What Makes Top Gun the Finest Action-Packed Aviation Blockbuster Ever Made?

The F/A-18 dressed in the colors it wore while serving as Tom Cruise's aircraft in Top Gun: Maverick. (photo by Aaron Haase)
Aircorps Art Dec 2019

“Vintage Aviation News staff did not write this article; the content comes via our partners who wish to help $upport our website.”

When Top Gun was released in 1986, it immediately became a cultural phenomenon. With Tom Cruise at the helm, this pulse-pounding film exploded onto the big screen with all the firepower of a fighter jet. With Cruise’s matinee-idol good looks, boyish charm, and immense talent – how could it fail?

From the incredible machinery to the heart-stopping action sequences, Top Gun had it all. And now, 30 years later, we have the sequel Top Gun: Maverick, with even more action, more explosions, and adrenaline-pumping excitement than ever before.

But let’s take a step back and remember why the original Top Gun was such a sensation. With a paltry budget of just $15 million, director Tony Scott managed to create a film that felt like it cost hundreds of millions. From the moment the opening credits roll, we’re thrust into the high-stakes world of fighter pilots, with some of the most stunning aerial footage ever captured on film.

A T-38A Talon assigned to the Navy Fighter Weapons School pictured in front of the TOPGUN hangar on board Naval Air Station (NAS) Miramar, California, in 1974. The Talon was one of the aircraft types employed as an aggressor for training at the school. Note the silhouettes of MiG aircraft shot down during the Vietnam War painted on the hangar exterior. (Robert L. Lawson Photograph Collection, National Naval Aviation Museum)

The aircraft themselves were the real stars of the show, with the sleek lines of the F-14 Tomcat taking center stage. The roar of the engines, the whine of the missiles, and the thundering explosions made Top Gun a visceral, immersive experience.

FAST FACTS: Many film sequences that appeared to show different fighter aircraft were actually the same aircraft shot from different angles. That’s what happens with clever camera work and a limited budget!

…But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Let’s take a step back for the newbies out there. If you’re itching to get a feel for the type of high-powered action we’re talking about, read on.

Get in the Cockpit with Top Gun – The Ultimate Adrenaline-Loaded Slot Game

If you’re looking for a taste of the high-flying action and non-stop thrills of the hit movie franchise, then the Top Gun slot machine is a perfect choice. With stunning graphics, exciting bonus features, and the chance to win big, this game puts you in the cockpit of an F-14 Tomcat, letting you spin, twist, and dive your way to victory.

What Made Top Gun an Instant Hit with Film Fans?

Let’s drop back into the action, shall we?

But it wasn’t just the machines that made Top Gun so special. Tom Cruise’s performance as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell was a tour de force, cementing his place as one of the biggest movie stars of the era. Maverick was cocky, brash, and fearless – the embodiment of the maverick spirit that Top Gun celebrates. Indeed his ‘brat pack’ persona cast him as an endearing (and enduring) presence to millions of adoring fans.

His rivalries with other pilots, his budding romance with Charlie (Kelly McGillis), and his struggles with authority all added depth to a character who could have easily been one-dimensional. And, of course, who can forget the iconic volleyball scene, with Maverick and his buddies flexing their muscles on the beach to the tune of “Playing with the Boys”?

Now, with Top Gun: Maverick, we return to the world of Maverick and his fellow pilots. The sequel, which has been in the works for years, delivered on expectations in a BIG WAY.

Believe it or not, it’s more explosive and action-packed than the original. With a budget over $170 million, Top Gun Maverick has all the bells and whistles of a modern blockbuster.

For those who have yet to see it, expect even more thrilling aerial sequences, with the latest technology making it possible to capture the action like never before. And with Tom Cruise returning to his iconic role as Maverick, we can be sure that the character will be given the update he deserves.

F-14D 164603, Homecoming from final Tomcat WestPac Cruise, November 1, 2006.

Big Action – Big Money – Big Surprises!

When it comes to the success of the Top Gun franchise, the numbers speak for themselves. The original film, released in 1986, grossed $356 million worldwide, an impressive feat considering its relatively small budget. But the sequel, Top Gun Maverick, blew those numbers out of the water. With an estimated budget of $170 million and a worldwide release date of May 2022, expectations were high for this action-packed drama. And based on the success of the first film, those expectations were well-founded.

In fact, Top Gun: Maverick grossed a staggering $1.49 billion+ worldwide, with domestic earnings accounting for just under half of that total. With a domestic opening of $126,707,459, it’s clear that audiences couldn’t get enough of the high-flying, high-stakes world of Maverick and his fellow pilots. And with the film’s PG-13 rating and running time of 2 hours and 10 minutes, Top Gun Maverick became another iconic box office sensation for Paramount Pictures, the film’s domestic distributor.

One of the most exciting things about Top Gun Maverick is the cast. Alongside Cruise, we have a host of talented actors, including Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, and Miles Teller, who will be playing the son of Maverick’s former wingman Goose. The film is also being directed by Joseph Kosinski, who previously worked with Cruise on Oblivion. Kosinski is known for his stunning visuals and action-packed set pieces, so we can be sure that Top Gun Maverick will be a feast for the eyes. Say no more – it’s time for a virtual dogfight in the skies above!


“Vintage Aviation News staff did not write this article; the content comes via our partners who wish to help $upport our website.”


1 Comment

  1. Top Gun: Maverick is the highest grossing aviation film of all time, and it’s good fun in the theaters!

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