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Laremy Legel

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Member of the BFCA and OFCS, writer of criticism, noted interviewer, box office oracle, walker of dog named Bugsy, Qui audet adipiscitur.

Quotable Top Gun

Top Gun may be the birth of the quotable-movie crowd. It’s certainly the first movie I can remember quoting to friends and family, and to this day some of the quotes are still thrown around in conversation. Top Gun is a cultural icon because everyone has seen the film and it defines the ’80s. It’s all at once cheesy, entertaining, funny, and cool. It has amazingly outdated guitar riffs. It has ‘Highway to the Danger Zone’ and ‘Take My Breath Away’! Yes, it was a simpler time when you could actually relate to Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis was considered a sex symbol. Remember that year? All in all you know you have a soft spot for Top Gun. Everyone does.

So let’s quote this bad boy! (That was typed with Navy pilot-style bravado.)

The opening scenes of Top Gun set up Maverick as a … um … well, maverick. If you couldn’t tell by his call-sign, he’s a loner rebel-style of fighter pilot (bless his heart). You’ve got to know just how “on the edge” this kid is right from the outset. The movie delivers with:

Maverick: This is Maverick requesting a flyby.

Air Boss Johnson: That’s a negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full.

Goose: No, No, Mav, this is not a good idea.

Maverick: Sorry, Goose, but it’s time to buzz the tower.

Plus, bonus, we see Goose is the more responsible of the duo. Hey, I hope nothing bad happens to Goose! Another thing you grasp within the first five minutes of Top Gun is that Goose and Maverick are fast friends. They have the same dorky sense of humor and neither of them seems remotely aware of how lame high-fiving looks. They play volleyball together and get upset over each point. Yes, they love each other as only two grown fighter pilot men can, and they both like catchphrases:

Maverick: I feel the need …

Maverick AND Goose: The need for speed!

Sadly, Maverick’s antics get them in hot water. Their hard-charging superior officer on board their aircraft carrier tries to set them on the straight and narrow before he sends them off to TOP GUN school.

Stinger: And if you screw up just this much, you’ll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!

When they get to the school, hilarity continues to ensue. This is the fun part of the movie, before Mav’s inevitable meltdown. In TOP GUN’s first class we’re introduced to the hot teacher (though Mav had already hit on her prior to the class through an infamous movie song moment which I won’t be repeating). We the audience are lucky in the sense that most experts in aerial warfare are smoking blondes.

Charlie: You were in a 4g inverted dive with a MiG28?

Maverick: Yes, ma’am.

Charlie: At what range?

Maverick: Um, about two meters.

Goose: It was actually about one and a half, I think. It was one and a half, I’ve got a great Polaroid of it, and he’s right there, must be one and a half.

Maverick: Was a nice picture.

Goose: Thanks.

Charlie: Uh, Lieutenant, what were you doing there?

Goose: Communicating.

Maverick: Communicating. Keeping up foriegn relations. You know, giving him the bird!

Ha! Foreign relations indeed, Maverick. Of course, with this type of repartee it’s only a matter of time before the teacher is putty in his hands. Charlie chooses the cheesiest dialogue possible before they roar off on his hard-core rebel motorcycle together.

Maverick: You think I’m reckless? When I fly, I’ll have you know that my crew and my plane come first.

Charlie: Well, I am going to finish my sentence, Lieutenant. My review of your flight performance was right on.

Maverick: Is that right?

Charlie: That is right, but I held something back. I see some real genius in your flying, Maverick, but I can’t say that in there. I was afraid that everyone in the tac[tical] trailer would see right through me, and I just don’t want anyone to know that I’ve fallen for you.

Oh no, it is I who have fallen for both of you, the busty blonde expert and the dark and conflicted rogue pilot. Now we all know every good rebel needs an adult foil, and that’s Jester. Jester is an expert pilot and a jerk, and Maverick runs afoul of him by flouting silly rules.

Jester: That was some of the best flying I’ve seen to date. Right up to the part where you got killed.

Which leads us to Iceman, the greatest Val Kilmer role ever. He’s built like Ivan Drago, and he’s the ultimate cold-veined yang to Maverick’s hot hot ying heat.

Iceman: You’re everyone’s problem. That’s because every time you go up in the air, you’re unsafe. I don’t like you because you’re dangerous.

Maverick: That’s right! Ice. Man. I am dangerous.

Me too! At this point Top Gun switches gears and becomes a divine tragedy. You can tell things are about to go wrong when Goose is revealed as a giant sweetheart and dedicated husband (and remember, his wife was played by Meg Ryan when she was in full-on babe mode).

Carole: Hey, Goose, you big stud!

Goose: That’s me, honey.

Carole: Take me to bed or lose me forever.

Goose: Show me the way home, honey.

The next quote isn’t relevant too much, but it is said every time anyone wins anything anywhere:

Goose: Yeeha, Jester’s dead!

Let’s take it home with Viper, played by Tom Skerritt and Tom Skerritt’s mustache (aside: did you know Tom Skerritt is 73??).

Viper: How ya doin’?

Maverick: I’m all right.

Viper: Goose is dead.

Maverick: I know.

Viper: You fly jets long enough, something like this happens.

Maverick: He was my R.I.O., my responsibility.

Viper: My squadron we lost eight of 18 aircraft. Ten men. First one dies, you die too. But there will be others. You can count on that. You gotta let him go.

The best part is this is like one scene after Goose eats it. But hey, we gotta get this movie wrapped up, Mav, let him go. And, although I’m skipping many other fantastic quotes (“I gotta bogey on my six!”) I gotta let this column go too. The Kenny Loggins box set awaits.

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Laremy Legel

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