Top Gun Movie Trivia

Top Gun Trivia

Top Gun Picture
The famous, "You've lost that lovin' feeling" rendition.

Totally Trivia

Film facts for the 1986 Action / Adventure movie starring Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer More Cast

We believe the following trivia is all legit. If it's bogus or you have additional info, please update us.

Thanks to Nat Paton
Quentin Tarrantino, in a 1994 "Sleep With Me", deconstructs the movie "Top Gun" during a party scene. Quentin’s role is extremely minor but his character convincingly suggests to another party goer that Top Gun is really the tale of a man’s struggle with his own homosexuality. Judging from other deconstructions of popular culture in his own scripts (e.g the Madonna "Like a Virgin" speech in Reservoir Dogs) I wondered if this was ad libbed by Quentin during the party scene.
Thanks to Jennie, From Ny
The juke box shown in the bar, at the end of the movie, is none other than an original "Wurlitzer" Juke box. The Wurlitzer Co. is famous for their juke boxes and pianos, and were manufactured in my home town of North Tonawanda, NY.
Thanks to John Monette Jr
The role of sundown was played by Clarence Gilyard jr. of both Matlock and Walker Texas Ranger fame.
Thanks to Wpf
LCDR "Rat" Willard returned from a deployment in the summer of 1990 and then went on to Nuclear Power School to eventually become the skipper of an aircraft carrier. He is now a 4-Star Admiral and is the Commander, U. S. Pacific Command (USPACOM). He is in charge of all U.S. military forces (all branches) in the Pacific theater - from the West Coast of the U.S. to the East Coast of Africa. I know this because I am a member of his staff at USPACOM.
Thanks to Eric
You probably remember that Pete Mitchell is Maverick's character's real name in the movie. But did you know that the character of Goose had the name of Nick Bradshaw? Or that Woody Calloway is Wolfman? Rick Neven is Hollywood and Tom Kazansky is Iceman.
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CAPT "Sunshine" Dilucente (Marine) later transferred to the Navy and became a board member of the now infamous Tailhook Organization in 1992. Sunshine resigned from the tailhook board and went on to make commander in '94.
Thanks to EMS CopterAV8R
Lt. James Winnefield, last on the list of USN pilots credited at the end of the film, has since risen to the rank of (4 star) Admiral. In July, 1987, then Lt. Winnefeld - assigned to VF-1 - was involved in a mishap where he and his RIO both successfully ejected from their F-14 and were rescued by an SH-3H helicopter - just like the ones used in the movie. I was one of the pilots who rescued him and his RIO in 'Lightning 615' from HS-14 off the USS Ranger.
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Director Tony Scott was officially fired three times during production.
Thanks to Will Gildner
Elijah Ramirez is wrong about the canopy separation in the F-14 while in a flat spin. It was determined either through a real accident, or testing, that if the F-14 was in a flat spin the RIO might impact the canopy in an ejection due to the inability of the canopy to separate far enough from the aircraft before the RIO's seat fired (which fires first, before the pilot's seat).

One of the actions required by the RIO, if in a flat-spinning F-14, was to manually jettison the canopy before pulling the ejection handle. The time between the manual canopy jettison and the action of the pulling the ejection handle was supposed to be enough to allow the canopy to separate far enough from the aircraft so that the RIO could eject without impacting the canopy on the way out.

In the movie, there is no evidence that Goose manually jettisoned the canopy, thus he hit the canopy when his seat ejected. So, in reality, one bit of Top Gun actually portrayed a true F-14 issue. A flat spin is truly a bad day for an F-14 RIO either way!

HOWEVER: Alex H added the following:

Sorry to say but that is not correct either :-)

The first action of the seat, upon being fired by the crew member, is to secure the crew member to it securely. It does this by explosive charges which generate gas to operate 2 mechanisms which 1)pull the body back into the seat (you can clearly see these in the scene from the film) and 2) pull the legs back to contact with the seat. At this point it is assumed that the hands / arms are being used to operated either the seat pan handle or the face blind. So now we have all our body parts secure, the rest of the seat can be fired. If you look closely at Goose as he ejects you can see he is not attached to the seat at all, he flops around and hits the canopy.

