Is Top Gun Actually Based on a True Story?

As Nicholas Raymond of Screenrant would tell you, and rightly so, a lot of Top Gun is steeped in real-life experiences that could argue the fact that it’s based on more than one true story that’s played out in the history of the US Navy. In fact it was one of the movies that was instrumental in getting people to sign up for the Navy and as a result this allowed the movie to gain even more accuracy as pilots and other personnel were very forthcoming and helpful in getting the movie off the ground so to speak. If anyone remembers the movie Full Metal Jacket was successful when it came to people signing on to become Marines as well, so it’s a bit obvious that accuracy does matter and it can speak volumes to those that become eager to serve their country after watching said movies. It’s likely that a lot of people had the full expectation of getting to slide into the cockpit after a while but were never fully aware of the personal sacrifice and hard work it would take to get that desired position. After all, what a lot of movies don’t show is the process of getting in, the type of education that an individual needs to have, and the sheer dedication and nerve it takes to become a Navy pilot. Such individuals that do manage to find their way into their own jet aren’t dummies after all, and do have to know what they’re doing. It’s about more than just looking cool, as flying a Navy jet is something that has to be earned.

Where a lot of people will agree is that Top Gun is in fact a real program and the majority of the characters were based around the realistic idea that goes into this type of service. Pilots have to develop some kind of relationship with each other and there is a great deal of accuracy in the movie since it depicts a good deal of the lives of its pilots in a way that was on the mark thanks to the research that was done. Where it falters unfortunately is to be expected since for cinematic flair some things were bound to be a little out of bounds and well over the top in order to make a movie that people would want to watch and that they would find so alluring that signing on for military service would be the next stop they would make, or would at least be firmly set in their mind upon leaving the theater.

While the movie did depict the inside of the cockpit accurately, even going so far as to show a very real issue with the F-14 Tomcat during Goose’s death scene, which was kind of interesting in a morbid way since many might figure that the Navy wouldn’t want to reveal such a failing in its aircraft. But where the movie kind of took a great deal of liberty was in the proximity that the jets had to one another in the movie, as such flying just wouldn’t be realistic in a real-life situation. The other, most obvious quirk that the movie had to add in was Maverick’s disregard for authority and his continual ability to buck against the rules and do things his own way. Like it or not, this kind of behavior isn’t really tolerated in the military and it would have likely kept Maverick from being a part of the Top Gun program were it to happen in real life since order is a common staple in any branch of the military, and while it’s not always followed to the letter, it’s still an important aspect of life among Navy pilots since without it bad things can happen in a heartbeat. Despite this however, Maverick’s antics are a big part of what drew people to this movie since the common character quirks that a lot of Tom Cruise’s characters have, namely the rebellious streak and the inability to follow orders at all times, is something that he’s become known for throughout the years. It’s definitely appealing when seen in a movie, but when it comes to the real world it would never allow him to fly, and would likely get him booted as far down the ranks as he could go, if not kicked out entirely if he didn’t shape up and stow his ego. Eric Milzarski of We Are The Mighty has more to offer on this line of thinking.

With the new movie on its way to theaters this coming June a lot of people are likely to watch the original to remember just why Maverick is so revered and why he’s so great. One thing they might want to remember though, just for posterity, is that when it comes to the Top Gun program, the movie is pretty accurate, but it’s still bound to stretch the limits now and again when it comes how the Navy really operates.

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