Love it or Hate it: Here's Some Top Gun Trivia

yt

Sr Member
  • Val Kilmer did not want to be in this film, but was forced to by contractual obligations.
  • One of the unused call-signs 'Tombstone' can be seen on a black fighter pilot helmet with three red arrows in promotional photos featuring Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson.
  • The aircraft used for the fictional MiG-28s are Northrop F-5E (single seat) and F (two seat) Tiger IIs, which were used by TOPGUN as aggressor aircraft.
  • During the final furball, Stinger orders, "Ready Willard and Simkin on cats 3 and 4" - a reference to dogfight choreographer "Rat" Willard and casting director Simkins.
  • Bryan Adams was asked to allow his song "Only the Strong Survive" on the soundtrack, but he refused because he felt that the film glorified war.
  • In several locker scenes, one of the lockers is labeled as belonging to "TEX". This is the call sign for one of the top gun instructors and Mig pilots that worked on the film, Lt. William 'Tex' Spence.
  • Charlie's "older man" date at the officer's club is the real-life "Viper", Pete Pettigrew. He is a retired Navy pilot and TOPGUN instructor, and shot down a MiG during the Vietnam War. He served as the technical consultant on the film.
  • The piano scene and the final bar/jukebox scene were shot in a San Diego restaurant called Kansas City BBQ, at the corner of Kettner Blvd and W. Harbor Drive. The restaurant housed many props and memorabilia from the film, including the jukebox and Maverick's flight helmet sits behind the bar in a locked display case. However, on June 26, 2008 Kansas City BBQ suffered a grease fire that destroyed the establishment, including all of the Top Gun memorabilia on display.
  • The scene where Maverick follows Charlie into the bathroom was filmed at the Headquarters Building at Recruit Training Command, San Diego.
  • During the filming of some sequences from civilian aircraft, longtime Hollywood stunt pilot Art Scholl was killed. A biplane he was flying crashed off the Pacific Coast. The film is dedicated to his memory.
  • Director Tony Scott wrote a quick check for $25,000 to the commander of the aircraft carrier in order to capture one vital external shot.
  • The love scene between Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis was filmed after initial test screenings. Moviegoers complained that there was no love scene, so the company obliged. McGillis, however, had already dyed her hair darker for her next film. This is why the scene is tinted blue. Also noticeable as a subsequent shoot due to the longer length of Tom Cruise's hair (particularly in front).
  • Like the love scene, the elevator scene (where Maverick and Charlie meet after Mav's workout) was filmed post-production. Kelly McGillis's hair had already been colored for another movie role, that is why she is wearing a hat. Tom Cruise's hair is longer in the shot, as well.
  • Just before the film started production, one of the producers announced that they wanted to use the Bruce Springsteen song "Born in the USA" but attempts to secure the song were unsuccessful.
  • Both John Carpenter and David Cronenberg turned down the chance to direct.
  • An early trailer was scored to the Cars' song "Stranger Eyes", from the album "Heartbeat City". The song is not in the movie or on the soundtrack.
  • Riding on the back of this film's success, the US Navy set up recruiting booths in the major cinemas to try and catch some of the adrenaline charged guys leaving the screenings. They had the highest applications rate for years as a result.
  • A script for "Top Gun 2" was completed shortly after the release of the film, but it broke down in pre-production because 1) the military's technology had become updated and they didn't want camera crew anywhere near their new aircraft and 2) Cruise did not want a sequel and finally agreed to star in one for a very high amount that was deemed "unaffordable." The script followed the further adventures of Maverick as an instructor at the Top Gun academy, the twist being a cocky female reminiscent of himself joining the team.
  • Most of the actors who portrayed F-14 crewmembers received backseat rides in the F-14, and several of the scenes which appear in the film were filmed with the actors in the air.
  • Voted #3 Must See Movie of all time by listeners of Capital FM in London.
  • Following the movie, some of the F-5s used as the "MiG-28s" maintained their black paint schemes and served as "aggressor" aircraft simulating enemy planes in the real-life Top Gun program.
  • The pilot that gets "flipped off" by Maverick and Goose is Admiral Robert F. Willard, the lead flight choreographer for the film. He is now (2009) the Commander, United States Pacific Fleet.
  • After the "Car chase" when Charlie tells Maverick that she didn't want anyone to find out she was falling for him, Maverick originally had a line to say. Tom Cruise forgot the line and "ad libbed" by kissing Kelly McGillis instead. The director liked it so much, he left the scene like that.
  • Judas Priest were asked to contribute the song "Reckless" to the soundtrack, but declined because they thought the movie would flop. Two years later, they contributed a cover of "Johnny B. Goode" to the movie of the same name, which turned out to be a flop.
  • Director Tony Scott was officially fired three times during production.
  • During the opening dogfight, music from the film Thief of Hearts, composed by Top Gun composer Harold Faltermeyer, can be heard over-scoring action. The sequence had originally been temp-tracked to this music, so it was used when Faltermeyer had left the project and the Top Gun score incomplete.
  • The callsign 'Ghostrider' that Maverick uses for his plane was the name of a real F-14 squadron (VF-142), and a model of a Tomcat from that squadron can be seen behind Sundown in the shot where Maverick tells Slider he stinks.
  • In early drafts of the film, the character whose call sign is Merlin actually had the last name of Merlin, and his call sign was Wizard.
