Hands down, one of the best movies of all time is none other than Top Gun. It won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Movie. It was nominated for an Oscar, and even won numerous awards for the music. In 2005, the line “I feel the need… The need for speed!” was ranked 94 out of 100 on the AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes List. Now lets see how many of these 27 Top Gun facts you already knew!
1. Test audiences wanted to see more onscreen romance between Tom Cruise & Kelly McGillis, so they added the elevator scene to make them happy.
2. Kenny Loggins wasn’t the first choice to record Danger Zone. Both Toto and REO Speedwagon were approached, but the honor ended up going to Kenny Loggins.
3. There were a lot of actors in the running before Tom Cruise landed the part of Maverick. Other actors that were in the race were Sean Penn, Patrick Swayze, Nicholas Cage, and John Cusack.
4. During the production of the movie, Art Scholl, who is a stunt pilot was killed. His plane went into a tail spin before crashing into the Pacific Ocean. The film is dedicated to him.
5. The director, Tony Scott, was fired 3 different times while filming, but then was hired back each time. One of the times he was fired was because he thought he made Kelly McGillis look beautiful, while the studio thought she looked “whorish”.
6. Goose who was played by Anthony Edwards is rumored to be the only actor who did not throw up while filming the fighter pilot scenes.
7. Ever wonder how much it is to use an F-14 in a movie? For every hour of flight, it cost them $10,000.
8. Looking back, the cost of the flights weren’t too bad. Top Gun was the highest grossing film in 1986. It brought in $177 million in the US alone, and $353 million worldwide. Crocodile Dundee was second with Platoon coming in at third.
9. There was a script set up for a sequel, but after reviewing it the studio canceled because it was going to be too expensive.
10. Goose’s real name was never mentioned in the movie. It’s Nick Bradshaw in case you were wondering.
11. After the studio saw the film, they let the producers know that they though there was “too much flying.”
12. Kelly McGillis is 3 inches taller than Tom Cruise. She’s 5’10” and he’s 5’7″.
13. Producer John Davis claimed that Top Gun was really a recruiting video for the Navy. He thought after the public saw the movie they would say, “Wow! I want to be a pilot.” Well, it worked. The US Navy reported that after the movie, the amount of young men who wanted to be Naval Aviators went up 500%!
14. Roger Ebert only gave Top Gun 2.5 out of 4 stars. He 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 absolutely the best since Clint Eastwood’s electrifying aerial scenes in Firefox. But look out for the scenes where the people talk to one another.”
15. The movie Planes that was made in 2013, had a small tribute to Top Gun. Both Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards were used in the voice cast.
16. There is no Top Gun Trophy in real life. You either pass the course or you don’t.
17. When Maverick is going into a flat spin, you’ll hear a voice while the camera pans over to look at the rear of his F-14. They say, “Engine 1 is out’ and the right engine flames out. This would have actually been Engine 2, because Engine 1 is the left engine.
18. Anytime Maverick “puts on the brakes”, it shows him pushing the throttle quadrant forward and pulling back on the stick. This would have actually put him in a full-afterburner climb, but that doesn’t really make you stop and it wouldn’t work in a medium speed tail chase. The air brake doesn’t do much for the F14, because it’s too small and not deployable at full power.
19. When Maverick, Goose, and their dates are singing in a bar, the bar is real and is still functioning to this day. It’s called Kansas City BBQ, and is located on Harbor Drive in San Diego, California. In 2008, it suffered a fire destroying a lot of memorabilia. The piano is still there, and they still offer Top Gun t-shirts.
20. The US Navy offered a lot of assistance to director Tony Scott while filming. But they did tell him that he could only fire the F-14’s missiles twice. Scott filmed them both, then decided to reuse those same shots throughout the entire movie.
21. In 2011, the Chinese government showed scenes from Top Gun. They claimed it was the Chinese Air Force.
22. Killing off Goose was a tough decision for the writers, but they needed to add an emotional element to the movie.
23. In case you didn’t notice, there was a lot of tension between Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. This wasn’t acting, the two never interacted and didn’t get along.
24. Thanks to the movie, Ray Ban sunglasses got a nice boost in sales during 1986.
25. Actors Anthony Edwards, Michael Ironside, and Rick Rossovich all ended up landing roles in the TV series ER.
26. The locker room and volleyball scenes where Maverick and his colleagues are shirtless were added later so Tom Cruise could show some skin for his female fans.
27. The Seabees patches were worn on the jackets because the Navy Seabees actually helped build the set for Top Gun. The Seabees are a construction unit.
That was a lot of awesome Top Gun facts! I didn’t know most of these even though I’ve seen this movie hundreds of times. I knew the bar was still there, but I had no idea the tension between Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer was real!
All Images courtesy of Paramount.