So it was not Mavericks fault - it was the Armourer (or whatever they call them in the US Navy)

BUT, the debate continues! Will Gildner wrote in to add: Although Alex H. Is correct about ejection seat firing, he is clearly not familiar with the "Bolldface" emergency actions required if the F-14 was in a flat spin. I have nearly 900 flying hours in the F-14 and the bit I related above about the possibility of the RIO impacting the canopy is absolutely true. Thus, it was a mandatory action for the RIO to first jettison the canopy prior to initiating the ejection sequence. Sorry, Alex, this time you're not totally correct.
Thanks to Tim Horak
The Deland Naval Air Station Museum has acquired an F-14 Tomcat. The plane number is 103 and it is from the Grim Reapers Sqaudron VF-101. I was told this plane was in the movie and I think I only see it once, on the flight deck scene during the intro. The plane is fenced in and next to the museum. The museum is free and open from Tuesday to Saturday 12pm to 4pm.
Thanks to Lisa Brandenstein
The reason the Seabees patch is on the jacket is because the Navy Seabees built the set for the movie. They are a construction unit.
Thanks to C.T. Warren
In 2013, Val Kilmer (Iceman) and Anthony Edwards (Goose) appeared in Disney-Pixar's summer blockbuster "PLANES", where they respectively voice 'Bravo' and 'Echo', two F-18 Superhornets that come to the rescue of our hero Dusty, who's lost over the Pacific and low on fuel. Very apropos that two Top Gun veterans wind up voicing fighter jets!
Thanks to Eddie Berin
Despite another poster's trivia, the 'flat spin' sequence for an F14 does have a risk of a canopy lingering during an ejection sequence. Think about it: if the entire plane is spinning AND you fire the explosive charges for the canopy, the canopy is still spinning at the same rate of the plane. It will not 'fly off' and away. Source: Page 59, last paragraph, "Tomcat! The Grumman F-14 Story" by Paul T. Gillchrist, Rear Admiral (USN. Ret). FYI Gillchrist was the first Flag Officer to land an F-14 on an aircraft carrier.
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Anthony Edwards, Michael Ironside, and Rick Rossovich all went on to roles in the t.v. series "ER" (1994).
Thanks to Zippy
Lt. James Winnefield, last on the list of USN pilots credited at the end of the film, has since risen to the rank of (4 star) Admiral. Admiral Winnefield serves as the ninth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nation's second highest-ranking military officer.

His most recent assignment, from 2000-2002, was command of the U.S.S. Enterprise, CVN-65 - the same vessel featured at the beginning and end of the film!
Thanks to Elijah Ramirez
In the bar scene where Maverick is sitting by himself after he thinks "Charlie" just dumped him, the man sitting next to him is none other than Cmdr CJ "Heater" Heatley, a real Top Gun instructor, author of several Navy jet books and photo technical advisor in the movie. Also, in the scene where all the students are graduating at the pool, when Maverick receives his order to report to the ship for duty, Cmdr Heatley is seen in the back drop to Tom Cruise's right side.

