Top Gun

Continuity mistake: In the opening scenes of the movie, they show a number of planes landing and being prepped for takeoff. One of the planes landing has the number 114 clearly shown on the right side. This is Maverick and Goose's plane. Why is it landing when two minutes later they're on patrol 250 miles from the carrier?

Continuity mistake: Scene of Tom's last take off - the Tomcat's tail number changes before he lands OR TC changed planes mid-air.

Factual error: When Mav is talking to Charlie he said his dad went missing in an F4 in 1965. Much later when Mav is at Viper's house Viper states that he flew with Mav's dad in VF51. VF51 flew the F8 Crusader until 1971 when they transitioned to the F4, so if Mav's dad was in VF51 as implied in '65 he would have been in an F8, not an F4.

Factual error: Cougar would not have a photo of his wife and kids in the cockpit as seen in the opening scene, as it would fly around when maneuvering. It could also obscure instruments.

Continuity mistake: When Iceman confronts Maverick about covering Cougar, Iceman is shown putting his watch on as Maverick is walking up the stairs. In the next frame, when he is standing next to Maverick, he is shown putting it on again.

Factual error: In the final dogfight, it is declared that the MIG-28s carry the "Exocet" anti-ship missile. This missile is around 1,500lbs and would be visible on the enemy fighters. That additional wing loading would have made them ineffective in a dogfight and they would have been easily overwhelmed by the F-14s in a dogfighting (no external tanks or heavy ordinance) configuration. Not to mention that Exocet is a French-made missile and would not be carried by a Soviet fighter.

Revealing mistake: Maverick and the others are supposedly on the Enterprise (CVN-65), which is a one-of-a-kind ship with a distinctive silhouette, but the movie repeatedly shows the Carl Vinson (CVN-70), a Nimitz-class carrier.

Continuity mistake: In the opening scene, we know Maverick and Goose are flying in the morning because the CAG is greeted with a "Good morning, sir" before he asks who is flying. As the scene plays out, it is certainly taking place during the day. However, by the time Maverick is escorting Cougar back to the ship, the sun is setting - by the time Cougar's plane lands on the ship, it is quite dark. First, it seems highly unlikely that the encounter with the MiGs would have taken that long, and the F-14's certainly wouldn't have been able to stay airborne that long without refuelling - which we never see.

Continuity mistake: In the first dogfight there are several shots where the planes are very close to the ground - especially one flying over a flat desert where you can see the planes' shadows. In those shots they are definitely below 10,000 feet. However it is only later said that they are going below the hard deck.

Jacob La Cour

Continuity mistake: In the scene at the beginning of the movie when the Commander walks into the flight control room on the aircraft carrier and asks "Who's up there. Great Maverick and Goose"; he is only wearing pilot wings on his uniform. As the scene progresses when Maverick and Cougar tangle with the Migs, he is in the control room and his uniform changes to being completely decorated.

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Maverick and Slider are studying and Charlie slips Maverick the piece of paper with her address on it, Slider changes seats. First he is at one end of the table near the wall, then at the end of the scene he, and all of his stuff, is at the opposite end of the table.

Continuity mistake: While Maverick is dogfighting Viper in Top Gun school he is in a F-14, and Viper is in A-4. Viper gets on Maverick's back, but in one scene you see the A-4 flies through the view before the F-14, although he should be behind him...

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Kelly McGillis hands Tom Cruise the note saying "meet me at my house 5:30 sharp" or something like that, if you look carefully you can see when she hands Cruise the note that there is a lot of print on the sheet, but when he looks at it in a close up the sheet is totally white blank except for her writing.

Continuity mistake: Count the doors opening and closing - Mav walks through a closed elevator door.

Continuity mistake: When Maverick goes to land while Cougar is in fuel trouble, the tailhook is down. He decides Cougar needs help and launches back off the carrier, the tailhook is up. The next view as he flies away from the carrier the tailhook is once again down.

Continuity mistake: At the beginning of the film, the squadron commander enters CATTC with a chest full of ribbons, next shot, all ribbons are gone. There is no smoking in CATTC (for the equipment) and the radar in CATTC cannot be used to monitor air combat movement as they did in the film. The Combat Centre or CIC is used for that.

Revealing mistake: The aircraft the American pilots are fighting against at the end are described as being "MiGs", but they are American F-5 jets, called Tigers, which the Navy is still using for the training of young pilots.

Continuity mistake: In the last dogfight, Ice says "two MiGs passing between us." It then shows the two passing between either Ice or Maverick and a single tail jet. The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a twin tail.

Continuity mistake: The scene where Cruise is holding Goose's dog tags before he speaks to Meg, his thumbnails are tightly groomed, but the next shot his hand is open and the thumbnail is different. (22:36:00)

Continuity mistake: When the F14 lands in the opening scene, it is number 205. When it comes to a full stop, the number has changed to 114. (00:03:30)

Iceman: The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies room.

More quotes from Top Gun

Trivia: The "MiG-28s" in the movie are actually all Northrop F-5E Tiger II's, an American plane used for training and sold to other countries. In reality, there is no MiG-28.

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: It could be argued that in the alternate reality of Top Gun the fictional "MiG-28" was an improved reverse-engineered F-5 (VPAF gave the Soviets access to ex-VNAF F-5:s for evaluation after the fall of Saigon) explaining their similarity.

This isn't a valid correction for a trivia entry. There is no mistake being suggested, just letting viewers with limited plane experience know MiG-28 isn't a real plane.

Bishop73

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

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.