queen of romantic comedy. After "Top Gun" was released, Meg Ryan played an even bigger role in the film "Armed and Dangerous". Continue reading to see who Ryan was secretly dating during the filming of "Top Gun".
“Star Wars on Earth”
"Top Gun" was inspired by an article called "Top Guns" by Ehud Yonay in California magazine from the May 1983 issue. The article featured aerial photography by then-Lieutenant Commander Charles "Heater" Heatley. It detailed the life of fighter pilots at Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego. The location has the nickname "Fightertown, USA."
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer read the article and was inspired to turn it into a film. He pitched the idea to his then-producer partner, Don Simpson, as "Star Wars on Earth." After several scriptwriters turned down the project, Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. were brought on board to write the script. The final script is reportedly very different than the final draft written by Cash and Epps.
U.S. Navy Getting Involved
The scriptwriters and the producers wanted the U.S. Navy to be heavily involved in the making of the film. The U.S. Navy particularly had a strong impact on the approval of the script, which had several inaccuracies. One immediate alteration they made was moving the opening dogfight from Cuba to international waters.
They also ordered for the coarse language of the jet pilots to be toned down. Finally, they requested for one particular scene involving a crash on the deck of an aircraft carrier to be removed from the film. Many "Top Gun" pilots and assistants were key components in creating a lot of the cockpit dialogue seen in the film.
The $25,000 Change of Course
Cinematographer Tony Scott and his crew spent several days on board the USS Enterprise (hey, different movie!) filming aircraft as they landed and took off from the aircraft carrier while on an operational cruise. Scott wanted to capture some of the aircraft back-lit by the sun, but the ship had to change course before he could get all his shots in.
So, Scott approached the captain of the ship and asked him to turn the ship back around. The captain informed him that it would cost him $25,000 to change their route. Scott did what any great cinematographer with a vision would do; he wrote a check for $25,000 right on the spot. He was then able to capture the required shots over a period of five minutes. Imagine that — five minutes for twenty-five thousand dollars! Just a mere $5,000 per minute. Well, the decision was clearly a wise one.
The U.S. Navy was involved in the script and cockpit talk to make the film as realistic as possible. Apparently, not even that can prevent inaccuracies from popping up and the film contains several outright wrongs when it comes to jet flight and the U.S. Navy. The website The Mighty records a shameful 79 errors in the film.
For starters, there is no such thing as the Top Gun trophy. Another error is in the title of the movie itself, Topgun is actually one word. A pilot showing up to a flight brief wearing a cowboy hat would have his or her wings pulled on the spot. Maverick “hits the brakes” by forward pushing the throttles, which would increase power, not decrease it. Although the character of Goose says “[expletive], we got a flameout. Engine 1 is out” the RIO has no engine instruments in the rear cockpit of the F-14.
Lavish Lives of The cast
In order to unite the cast and promote comradeship, the cast was actually encouraged to hang out together. This hanging out included long nights of partying during the San Diego-area shoot. Val Kilmer mentions in the film's DVD commentary that he recalls it being a giant weekend.
San Diego is a stunning city that offers a ton of different hot spots such as beaches, a thriving downtown area, and hundreds upon hundreds of beach town bars, restaurants, and dance floors where a good time is guaranteed. The cast for sure had a blast off-set.
A Killer Soundtrack
"The Danger Zone" was almost performed by a different artist instead of Kenny Loggins. "Top Gun's" director, Jerry Bruckheimer approached soundtrack producer Giorgio Moroder to write him a song for the scene of planes landing on the ship in the ocean. Moroder composed the song "Danger Zone" along with songwriter Tom Whitlock. Columbia Records wanted "Danger Zone" performed by an artist signed to the label.
Kenny Loggins had already a slew of great successes with soundtracks, including an Academy Award nomination for the popular soundtrack to the 1984 movie "Footloose" starring Kevin Bacon. After the release of Loggins's single "Danger Zone", "Top Gun" album sales exploded, selling 7 million in the United States alone. For a greater part of the 80s and 90s, Loggins was known as the Soundtrack King.
Don't Forget the Music Video
The music video for "Danger Zone" was released in May 1986 with the intention of promoting "Top Gun" by featuring dramatic clips from the movie. However, the U.S. Navy unintentionally reaped benefits along the way. The U.S. Navy said of the video that it was “the most effective recruiting poster ever produced.”
