“You Can Be My Wingman Anytime”: 34 Years of ‘Top Gun’ – by Dustin Brewer

Dustin goes over some of the best and most iconic moments of ‘Top Gun’ in honor of the film’s 34th anniversary.

top-gun-2
Photo: IMDB

On this day 34 years ago, ‘Top Gun’ hit movie theaters across the country and quickly became one of the biggest blockbusters of its’ time. Since then, its’ popularity has only grown, and now, a sequel, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is set to release in December 2020. For now, let’s take a look back at some of the things that make this movie so iconic.

Quick Refresher if You Haven’t Seen ‘Top Gun’: 
Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) and Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) are Navy pilots who are constantly held back by Maverick’s brash attitude and constant rebuking of the rules and regulations. When a fellow pilot is unable to attend TOPGUN, the Navy Fighter Weapons School in Miramar, CA, Maverick and Goose are sent instead and find themselves amongst the best of the best and competing in a tournament for top honors. Along the way, there are laughs, tears, fights, beach volleyball, and one of the greatest soft-rock soundtracks of all time.

7. The Tower Flybys
If you’re in a certain age group then chances are very high that I if say “This is Ghost Rider requesting flyby” then you will look me dead in the eyes and say “Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.” ‘Top Gun’ is full of instant-classic quotes but no matter how many times I’ve watched this movie (and trust me, it’s probably upwards of 60+) this will never fail to make me laugh. It should also be noted that this movie is packed with some of the most iconic action-movie quotes ever: “I feel the need…the need for speed”, “You can be my wingman anytime”, “Hey Goose you big stud, take me to bed or lose me forever.” Still, the flyby stands as arguably the most quotable of the whole movie.

6.  The Iceman Bite
LT Tom “Iceman” Kazansky is Maverick’s chief rival in TOPGUN and is played to absolute unmitigated perfection by Val Kilmer. To say Kilmer is going as hard as he possibly can at all times would still somehow be an understatement. There are some incredible scenes between the two and these scenes are made at least 25% better anytime Iceman does the bite:

Iceman

Is it supposed to be intimidating? Is he trying to be funny? Is it for dramatic effect?

I really don’t know but I do know that after watching this movie, you’re 100% going to try it at least once just to see how the person you’re talking to reacts to it.

5. “Danger Zone” 
The ‘Top Gun’ soundtrack quickly became one of the best-selling movie soundtracks of all time bolstered by Berlin’s Oscar-Winning song “Take My Breath Away” and “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins. “Danger Zone” is an incredible song that takes the opening scene of the movie and makes it 1000x more memorable and iconic:

If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, “Danger Zone” kicks in at 2:40 but really, watching the buildup with the unbelievable “Top Gun Suite Theme” makes “Danger Zone” hit all the better.

Goosebumps? Check.

Ready to run through a wall? Check.

Also one of the greatest driving songs ever that you listen to and love until you look down and see you’re going like 95mph on a highway.

4. The Dogfights
One of the most impressive things about the movie is the dogfights and flying sequences. That’s because the US Navy made several aircrafts available for the film to use. Paramount Studios paid up to $7,800 an hour to film the aircraft and the result is some of the most realistic aerial fight scenes in a movie even still to this day. The scenes were so accurate and realistic that China cut them into a story about their Navy. Not to mention that the action helped make ‘Top Gun’ one of the most effective Navy recruiting tools ever. It’s been said that the number of men interested in being Naval Aviators went up 500%. The Navy even had recruiting booths IN THE THEATERS. There’s no way that’s ever happening again.

3. Goose
Maverick’s wingman Goose will forever be the standard-bearer of wingmen. Played to perfection by Anthony Edwards, Goose is the quintessential sidekick and lowkey the heart and soul of the movie. He’s the best friend everyone wants to have: Yes, he’s going to call you crazy for thinking something or doing something or wanting to do something, but he’s going to be right there by your side. If anyone else is playing Goose, this movie is nowhere near as good. Anthony Edwards and Tom Cruise have a camaraderie that seems 100% genuine and let me tell you, I wasn’t born when this came out but when I saw it at six-years-old, there weren’t many things that made me cry harder than seeing how Goose goes out. Even now I watch this movie hoping it’s all going to go different and I think that’s a testament to just how memorable Anthony Edwards was.

2. “Watch the Birdie” 
Speaking of Maverick and Goose, this part of the opening scene is arguably the best part of the whole movie because it’s just so absurd. It perfectly paints a picture of what’s going to happen for the rest of this movie’s 110 minute runtime. Maverick & Goose find themselves in the middle of a dogfight with two hostile fighter jets. Maverick manages to scare one away but his wingman, Cougar, is shaken during the encounter. Maverick and Goose come to the aid and drive away the second jet with one of the most demeaning things ever:

Can you imagine being that enemy pilot and having to go back and tell your commanding officers that your target flipped all the way upside down to hover right above you and give you the finger while his co-pilot took a Polaroid of your shocked face to laugh at forever? That pilot is either getting demoted or turning in his wings on his own as soon as he lands.

1. “She’s Lost That Loving Feeling” 

Again, there’s no wingman like Goose. He had that choreography LOCKED DOWN and he was like “Well, this may be embarrassing and stupid but I’m here Mav, let’s do this.” In the movie, they mention that this is only the second time this maneuver has been attempted and that the first attempt was a complete disaster. I’m so curious to know about that first try and what went wrong? Did the person walk away? Did they all not know the words to the song? It’s such a throwaway line but I always wonder.

This is a sequence that will only work in a movie and can only work in ‘Top Gun’. I shudder to think how many women in bars after May 16, 1986 were subjected to dudes trying this move with their bros. Because there’s no way that this hasn’t been attempted 1000s of times since this movie was released.

In a movie full of iconic moments, memorable quotes, and an unbelievable soundtrack, this is the moment that you know you’re watching something special.

 

Let us know what your favorite ‘Top Gun’ moment is either in the comments or over on Twitter. Be sure to subscribe and stay tuned for all the latest on ‘Top Gun: Maverick.”

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