Study Guide

Top Gun

Top Gun Summary

The Top Gun theme is playing—we're already hooked—and writing pops up on the screen.

In 1969, the Navy established an elite school for its top fighter pilots. The point of the school? To teach the "lost art" of aerial combat. The Navy calls it Fighter Weapons School, but the pilots know it as Top Gun.

After this little history lesson, planes are taxying and taking off. Soon, we're up in the air with two planes—Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Goose (Anthony Edwards) in one and Cougar (John Stockwell) and Merlin (Tim Robbins) in another. 

The boys run into some enemy MiGs, but Maverick chases them off and heads for home. Cougar is shaken up, and Maverick disobeys orders to go back and coach him back to the aircraft carrier. He and Goose get yelled at, and their commanding officer, the always-irritated Stinger, sends them to Top Gun. (Cougar was supposed to go, too, but he quit.)

So now we're at Top Gun. 

Maverick and Good are joined by other elite pilots, including the duo that will be their main rival for the Top Gun trophy: Iceman (Val Kilmer) and Slider (Rick Rossovich). 

After a pep talk from the two head dudes at the school, Jester (Michael Ironside) and Viper (Tom Skerritt), the boys enjoy a night on the town. As you might expect from a guy named Maverick, he hits on a lonely woman at the bar. She promptly rejects him, and, in true Hollywood form, she turns out to be one of his teachers. Her name? Charlie. 

Cue: lots of in-class Maverick/Charlie banter.

When Maverick and Goose and the rest of the fellas have their first training exercise, they cause trouble and "get" Jester; i.e., they lock onto him with their missiles but don't fire. It's like playing tag with fighter planes.

Not quite rule-abiding, and As a result, they're reprimanded by Viper. Goose visits Maverick to tell him to cool it.

Charlie and Maverick meet again in study hall. (Sexy, eh?) She invites him over for dinner, but before he takes off to her place, Maverick and Goose square off against Iceman and Slider in a series of epic volleyball games. Because why not?

At dinner, Maverick opens up about his father, who apparently screwed up big time in Vietnam. Charlie is clearly into him (and who would be? It's a young Tom Cruise)...but Maverick leaves her hanging. 

With sexual tensions at an all-time hight, Charlie criticizes Maverick's flying in front of the entire class. He's not thrilled, but it's clear she only does it because she doesn't want anybody to know the truth: she's fallen for him. 

They finally sleep together, and she wakes to find Maverick...gone.

Don't worry, he's not off to Cabo. He's gone because he has a hop to take. Viper is also participating, and Maverick leaves his wingman, Hollywood (Whip Hubley), to go after him. Maverick almost gets Viper (who praises Maverick's flying) in missile lock before Jester comes out of nowhere and takes him out. 

In the locker room afterwards, Jester lectures Maverick about leaving his wingman even as he praises his flying. Iceman calls Maverick out for being dangerous, and Maverick apologizes to Goose, who's understandably not psyched.

And...more flying.

During hop 31, Maverick and Goose are flying with Iceman and Slider. Iceman tries to get a lock on their "bogey," can't get it, and leaves. Maverick moves in, gets caught in Iceman's jet wash, and goes into an unrecoverable spin. As they eject from the jet, Goose flies right into the canopy.


Having lost his partner in crime, Maverick falls into a depression. He's cleared of responsibility but loses his edge and eventually quits...without saying goodbye to Charlie.

Maverick visits Viper (who flew with Maverick's father in Vietnam), and Viper tells him the truth about his father—and that he can graduate with his Top Gun class if he wants. Maverick goes back Charlie, but she's already taken off with a promotion. Maverick shows up for graduation, but he's immediately called back to the aircraft carrier with Iceman, Slider, Hollywood, and Wolfman. Viper tells Maverick that if he needs a partner, he'll fly with him.

The boys are briefed by Stinger aboard the carrier and are sent up. Hollywood is quickly shot down, and Maverick is sent up as his replacement. 

At first, it looks like he still hasn't gotten it together after Goose's death. But he soon puts all doubts to rest and saves Iceman's life, shooting down three MiGs in the process. Iceman makes his peace with Maverick, and Maverick makes his peace with Goose's death, throwing his (Goose's) tags into the ocean. 

