What Is a Top Gun? And Other Burning Questions

What is Top Gun? Who is Tom Cruise? Are there any actual guns in Top Gun? We have answers to all your questions

Top Gun What To Know
Top Gun (Paramount)

    This month, the very long-awaited arrival of Top Gun: Maverick is poised to make us yearn for a time when we all had a need… for speed. The original film Top Gun was a huge hit upon its initial release, making stars of its core cast and creating a whole new appetite for patriotic tales of daring in the skies.

    Honestly, the fact that it took over 30 years for a sequel to happen is pretty impressive, and the new film has already begun racking up rave reviews from those who saw it at its CinemaCon premiere. But if it’s been a while since you properly Top Gun-ed, this should hopefully offer up all the information you need to know before seeing the sequel.

    What Is Top Gun?

    Released in 1986, Top Gun is a U.S. military recruitment device in the form of a movie about the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, otherwise known as TOPGUN. Directed by Tony Scott, the film stars Tom Cruise as a hot-headed fighter pilot who learns not just how to be the best damn pilot in the skies, but how to work as part of a combat unit.

    Who is Tom Cruise?


    Really? You really need to ask that?

    Fine. Thomas Cruise Mapother IV was born on July 3, 1962, and after making his big screen debut in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 film Endless Love, he went on to become one of the world’s most popular movie stars. So popular, in fact, that the sometimes strange stories about his personal life don’t seem to affect his star power (too much).

    Who Else Is In Top Gun?

    It’s actually a pretty impressive cast: Kelly McGillis plays a flight instructor (and Maverick’s love interest), Val Kilmer plays Iceman, Maverick’s primary rival in the TOPGUN program (and love interest), and Tom Skerritt plays the commanding officer of the program. Plus, there’s Anthony Edwards as Maverick’s best friend/wingman Goose, a very young Meg Ryan as Goose’s wife, and folks like Michael Ironside, Tim Robbins, and Adrian Pasdar.

    Are There Any Guns in Top Gun?

    A good question! Despite the title, the answer is actually no — no traditional pistols or handheld firearms are seen in the film. Instead, it’s the planes which are actually the guns. According to the Internet Movie Firearms Database, the F-14A Tomcats in the film use internally-mounted M61 Vulcan cannons to take down their unspecified foreign adversaries, who use Northrop F-5E and F-5F Tiger II fighters armed with Pontiac M39 cannons.

    So, They’re Just Flying Planes?


    Yeah, but they’re really cool planes.

    Isn’t Top Gun Known for Its Soundtrack?

    Yep! The film’s soundtrack is one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time, featuring iconic tracks like Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” and “Playing With the Boys,” not to mention the Academy Award-winning love song “Take My Breath Away,” by Berlin. The film also includes a pretty great collection of classic pop and R&B hits, including The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” and Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire.”

    Is Lady Gaga in Top Gun?

    Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was born on March 28, 1986, 49 days before Top Gun’s release on May 16, 1986, so the answer is not likely. (It’s certainly not on her IMDB listing.)

    But She Did Do a New Song For the Sequel?

    Oh yeah, it’s called “Hold My Hand” and you can listen to it here:

    How Does Top Gun End?

    Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for the film Top Gun.

    Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and his team, having successfully acquired the real NOC list, use their operation on the Paris-bound TGV train to expose that Mr. Phelps is actually alive and well, while clearing Maverick’s name and leading to him being reinstated as an IMF agent…


    Sorry, wrong franchise. At the end of Top Gun, Maverick manages to get past his guilt over the death of Goose and helps make sure Iceman survives the crisis situation that has them dogfighting against fighter planes from an unspecified rival nation. Mission complete, he and Iceman lovingly embrace as their fellow pilots cheer for their love.

    What Happened Next?

    In the silence of the otherwise empty locker room, the zipper on Maverick’s jumpsuit only stuck a little bit as Iceman slid it down, revealing the undershirt beneath. The thin cotton did nothing to conceal the man’s well-defined pecs — an upper body Iceman knew well from their games of volleyball. Of course, he had only ever been able to appreciate the view at a distance. Really, there had always some barrier between them before now: The glass of the cockpit, the rules of the Top Gun program, their lingering protestations of heterosexuality.

    Those barriers were gone now, Iceman realized. Leaving him free to lean forward, lips aimed at his target…

    — Excerpt from “I Need My Wingman,” written by user Mavericeman

    What Actually Happened Next?

    Well, you’re reading this because they made a whole actual movie about that! Top Gun: Maverick catches up with the titular Maverick over 30 years after his initial training, as he’s called in to lead a new team of young hot fighter pilots on a special mission.

    This Whole Article Wasn’t Just a Blatant Attempt to Seduce the Google Algorithm Into Delivering Your Website Traffic, Right?


    Of course not. Consequence genuinely cares about making sure that you know everything you need to know about the original Top Gun before the new film comes out.

    When Does Top Gun: Maverick Come Out?

    Top Gun: Maverick spirals into theaters on May 27, 2022. (This is not a joke.)

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