1001 Films – Top Gun (1986)

After an incident on the carrier Maverick [Tom Cruise] and Goose [Anthony Edwards] have become the candidate for Top Gun, a school for the best of the best fighter pilots to make them better.  We are then treated to eight weeks of training sessions and classes about flying fighter planes in the 80s.

This movie is one that oozes nostalgia for me.  Yes, I was just out of the womb when this movie was released in theatres, but I definitely had seen it at least fifty times by the time I was ten years old and was constantly quoting lines, especially “crash and burn”.  There is no way you can watch this movie without knowing that the only reason to love it is that is an 80s film.

Is it crazy to wonder how an action movie about something that not many viewers can understand (i.e. dogfighting) could be so popular?  It’s literally impossible to ask someone over the age of twenty today if they have seen this movie and get a negative response and review of the film and I refuse to be the naysayer in my demographic.  Just thinking about the unimpressive dogfight scenes are, since for me as a viewer I had absolutely no understanding of it other than that they can fly and fly very fast, is crazy since everyone loves this movie.  It’s not like when you see a high speed chase scene in The Transporter where we have some sort of grounding in what we’re seeing.  With these dogfight scenes we can only have a minimal understanding that these planes are going really fast and it’s difficult and it’s dangerous and we move on.

I personally love this film and I know that I go against all my criteria for films by admitting that I love this one.  It’s totally a guilty pleasure.  Seeing Val Kilmer go up against Tom Cruise in class rooms and in the cockpit is just so damn entertaining I can’t explain it.  I did find myself on occasion laughing at the movie rather than with it, I’m looking at you shirtless volleyball scene.  But this is the perfect film.  It has the bromance between Maverick and Goose, the rivals between Maverick and Ice Man [Val Kilmer] and the romance between Maverick and Charlie [Kelly  McGillis] for all the girlfriends who were forced to watch the movie with their guys on a Tuesday night.  It’s a perfect film in that respect, in being a film for everyone.  There are very few films that can say they have accomplished that feat without sucking.

This is exactly the movie you remember and for that you will still love it like I do.  It’s the Romtion, combo of romance and action, that we don’t see enough of anymore.

IMDB says 6.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes says 45%

I say 7.5/10

  • http://mcneilmatinee.blogspot.com Mad Hatter

    So there’s me today, picking up a dvd I had loaned our mutual acquaintance Movie Moxie. Our chit chat works its way around to podcasting and she asks me if I’ve been listening to yours (since I’ve been recording my own since November).

    I tell her, no I haven’t but to email me the link. Imagine my shame when I discover that she’s talking about another member of the 1001 Movie Club!!

    So first of all – great piece on this movie! I am indeed one of those who tore it to shreds, but the fact is that I still dig it on nostalgia alone (I’d never suggest someone go track it down who’d never seen it).

    Second of all, just thought I’d tell you that I love the blog and am looking forward to listening to the podcast. You’ve found yourself a new follower – keep up the good work!