To put the icing on the closure cake, back in Miramar, Charlie shows up to surprise Maverick.

And they live...kind of happily ever after.

  • Scenes 1-2

    Scenes 1-2

    Scene 1

    • After the Paramount logo, the Top Gun theme starts playing. It sounds ominous, but also pretty awesome. We're getting ready for something cool, we just know it.
    • A small paragraph appears on screen. In 1969, apparently Navy realized that aerial combat just wasn't what it should be.
    • A school was created to teach the "lost art of dog fighting." It's called Fighter Weapons school but the pilots call it…
    • …Top Gun. 
    • This school is real folks, and you can read a little about it right here if you're in the mood.

    Scene 2

    • We're now on an aircraft carrier. It appears to be near dusk, and the deck is shrouded in exhaust, smoke, and mist. 
    • Carrier staff can be seen preparing planes for takeoff as the music slowly builds.
    • As soon as planes start taking off one of the movie's most popular song starts playing: Kenny Loggins's, "Danger Zone."
    • Planes take off and land during the sequence, and the scene is nothing short of exhilarating.
  • Scenes 3-4

    Scenes 3-4

    Scene 3

    • The music fades, and an officer enters what must be the control tower.
    • The scene cuts to a younger dude with glasses talking about the approach of an enemy fighter (a bogey).
    • We get a quick glimpse of a black MiG-28 with a red star painted on its tail (this tells us that it's definitely from some communist country).
    • A guy that appears to be the boss (Stinger) approaches and asks who's in the air. 
    • He doesn't seem to be pleased when he finds out that Maverick and Goose are up there (along with Cougar and Merlin): "Great… Maverick and Goose."

    Scene 4

    • An F-14 comes into view, and we're finally in the air with the US Navy pilots. 
    • Maverick and Goose talk about the location of the bogey, confirming with Cougar and Merlin.
    • Maverick and Goose aren't sure if the bogey is by himself, or is flying with another bogey. Cougar is starting to get worried.
    • We see the bogey, and then, out of nowhere, another bogey joins him, but Maverick and Goose don't know this yet.
    • Suddenly, the bogeys fly by Maverick and Goose. They're stunned because (1) there are two bogeys and (2) nobody has ever seen a MiG-28 that close before.
    • Okay, hold up, what's a MiG-28? A fictional aircraft, used both in this movie and in a few other places.
    • In reality, the MiG-28's in the film were just F-5's painted black and with a red star on their tails.
    • Anyway, Cougar continues to get nervous, while Maverick employs some clever flying to get the second bogey in missile lock (that bogey hightails it out of there).
    • Maverick then goes to help Cougar. He chases the MiG away, then flips upside down, and slowly lowers his plane above the cockpit of the MiG.
    • Maverick, laughing, says "greetings," gives the MiG pilot the finger, and Goose takes a Polaroid.
    • The MiG pilot leaves, and everything seems alright, but Cougar is clearly shaken.
    • Maverick doesn't quite realize this yet, and he heads back to the carrier because he's low on fuel.
    • While landing, he realizes that Cougar is too messed up to land, and he takes off again after touching down.
    • He has disobeyed Stinger's orders to land and stay on ship.
    • Maverick finds Cougar, and coaches him back to the aircraft carrier. Cougar is still in a daze, and we can hear Merlin telling him that their plane is too low to land.
    • At the last minute, Cougar pulls up and lands, barely avoiding what would have been a tragedy.
    • Landing on an aircraft carrier at night is one of the most difficult things to do, even for experienced pilots.
    • Here, see for yourself.
  • Scenes 5-6

