Top Gun

Top Gun (1986)

71 corrected entries

(12 votes)

Corrected entry: Maverick is seen riding his motorcycle down the runway while jets go whipping by and he is not wearing a helmet. Wearing a helmet on a naval base is mandatory, even in states which permit riders to go helmetless on the public streets.

Correction: But we already know that Maverick is a rebel- he does a flyby after 'killing' Jester even though he was ordered not to.


Corrected entry: Maverick followed Jester below the Hard Deck, yet only Maverick got into trouble.

Correction: Because Jester was the target and could do that - Maverick followed him below the Hard Deck and then engaged his weapons - a direct violation of the rules.


A "hard deck" is technically the ground, in regards to the training exercise. So Jester certainly went against the spirit of the rules by essentially crashing his plane to avoid Maverick. When you consider the fact that, by doing so, he put Maverick into the position of following him (and when you have extremely egotistical, adrenaline pumped pilots chasing you...they are going to be apt to follow you), he essentially put everyone at risk. That said, Jester could have gotten his discipline off screen, so this really can't be considered a mistake.


He went below the hard deck after breaking off the engagement when he lost sight of Maverick and called "No Joy" as per the NATO Brevity Codes. Because he was no longer engaged he could go below the hard deck, Maverick couldn't. So nothing to see here.


Corrected entry: If Viper had flown with Maverick's father in Vietnam then he would have rushed up and slapped Maverick on the back at the first chance, rather than being aloof and only finally putting his mind at rest about what happened after Maverick crashes a plane and loses the edge. Also as whatever happened to Maverick's father occurred some fifteen years previously, Viper wouldn't have hesitated in telling his dead mate's son what happened even if for some strange reason it was still classified.

Correction: This isn't a film mistake - it's your opinion on how Viper should behave. Maybe he didn't like Maverick (or his father?) and wanted him to be uncomfortable.


Corrected entry: In real life Maverick would have been about 5 inches too short to get into the navy as height restrictions still applied in the mid 1980s.

Correction: Tom Cruise is 5'7". That average american man is only 5'10". I have a hard time believing that the Navy would have turned away everyone under 6'0" tall. That would have seriously limited their pool to choose from.


Corrected entry: At the end Maverick throws Goose's dogtags off the ship. American soldiers wear two dog tags. When killed, one tag goes to administration for paperwork purposes and the other is given to the family (if any). Goose's personal effects should have had only one tag and been mailed home to his wife, NOT given to Maverick. It is not military policy to let a deceased soldier's friends pick through his stuff after he dies, as we see Maverick do.

Grumpy Scot

Correction: It is common for service members to have multiple sets of dog tags so Maverick could certainly have a set of Goose's dog tags.


Corrected entry: The call of "going ballistic" is totally wrong. Calling "we're going ballistic" is a warning call to all other aircraft that you have no control of your airplane and it's only being controlled by the laws of physics (diving, turning etc) and not the pilot.


Correction: While you are correct technically, I don't believe Goose was referring to the technical use of the phrase/term. He was using it as a indication of excitement. "My daughter went ballistic when she saw the new puppy."


The fact that you point out the mistake is correct isn't a good way to open a correction. Plus, there's no indication he's expressing "sudden excitement." On top of that, even if he did intend to say "we're excited", it would still be a character mistake to use a specific phrase that has a specific meaning out of context like you're suggesting.


I did not point out of the "mistake" is correct at all. I pointed out that what the poster stated is true (to my knowledge) about what going ballistic means in the technical flying a plane sense. However, this is not how Goose is using it. He was absolutely expressing excitement. Maverick states that they are going vertical. Goose replies "We're going ballistic Mav, go get'em." He is not saying it to alert other craft (thus the call out specifically to Mav). This was a phrase used a lot in the 80's, but not much anymore. "Dad is going to go ballistic when he finds out", or "She is going to go ballistic when we get to Disney." It expresses anger, excitement, craziness.


The NATO Brevity Code manual (google it), specifically mentions "going ballistic" as a the term to be used once you have lost control of your aircraft, a warning to others. It's a term that was adopted *after* the movie for expressing excitement.


When the couples are all together at the restaurant/bar (01:01:45), Carole tells Maverick, "He told me all about the time you went ballistic with Penny Benjamin" (the Admiral's daughter). So considering his wife, Carole, uses this specific slang expression it's believable that Goose also uses the slang in this way despite its "technical" use. During the earlier training mission (00:31:55), when Goose reacted to Maverick going vertical after Jester goes vertical, Goose, perhaps inappropriately, casually used the term only while speaking directly to Maverick, so if this is to be listed as any kind of mistake it would be a character mistake. This movie was released mid 1986, and excitedly "going ballistic" (just like "going bananas") was indeed used prior to this movie's release.

