10 reasons to watch 'Top Gun' today
Thirty years after the film that catapulted Tom Cruise to stardom was released, it’s still a classic.
1) The music
The Top Gun soundtrack is laden with epic ’80s music (which back then was simply known as “music”). There’s Kenny Loggins’s Danger Zone and Playing with the Boys (see number 9), but the song we immediately associate with the film is Berlin’s Take My Breath Away, a ballad so intense that merely listening to it can cause unwanted pregnancies.
2) The flight sequences
Sure, the technicalities of the air combat scenes are often completely off, and we have to watch exactly the same shot of a missile being fired 10 times (because the real US Navy would allow only one live missile to be fired for filming), but the action sequences remain impressive even today, especially considering there was no CGI.
3) The jackets
Leather, with fur-trimmed collar and flight patches, the jackets in Top Gun are cool. However, if you’re not actually a Top Gun pilot and/or don’t actually live in Brakpan, wearing one in public is totally unacceptable.
4) Maverick’s motorbike
The Kawasaki GPZ 900R features in several notable scenes. The first of these is when Maverick rides it on the runway alongside one of the F-14 Tomcats as it takes off (I’m sorry to tell you that Cruise was only pretending to ride the bike. It was actually on a trailer and if you watch the film in wide screen you can see the tethers).
The second is the “chase” scene between Charlie (NB, Charlie is a woman, played by Kelly McGillis) and Maverick, culminating in their first kiss to the highly sexed Take My Breath Away. The third is the scene where it’s parked and Charlie is straddling Maverick and she says, “You big stud. Take me to bed or lose me forever.” (See number 7)
5) The sunglasses
From 1986 to 1990, every single person alive owned a pair of real or fake Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses. They’re still cool, especially the mirror-lenses Iceman wore. What’s more interesting is the number of continuity mistakes in scenes involving sunglasses.
The most glaring one occurs towards the end when Maverick is hoisted onto the shoulders of the other pilots. On his way up, he’s sans sunglasses; next shot, he’s back on terra firma in a magical pair of Aviators.
6) The cheesy lines
You know you’re an ’80s child if you’ve used any of the following in an actual conversation: “Your ego’s writing cheques your body can’t cash.” “Take me to bed or lose me forever.” “That’s right! Ice ... man. I am dangerous.” “It’s classified. I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you.” “I feel the need ... the need for speed!” “You can be my wingman any time.”
7) The tongues
The love scene between Maverick and Charlie was the first time a lot of us got to see what French-kissing actually was. Basically, all you see for about a minute is the silhouetted tongues of Cruise and McGillis poking around in each other’s mouths and making stringy saliva. Gross then. Gross now. But still worth watching.
8) Hot shots
If it weren’t for Top Gun, we wouldn’t have Hot Shots. This 1991 classic, starring Charlie Sheen and the late Lloyd Bridges, is one of the best spoof movies out there, taking on not only Top Gun but Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket and Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves as well.
9) The homoerotic undertones
From the oily volleyball game (to the tune of Playing with the Boys) and the charged locker-room scene where a buff Maverick and Iceman argue while wearing nothing more than tiny white towels around their waists, to the moment when a character named Air Boss Johnson screams, “I want some butts!”, Top Gun, for all its hell-yeah macho posturing, features a lot of sweaty men hanging out and promising to be one another’s “wingman”. Ahem.
10) The call signs
From Maverick to Iceman, to Viper, Cougar, Wolfman and Hollywood, these are nicknames we’ve all fantasised about having. Find out what yours is here.