But, the music video wasn't the only way in which the Navy attracted new recruits. They also set up booths outside of theaters in order to encourage moviegoers to join the Navy. It worked! When recruiters talked to applicants, about 90% of them said they had seen the movie. In its 1987 "Join the Navy" commercial, The Navy also brought in “Danger Zone” —sounding music and Top Gun-esque shots.
Dedication to Art Scholl
In the movie "Top Gun", there is an iconic scene during which a jet plane gets hit by fire and starts to crash. This forces both pilots to eject from the plane. One of the pilots gets thrust into the plane during the ejection and faces his death before even hitting the ocean.
In order to make the flying scenes as realistic as possible, 53-year-old stunt pilot Art Scholl was brought in for in-flight camera work. Scholl had previously worked on other films, like "The Right Stuff", "Blue Thunder", and "Baa Baa Black Sheep". Unfortunately on September 16, 1985, tragedy showed up when Scholl was performing a stunt while filming. He attempted to perform a flat spin, but he lost control and his plane went into a tailspin, crashing straight into the Pacific Ocean close to San Diego. His body and aircraft weren't recovered and as a result, "Top Gun" was dedicated to the stuntman’s memory.
A Problematic Tony Scott
The film's director, Tony Scott, is the brother of the more well-known director, Ridley Scott. Ridley has directed such films as "Blade Runner", "The Martian", and "Gladiator". Ridley and Tony worked together as movie producers for decades. Sadly, Tony tragically lost his life in 2012. "Top Gun" was for sure Tony Scott's biggest hit.
He was fired from the film three times during the filming. It was reported that one of the times he was fired for his controversial styling of Kelly McGillis. When Paramount told "Top Gun‘s" director Tony Scott that they didn’t like the filters he was using while filming the movie, he went behind their backs and carried on anyway. While they eventually brought him back, it is believed that Scott was fired on two other occasions; once for the way that he made Kelly McGillis dress for certain scenes and secondly for obscuring the actors’ faces during crucial cockpit scenes.
More Love Scenes
The love scene that occurred between Tom Cruise and actress Kelly McGillis wasn't filmed until after filming for the movie had already wrapped. After initial test screenings, moviegoers complained that there wasn't a love scene. They felt like they needed more of a reason to be convinced of the feelings between the two actors. The company was quick to agree.
If you pay close attention, you will notice that McGillis's hair is a bit darker in the scene. This is because she had already been working on another film for which she had to dye her hair darker. To conceal her darker hair, the scene is tinted blue. You can also see in the added-on scene that the timing is off if you take a close look at the longer length of Tom Cruise’s hair, especially noting how long it hangs in the front. Despite the clear changes, the love scene worked its magic on moviegoers and convinced them of Cruise's and McGillis's feelings for one another in the film.
Shirtless Scenes Came Later
It wasn't only the love scenes that were later added to the film to satisfy moviegoers' appetite for romance. The film needed one more thing to attract more females to the theater. Producers did that by way of shirtless scenes featuring Maverick and his fellow "Top Gun" officers.
After filming for "Top Gun" had already wrapped up, the sport, bro-mantic locker room, and volleyball scenes that feature Maverick and his colleagues without shirts were added. The volleyball scene has been parodied and often mocked for its not-so-hidden sexuality. Director Tony Scott knew that people would be aroused by the sight of shirtless Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer, and Rick Rossovich and so he eagerly put the film's pretty boy pilots on full display.
Val Kilmer’s Improv Skills
Val Kilmer originally turned down the opportunity to play the role of the Iceman in "Top Gun". However, Tony Scott wanted him in the film so badly that he tracked him down and convinced him to play the now-iconic part of the gum-chewing, Maverick-hating pilot.
Kilmer ad-libbed an iconic memorable moment when he famously coughs out b*llsh*t in the hangar scene. What fans might not realize is that the line wasn't originally in the script, which seems pretty fitting for a script that experienced so many changes (from the very first script until after the film wrapped).
Meg and Anthony
Meg Ryan played the role of Goose’s wife in "Top Gun". While she only had a few scenes, the scenes she was in were very memorable and fans of the film loved her. After Goose'spassing in the film, her grief was a big part of humanizing Maverick and showed the depth of the pain that he was trying to control and hide.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, and unknown to much of the cast, things were getting hot and heavy between Meg and Anthony; they had secretly started a relationship. Their relationship intensified very fast and they soon moved in together. It was even reported that Anthony Edwards proposed to meg Ryan but she turned the proposal down. Their relationship lasted only for one year, from 1986 to 1987.
