Top Gun

Top Gun (1986)

79 corrected entries

(21 votes)

Corrected entry: At the end Tom Cruise asks permission for a flyby. He is told "No, the pattern is full." There are only two planes and a helicopter in the air and the pattern is full? I think not.

Correction: Could it be that he was giving a convenient excuse (and plausible to anyone not within visiblity range to see for themselves)? It's obvious he isn't a fan of Maverick's fly-bys.


Corrected entry: In the opening dogfight, Cougar says "I'm gonna break high and right, see if he's really alone". During actual patrols, the two aircraft would never be on each others' wingtip. Normal operation calls for them to be about a mile apart and a thousand feet different in altitude - the better to see each others "six".

Correction: When jet fighters come into battles in pairs, as the MiGs did in the first fight, they will often fly in tight formation to appear as one aircraft on radar so that when the battle begins, the enemy thinks that they're dealing with a single bogey, but are really dealing with two. When Cougar breaks away to see if he's really alone, this advantage continues because the MiG gets Cougar out of position at the beginning of the dogfight.

Corrected entry: In the final celebration scene aboard the carrier, there is a crowd of flight deck crewmen cheering, and if you listen and watch carefully, you can hear and see one of them yell, 'All right, Tom'.

Correction: That could be due to the fact that Iceman's real name is Tom Kaczansky.

Corrected entry: At the end of the movie, when Maverick's aircraft is launched, there's a shot from an F-14 looking back from at the ship. Maverick was supposedly launched from one of the bow catapults, but the shot was clearly taken from an aircraft that had just come off one of the waist cats. Also, the pilot of the aircraft does a roll as he climbs away from the ship, a useless maneuver that the movie's director insisted on because it looked cool.

Correction: The shot was not take from an aircraft that had taken off from one of the waist cats, it was taken from an aircraft doing a fly by (look at the exhaust trail) on the carrier. An aircraft doesnt have the airspeed that short after take off to do a roll.

Corrected entry: A Navy Commander (O-5) will NEVER be the Commanding Officer of an aircraft carrier, he or she will ALWAYS be at least a Captain (O-6).

Correction: The O-5 in the movie is not the commander of the carrier, he is the commander of the airwing (aka CAG by Navy terms). He is the officer in charge of all the squadrons on board the carrier. The Aircraft Carrier Commander is a completely separate individual, never portrayed in the movie. His job is to deal with driving the carrier around and the overall mission picture.

Corrected entry: When Mav and Goose eject (and Goose is killed), notice how the hatch hovers over the plane for nearly a full second. Pretty tough thing to do at 750 mph, huh? In reality the hatch goes first, then there is a delay before the seats go, but there is NO WAY to collide with the hatch in mid air - when the F-14 canopy is jettisoned it flies straight back between the vertical stabs like a field goal kick in the NFL.

Correction: There was an actual incident where a RIO was killed during ejection during a flat spin exactly as Goose died in the movie. This is where the idea for Goose's cause of death came from. Then the Tomcats ejection seats were fixed to incur a longer delay so this would not happen again.

Corrected entry: Goose could not have died by his head slamming into his cockpit. In addition to Tomcats having canopies that shatter automatically, the ejection chair is extremely tall, tall enough to protect the pilot's head. In the movie his chair is tiny.

Correction: Tomcat canopies used to have explosive ejection. Only recent models introduced the shattering canopy.

Corrected entry: Charlie is chasing Maverick in her car to tell him how she feels. Maverick races down the road on his motorcycle, then two cars start to move out of an intersecting road and Charlie narrowly misses them. In the next shot, Maverick starts yelling at Charlie about her 'reckless' driving, but behind them, you see the highway, with no traffic lights or signals. Charlie actually had right of way.

Correction: Just as her car pulls to the curb a traffic light is visible.

The traffic light was added by the studio since there are also stop signs, and an intersection wouldn't have both. The intersection is West Laurel and Union Street in San Diego and you can see in Google StreetView that there is no light, and three of the directions have stop signs, but the uphill direction doesn't. So in real life she had the right-of-way, but the added light is to make it appear she didn't, though we don't see the uphill light, just the downhill one, so can't actually say her light was red.


Corrected entry: When Maverick and Merlin are launched off the enterprise, the dogfight in which Iceman is in trouble takes place a hundred miles out. Despite this Maverick reaches it in "30" seconds. The F14 is fast, but not that fast...

Correction: Not necessarily - the verbiage is a little ambiguous, but in the context of reality, all distances would be in reference the U.S.S. Layton, not the aircraft carrier. Barring any sort of Air Defense unit, the carrier could have positioned itself between threat axis and the Layton for protection.