    Scenes 5-6

    Scene 5

    • Cougar, who is so covered in sweat he looks like he just got out of the tub, knocks on Stinger's door.
    • Stinger asks why he isn't in sickbay, and Cougar tells him that he almost orphaned his wife and child, who he has never met yet (the kid, not the wife).
    • He was more afraid than he has ever been in his life.
    • "I'm holding on too tight. I've lost the edge," he tells Stinger. After that, he turns in his wings, effectively resigning.
    • Stinger can't believe it. 
    • Maverick and Goose are waiting outside the office. Goose calls out to Cougar, who turns around and thanks Maverick for helping them.
    • Maverick and Goose are railroaded about half a second after entering Stinger's office.
    • While Stinger agrees Maverick did a brave thing, he should have listened to orders and stayed on ship.
    • "Your ego is writing checks your body can't cash," he scolds Maverick.
    • Stinger is really irritated, and he just keeps getting angrier.
    • He lists off a litany of Maverick's recent offenses (tower fly-by's among them).
    • Goose mouths something to Maverick, Stinger comes up behind them, and brings up Maverick's checkered family history ("Let's not bullshit Maverick, your family name ain't the best in the Navy") before getting to the heart of the matter.
    • Stinger has to send two guys to Miramar, to the elite fighter pilot school Top Gun.
    • Stinger is really annoyed. Cougar was number one, but since he turned in his wings, Maverick and Goose are now the top guns.
    • Stinger can't stand it that he has to send these two guys, and he gives Maverick one last colorful warning before they leave. 
    • "Danger Zone" plays again in the background.
    • What danger zone are Maverick and Goose about to enter?

    Scene 6

    • "Danger Zone" plays, and Maverick is hauling on his motorcycle at dusk.
    • A F-14 is taking off just to his right. Maverick is pumped, and raises his fist, and then accelerates his motorcycle.
    • The F-14 is his hot rod in the air, the motorcycle is his hot rod on land.
  • Scenes 7-8

    Scenes 7-8

    Scene 7

    • The music fades, and old video footage of a plane being shot down is shown.
    • A guy is talking about how much better Navy pilots were during the Korean War as opposed to Vietnam
    • The man (Jester) continues talking about the Navy and the origins of Top Gun.
    • Maverick and Goose are sitting next to each other: this is the first day at Top Gun.
    • Jester introduces Top Gun's head honcho, and apparently the first guy to win the Top Gun trophy: Commander Mike Metcalf, a.k.a. Viper.
    • Viper gives the new Top Gun class a pep talk, telling them that even though they are the best pilots in the business, Top Gun will make them better.
    • Maverick can't seem to pay attention, and he keeps looking back towards a good-looking blond guy who can't stop twirling a gold pen in his hand.
    • Viper asks the class if they think their name will be on the Top Gun trophy that's at the back of the room. 
    • Maverick says he thinks his will be, Viper tells him he's arrogant, and then adds "I like that in a pilot."
    • Goose isn't exactly thrilled about Maverick's display of arrogance, but it sure seems like Goose is used to his partner's antics.
    • The scene ends with some joking among the pilots, with Goose looking at the Top Gun trophy, pointing at it, and exclaiming: "No no no no, there's two o's in Goose boys."

    Scene 8

    • Hip, 80's music starts playing, and Maverick and Goose enter a nightclub full of Navy dudes in their dress white uniforms.
    • Goose and Maverick approach the bar, and Goose points out the blonde guy from the classroom: Iceman.
    • Goose provides further details, and offer some thoughts about the origins of his name: "That's how he flies, ice cold, no mistakes."
    • The guy who was sitting next to Iceman walks by, and Goose flags him down: Slider, Iceman's RIO (radar intercept officer). 
    • After some good-natured, chops-busting, with just a hint of aggressiveness (Slider asks Goose who's "butt" he kissed to get into Top Gun), Iceman approaches.
    • Iceman already knows Goose, who proceeds to introduce Iceman and Maverick.
    • Things start out okay, with Iceman talking about his relationship to Cougar (they were like "brothers in flight school").
    • Things immediately get competitive, with Iceman tossing off a litany of thinly disguised insults.
    • He's heard Maverick likes to work alone (a jab at Maverick's problem with doing his own thing, even when he's not supposed to).
    • He even asks Maverick if he needs any help. Iceman qualifies this statement by asking Maverick if he's figured out who the best pilot is, but he's really implying that Maverick might need a little tutoring.
    • After some more banter, Ice and Slider leave, and Goose jokingly refers to them as "abused children."
    • Goose makes a bet with Maverick. He must get "carnal knowledge… of a lady this time… on the premises."
    • Maverick and Goose approach a woman Maverick has spied at the bar
    • Maverick starts singing a terrible rendition of an old Righteous Brothers song: "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling." 
    • The woman, blushing and flattered, invites Maverick to take a seat. Her name is Charlotte Blackwood.
    • She seems kind of impressed that he's a pilot, and Maverick is smiling like he's already got this one in the bag.
    • And then Charlotte Blackwood tells him her friend (read: her date) has just arrived, and that it's been great talking to him. She leaves.
    • Maverick, denied? Really? Really?
    • Now, before we continue, here's a quick little factoid. Charlotte's date in this scene is none other than Rear Admiral Pete Pettigrew, a.k.a. Viper. Yes, the real life Viper, the inspiration for Tom Skerritt's character and the film's primary technical consultant, was rewarded with a nice cameo (and a hot date). 
    • Maverick can't believe it.
    • He sees Charlotte go to the bathroom, and decides to get creative.
    • Like a total creeper, Maverick goes into the ladies' room.
    • He and Charlotte make a few sex jokes before Maverick tells her he's there to rescue her from making a big mistake with the older guy who is her date.
    • Maverick is implying that she make an "even bigger" (her words) mistake with a young guy like him.
    • She has to get up early and heads for the door. 
    • Back in the bar, she passes by Goose and says "your friend was magnificent." 
    • Goose can't believe it, and when Maverick comes up he (Goose) smiles and says "nahhhhh."
  • Scenes 9-10

