In the opening moments of Top Gun, an ace Navy pilot flies upside down about 18 inches above a Russian-built MiG and snaps a Polaroid picture of the enemy pilot. Then he shows him the finger and flies off.
It’s a hot-dog stunt, but it makes the pilot (Tom Cruise) famous within the small circle of Navy personnel who are cleared to receive information about close encounters with enemy aircraft. And the pilot, whose code name is Maverick, is selected for the Navy’s elite flying school, which is dedicated to the dying art of aerial dogfights.
Top Gun settles fairly quickly into the alternating ground and air scenes, and the simplest way to sum up the movie is to declare the air scenes brilliant and the earthbound scenes grimly predictable. This is a movie that comes in two parts: It knows exactly what to do with special effects, but doesn’t have a clue as to how two people in love might act and talk and think.
If you loved Top Gun and want to watch more movies like Top Gun, we recommend these aviation-based movies:
Iron Eagle (1986)
IMDb Rating: 5.5/10
Many people believe Iron Eagle was a Top Gun knockoff, and perhaps it was considered with the knowledge that Top Gun was in progress, but it was released months earlier. Its plot, which reflects a young civilian pilot (Jason Gedrick) who takes a fighter jet to mount a rescue of his father in the Middle East, is also a link between the Vietnam War-rematch focus of POW/MIA films of the time and the aerial interest of Top Gun, which is also jingoistic but not mission-centric. Also, Iron Eagle stars stunt piloting by Art Scholl played just before he proceeded on to do the same for Top Gun and died in a crash during the latter’s production.
Available on: Amazon Prime
IMDb Rating: 7.8/10
Veer Zaara is not as action-packed as Top Gun but it shows the love story of an Indian Squadron Leader, Veer Pratap Singh falling in love with a Pakistani girl, Zaara Hayaat Khan whom he rescued. As Veer gives his years in a Pakistani prison, Zaara considers him to be dead and dedicates her life to his village in India. The movie shows the chivalry and valor of an Indian Air Force Officer.
Moving Violations (1985)
IMDb Rating: 5.7/10
Moving Violations is a goofy version of Top Gun placed in a remedial traffic school with a defiant lead (John Murray, little brother of Bill) who ends up dating a woman he meets in class who is unexpectedly a rocket scientist, just like Top Gun’s love interest being an astrophysicist and the teacher of the class rather than a fellow student.
Available on: Netflix
IMDb Rating: 5.3/10
An enthusiastic Gunjan Saxena aims to become a pilot after being fascinated by the idea of a life in a cockpit. Despite facing restrictions, she fulfills her dream and serves the country in the Kargil War. Gunjan Saxena went on to become one of the first female pilots of India.
Available on: Netflix
IMDb Rating: 7/10
A lot of people look back on An Officer and a Gentleman as a likely influence on Top Gun. Zack, who has been raised by his drunken father, wants to become a navy pilot. He passes through a rigorous training camp and eventually sees a father figure in Sergeant Foley.
IMDb Rating: 7.3/10
Vijeta is the most ambitious film in Bollywood with regard to showing the inner workings of the Indian Air Force and the life of an Indian Air Force pilot. The film is regarded for some rare aerial photography featuring combat fighter aircraft that was then available with the IAF (in the 1980s). The film’s protagonist Angad (Kunal Kapoor) is shown flying a MiG-21 in the India-Pakistan war of 1971.
IMDb Rating: 6/10
Firefox has Clint Eastwood stars as a fighter pilot who steals a top-secret Soviet aircraft, a fictional advanced MiG with elements that technically give the movie a sci-fi element. For the flight and dogfight effects, Firefox used the Oscar-winning talents of John Dykstra. His work doing the space battles in Star Wars, which were themselves inspired by aerial combat from World War II, in turn, motivated movies like Firefox and Top Gun, which took such action sequences back to Earthly craft.
IMDb Rating: 4.7/10
Although Mausam is a romantic film, the depiction of the Indian Air Force in this Shahid Kapoor-starrer is of excellent accuracy and the visual brilliance of the aerial warfare scenes are at level with the best of Hollywood.
Although no other movie was able to ape the success of Top Gun, these are some movies that I find similar to Top Gun. In case you’re also looking for movies like Kingsmen, you can check them out by clicking here.