Not only Top Gun is the Citizen Kane of Naval aviator movies, it’s the picture that invented (or at least perfected) the conventions of the modern popcorn movie: loud action scenes that (sometimes) emphasize excitement over making sense, even louder rock songs that are destined to take over the radio once the movie hits theaters and incredibly attractive young actors taking advantage of their break into the big time.
There may (or may not) have been better movies released in 1986, but there’s no film that’s had the same long-lasting cultural impact. Plus, let’s not forget the Best Song Oscar it won for “Take My Breath Away.” After the great response to an excellent Blu-ray edition in 2011, Paramount decided to modernize the film and rerelease it in theaters.
The conversion of Top Gun to 3D for IMAX theaters was the last project completed by director Tony Scott before his death last August. That 3D version gets a one-week theatrical release starting with select late-night shows on Thursday, February 7th, and a wide release starting Friday, February 8th. You can find a theater close to you here.
Military.com editor Ward Carroll recently talked to star Kelly McGillis about her Top Gun experiences on his Editor’s Desk podcast. She calls the film a “western in the sky,” talks about drinking down at Miramar during filming, what it’s like to work with Tom Cruise, the loss of director Tony Scott and the downsides of being a movie star.
Ward and Kelly also discuss Top Gun’s relative innocence when compared to modern military-themed movies and how we interpret the movie after 9/11. Kelly may or may not make a controversial claim about our relations with the USSR in 1985.
You can download or listen to their complete conversation here.
Scott’s death put plans for a Top Gun sequel on hold, so this may be your last shot to see Maverick on the big screen.