Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

Twenty-five Years Today: Top Gun

In honor of the summer-movie spectacle that debuted 25 years ago today, the Tony Scott-directed, Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer-produced, Tom Cruise action film, I contributed a retrospective piece today to my friend’s blog, Edward Copeland on Film… and More, for the one and only Top Gun. You can find the post here. And I thought I’d briefly reflect upon what might be the film’s best sequence, Top Gun‘s spectacular movie titles:

Some of the things I love about this excerpt:

  • the slow build-up using Harold Faltermeyer’s music preamble was simply done, but effectively mounts tension throughout to the crescendo that arrived with the director’s title
  • DP Jeffrey Kimball’s beautifully executed camera work, in one of the most dangerous and deafening work environs (the flight deck of an U.S. aircraft carrier), along with Chris Lebenzon and Billy Weber’s deft editing, was pretty damn impressive and breathtaking
  • when Tony Scott’s director title appears onscreen (against the striking backdrop of the F-14 blasting the engines in prep to its catapult launch at the 2:37 mark) you have one of the best music transitions in film (to the now famous Kenny Logins’ track Danger Zone), ever (IMO)
Trivia: co-star Anthony Edwards (the Tom Cruise character’s RIO, Goose) would go on to a very successful stretch in the TV series, ER — as the ill-fated Dr. Mark Greene — with some Top Gun connections. TG co-stars Michael Ironside (call sign Jester) and Rick Rossovich (Slider) would have supporting stints in the series. And Mark’s father, David Greene (portrayed by John Cullum), was the Air Officer on an aircraft carrier, and was once based at the Miramar Naval Air Station, if I remember correctly, where the Naval Weapons’ program remains located. By the way and most impressively, Anthony Edwards was the only actor in the cast who didn’t vomit while in the fighter jets during Top Gun filming.

11 Responses to “Twenty-five Years Today: Top Gun”

    • le0pard13

      It’s quite a coincidence. Ed asked almost two months ago if I’d be interested in doing an anniversary post for the film. And I’d have forgotten that Tony Scott directed this! It was interesting to see his early work in this blockbuster compared to the daring, experimental work in Domino, which you so expertly examined. Thanks, J.D.


  1. Christine McCann

    I love that opening sequence! Maybe it’s the military brat in me, but seeing the takeoffs and landings are just awesome. I mean, you’re in a multi-million-, maybe billion-$ plane, can you imagine what flying one of those babies for the first time would feel like? Equal parts absolute awe and scared shitless (whether they admit or not) all at the same time. I’ve seen this movie so many times and I remember wearing out my copy of the soundtrack. And your trivia? Fun stuff! I was a huge fan of ER.

    Thanks, Michael! 25 years…holy crap.


    • le0pard13

      I thought you’d appreciate the aerial sequences in the film, Christine. They are really awesome and the best in the film. Yeah, it’s interesting how this film connects with ER — although, my friend Will insists it’s:

      Michael ‘F&*^ing’ Ironside (that’s the only way to say his name)

      Thanks, Christine.


      • Christine McCann

        LOL! Will’s absolutely right! And yet, when he appeared on ER, my husband’s immediate response was “Hey! Jester’s on ER!” 😉


  2. le0pard13

    BTW, I actually met Michael ‘F&*^ing’ Ironside on a local golf course about five years ago. Nice guy… with one commanding-as-hell voice ;-).


  3. Rachel

    Christine said it best: 25 years…holy crap! Hard to believe!

    This is a funny coincidence because Jeff had me take his photo with a tomcat on the USS Midway when we were doing the boat museums in San Diego last month. 🙂 We oohed and aahed like little kids when we saw it.



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