While Kelly McGillis’ character Charlie was always written as Maverick’s love interest in the movie "Top Gun", in the original script, she was supposed to be an officer. It's obvious to see why the scriptwriters would have wanted this to be the storyline; can you imagine the conflict underlying the relationship between two officers falling in love with each other in such a high-stakes career environment?
The Navy, which was very involved in the writing of the script, and assisted the moviemakers in staying within the budget, put its foot down. They wouldn't approve of a script that involved two officers becoming involved. The U.S. military prohibits fraternization between officers and enlisted personnel. Because filmmakers depended greatly on the Navy's involvement, they rewrote Charlie's profession to that of a Navy consultant who assesses pilot performance.
The Top Gun Aesthetic
The film had a very specific look and feel, something that helped secure its role in cinema history. The look of the movie is rumored to have been inspired by photographer Bruce Weber, who is famous for his provocative fashion and celebrity photography, as well as black and white graphic shots of the human body. His first book of photos, "Looking Good: A Guide for Men, served as the inspiration for the look of the Navy pilots in "Top Gun".
The volleyball scene was the scene that Scott admitted to struggling with the most. And he wasn't the only one who was worried about it; Paramount executives were nervous about it, too, apprehensive that Scott may have taken too much inspiration from Weber — whose artistic photos of nude and scantily dressed men were most popular within the gay community at the time.
Tom Cruise Was the Only One
During the casting calls, "Top Gun" was the movie that every up-and-coming Hollywood star wanted to be a part of. It seemed like every young star wanted to have some sort of role in the movie, including Charlie Sheen, who was willing to take even a small role. Some of the other high-profile stars who auditioned for the roles of Maverick included Sean Penn, John Cusack, Emilio Estevez, Michael J. Fox, and Patrick Swayze. However, it is believed that the screenwriters of the film then wrote the role of Maverick with Tom Cruise specifically in mind.
While Tom Cruise was at first hesitant to accept the role of Maverick, he immediately changed his mind after spending time up in the air with the Blue Angels. Although he wasn't originally sold on accepting the role, he eventually agreed and of course, it was a major boost for his career. He is now known for his love of action parts and also takes pride in doing many of his own stunts. In fact, he is so good at the stunts that the Telegraph has published an article called “12 Times Tom Cruise has Cheated Death".
The writers of "Top Gun" said that it was a tough decision to end Goose's life, but they needed to add an emotional element to the movie. The first (and often changed) script called for Goose’s passing to be the result of a midair collision. Because the Navy didn't approve of a midair collision, screenwriters changed the scene to a more realistic situation, depicting an accident that actually happened.
In the film, Goose and Maverick must eject out of their fighter jet. During Goose's ejection, something goes wrong and Goose is flung against the cockpit opening. When Maverick swims toward Goose's body, buoyed in the ocean by his gear, he cries out to his friend. However, Goose lost his life before he ever hit the water. This is a pivotal turning point in the movie.
The “Real” Top Gun School
"Top Gun" was based on an actual flight school named U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School or TOPGUN, which used to be based at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego. The school was founded in the latter part of the 1960s as a way to combat losing the air war in Vietnam. Because of base realignments and closures, TOPGUN was relocated to Fallon, Nevada in 1996, and later renamed the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor.
A bonus fact: Anytime a staffer quotes or references the movie, the school fines them $5. So students there need to be careful not to let out the lyrics, "You never close your eyes anymore / when I kiss your lips" or else they owe the dough. And if you ever "feel the need, the need for speed" while at school, you may want to keep that to yourself.
Cruise These Days
Following "Top Gun", Tom Cruise continued to blossom with his very successful acting career. In 1988, he acted opposite Dustin Hoffman in the award-winning drama "Rain Man", which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. In 1996, he starred in the first of a critically and commercially successful film franchise, "Mission: Impossible", playing IMF agent Ethan Hunt.
In 1996, he played the role of the title character in the romantic-comedy drama "Jerry Maguire", which earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
And His L0ve Life
Although Tom Cruise has had a very successful career, his love life has not been as such. In fact, his love life has often been the subject of media attention. He has been married three times, all of which have ended in divorce. His first marriage was to actress Mimi Rogers. Mimi introduced Cruise to Scientology. They were married for three years. He met his second wife, actress Nicole Kidman, on the set of "Days of Thunder" in 1990. They married shortly after and during the course of their marriage, they adopted two children together.
11 years later, Cruise filed for divorce from her. A few years later, Cruise began dating actress Katie Holmes. Dubbed "TomKat" by the media, they had their first daughter together one year later and got married shortly after that. After five and a half years of marriage, Holmes filed for divorce from Cruise. It is speculated that Scientology is the root cause of their divorce.