    Scenes 9-10

    Scene 9

    • We're in an airplane hangar, and Jester is in the process of introducing an instructor. 
    • She's a civilian contractor, with a PhD in astrophysics who works closely with the Pentagon.
    • We see her legs as she is walking to the front of the hangar. Her call sign is Charlie, and she's a civilian contractor.
    • Whoa. It's the woman Maverick was hitting on the night before. And she's one of his teachers at Top Gun. Uh oh. 
    • Maverick and Goose can't believe it, and mumble amongst themselves while Charlie talks about the limitations of the MiG-28.
    • Charlie asks if everything is okay. Maverick tells her that the data she is "inaccurate."
      He has seen a MiG do exactly what she just said it couldn't do, but says he can't tell her where he saw it because it's "classified."
    • Charlie tells Maverick she's supposed to know more than him (that's how the Pentagon wants it), and Maverick wittily responds that that isn't true in this case.
    • After some more banter, Maverick and Goose tell bits and pieces of the story, and Charlotte smiles.
    • She heard the story about their confrontation with the MiG-28, but had to pretend that she hadn't.
      Jester says it's time for a hop.
    • Maverick stands up, puts on his sunglasses, and leaves.
    • Charlie catches up with, asks him why he didn't tell her he was a "famous MiG insultor."
    • Maverick is still clearly a little miffed about being rejected.
    • Charlie would love to hear about the MiG sometime. 
    • Now it's Maverick's turn to reject here: "You've got security clearance. You can read about it," he tells her.
    • When Maverick comes up the stairs, Iceman is waiting.
    • "Maverick," he says, "I'm curious. Who was covering Cougar while you were showboating with this MiG?"
    • Maverick assures him Cougar was doing just fine

    Scene 10

    • It's the first hop. Jester's voice can be heard—the boys will be flying against smaller, faster, and more maneuverable planes that are meant to simulate the enemy MiGs.
    • Maverick and Goose are locked in "combat" with Jester.
    • They're chasing each other around at high speeds, with Jester trying to egg Maverick on ("Show me what you got kid").
    • Jester is about to get Maverick in missile lock, but Maverick performs his signature move.
    • He hits the breaks so that Jester flies right by (which he does).
    • Jester is really annoyed—"Jesus Christ," he screams.
    • After some acrobatic flying, Jester tries to get below the hard deck (i.e. the minimum altitude).
    • Maverick beats them there, and gets him in missile lock.
    • Jester is really annoyed, and tells them to get above the hard deck and back to base immediately.
    • Maverick and Goose are ecstatic, so ecstatic that Maverick requests permission to "buzz" the tower.
    • He's denied, but does it anyway, much to the tower controller's dismay (he spills his coffee all over himself).
  • Scenes 11-12

    Scenes 11-12

    Scene 11

    • It's the first of many locker room scenes. Goose is celebrating Jester's "death."
    • Slider and Iceman enter. They defeated their opponent, but Goose reminds them that they did, too.
    • Slider tells them they didn't because below the hard deck does not count. Maverick essentially says whatever, reiterating: "We nailed that son of a bitch."
    • Iceman has had enough: "You guys really are cowboys."
    • Maverick and Ice argue for a little bit, with Iceman calling Maverick out for being dangerous.
    • Maverick agrees, taking it as a compliment.
    • Jester pops in and tells Maverick and Goose to get out of their flight gear and up to Viper's office.

