263. Top Gun


Movie: Top Gun

Release Date: May 16, 1986

Director: Tony Scott

Starring: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt.

Tag Lines: “It’s a solo mission … Yeah! …And I’m going with him…”

“Up there with the best of the best.”

“I feel the need, the need for speed.”

Relevance: 1986 was a big year for movies for me. There are actually fifteen from that year on this list, tied for the most from any year. The summer of 1986, oddly enough, was all about a soundtrack to a movie. And that movie was ‘Top Gun.’

Every once in awhile that summer I took a break from Madonna’s “True Blue” album which was released late June of that year. In between “Papa Don’t Preach,” “Open Your Heart” and “Where’s the Party,” there was “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin from ‘Top Gun.’ It was a gorgeous ballad that triggered my buying the full soundtrack on cassette. That soundtrack became the biggest selling soundtrack of 1986. The rest of the summer was spent listening to both of those albums.

I actually didn’t see ‘Top Gun’ until almost a year after it was released in theaters. By the time I saw it, “Take My Breath Away” had already won the Academy Award for Best Song. I finally saw it one night with a group of friends at my church’s youth group meeting. Every once in awhile, our meeting was a “Movie Night.” And one of those nights, ‘Top Gun’ was chosen for one particular reason…the volleyball scene. One of the female members of the group loved that movie. More specifically, she loved the shirtless volleyball scene. In fact, she even knew the exact “counter” number on the VCR where that scene began. If you know what the “counter” number was, you are old. If you don’t, look it up.

I was totally impressed with the movie. It was just a big fun movie that totally entertained me. And that music. It made me want to listen to the soundtrack again. ‘Top Gun’ was a movie that my family eventually purchased and watched numerous times. Every member of the family enjoyed it equally. There was action, humor and romance that covered everyone’s tastes. It has become a classic that I have watched many times during my youth.

Today’s Thoughts: I probably haven’t watched ‘Top Gun’ in over twenty years. Because of that, I was kind of excited to sit back and enjoy a film from my favorite decade. So without a bowl of popcorn, because it was 6am in the morning, I watched a classic popcorn movie.

The movie, even that early, was completely entertaining. The story, acting, directing and gorgeous aerial shots all come together to create a fun, comical, thrilling movie. And I must say it gets a little emotional for me as well. Goose is by far my favorite character and his demise breaks my heart every time. Anthony Edwards was the perfect best friend, side kick to Tom Cruise’s arrogant, stoic Maverick. The ying to his yang. And their bromance is one of my favorites captured in cinema.

I know many people do not like Tom Cruise, more so because of his off screen persona as compared to his acting. I get it. I loathe Donald Trump, so I don’t watch ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.’ I am however a fan of Tom Cruise. I think he is a brilliant actor. He has already been in two movies on my list of most influential films (see 349. Rain Man and 335. Born on the Fourth of July) and he will be showing up two more times later this year. But there’s a plethora of his films throughout his career that I have enjoyed immensely.

Who hasn’t seen ‘Top Gun?’ It’s a classic film and has become iconic for many different reasons, including influencing one of the best parody films ever made. And yes, that film will be watched later this year as part of this project. Whether you are a Tom Cruise fan or not, you’d find at least a few entertaining moments to make watching ‘Top Gun’ worth your while. And there is always that volleyball scene.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song, “Take My Breath Away,” Giorgio Moroder, Tom Whitlock (winner), Academy Award for Best Sound, Donald O. Mitchell, Kevin O’Connell, Rick Kline, William B. Kaplan (nomination), Academy Award for Best Film Editing, Billy Weber, Chris Lebenzon (nomination), Academy Award for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing, Cecelia Hall, George Watters II (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Original Song, “Take My Breath Away,” Giorgio Moroder, Tom Whitlock (winner), Golden Globe for Best Original Score, Harold Faltermeyer (nomination), National Film Registry (2015).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Philo, DVD Availability.


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