Anthony Edwards Today
After playing the role of Goose, Anthony Edwards experienced a major boost in his acting career. He is the winner of four Emmy nominations, a People’s Choice Award, six Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a Golden Globe. He was one of three actors in the film to play roles in the TV series "ER". The other two actors are Michael Ironside and Rick Rossovich who had fairly brief roles in the medical drama. Anthony's role as Dr. Mark Greene on the show spanned eight seasons and 181 episodes. It also allowed him to experience his hand at directing for the first time.
From 1994 to 2015, Edwards was married to Jeanine Lobell. Lobell is a makeup artist who founded the Stile cosmetics line which she sold to Estee Lauder in 1999. Edwards currently lives in New York City. He continues to act and is also active as a philanthropist. He serves as chairman of Shoe4Africa, a non-profit that raises money for healthcare and footwear for children and athletes in Africa.
After her performance on "Top Gun", McGillis landed several roles in films and TV series. She played the role of Kathryn Murphy in "The Accused" with Jodie Foster. McGillis married twice; the first time to fellow Julliard student Boyd Black in 1979 which was followed by divorce a few years later, and the second time to Fred Tillman in 1989.
The two have two daughters together. They divorced in 2002. In 2010, she entered into a civil union with Melanie Leis. They too have since broken up and as far as we know, these days Kelly is single.
What's Meg Up to?
After "Top Gun", Ryan starred in the Rob Reiner-directed romantic comedy "When Harry Met Sally" which brought her widespread attention and her first Golden Globe nomination. She went on to star in several popular romantic comedies like "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You’ve Got Mail" for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe. In 1991 she married Dennis Quaid and the pair had a son together named Jack.
In 2006, Ryan adopted a 14-month-old girl from China whom she named Daisy True. She was in an on-again-off-again relationship with artist John Mellencamp for several years. Outside of her career, Ryan is active in politics and supports organizations that seek to protect the environment.
Top Gun Rides
As with many other action films, it was only appropriate for "Top Gun" to become a crazy, thrilling roller coaster ride. The Top Gun roller coaster was built in 1993 at Mason, Ohio's Kings Island Amusement Park which was owned by the film company Paramount. The ride was a suspended coaster that emulated an F-14 Tomcat. As people waited in line for the ride, the PA system emitted "Danger Zone."
In 2008, under new ownership, the ride’s name was changed to “Flight Deck.” In 2014, the ride went through a big makeover and became “The Bat.” Besides Kings Island, another ride called “Top Gun” debuted in Santa Clara, California’s Great America from 1993 through 2007. Similarly, this ride also changed its name to “Flight Deck.”
In 2014, Cruise made a guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Kimmel asked him about the first time he traveled the world to promote a film. Cruise said that it was during the foreign press junket tour for "Top Gun", which he said took four months to complete, as he was expected to spend weeks in every city they visited in Italy, France, and Japan.
Cruise told Jimmy Kimmel that it was he who came up with the idea of premiering the film in other countries, though he said, “It took me a few years to get it going.” Kimmel joked, “So all these other actors must want to kill you.” Nowadays, international releases for movies are very common and they require actors to do a lot of traveling around the world.
Tom Cruise's Heights
Tom Cruise has been ridiculed throughout his career for his height. Although his chiseled features, strong jawline, and captivating grin in many ways embody what it is to be a man, he doesn't completely have everything going for him. Yup, Tom Cruise is a shorty.
In order to avoid his height being the focal point of many jokes, he uses some on-screen tricks to make himself appear taller. While filming scenes with McGillis in "Top Gun", he often wore lifts in order to appear taller than her. Cruise, who is just 5'7, is much shorter than McGillis who is 5'10. So you can feel a bit better about yourself now that you know Cruise lacks at least one department.
Since the release of "Top Gun" in 1986, fans have been wondering why a sequel was never released. Turns out that director Tony Scott had no interest in making a sequel. When asked about it, he replied "This world fascinated me, because it's so different from what it was originally. But I don't want to do a remake. I don't want to do a reinvention. I want to do a new movie." After Scott's passing, the idea of a sequel remained in question.
Well, fans of the film can rest assured — a sequel is happening. The action-drama sequel is called "Top Gun: Maverick" and is directed by Joseph Kosinski. It focuses on the end of the dogfighting era and the role of drones in modern aerial warfare. Cruise's character flies a F/A-18 Super Hornet. The sequel's budget stands at $140 million, which to say the least, is much higher than its predecessor.