  • The movie's line "I feel the need - the need for speed!" was voted as the #94 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
  • The Navy only authorized two actual missile shots to be filmed for the movie. You can clearly pick out these two shots, ultimately shot from several angles each in order to use both shots repeatedly during the dogfighting scenes, because the aircraft firing the missile is holding a steady altitude and heading, something that would never happen in a real close-in dogfight. All other missile shots shown in the movie were conducted using miniatures of both the planes and rockets. The company that produced and fired the model missiles did such a good job that the Dept. of the Navy conducted a preliminary investigation into whether any additional live firings of missiles, beyond the two originally authorized, were done for the filmmakers.
  • In preparation for his role, Tom Cruise was allowed to take 3 rides in the F-14 Tomcat. He vomited during the first trip but was okay during the other two.
  • While many terms used in the movie either match or are closely based on real terms used by naval aviators and the pilots in general, the term "going ballistic" is a real phrase that was wrongly used to describe a pilot successfully reaching maximum speed, when it actually meant that the pilot was going too fast to keep control of his aircraft. Ironically, "going ballistic" is now in common usage by pilots, and is used for any maneuver where the aircraft is put into a vertical or nearly-vertical climb.
  • When the film was first released on VHS, it included a fighter pilot-themed Diet Pepsi commercial prior to the film.
  • Kenny Loggins was not the first choice to record the song ‘Danger Zone’ for the film. Toto and REO Speedwagon were two of the groups considered prior to Loggins.
  • Two video games based very loosely on the movie were released on the Nintendo NES. While the first game really had no storyline, the second actually served as a "sequel" storyline, regarding Maverick going up against a new group of villains.
  • When the guys, as students, were first being spoken to by Charlie in the hanger, Maverick explains that he gave "the bird" to a MiG. She asks how he saw the MiG up close, and he says he was flying inverted. Right then, Ice coughs "bull****" and the guys laughed. The "bull****" line was ad libbed by Val Kilmer.
  • Adrian Pasdar's film debut.
  • Anthony Edwards, Michael Ironside, and Rick Rossovich all went on to roles in the t.v. series "ER" (1994). Edwards: Dr. Mark Greene, Ironside: Dr. William "Wild Willy" Swift, Rossovich: Dr. John "Tag" Taglieri
  • Harold Faltermeyer's music score was the first to be performed and recorded on the polyphonic 16 bit stereo Synclavier Digital Music System.
  • The motorcycle ridden by Tom Cruise in the movie is a Kawasaki Ninja 900 / GPz900R, then the fastest production motorcycle in the world.
  • Pete "Maverick" Mitchell's first name was Evan in early scripts of the film. It was later changed to Pete as an homage to Pete Pettigrew, who worked on the film (Pettigrew appears in the bar scene early in the film as Charlie's older male date.)
  • Giorgio Moroder wrote most of the music for the songs on the soundtrack. Tom Whitlock, who wrote the majority of the lyrics to these songs, was actually the mechanic who worked on Moroder's sports car.
  • An official release of Harold Faltermeyer's score for the film has never been done. Two pieces of score appear on the current soundtrack, but the complete score has yet to be released.
  • While Tim Robbins played the role of a RIO (Radar Intercept Officer, or the "guy in the back seat"), he could never fit in the cramped cockpit of an F-14 Tomcat. In fact, it's widely rumored that Tom Cruise is the only actor playing a pilot in the film that actually meets the Navy's maximum height requirements for the F-14!
  • Actor Trademark: [Val Kilmer] flipping a pen over his knuckles.
  • One of the deck officers on the character is named Scott, a reference to director Tony Scott.
  • Other real names of the pilots/RIOs were that are not otherwise mentioned in the movie, but only by their callsigns are: Hollywood: Lt. Rick Neven; Wolfman: Lt(jg) Leonard Wolfe; Slider: Lt(jg) Ron Kerner; Couger: Lt . Bill Cortell; Merlin: Lt(jg) Sam Wells.
  • Scott Baio was offered the part of Maverick, but turned it down.
  • John Travolta was considered for the role of Maverick but didn't get the part because producers felt he wasn't a box office draw at the time.
  • Anthony Edwards is the only actor who didn't vomit while in the fighter jets.
  • When Maverick receives his orders to the carrier following the graduation ceremony, there is a pilot standing behind him, with a mustache and wearing sunglasses. The pilot is C.J. "Heater" Heatley, a real-life former F-14 air show demonstration pilot and TOPGUN instructor.
  • James Tolkan's character is referred to as "Stinger" in the credits, but is never addressed by anything other than "Sir" throughout the film.
  • Tom Cruise actually had to wear lifts in his scenes with Kelly McGillis. Cruise is 5'7" while McGillis is 5'10"
  • An original draft of the script specified that the final showdown involved North Korean aircraft. The final script made the nationalities of the enemy planes unknown and simply specified they were MiGs over the Indian Ocean.
  • In the scene in which Maverick chooses to touch-and-go on the deck of the aircraft carrier and go back after Cougar, he has been asked to "call the ball" and is assumed clear to land. The signal lights off to the side of the carrier tell a different story: all red lights means the that the pilot is NOT cleared to land.
  • Both Sean Penn and Tom Hanks turned down the role of Maverick.
  • Tatum O'Neal, Jodie Foster, Daryl Hannah, Diane Lane, Sarah Jessica Parker and Linda Hamilton all turned down the role of Charlie. Carrie Fisher was also considered for the role, and Brooke Shields turned it down in order to study French Literature at Princeton.