Super Grover Premium member

Yet, they are not losing control of the aircraft in that scene, and he is not warning other aircraft since it's not happening AMD he is only talking to Maverick (the pilot who would be well aware if they were ballistic). I don't know exactly when the term hit the main stream as a term of excitement but it's pretty clear to me that he is saying it that way. Classifying this as an error would be like saying the lines "a walk in the park Kazinsky" or "the defense department regrets to inform you that your sons are dead because they were stupid" are errors because neither is true. He wasn't reporting to anyone that they were ballistic. He was encouraging his pilot and just happened to use an aeronautical statement in his excitement.


From The Dictionary of Clich├ęs by Christine Ammer: "It began to be used to describe human anger in the 1980s and quickly caught on." No exact date, but was used in magazine articles in the late 1980's, so probably by around 1986 it was a popular expression.


Corrected entry: In a hostile situation, there is no way on Earth that carrier would only have had two fighters airborne, not to mention two aircrews that were not even part of their squadron.

Correction: There is a comment made in the control room that the catapult is broken and will take up to 10 minutes to repair. They tried to put more planes in the air, but were unable to do so.


Corrected entry: When Maverick does the flyby past the towers in Miramar and at the Enterprise, WHY does the controller in the tower spill his coffee over himself? Who would do such a thing? Isn't it a human reaction to spill coffee on the other side of the mug? NOT on yourself?

Correction: Nope. Hold a mug of water up to your face, and see what happens if you're startled by something while doing so. Your natural reaction is to jerk backwards, which will result in a wet face and clothing.


Corrected entry: The MiG-28s supposedly carried Exocet Anti-Ship missiles. The Exocet are French and are used by NATO countries, not the Soviets. Also, there would never be a "MiG-28" since Soviet aircraft numbers are always odd (MiG-19, MiG-21, MiG-25 etc). Plus, the Soviets used specialized anti-ship aircraft such as the Tu-22, not fighters, for such missions, and if the final dogfight took place far out in the ocean, where did the fighters come from? The Soviets did not have a carrier capable of launching fixed-wing aircraft at that time.

Correction: Nobody in the movie states that the "enemy" in the movie is the Soviet Union. In fact, the identity of the enemy nation is never stated. Secondly, the MiG 28 is a fictional aircraft, as has been pointed out in several other corrections; this was done out of the political reality of 1986. The producers would never have been able to get their hands on real MiGs. Finally, the enemy planes could have come from land OR a carrier. Again, the identity of the enemy is unknown, any more than the US carrier's proximity to shore is known.


Corrected entry: In the opening dogfight, Cougar says "I'm gonna break high and right, see if he's really alone". When Cougar breaks he is only armed with 2 sidewinders and 2 sparrows. Any F-14 on patrol would at least have 4 sparrows under the fuselage, but most likely would have the pallets and 4 phoenix missiles.

Correction: Not true. I flew Combat Air Patrols (DCA) missions over Iraq in the Tomcat A, and we flew with 1/1/1, meaning one each of Sidewinder, Sparrow, and Phoenix missiles, as well as a full gun drum. In six years of flying the Tomcat, I never heard of one flying with more than 2 Phoenix.


Corrected entry: During the dogfight with Jester, as both planes are going 'ballistic', from the ground view, the F-14 is in front. Aren't they pursuing?

Correction: Actually, they are pursuing. The scene is filmed from below and the F-14 is engaging "Jester" from a higher altitude giving the illusion of being above of the lower altitude F-5 E.


Corrected entry: At the beginning when Maverick and Cougar are flying back to the ship and they are sweating running out of fuel before Maverick can talk Cougar down, this would not have been that much of a big deal. The carrier would have launched a tanker and refuelled the planes. Even if Cougar was too shaken to land on the carrier, with the help of tankers, they could have diverted to a land based runway which is infinitely easier to land at.

Correction: The carrier in question was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and as such, may not have been in range of a friendly air base for Cougar to divert to. Second, carrier landing is peanuts compared to in-flight refueling. Navy aircraft use a "probe-and-drogue" refueling system, in which the extendable refueling probe on the receiving aircraft is plugged into a two foot wide basket being trailed by the refueling aircraft. Often, this basket has seen some dents and dings, and oscillates somewhat unpredictably, making the connection even more difficult. As Stephen Coonts wrote in Flight of the Intruder, "One frustrated fighter jockey had been heard to lament, 'It's like trying to stick a banana up a wildcat's ass.' Cougar's ability to land on the carrier would have been well above his ability to plug into a KA-6D or S-3B refueling jet.


Corrected entry: After Mitchell drops out of TOPGUN, Viper tells him: "That isn't something the State Department tells dependents when the battle happens on the wrong side of some line." The State Department does not notify military dependents of the death of a service member. The Defense Department does. Goose got it right when he joked in the cockpit after being nailed by Jester.