A Second Script
In June 2017, Cruise announced that “Aviators are back, the need for speed. We’re going to have big, fast machines. It’s going to be a competition film, like the first one…but a progression for Maverick.” Cruise's hotshot pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell grows into a flight instructor overseeing a diverse cast of pilots, including the first woman pilot (played by Monica Barbaro).
Musician Kenny Loggins has also confirmed that his iconic song "Danger Zone" is featured in the film. Maverick reunites with his nemesis Tom "Iceman" Kazansky played by Val Kilmer.
The Top Gun Bar
Even today, it's possible to drink, dance, and sing at the bar where Maverick and Goose sang to their dates. The scene was shot at a real bar called Kansas City BBQ located on Harbor Drive in San Diego, California. The bar is still functioning today.
While a fire in 2008 destroyed a lot of memorabilia, the original piano is still there, and you can buy "Top Gun" t-shirts. The biggest "Top Gun" fans flock to visit the bar for a chance to stand where Goose and Maverick once stood during this timeless scene. We’re sure that when the crew members were bonding, they'd frequent the bar during their party days in San Diego.
Tom Cruise Saved Ray Bans
In 1929, US Army Air Corps Colonel John A. Macready approached John Bausch and Henry Lomb, Rochester-based medical equipment manufacturers, with his idea. He wanted to create aviation sunglasses that would reduce the distraction for pilots caused by the intense blue and white hues of the sky. He was concerned with how pilots' goggles would fog up at high altitudes in the sky. The first glasses known as 'Anti-Glare' were created in 1936. They had plastic frames and green lenses that could cut out the glare without obscuring vision.
In 1937, the design was improved with a metal frame and patented as the Ray-Ban Aviator, because the glasses "banned" sun rays and were designed for pilots. The sunglasses were popular at the beginning, but by the 70s and 80s, they diminished in popularity to the more popular disco-style sunglasses. After Tom Cruise wore a pair of Aviators in Top Gun, their sales rose by 40%. They once again were popular and have since been a huge name in sunglasses.
$10,000 an Hour
The shots while on the aircraft came with quite the hefty price tag to film. While aboard the USS Enterprise, there were several different types of aircraft including F-14 squadrons, VF-114 Aardvarks, and VF-213 Black Lions. However, all of these planes didn't come cheaply. Every hour of flight time with an F-14 costs Paramount $10,000. But, this was only a small part of what it cost to make the film. All in all, the film cost $15 million to produce, which today is the equivalent of $32 million. Considering the film's eventual revenue, that's quite the budget and totally worth the $10,000 per hour of flight time.
Because of the big investments that Paramount needed to make for "Top Gun", the US Government was reportedly interested in helping to subsidize the production costs. “The Pentagon worked hand-in-hand with the filmmakers reportedly charging Paramount Pictures just $1.8 million for the use of its warplanes and aircraft carriers,” The Washington Post wrote.
Ally Sheedy Missed Out
Kelly McGillis wasn't the first to be chosen for the role of Charlie. Originally, the director sought out Ally Sheedy but she turned it down. She didn’t think that the film would do well at all. She even said in an interview “Who wants to see Tom Cruise flying around in an airplane?”
Obviously, she couldn't have been farther from the truth in her beliefs after seeing that the movie became a huge commercial success that immortalized the film’s characters and helped launch the careers of those involved in the project. After the film was released, Sheedy regretted her decision deeply and vowed to never again judge a role by herself.
Producers Thought There Was ‘Too Much Flying’
Considering that the film was about the "Top Gun" program, it was obvious that a lot of the filming would take place inside fighter jets. Although this would be obvious to assume, it was one of the biggest complaints received from Paramount’s producers.
The producers were told by Paramount Studios that there was “Too much flying” in the film. The studios demanded some more time on the ground and a love scene was filmed in delay. Leave it to Hollywood to demand that a movie about fighter jets has too much flying.
While "Top Gun" was a huge success and is now considered to be a classic film, this wasn't always the case. After it was first released, it got mixed reviews from both critics and audiences. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film only has a 54% although the audience gave it 83%.
Critic Roger Ebert gave the film 2.5 out of 4 stars and said “Movies like "Top Gun" are hard to review because the good parts are so good and the bad parts are so relentless. The dogfights are the best since Clint Eastwood’s electrifying ariel scenes in "Firefox". But look out for the scenes where the people talk to one another.”
