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Top Gun

I feel the need, the need for speed 

Year: 1986 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Top Gun

Director: Tony Scott

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

Hotshot pilot Maverick Mitchell (Tom Cruise) makes a daring rescue attempt on his freaked out wingman, and as a result is promoted to an elite Naval Flying School where the best of the best battle it out to be named ‘Top Gun’. Maverick is a loose cannon obsessed with his missing father’s Vietnam legacy. As he strives to reach the top of the class he treads on a few toes along the way, makes some serious enemies in the form of Val Kilmer’s ‘Ice’ and of course falls in love with his smouldering instructor Charlie (Kelly McGillis). The rest is 1980s movie history.

Produced by blockbuster heavyweight Jerry Bruckheimer (Bad Boys, Armageddon and more recently Pirates of the Caribbean) and directed by Tony Scott (True Romance, Enemy of the State) this is a master-class in action movie making. Its fast paced, high-octane sequences are meticulously constructed to take the audience inside the cockpit of a fighter jet and feel every twist, turn and gut-wrenching twirl with them. Coupled with an equally snappy dialogue and more leather jackets, aviator sunglasses and motorbike rides along the sunset than you can shake a stick at, this is definitely testosterone-fuelled action at its best.

Riding high on the success of Risky Business, this is vintage Tom Cruise, back when scientology and jumping on sofas were a far off dream. He is perfectly cast as the arrogant and swaggering (albeit short) pilot chasing an equally macho dream. Tom Skerritt and Michael Ironside turn in nice performances as the veteran mentors, as does Anthony ‘ER’ Edwards as the likeable ‘Goose’.

Top Gun effectively sets the blueprint for the modern day action blockbuster: thrilling aerial sequences are constructed using fantastic in-flight photography that blows CGI out of the sky. The soundtrack is an example of everything that was great (if a little cheesy) about the 1980s, and the predictable but nonetheless enjoyable love story between Maverick and the too-smart too-beautiful Charlie balances the high intensity action sequences and brings some much needed romance to the narrative.

Laura Potter

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Screenings of this film:

1996/1997 Spring Term (35mm)
1998/1999 Autumn Term (35mm)
2000/2001 Autumn Term (35mm)
2002/2003 Autumn Term (70mm)
2007/2008 Autumn Term (70mm)