>>> WARNING: Here Be Spoilers <<< Trivia items below here contain information that may give away important plot points. You may not want to read any further if you've not already seen this title.

  • SPOILER: The film was originally going to have a scene near the end where Maverick visited Goose's grave. A filmed version of this scene was never released, however still screen shots from what such a scene would have looked like are available on the special edition DVD.
  • SPOILER: Goose's real name is Nick Bradshaw. His name is briefly seen on a flight patch on top of his dresser when Maverick goes to retrieve Goose's belongings after he dies. It can also be seen numerous times written on the side of the F-14 he and Maverick fly. It is most noticeable when Goose hits the canopy after ejecting. He's only called Goose throughout the movie, even by his wife, and in the credits.
 

micdavis

Master Member
[*] The movie's line "I feel the need - the need for speed!" was voted as the #94 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).

A neighbor of mine was a real RIO at Miramar when they were making the movie. He HATED the end result. But he was part of the production as a pilot.

The line quoted above also had another meaning.

There was a female production assistant on the movie who was nick-named SPEED. Apparently she was intent on "knowing" all the pilots on the shoot.

The line was ad-libbed by the guys and it fit, so it got put in, as an in joke.
 

JoMamma_Smurf

Master Member
A neighbor of mine was a real RIO at Miramar when they were making the movie. He HATED the end result. But he was part of the production as a pilot.

The line quoted above also had another meaning.

There was a female production assistant on the movie who was nick-named SPEED. Apparently she was intent on "knowing" all the pilots on the shoot.

The line was ad-libbed by the guys and it fit, so it got put in, as an in joke.

:lol That makes it even cooler!!!
 

Capn_Jack_Savvy

Sr Member
More fun facts in real life!

