Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

Is ‘Top Gun’ based on a true story? How real-life Navy pilots influenced the movies

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“Top Gun” is not based off a true story, but it does pull from realistic events. The movie was actually inspired by an article called “Top Guns” by Israeli writer and director, Ehud Yonay. Many U.S. Navy pilots have said that the movie is an accurate portrayal of what life is like as a Navy pilot. Although there are parts of the movie that are completely fictional, like the fact there is no trophy for the best fighter pilot in the class, a lot of it was inspired by the real life training program. Recruitment has also been affected by the Tom Cruise films. After the release of “Top Gun” in 1986, there was a 500% increase in applications to be naval aviators.

What caused Goose’s death in “Top Gun?”

Spoiler alert: Goose died in the original “Top Gun” movie. In the 1986 movie, Goose was Maverick’s wingman and best friend. While they were flying one day during training, their plane started to spin uncontrollably and Maverick could not get them out of the spin, so they both ejected from the plane. When Goose ejected, he hit his head on the canopy. They both fell into the ocean, but Goose died instantly. Goose is in “Top Gun: Maverick,” though only through flashbacks. His character does live on through his son, Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, who is a pilot in “Top Gun: Maverick” and played by Miles Teller. 

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Why was Kelly McGillis not in “Top Gun 2?”

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight in 2019, McGillis said: “I’m old, and I’m fat, and I look age-appropriate for what my age is. And that is not what the whole scene was about.” She also talked about how she has left Hollywood to focus on other things. 

The director of the movie Joseph Kosinski also gave his take. He talked to Insider about the reasoning behind not having McGillis and Meg Ryan, who played Goose’s wife in “Top Gun,” in the new movie. He said they never planned on having them in “Top Gun: Maverick” because it allowed them to introduce new characters and he “didn’t want every storyline to always be looking backwards.”

In the original “Top Gun,” McGillis was Cruise’s love interest Charlie. Maverick has a new lady in his life in “Top Gun: Maverick” named Penny, who is played by Jennifer Connelly. There is a brief mention of Penny in the first movie, but she was never shown.

Does Tom Cruise really fly in “Top Gun 2?”

Cruise is known for doing his own stunts in all his movies, and he also has had a pilot’s license since 1994. It was important to Cruise and the crew to make everything look as realistic as possible for the “Top Gun: Maverick” movie. 

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"Top Gun: Maverick" introduces new characters to the plot including Miles Tellers character Rooster and Glen Powell's character Hangman. 

“Top Gun: Maverick” introduces new characters to the plot including Miles Tellers character Rooster and Glen Powell’s character Hangman. 
(The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images)

In the movie, Cruise flew some smaller planes, but he was not allowed to fly the F-18. He was, however, in the plane with a military pilot who did fly the aircraft. As for the rest of the cast, Cruise worked with the aerial coordinator on the film, Kevin LaRosa Jr. The two put together a course on flying military planes. 

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The cast started off with small planes and worked up to bigger ones. The whole cast flew in real fighter jets with real military trained pilots on real military bases. The G-force the actors feel in the movie is also real. In fact, Teller talked with Seth Meyers on “Late Night” about how he had “flame retardant, pesticides and jet fuel” in his bloodstream and was covered in hives while filming. 

Inside all the planes were Imax quality cameras that caught everything happening.



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