Study Guide

Top Gun What's Up With the Ending?

What's Up With the Ending?

The ending of Top Gun is really comprised of three big scenes, which wrap up the central storylines and give us that happy ending we've been craving.

Ending #1

First, Maverick and Co. (but mostly Maverick) use their Top Gun training to save Iceman, and save the day. Maverick shoots down several MiGs, and proves that he's the top gun, that he's regained his edge, and that he's learned to stay with his wingman (he even says as much). This part of the ending is as much about Maverick's development as it is about the triumph of good (the United States Navy) over evil (the unnamed communist country).

Ending #2

The second movement in the tripartite ending of the film immediately follows Maverick's victory. The Top Gun theme is playing, and Maverick is looking at the ocean from the aircraft carrier. He takes a final look at Goose's dog tags, and then hurls them into the ocean. Why? Well, he knows he has a problem when it comes to holding onto the past, and this is his way of letting go of Goose (like Viper encourages him to do), and giving his buddy a final send off.

Ending #3

Finally, Charlie shows up to the bar where Maverick happens to be chilling. We don't see her at first, but when "You've Lost that Loving Feeling" starts playing we have an idea. Maverick goes to investigate, Charlie pops up behind him, and they recreate a chunk of their first dialogue back at the nightclub.

It's a little cheesy sure, but it's also a sweet, romantic ending to a movie that's mostly about large hunks of metal hurtling through the air. The replay of an earlier scene gives the film a clear coherence, and suggests that Maverick has not only made peace with his past and learned how to be a team player, but that he's also finally learned something about love and male-female relationships. Monogamy could be in his future. And little tiny Maverick Juniors.

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