Correction: While technically correct about which Executive Department sends notification to next of kin of deceased service members, its obvious from the context Viper means something else. When American military personnel are involved in "black" operations, or anything potentially embarrassing, e.g. combat "over the wrong line on some map" as Viper says, State would no doubt have some influence over the details released to family, being the department charged with overseeing our foreign relations. So what Viper means is, "The State Department doesn't let the Defense department tell people the true story."


Corrected entry: In the scene where Maverick is in Top Gun flying against Jester. In one scene he says he's going to hit the brakes. He hits the brakes and goes up so it look like Jester should fly underneath. In the next shot you can see Jester fly over Maverick.

Correction: This is not a mistake, the aircraft is pulling a high alpha maneuver, in this case 'hitting the brakes' by rapidly orienting the aircraft in a different direction, using the body and wings to slow the aircraft down rapidly. The Russian SU-27 Flanker is famous for this (search cobra maneuver) and the F-14 was capable of doing it as well. The aircraft continues in level flight even though the nose is oriented upwards (high angle of attack). As much as Top Gun makes mistakes with reference to aviation, this is not one of them.


Corrected entry: When the MiGs fire a missile, its not a Exocet, its a AIM-9 Sidewinder missile.

Hidden Fox

Correction: Exocet's are anti-ship missiles. They are not effective against other aircraft. The MiG's were not yet within firing range of the ship, but were involved in a dogfight, for which the air-to-air Sidewinder missile is the more effective weapon. Most aircraft are able to carry multiple munitions.


Corrected entry: In the last battle. Mav is ordered to launch his alert five. While hooking up to the catapult we see a man holding his left hand flat and placing two fingers sideways into it. That means you are plugging in an external power source. You would not do that during launch.

Correction: You obviously haven't stood many alert 5's. Alert 5 or Alert 7 means that the aircraft must be able to be launched 5 (or 7) minutes from the time the order is given. This means that the crew has to be strapped into the aircraft, on the catapult and hooked up to external power in order to have the aircraft's systems checked and ready for immediate launch. Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) take several minutes to align. If they were not already aligned when the launch order was given, the crew would not be ready to launch on time. Once the order is given to launch, all you should have to do is start the motors, disconnect external power, wipe out the flight controls and hit the road. The man in this shot is requesting to disconnect the external power.


Corrected entry: While in the trailer reviewing Maverick's flying, "put on the brakes and he'll fly right by..." Charlie is wearing a grey skirt. In the next scene while she is out by Maverick's bike she is wearing a black skirt.

Correction: Charlie is wearing an entirely different ensemble, not just a different skirt, as is Maverick. During the trailer briefing he is in uniform, but at his motorcycle he is in civilian clothing. This indicates a run-in at a later time.


Corrected entry: In the opening dog fight scene (which took all of a couple minutes) they go from bright sun (Cougar loses his bogey in the sun) to being almost night time when Mav attempts to land on the carrier the first time.


Correction: Two things: When an aircraft is at altitude, it will be brighter longer than down on sea level. Second, we don't know how long it took to fly back after the dog fight. If it was late afternoon for the dog fight, it could very well be getting dark on the return trip.


Corrected entry: At Top Gun, Maverick does a fly by of the tower. He flies by, the camera cuts to the guy drinking coffee who spills it on himself. Then the camera cuts back to the sky and Maverick flies by again.

Correction: This is an artistic choice to heighten the impact of the moment, not a mistake of editing, just as "slow-motion" isn't an accidental drop of film speed that makes everything happen unrealistically slow.


Corrected entry: When Cougar lost the edge after, he wouldn't have given his wings to his Commanding Officer. Handing in your wings is merely a phrase, not something people do.

Correction: Character choice. It may not be required, but it's certainly his option to hand them in, throw them out or even swallow them.


Visible crew/equipment: When Charlie walks down to the front of the class in the hanger, Jester is the only one at the front. Look at the reflection of Maverick's glasses, and the reflection shows lots of people standing in front of him.

More mistakes in Top Gun

Goose: It's the bottom of the 9th, the score is tied. It's time for the big one.
Iceman: You up for this one, Maverick?
Maverick: Just a walk in the park, Kazansky.

More quotes from Top Gun

Trivia: Charlie's date in her first bar scene is the real Viper from the actual Top Gun school, called Pete Pettigrew. He was the consultant on the film.

More trivia for Top Gun

Question: I would like to know from a real Navy pilot if the scene is correct where Maverick's F-14 is right on Iceman's tail and he tells him to fly hard right to get out of his way. This leaves jet wash in his flight path and the jet goes down. Wouldn't a real pilot be trained to avoid this kind of danger from happening with the jet wash?


Answer: The original F-14A used the TF30 engine which was prone to compressor stall. This problem was fixed in later aircraft.

Chosen answer: Probably not a lot of Navy fighter jocks on this site. Of course he'd be trained to avoid it, but Maverick is hyper-aggressive and is following Iceman way too closely. Had he been farther back he'd have avoided it.

Grumpy Scot
More questions & answers from Top Gun

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