Andrew M. Barnes wrote in to add that, in addition, the picture of the 2 Tomcats banking to port towards the Enterprise was taken by CDR Heatley.
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Maverick was called Evan Mitchell in one of the earlier drafts of the script...
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Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwoods character metamorphosised out of a character called 'Kirsten Lindstrom'. She was originally a classic bimbo. Dawn Steel, then head of Paramount Pictures, alledgedly refused to authorise the project until she was made a more real, intelligent woman.
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The real Top Gun school is non competitive. There is no real TOP GUN trophy.
Thanks to Woody Woodpacker
Just an update on LCdr Willard and Lt. Winnefeld: Both got another star, with Winnefeld serving as Vice ADmiral and Cdr. US 6th Fleet, and Willard an Admiral, Commander US Pacific Fleet. So, two participants of TOP GUN made at least three-star rank, which is quite a feat.
Thanks to Silvia Mendoza
Kelly McGillis's 'date' in the bar scene is Pete Pettigrew, the real VIPER from the real TOP GUN school. He was one of the main technical consultants to the film.
Thanks to Elijah Ramirez
In the scene where Maverick and Goose are caught in an unrecoverable spin and Goose's head impacts the cockpit canopy, that whole incident would not have happened in real life. At the rate the plane was spinning, there would have been no way Goose's head would have struck the canopy after ejection because for one, the spinning in and of itself would have caused the canopy to fall away. Secondly, the rocket motors installed around the cockpit frame jettison the canopy so fast that when the pilot ejects, it would have fallen away well before any part of the body could impact it.
Thanks to Lieutenant Commander Nick Bradshaw, Royal Navy (Retd.)
Just out of interest, I served in aircraft carriers with the Royal Navy; While it might not be possible with a US navy jet, our pilots' canopies blow apart when the ejection seat is fired, with plastic explosive embedded in the plexiglass. If it does not ignite, the canopy stays in one piece and the pilot breaks it as he goes through (with the back of the seat and the top of the helmet). It leaves a characteristic welt of bruising along the neck, just above the collar bone on either side. Just as an aside, I didn't know that I shared the same name as the character name of Goose until I read your page. Thanks!

Eddie updates us:

The ejection sequence in the "flat spin". The Martin Baker ejection seat used in the F-14 is designed to penetrate the canopy if it does not seperate from the canopy rails. So the scene is far fetched.
Thanks to Chris
The US navy experienced in the year after the release of top gun the largest influx of recruits since conscription in the second world war!
Thanks to Michael Caulk
The Paramount wardrobe guys were more interested in asthetics than accuracy in what they put on Mavericks' jacket. There are some patches that no Navy pilot... excuse me "Naval Aviator" would ever put on his jacket, i.e. Third Marine Air Group, Seabees and the big insignia on the front from the USS Standley, a Cruiser! But hey the jacket looked great and that's what counts in motion pictures.
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LCDR Bob "Rat" Willard's most recent position was Commander of the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet. He is now a three-star admiral (vice admiral), a rank attained by very few people.
Thanks to Toggers
It is often overlooked that "Merlin" is played in an early role by multi award winning actor/screenwriter/director Tim Robbins, more recently known for "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994) and "War of the Worlds" (2005).

Bogus Trivia

There's often fake stuff floating round, y'know? -Like the 'ghost boy' that can allegedly be seen in "Three Men And A Baby".

The following trivia for "Top Gun" is apparently bogus. If you disagree or have additional info, please update us.

Maverick and Goose fly F-14 114 and crash. But while flying in the end Maverick and Merlin also fly 114. The nose number has nothing to do with the actual aircraft. Squadrons throughout the navy have the same nose number (It has to do with carrier air wings and something called their MODEX numbers). The only number that matters is the bureau number which is located on rear portion of the aircraft on the engine nacelles. The bureau number identifies a particular aircraft. Tomcat 114 from the crash, would not be the same Tomcat 114 at the end.

The F-14 that Maverick & Merlin are flying if you notice when they land the number on the nose of the plane is 104 not 114.

Eddie writes in to update us:

Side numbers 100 and 200 were assigned to Fighter Squadrons. It had nothing to do with modex. Numbers can range from 100-114 or 200-214. squadrons did not have 206,208 or 209 at the same time due to 6,8,9 being similar. Ex.If there was a 206 there wasn't a 208. Squadrons still use 100 and 200 but they are F/A-18 Strike Fighters Squadrons which are 100, 200, 300 and 400. Great Site! Thanks
In one of the first scenes to show Val Kilmer as "Ice Man", he is seen playing with coins rolling them up and down along his knuckles. He also did this in an earlier movie, as "Cris Knight" in "Real Genius" and in "Tombstone" as Doc Holliday.

Iceman is not rolling quarters in his hand in the first scene, he's twirling a pen.
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1986 Paramount Pictures
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