- Naval aviator leather jackets became the number one requested item by all Naval personnel.
- Miramar Officer's Club on Wednesday and Saturday nights was the hottest ticket in town!!! Major civilian girl hangout!
- The phrase "I have a dream....a dream for steam!" was a phrase I coined for all Engineers aboard steam powered ships due to the previously aforementioned phrase.
- Sale prices and store quantities of Naval patches skyrocketed in the years after Top Gun was released.
- And finally...alas...The US Navy Uniform Regs made it "out of uniform" to wear more than three patches on a jacket (not including nametag and warfare pin).
- Surface warfare (ship drivers) were no longer authorized to wear leather naval flight jackets.
 

JediG60racer

Sr Member
Here's some more Top Gun trivia which I didn't learn until a few months ago:

My dad, RAdm Jay Prout, graduated Top Gun. He was killed when his F-18 went down on a training mission in 1995... I had no idea he went to Top Gun until I was going through his files a few months ago with my mom and we found his graduation certificate. He never talked about his military accomplishments - I'm still finding stuff out about his early days with the SEAL teams in Viet Nam and his days as a destroyer captain.
 

JediG60racer

Sr Member
Not quite. The piano, Maverick's helmet, and several other props were rescued. KCB reopened about six months after the fire, and is a much nicer place now.

The owners stop by my restaurant across the street regularly and we've known each other for about 15 years. Really nice couple.

  • The piano scene and the final bar/jukebox scene were shot in a San Diego restaurant called Kansas City BBQ, at the corner of Kettner Blvd and W. Harbor Drive. The restaurant housed many props and memorabilia from the film, including the jukebox and Maverick's flight helmet sits behind the bar in a locked display case. However, on June 26, 2008 Kansas City BBQ suffered a grease fire that destroyed the establishment, including all of the Top Gun memorabilia on display.
 

CTF

Sr Member
My dad, RAdm Jay Prout, graduated Top Gun. He was killed when his F-18 went down on a training mission in 1995... I had no idea he went to Top Gun until I was going through his files a few months ago with my mom and we found his graduation certificate. He never talked about his military accomplishments - I'm still finding stuff out about his early days with the SEAL teams in Viet Nam and his days as a destroyer captain.

Respect.

:thumbsup
 

Ttaskmaster

Well-Known Member
According to armourers at RAF Brize Norton that I am friends with:

The slowed-down scene where the pilots eject is faked.

Being in the trade of fitting and arming ejector seats, they pointed out that when the seats are actually firing and ejecting, you can see several 'remove before flight' tags, pins and other such devices are still in place.
The seats should not be able to operate like that.
 

Aegis159

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hehe I still have the flight logs from filming somewhere at the house.
Good friend of mine was one of the F-14 jockeys for the filming of the aerial scenes. Silver (his callsign in the real Navy and the movie as by the time he reached 30 his hair was completely silver) filled in for several of the different roles in the air. He's also in the "Loving Feeling" bar scene in the background as one of the many pilots singing along to the song. Really nice guy and an excellent XO!!
 

CessnaDriver

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Technically it was "United States Navy Fighter Weapons School", not "TOPGUN", that is the name of an instructional course.

There is no "Miramar" California either. It is part of San Diego.
Burn your TOPGUN copies and repent.


Watch the Dogfights series or the IMAX Red Flag film and cleans yourselves!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE-RQCTt1UM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgxHFFAv0ug




Now don't you feel clean watching the above?
Reality is more incredible.
 

Larry Young

Master Member
The owners stop by my restaurant across the street regularly and we've known each other for about 15 years. Really nice couple.

What's your restaurant across the street? Something in Seaport Village? Man, if you say that Greek gyro place, you're going to be my friend forever. We stay in the Embassy Suites during Comicon and I've eaten everywhere within walking distance of the con for the last fifteen Julys. :)
 
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LizardJedi

Sr Member
What's your restaurant across the street? Something in Seaport Village? Man, if you say that Greek gyro place, you're going to be my friend forever. We stay in the Embassy Suites during Comicon and I've eaten everywhere within walking distance of the con for the last fifteen Julys. :)

Hahahah nice guess....:thumbsup
 
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