The Audience the Movie Was Attempting to Attract
While Tony Scott was on break during the filming of the hangar scene, he was approached by a group of Navy officers. They told him that among many things that weren't consistent or true with being a pilot or in the military was the unrealistic collection of patches on the actors' flight suits.
Scott replied by saying, “We’re not making this movie for Navy fighter pilots, we’re making it for Kansas wheat farmers who don’t know the difference.” What a bold statement to make to actual Navy officers.
The Biggest Box Office Smash in 1986
Although a high cost accompanied the making of the film due to the use of real Navy and flight equipment, the cost proved to pay off. In 1986, "Top Gun" was the highest-grossing film of the year, making $177 million in the United States alone and $353 million worldwide.
It came in first even before "Crocodile Dundee", which came in second, and "Platoon" in third. Considering that the film cost $15 million to make, "Top Gun" had a huge revenue and continued to take in money after they decided to release the film in other countries.
Bryan Adams Wouldn’t Allow His Music to Be Used
Bryan Adams was approached by the "Top Gun" crew to use his song "Only the Strong Survive" on the soundtrack. The singer, due to personal views, turned down the offer. So, producers had to continue on their search to find their soon-to-be best-selling soundtrack.
Adams later shared that he turned down the request because he felt that the movie glorified fighting and war. For this reason, he told producers to look for other music for the film. While the film without a doubt focused largely on fighter jets and their pilots, in the final film product, little fighting was included.
A Cartoon Cast Reunion?
In 2013, a 3D computer-animated sports comedy movie called "Planes" was released by Disney. It is a spin-off of Pixar's Cars franchise. For a small but significant moment in time, a "Top Gun" cast reunion was brought to life with 3D animation. A small tribute was made to "Top Gun" when Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards were brought on to the voice cast for the film.
"Planes" wasn’t the smash hit we witnessed with "Cars" and received negative reviews. Despite this, it managed to gross $90,288,712 in the United States and Canada, and $148,970,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $239,258,712. So, you can consider that quite the box office success.
A VHS First Was Sold Alongside Top Gun
When the "Top Gun" VHS was released in 1987, Paramount Studios imagined that it would allow them to earn extra cash while selling the movie to Blockbuster and other movie rental companies at a discount.
The VHS release of "Top Gun" was the first VHS to feature an official commercial before the movie. Paramount Pictures, which produced the film, made a deal with Pepsi. They agreed to include a commercial for the brand's diet soda before the opening credits. Before the movie started, Diet Pepsi had a 60-second "Top Gun" inspired commercial. The "Top Gun" movie was sold for $3 less per copy, an affordable price of $26.95, because of the extra money the movie studio earned from PepsiCo.
It Cost More Money to Make the Charlie Sheen Parody
With a cast that was still up and coming, the most expensive part of "Top Gun" was the $10,000 per hour jet fighter rental fee. It cost just $15 million to film the movie and that included Tom Cruise’s salary of $2 million. In comparison, Charlie Sheen’s "Top Gun" parody "Hot Shots!" cost $26 million to film. The 1991 comedy film is a parody of "Top Gun" alongside other popular movies.
While "Top Gun" wasn't initially a big success, "Hot Shots" debuted at number one in the U.S. and was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $180 million worldwide. It also holds an 83% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes compared with the 54% rating that "Top Gun" has on the same site.
You can usually tell how old a person is by their reaction to the name Peter Pettigrew. People born in the 90s or later would usually tell you it's the name of a character from the Harry Potter series, written by J.K. Rowling. Those who were born earlier might know Pettigrew as an aviation superstar.
Peter ('Viper') Pettigrew is a former Navy pilot and a Top Gun instructor. He fought in the Vietnam War, during which he shot down a MiG. The man was a technical consultant for the filmmakers and even had a short cameo as Charlie's date.
An Improvised Kiss
You know that scene where Charlie chases Maverick's motorcycle with her convertible and drives like a crazy person because he wouldn't let her finish her sentence? That same scene that ends in her telling him she is falling for him? That same scene in which they have their first kiss? That one.
Well, as it turns out, that kiss was totally off-script. In fact, Cruise had a line to say at this point but he simply forgot what it was and just kissed McGillis instead. The director loved it and decided to keep the scene that way.
How is John Travolta related to Top Gun? Well, you know many names were in line for grasping the role of Maverick. Apparently, the "Saturday Night Fever" star was in line too. Could you imagine Travolta playing the role? Neither can we.
This idea of Travolta playing Maverick crumbled down as soon as the production team realized that hiring him would cost them much more than initially anticipated.
