The iconic '80s aviation action classic returns to thrill a new generation

Flight Journal|June 2020

The iconic '80s aviation action classic returns to thrill a new generation
Can you believe it’s been 34 years since we first saw Tom Cruise catapult off a carrier deck and up into the danger zone as Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun? That jet-propelled ode to air-to-air combat in the jet age is without question one of the most iconic films of the 1980s—so much so that in 2015 the Library of Congress deemed it to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” enough to be archived in the National Film Registry! It was also the highest-grossing film of 1986, which probably has more to do with why Paramount Pictures and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have been trying for a decade to get a sequel off the deck—and now they have.

Top Gun: Maverick rejoins everyone’s favorite cocky jet jock, now a captain, as he nears the end of his career. Serving as a test pilot, Maverick is called back into duty as a Top Gun Fighter School instructor (the job he got at the end of the first film) to train a young cadre of Naval aviators that includes Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of his late buddy, Goose. A couple other callbacks to the first film sneak into the script as well. Val Kilmer makes a cameo, reprising his role as “Iceman” Tom Kazansky (now an admiral). Speaking of admirals, in the original Top Gun, Maverick is dressed down for making a “high-speed pass” over an admiral’s daughter—one Penny Benjamin—who shows up here as Maverick’s love interest, played by Jennifer Connelly. There’s even a brief snippet of an F-14 Tomcat in flight! (Is it Maverick aboard, or could it be one of the Tomcats in the Iranian Air Force being depicted as an adversary?) But as fun as these nostalgic nods are, we’re all really here for the air-to-air action, and the footage released so far—including the extended six-minute version of the clip released during the Super Bowl—does not disappoint.


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June 2020