Corrected entry: During the final dogfight, Ice's plane is hit. Slider says "We're hit, we're hit in the right engine!", followed by Ice: "I'm shutting it down, I'm shutting it down." Later we see the plane with one afterburner lit, confirming this. When they are later hit again, Ice says "We're hit again, we're hit again!" Slider immediately says "It's OK: Both engines are functioning."


Correction: He says "we're OK, all systems are functioning" and not "both engines..."

Correction: Audibly, it does sound like "all systems", but with subtitles on, it prints "both engines."

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: 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.


Correction: During this entire scene, Maverick's silver chain is always around his neck, even when we don't see the dog tags. I confirmed this by pausing and enlarging the screen. In quite a few of the shots, Maverick's dog tags are hanging down at his back, so they may be overlooked. The tags are visible whenever Maverick turns and/or we see his back. However, what does actually vanish and reappear is his watch, which is noted in another mistake.

Super Grover Premium member

Correction: If you spend enough time in the sun, your hair will be naturally lightened - known as sun bleaching. There's (thankfully) no scene in the movie that shows Iceman bleaching his hair.

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: The film makes several references to a 'MiG 28' when in fact all MiG aircraft are odd-numbered. No 'Mig 28" ever did or ever will exist.

Correction: And "Maverick", "Goose" and "Iceman" don't exist either. The jet was actually an American F5, not a MIG at all, and since it doesn't look like any real MIG, the makers created a ficticious MIG model for the ficticious pilots to ficticiously fight. It's a fantasy, not a documentary. The MIG-28 designation was intentional, not a "mistake".


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.

At that time, there was no mandatory helmet rule in DOD.

Corrected entry: Definitely the biggest mistake in the movie. Goose would have never died in the way that he did. On all of the F14 models, including the F14As that they were flying, the canopy has explosive bolts holding the glass to the metal on the canopy itself. When the ejection sequence is initiated, the bolts explode, shattering the canopy plexiglass. This was invented to prevent what happened to Goose.

Correction: Actually this is not a mistake, it is based on a number of real-life incidents with the F-14, which did indeed have a problem which led to some severe injuries (and I believe at least one fatality) before it was corrected. The problem was that in a position where the aircraft was subjected to severe asymmetric thrust it would enter a flat spin (i.e. one where the nose is roughly level with the horizon). As there is little or no airflow over the control surfaces (the aircraft is moving rapidly downward, but has virtually no forward airspeed at all) it is a very difficult situation to recover from. The original F-14 ejection sequence discarded the canopy first, which was supposed to be blown backwards by the airflow. However in the flat spin situation this did not happen - the canopy remained in approximately the same position relative to the aircraft. When the seats blew a few seconds later, the pilot and RIO were ejected into the canopy. After several accidents of this type modifications were made, firstly to decrease the likelihood of a flat spin developing in the first place, and secondly to increase aircrew survivability in the event of a spin occurring. The second part of this included modifying the eject sequence so the canopy was shattered, rather than jettisoned.

Corrected entry: In the first scene where the pilots are introduced to Charlie, Iceman's RIO is has blue Walkman earphones around his neck. You see him put them on and then the next scene you see him with them around his neck.

Correction: Iceman's RIO is Slider, and he does have headphones around his neck. When Ice calls bull on Mav's inverted comment, at 00:27:45, Slider smirks and raises just the two blue foam ear pads up to his ears, leaving the metal headband still around his neck. It's not until 7 shots later that we see Slider, and now the blue foam ear pads are down at his neck again. It was more than enough time for them to have moved.

Super Grover Premium member

Continuity mistake: At the end, a victorious Maverick is hoisted on the shoulders of the guys. As he goes up, he isn't wearing sunglasses. His head goes out of the shot, and when he comes down, he's wearing a pair.

More mistakes in Top Gun

Iceman: You can be my wingman any time.
Maverick: Bullshit! You can be mine.

More quotes from Top Gun

Trivia: Goose's real name is Nick Bradshaw. This is visible after he dies among his belongings that Maverick goes through. It also appears on the canopy of the F-14 he and Maverick are assigned to.

More trivia for Top Gun

Chosen answer: The term "Ghostrider" refers to the squadron name. There used to be a Tomcat squadron called the Ghostriders. Usually in a radio call, the squadron name is followed by a number. For instance, in the first fight where we see Cougar get into a spot of trouble with the Mig on his tail, he radios "This is Ghostrider 117 this bogey's all over me, he's got missile lock on me, do I have permission to fire?" That is normally the correct term as to who is on the radio.

More questions & answers from Top Gun

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