The German Soundtrack
There are not too many movies with such an iconic soundtrack. "Take My Breath Away" IS Top Gun. The song was written by Tom Whitlock and Giorgio Moroder and was initially offered to the band "Motels" who didn't find any interest in it.
Eventually, Terri Nunn's "Berlin" (the band, not the city) was chosen to do the act. She contributed her tragic and rough tone of voice and sang the song with such grieving characteristics. "Take my Breath Away" is Berlin's best-performing song until today.
15 Minutes of Fame
Not too many know who John Semcken is. To most of us, the name means absolutely nothing. Semcken was a technical adviser working for the US Navy and joined the production team of the movie. He had more than a behind-the-scenes role and can be seen in the movie itself.
In the well-known "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" scene, sung by Maverick in the O's club, Semcken is seen singing alongside him, relishing in his 15 minutes of fame.
Dancers of the Sky
Movies like "Top Gun" must have choreographers, and in this case, flight choreographers, to make the fight scenes as authentic as possible. The pilots have to rehearse and adapt physical behaviors, used only by the heroes up in the air.
Admiral Robert Willard was the flight choreographer in "Top Gun" and he is also the pilot that Maverick and Goose flip off in the movie. Later on in life, he became the Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet and then the Commander of the United States Pacific Command. Respect.
From Top Gun to NASA
You may be only familiar with the Hollywood stars that are in the movie, however, the movie holds a list of big names that have accomplished many other achievements, titles, honors, and successes that we can only praise. One of them is Scott Altman.
In the movie, Altman flew the F-14 that flipped the bird at the VF-51. Later on in life, he became a NASA astronaut on a few missions and eventually commanded others.
Things We Didn’t All See
Let's go back to the elevator scene in the movie, where Maverick and Charlie meet after Maverick has a sweat-dropping workout. This scene was shot way after the movie was finalized. And how do we know this? Well, next time you watch the movie look out for this next detail.
Instantly after finishing shooting her scenes, Kelly McGillis colors her hair for another movie she was about to start shooting, and that's why she wears a hat in the elevator scene. Not only that, pay attention to Tom's hair. It is much longer than it is in the previous scenes in the movie.
In 1986, motorcycles were big. They were much bigger than what they are today. Tom Cruise insisted on riding the best and biggest one out there and you know what they say, if Cruise wanted something, then Cruise got it.
In 1986, the Kawasaki Ninja 900 was the fastest motorcycle on the road. When Cruise read the script and realized there was a motorcycle scene, he insisted on riding the Ninja 900 as only the best would do.
The Final Scene
In many movies, there are scenes that don't appear in the original version, however, they can be found in special editions such as a DVD format. These usually consist of scenes that were dropped right at the very last minute and ones that were too controversial to handle.
The initial idea was to end the movie with Maverick visiting Goose's grave after his passing. None of the movie's versions have the emotional moment in the finale, however, the DVD format does preserve a hint of Maverick's graveyard visit, in still motion photos.
Top Two Video Guns
The success of the movie didn't leave video game creators in peace and two games based on "Top Gun" were released shortly after the movie was aired. In a very loose way, the games featured the "Top Gun" cast, however, didn't consist of the storyline.
Both games were released by Nintendo NES. The first game had no storyline whatsoever and featured pilots not doing very much. The second game released was almost a sequel to the movie and told the story of Maverick confronting another clan of villains.
Born in the USA
Even Bruce Springsteen is somehow connected to "Top Gun". He had nothing to do with the production and no one thought of him for the role of Maverick, however, his huge hit "Born in the USA" was a serious runner-up when it came to choosing the soundtrack for the movie.
"Born in the USA" came out in 1986, the same year "Top Gun" did. The lyrics, the singer, and the whole elements of the song suited the movie's storyline tremendously, however, for various reasons, it never pulled through.
Toto Stayed in Africa
It amazes us how many great musicians were supposed to be part of the movie, and in the end, all we were left with was Berlin's "Take my Breath Away". Don't get us wrong, it's a great song, but not using Toto's "Danger Zone"?
Apparently, a black cat came between the movie's producers and the performers. They couldn't come to terms, the job was landed on Kenny Loggins, and the rest is history.
The Most Expensive Piece of the Movie
If you think Tom Cruise was the most expensive element of the movie, think again. In fact, none of the movie's cast holds the title of being the most expensive part. The F-18 jets hold that label.
