Throwback to the 80s: Top Gun

by Cole Tennant

The thrilling “Top Gun: Maverick” was finally released on May 24, 2022. Top Gun fans have been waiting since 1986 for a sequel and it is finally here. But before we dive into the all  new exciting Top Gun: Maverick, lets take a look back at the original 1986 Top Gun starring Tom Cruise as Maverick. 

Aside from being one of the most popular movies of the 1980s this movie was one of the best filmed and edited movies of the time. Top Gun is one of the only movies made to this day that was filmed and created with full partnership with the US Navy. Not only was this a popular movie for the public but was also a huge recruiting event for the US Navy. The Navy saw a 500% increase in recruitment the year after Top Gun was released. 

The authenticity and acting throughout this movie compares to no other military movie, even today. With Tom Cruise as the main character Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and Kelly McGills as Charlie Blackwood they lead the movie with hard emotion. 

Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is a Naval Aviator who flies the F-14 Tomcat, stationed aboard the USS Midway aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean. On a normal sortie with his wingman (Cougar)  they run into a pair of enemy MIG-28’s (USN F5’s). Maverick and Cougar affecticley scare the enemy aircraft away but Cougar is shaken up. This small mistake bumped Cougar off qualifying for Top Gun after he turned in his flight wings. This opened up the spot for Maverick and his RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) Goose for the Top Gun spot. 

Once Maverick and Goose arrive at Top Gun they meet their competition for the Top Gun Trophy, the best of the best. Maverick and Goose are up against Iceman and Slider who are known as the best. Throughout the Top Gun class Maverick and Goose are put under hard pressure and face the best competition out there. In Mavericks free time he meets Charlie Blackwood, a civilian instructor at Top GUn who he quickly falls in love with. 

In one of the hard combat sorties at Top Gun Maverick and Goose get caught in their wingman’s jet wash (Iceman) and lose power in both engines. Losing power in both engines resulted in an unrecoverable flat spin out to sea. This forced Maverick and Goose to eject out of their F14 which resulted in the death of Goose after he collided with the aircraft canopy upon ejection.This scene was incredible the filming and editing looked completely authentic and seemed like you were witnessing the mishap in person. 

 The loss of Goose was a very very hard loss on Maverick, Goose was his only family and best friend. Maverick also felt guilty and responsible for Goose’s death which held him down tremendously. This brought an immense change in character and emotion from the main characters and changed the overall mood of the movie. 

Although this occurred Maverick had to continue pushing forward and finish Top Gun with another RIO. After completely Top Gun Maverick was given orders back to the ship for an immediate deployment. When Maverick gets back to the aircraft carrier their is a swarm of 5 hostile enemy MIG-28s approaching the fleet. Iceman and his wingman Wood are immediately launched to intercept them. After a thrilling dogfight Wood is shot down and forced to eject. In response to this Maverick is launched on Alert 5 to help Iceman out. Maverick and Iceman successfully take down the enemies. Throughout this scene live missiles were launched and multimillion dollar US Navy fighter jets were flown dangerously close to get the shots that they wanted. This is one of the most exciting and heart racing scenes of the movie. 

In conclusion, Top Gun was and still is one of the most thrilling and authentic military movie of all time, all we have to do now is wait and see if “Top Gun: Maverick” can beat it.