    Scene 12

    • Maverick and Goose are waiting outside an office while the tower controller is screaming about Maverick and Goose's flyby.
    • He comes out, slams into a guy carrying coffee (his second coffee spill of the day), and keeps yelling.
    • Viper and Jester emerge, and tell Maverick and Goose to follow them.
    • In Viper's office, Viper starts questioning the boys, asking them why they followed Jester below the hard deck.
    • Maverick defends his actions, saying he wasn't below for more than a few seconds. He had the shot, and took it.
    • Viper then starts in on him, yelling at him for breaking a "major rule of engagement," and then breaking another one with his "circus-stunt flyby."
    • After a little more lecturing about the rules and what will happen if Maverick and Goose break them (they'll be "history"), they are dismissed.
    • Goose tells Maverick in the hallway that he really enjoyed the discipline. Maverick sees Charlie working in an office. They make eye contact.
    • Viper and Jester are still talking, and Viper drops a major bomb: he flew with Maverick's father.
    • Jester reflects on Maverick's status as a "completely unpredictable" pilot.
  • Scenes 13-14

    Scenes 13-14

    Scene 13

    • It's nighttime, and Maverick is in his apartment, or quarters, or what have you.
    • Goose shows up, and says he can't sleep. Something is clearly on his mind.
    • He tells Maverick that while he was excited at first, now he just hopes they graduate (he's clearly tired of Maverick getting them in trouble).
    • He tells us a little more about Maverick's checkered family history.
    • Maverick wasn't let into the Naval academy because he's "Duke Mitchell's kid," and Goose knows that it's tough living with that reputation.
    • What reputation is that? We don't know at this point, but folks this is the third time we've heard about Maverick's family (recall Stinger saying his name wasn't the best in the Navy and Viper mentioning he flew with Duke).
    • Goose also tells Maverick that he's nervous. He feels like every time they fly, Maverick is flying against the ghost of his father.
    • He's focused on the past, and not the present.
    • Maverick tells Goose he's his only family, and that he won't let him down.

    Scene 14

    • We're in a classroom or study hall of some kind, and we see Charlie approaching Maverick.
    • Maverick and Charlie talk about a scenario, but they're also clearly talking about Maverick's initial pursuit of Charlie.
    • Charlie smiles and starts writing something down while Maverick confronts her for not telling him who she was when they first met.
    • She tells him he deserved it for the way he acted.
    • He smiles, and tells her she was tempted to ask him out for dinner.
    • She says she wasn't, and Slider turns around, smiles, and goes back to what he was doing.
    • Charlie smiles, tells Maverick "it takes a lot more than just fancy flying," and leaves him note.
    • The note contains… a dinner invitation. Maverick is to be at Charlie's house at 5:30 P.M.
    • Slider makes a joke ("crashed and burned huh Mav?").
    • Maverick leans in, and tells Slider he stinks.
    • Slider feels stupid, and starts smelling himself (he's hot and sweaty).
  • Scenes 15-16

    Scenes 15-16

    Scene 15

    • Music starts playing, and we see Maverick, Goose, Iceman, and Slider on a volleyball court.
    • The boys play several very competitive games of beach volleyball.
    • There are several shots of Slider showing off his muscles and screaming and grunting.
    • Soon, it looks like it's almost dusk, and Maverick leaves to get ready to go.
    • Goose comes over, begs to stick around for one more game.
    • Maverick says he's sorry but he has some things to take care (i.e. a date with Charlie).
    • In the next shot, he's zooming on his motorcycle as Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" is playing.

