10 Things You [Probably] Didn’t Know About Top Gun!

As soon as you here the opening chords of Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone,” you are transported back to a time when the coolest men in the universe were flying F-14 Tomcats for the Navy and had silly names like Maverick, Goose and Ice Man. “Top Gun” made Tom Cruise a household name and gave Meg Ryan one of her first movie gigs. But even though it’s one of the most frequently quoted guy movies, how well do you really know it? Here are some facts about “Top Gun” that might surprise you.

10 – The bar in which a boozy rendition of “Great Balls of Fire” was performed is real, and still exists. It’s called Kansas City BBQ, and it’s in San Diego, California. Although a 2008 fire destroyed a lot of its memorabilia, the piano is still there and they still sell Top Gun t-shirts.

9 – Top Gun was inspired by a 1983 article in California magazine called “Top Guns,” which was about young fighter pilots training at a Naval Air Station in San Diego. Unfortunately the school itself does not award a “Top Gun Trophy,” nor is there a points system. Those elements were invented for the film.

8 – The bad guys’ MiG-28s that battle the Navy’s F-14 squadron at the end of the film don’t exist, and never have. They were made up for the film, and were actually American Northrop F-5s painted black, chosen because they looked “villainous”.

7 – The band Toto was also originally asked to record the film’s now famous ’Danger Zone’ track, but the deal fell through due to legal disputes. Thus, Kenny Loggins recorded the song, and music history was made.

6 – Ever wondered why Kelly McGillis is so incognito in the lift scene or the subsequent love scene is shot through an obscuring blue tint? Well, during test screenings the audience complained about a lack of love scene between the two characters so the movie was sexed up, and those scenes were added six months after the film wrapped. By then, McGillis had dyed her hair for another role.

5 – “Cougar”, the fighter pilot who loses his edge in the opening scene and gives way for Maverick and Goose to attend the Top Gun academy, was played by actor John Stockwell, writer of the Mark Walhberg film “Rock Star” and Surf classic “Blue Crush”.

4 – As for call signs, did you know that the squat, bald officer (James Tolkan) who wants to ’bust Maverick and Gooses butts’ had one? It’s never mentioned in the movie, but in the script and credits (and his name plate pictured here) it is revealed as “Stinger”.

3 – Many viewers of “Top Gun” assume the MiG fighters are Russian. In fact, their country of origin is never actually identified because the studio didn’t want to anger any possible overseas audiences. In the original script, however, they are revealed to be North Korean.

2 – The introduction of Charlie (Kelly McGillis) famously begins with a close-up of her high heels as she addresses the assembled pilots. Later in that same scene, though, you can clearly see she’s wearing flats so the 5’10″ McGillis wouldn’t dwarf 5’7″ Cruise.

1 – Despite being very cooperative during production, the U.S. Navy told director Tony Scott that he could only fire the F-14’s missiles twice. Scott filmed them both, then reused the same two shots over and over throughout the movie.

So there you have it, 10 little known facts about one of my favourite retro films. Thankfully we have plenty of retro tshirts and cool accessories available so you can show your appreciation too!!

Men’s Top Gun Flight Suit
T-Shirt from TruffleShuffle
£19.99 >

Top Gun Mirrored
Aviator Sunglasses
£14.99 >

Canvas Need For Speed
Top Gun Wallet
£11.99 >

Ladies Top Gun Maverick V-Neck
T-Shirt from TruffleShuffle
£24.99 >