Top Gun 01 (1986)


As students at the United States Navy’s elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.


The Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School is where the best of the best train to refine their elite flying skills.

When hotshot fighter pilot Maverick (Tom Cruise) is sent to the school, his reckless attitude and cocky demeanour put him at odds with the other pilots, especially the cool and collected Iceman (Val Kilmer).

But Maverick is not only competing to be the top fighter pilot, he is also fighting for the attention of his beautiful flight instructor, Charlotte Blackwood (Kelly McGillis).

Theatrical and Other Releases

  • Theatrical:
    • The film’s premiere was held in New York City on May 12, 1986 with another held in San Diego on 15 May 1986.
    • The film opened in the United States in 1,028 theatres on 16 May 1986.
  • Home media:
    • In addition to its box office success, Top Gun went on to break further records in the then still-developing home video market.
    • Backed by a massive US$8 million marketing campaign including a Top Gun-themed Diet Pepsi commercial, the advance demand was such that the film became the best-selling videocassette in the industry’s history on pre-orders alone.
    • It was also one of the first video cassette releases in the US$20 price range.
    • Top Gun’s home video success was again reflected by strong DVD sales, which were furthered by a special-edition release in 2004.
    • Subsequently, the film was released in Blu-ray 3D on 19 February 2013.
  • IMAX 3D re-release:
    • Top Gun was re-released in IMAX 3D on 08 February 2013, for six days.A four-minute preview of the conversion, featuring the “Danger Zone” flight sequence, was screened at the 2012 International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Effect on Military Recruiting

Movie producer John Davis said that Top Gun was a recruiting video for the Navy, that people saw the movie and said, “Wow! I want to be a pilot.” The Navy had recruitment booths in some theatres to attract enthusiastic patrons. After the film’s release, the US Navy stated that the number of young men who joined wanting to be Naval Aviators went up by 500%.

Foreign Affairs

On 23 January 2011, China’s state broadcaster China Central Television published a TV news story about the alleged efficiency of Chinese fighter pilots which incorporated footage from the Top Gun action sequences.

Chinese internet users noticed the plagiarism, whereupon the broadcast was immediately withdrawn.

Ironically, this occurred shorty after the initiation of a Chinese campaign to purge such forged reports; CCTV has declined comments on this incident.

In Popular Culture

  • Bomber jacket sales increased and Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses jumped 40%, due to their use by characters in the film.
  • Since its initial release, the film has made many top film lists and has been the subject of comedic interpretation.
  • The 1991 film Hot Shots! was a comedy spoof of Top Gun.
  • The masculine theme of the film has been the subject of humorous examination, with the homoerotic subtext examined in a monologue performed by Quentin Tarantino in the 1994 film Sleep with Me.
  • Top Gun is one of many war and action films, especially those by Jerry Bruckheimer, parodied in the 2004 comedy Team America: World Police.
  • Top Gun along with A Few Good Men are recognized for being an inspiration for the TV series JAG and for the NCIS franchise in turn.
  • The DisneyToon Studios film Planes (2013), pays homage to Top Gun with Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards appearing in the film as part of the voice cast.
  • Two Chinese films, 2011’s Jian Shi Chu Ji (“Skyfighters”) and 2017’s Kong Lian Lie (“Skyhunters”), were based on Top Gun.

Production & Filming Details

  • Directer: Tony Scott.
  • Producer: Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer.
  • Writers: Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr.
  • Based on: ‘Top Guns’ by Ehud Yonay.
  • Music: Harold Faltermeyer.
  • Cinematography: Jeffrey L. Kimball.
  • Editors: Chris Lebenzon and Billy Weber.
  • Production: Simpson/Bruckheimer.
  • Distribution: Paramount Pictures.
  • Release Date: 12 May 1986 (New York), 16 May 1986 (US), and 03 October 1986 (UK).
  • Running time: 110 minutes.
  • Country: United States.
  • Language: English.

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