“I feel the need — the need for speed.” How many times have you heard that classic Top Gun line uttered in your lifetime. 100? 1,000? Well, it’s time to bust it out again, because it’s the 30th anniversary of the film. And why wouldn’t you? This movie has everything — a killer soundtrack; plenty of men in uniform; a love story; action; and a young Tom Cruise. What could be better than that?
Top Gun follows LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a pilot who is so badass and cool that he routinely defies orders but everyone still kind of loves him. He and his partner, Goose, work well together, and they enroll in the Navy’s “Top Gun” program to be the best pilots in the world. It’s not without drama — Maverick finds an enemy in Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, who both hates the way Maverick flies and loves the same woman, Charlie Blackwood, that Maverick does. Their rivalry grows as the program continues, but when a tragedy occurs (spoiler alert: Goose dies), Maverick isn’t sure of his future in the program. Of course, the stakes get high, Maverick and Iceman work together to save the day, and the movie ends with a kiss between Charlie and Maverick. It may sound predictable, but the flight sequences in this movie are truly awesome. They also sing “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” in a crowded bar.
So you may know the plot of Top Gun, but I bet you didn’t know these key facts about the film.
1. There Was No Love In The Original Script
Kelly McGillis and Tom Cruise had no love scenes in the first version of the movie — that whole elevator scene was added because audiences wanted to see romance between the pair.
2. Goose Has A Real Name
The real name of Goose, Maverick’s flying partner, is never mentioned in Top Gun, but it’s Nick Bradshaw, in case you wondering.
3. There Was Real Beef Between Maverick & Iceman
That tension between Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise wasn’t acting — the two allegedly did not get along while on set and never hung out during their free time.
4. The Navy Had To Approve It
Obviously to make a movie about the navy and film on Navy property, the producers needed Navy permission. The Navy was cool with the film, except for one change — making Kelly McGillis’ character a civilian. She was originally also in the Navy, and the Navy frowns on fraternization.
5. Top Gun 2 Could Be Happening
A sequel to Top Gun was in the works following the film’s release, but Cruise allegedly wanted too much dough. But 30 years later, rumors circulate that Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise have been meeting with producer Jerry Bruckheimer to get that ball rolling once again.
6. The Navy Made An Exception For Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is too short to become a Navy pilot IRL — no one under 5’8” can train. But the Navy made an exception for Cruise, who spent months training at Top Gun — he even learned how to land a plane on an aircraft carrier.
7. Anthony Edwards Has A Strong Stomach
When subjected to the aerial stunts and strong G forces during fighter jet training, Anthony Edwards (aka Goose or Mark on ER) was the only actor not to puke while flying. Good on you, Anthony.
8. It Made Ray Bans Cooler
Due to the many pairs of Ray Ban sunglasses in Top Gun, Ray Ban had quite the bump in sales during the 1986 sales year.
9. There Was A Tragedy On Set
Stunt pilot Art Scholl was killed during production when his plane went into a tailspin and crashed into the Pacific Ocean — Top Gun is dedicated to him.
10. Tom Cruise Almost Lost Maverick
Tom Cruise was one of the hottest actors at the time, but that doesn’t mean he was the only one in contention to play Maverick — Sean Penn, Patrick Swayze, John Cusack, Tom Hanks, Michael J. Fox, and more were allegedly considered for the role.
11. Roger Ebert Didn’t Love It
Film critic Ebert only gave Top Gun 2.5 out of four stars — he loved the action but hated the “scenes were the people talk to one another.” Ouch.
12. The Director Was Fired — Three Times
Suffice it to say that Tony Scott did not get along with the studio during production. He was allegedly fired three times, once for making Kelly McGillis look “whorish,” whatever that means.
13. “Take My Breath Away” Almost Wasn’t On The Soundtrack
14. Kenny Loggins Was In The Danger Zone
“Danger Zone” is now an iconic tune, but Kenny Loggins wasn’t the first person offered the tune on the soundtrack. Toto and REO Speedwagon both passed on the song first before Loggins took a stab.
Are you ready to enter the “Danger Zone” after all those facts?
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy (14)