memories of the ’80s – Top Gun

File:Top Gun Movie.jpgDo you feel, feel the need for speed?

In the mid 1980s, a film about the military’s flying school became a pop culture powerhouse: Top Gun.

Directed by Tony Scott and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, the movie was inspired by an article written in California Magazine on an elite military flight school.

Naval aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell  (Tom Cruise) and his wingman Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) are on the job when they encounter two Russian MiG fighters. Surviving this surprise, they’re sent to the military’s elite flying school nicknamed Top Gun.

Their fellow flight school attendees don’t think much of the two hot shots, but are envious of their encounter with the enemy. Maverick’s reputation preceeds him, especially since his Father, a well-known pilot, died in the Vietnam War in mystery.

Val Kilmer plays Iceman Kasansky, who isn’t impressed Maverick, nor is his wingman Slider Kernman. (played by Rick Rossovich) All these military boys are the best at what they do, and the bravado and testosterone made this film highly popular, with all the imagery of flying military jets.

Charlotte Blackwood played by Kelly McGillis is an astrophysicist and a civilian instructor who becomes Maverick’s fixation, despite her wanting to rebuff him. His wingman is devoted to his wife Carole (played by Meg Ryan)

Jester played by Michael Ironside is the military instructor who keeps an eye on Maverick, while Viper aka Commander Mike Metcalf played by Tom Skerritt is the guy they all want to be.

As Maverick pushes the boundaries and forces himself into dangerous situations, the rest of the crew challenge and want to all earn their place as  top flying aces.

Released in May 1986, the budget for the film was $150,000,000 but it easily earned its keep with box office receipts of over $357 million. The soundtrack for the film achieved nine times platinum on the Billboard album charts, thanks to singles such as Danger Zone and You Take My Breath Away,

I remember this film because it was everywhere – on every movie screen, its songs playing on the radio and music videos playing on MuchMusic – and continued to cement the A list for actor Tom Cruise.


About Waheeda Harris

A pop culture junkie with a penchant for exploring our planet.
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