Having the F-18 jets on board cost the production over $11,000 an hour. Just to make you better understand, if you would want to buy an F-18, you would need to say goodbye to $75 million.
Top Cruise Is Back in Town
May 2022 brought to the world maverick's happily ever after chapter. Paramount Pictured couldn't choose a better timing and it was as successful as the original movie. "Top Gun: Maverick" became Tom Cruises' biggest hit in his entire career, bringing together new fans and more mature ones who know the original story inside and out.
We knew that if the original movie had many stories behind the scenes, there was no doubt "Top Gun: Maverick" had some hidden gems of its own.
Bring Your Own Toys From Home
It wasn't enough for Tom Cruise to play the lead role in the movie, but he also had to bring his own toys from home to star in the movie too. The P-51 that is seen in the finale of "Top Gun: Maverick" is Cruise's privately owned piece.
Maverick and Penny cruise into the sunset in Cruise's World War II P-51 Mustang, which is basically as romantic as a movie's ending can get. Rumors say that there is more where the Mustang came from, as it is not the only piece of flying machinery owned by Cruise.
Rooster Was the Name
Miles Teller plays the son of the late Goose. In the movie, he was the only actor who chose his own unique call sign. The name he chose, "Rooster", was accepted by the scriptwriters as it was bird related and could have passed in the real world of pilot names.
Glen Powell, for instance, didn't choose his own call sign. There were a few suggestions for his character such as Sniper, however, it was dropped because it already exists as an Air Force call title. The other name suggested was Hangman which stuck.
A Day on the Beach
Half-naked men throwing a ball over a net on a sandy beach is not something you come across every day, therefore if it's going to be shot, it's going to be shot to perfection. And as the first attempt at shooting the famous hot beach scene wasn't immaculate, it had to be shot twice.
Tom Cruise wasn't satisfied with the first try which meant, the entire crew had to go and work out so their muscles were at their peak before repeating the scene. The volleyball scene in the original "Top Gun" movie was one to be spoken of for years to come, so the producers wanted to reproduce the success.
Checking Cruise's Chemistry
Playing Rooster didn't come smoothly into Miles Teller's hands. In fact, there were two other actors who were in line for the role: Nicholas Hoult, and Glen Powell.
All three actors were flown to Cruise's premises to test their chemistry with him. Teller left the other two in the dust and got the role. Powell did leave a good impression, which then lead to him becoming Hangman.
When the US Military Butts in
Unlike the first "Top Gun" movie, when it came to shooting "Top Gun: Maverick" the US military was involved. For real. The Defense Entertainment Media Department provided military equipment and expertise.
If it wasn't for the Defence Entertainment Department's good deed, the production would have had to spend a fortune on CGI creations, which would never pass the Cruise-seeking-for-perfection test.
When There's a Will, Ther's a Way
"Top Gun: Maverick" would not be complete without the Iceman, and thanks to modern technology, Val Kilmer's medical condition was not going to be a barrier. Val Kilmer lost his voice or any ability to verbally communicate a few years back. Thanks to AI technology the Iceman was not kept silent.
AI use tools that snip monologs used in previous movies and stitch them together to assemble Kilmer's voice. This innovation has become a groundbreaking tool that will bring to life the voices of other actors who have lost their voices, and even of those who are no longer with us.
World Record in Postponing the Launch
"Top Gun: Maverick" was released in May 2022, however, this was not the original date. Originally, the summer of 2019 was supposed to bring the hit to our screens. As the shooting took longer than expected, it was postponed by one year but then nature had its own plans and it was postponed again and again and again. The movie has broken the record of being the one postponed the most times.
The final releasing date couldn't have been better. Tom Cruise was adorning the headline for a different movie he was supposed to be starring in so his name on the tabloids introducing the new Top Gun movie, benefited them all.
The Secrest Slipped Out
Way back in 2000 there was s suspicion that a "Top Gun" sequel was in the making. In an interview on an Australian morning show, Cruise accidentally (or deliberately, we don't know) hinted that things were happening and that "Top Gun" fans were in for a surprise.
Although the production only began working on the movie in 2010, it had to be paused until 2015 following Tony Scott's, who was part of the original production team, unexpected passing.
The X Generation
Miles Teller plays such an important role in "Top Gun: Maverick", however, the funny fact is, he wasn't even born when the first "Top Gun" movie was released. Teller was born in 1987.
He obviously was familiar with "Top Gun" before becoming "Rooster", but he wasn't part of the original X generation who followed the movie obsessively. He appreciated it only after watching reruns of it on TV with the rest of his millennial pals.