    Scene 16

    • We see Charlie in her house, and then we see Maverick pulling up outside. He's clearly late.
    • Charlie doesn't answer the door for him, so he goes around back, looking for her.
    • She beckons him inside, and he starts to apologize but she won't let him.
    • He tries to go shower, but she won't let him because she's hungry.
    • The scene shifts to Maverick and Charlie sitting outside at a table, with Charlie telling Maverick about what was going through her head when she invited him over.
    • She claims it's the MiG-28 he saw. He's the only pilot that's ever flown against one.
    • She also lets on that she's trying for a big promotion at work, and if she gets it she won't be hanging around Top Gun much longer.
Maverick plays it cool, and implies that he'll tell her about the MiG in due time.
    • To be honest, he seems a little disappointed that that's all she wants to talk about.
    • After dinner Otis Redding's "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" is playing as Maverick and Charlie lounge around.
    • Maverick starts talking about his family, eventually revealing that his father disappeared in an F-4 in 1965.
    • The received story is that his father screwed up, which Maverick refuses to believe.
    • Charlie can sense that this is Maverick's big hang up, and asks him point blank: "Is that why you're always second best up there?"
    • She's implying that Maverick is flying against his father (as Goose implied earlier).
    • Maverick comments on her directness and apologizes for being late. 
    • Charlie apologizes for being direct.
    • "Take My Breath Away" starts playing again as Charlie says "This is going to be complicated."
    • Maverick gets up, stares at Charlie, and starts to leave, saying he has to take a shower.
    • He thanks her for dinner, saying he enjoyed being there.
    • Charlie throws her head back in frustration. She's falling for Maverick, and she knows he's just scored mega points with his classy departure.
    • We see him leaving on his motorcycle. It's dusk.
  • Scenes 17-18

    Scenes 17-18

    Scene 17

    • Maverick is waiting for an elevator. He's just finished working out.
    • When he gets in the elevator, Charlie is in there, with a hat on.
    • She tells him that she's going to be honest with him. While the MiG is important to her work, she doesn't normally invite students over.
    • Is this her way of saying she likes him? Why can't she just spit it out?
    • She tells Maverick that she still has a job to do.
    • This must be her way of saying, essentially, "I'm gonna take a chance on you, but keep in mind I work here."
    • Before she can say more, a guy enters, momentarily relieving the tension. "Take My Breath Away" is playing again.
    • When the guy leaves, Maverick approaches, and gets really, really close to Charlie.
    • She seems thrilled, and also seems to be waiting for a kiss.
    • Maverick, being the smooth operator he is, declines to kiss her.
    • Instead he smiles, looks at her long and hard, and says, "I'm glad we got that straight."
    • Then he leaves.

    Scene 18

    • We see the outside of an airport terminal.
    • The scene shifts to a sweaty, yapping Goose, who happens to be wearing sunglasses.
    • He's telling Maverick what he told his wife: Top Gun is exhausting.
    • Goose and Maverick walk out to the tarmac and greet Goose's wife and son.
    • Goose's wife tells Maverick that Goose told her that he's in love with one of his instructors (Charlie).
    • Goose jokingly gets on his wife for letting out the "secret" he told her.
  • Scenes 19-20

    Scenes 19-20

    Scene 19

    • Jets chase each other in the sky. It's another Top Gun hop.

    Scene 20

    • Figures move on a screen in what looks like an old 80's video game. Viper is talking about a possible scenario.
    • He invites Charlie to jump in any time.
    • Charlie takes a sip of her drink, and starts talking about the scenario. 
    • It becomes clear she's talking about Maverick's flying, and she's not saying very nice things.
    • Iceman perks up, takes off his sunglasses, and pays closer attention.
    • Charlie concedes that whatever Maverick did worked, but that it's also an example of what not to do.
    • Maverick is visibly annoyed.
    • Another pilot leans over and says to Maverick, as "Take My Breath Away" starts playing again: "Gutsiest move I ever saw man."
  • Scenes 21-22

    Scenes 21-22

    Scene 21

    • "Take My Breath Away" continues, and we see Maverick leaving the school. Charlie is in close pursuit, trying to get his attention.
    • Maverick gets on his motorcycle, and turns it on, even as Charlie continues to try to talk to him.
    • She tells him her review of his flying was "right on" (this is the "job" she mentioned earlier that she still had to do).
    • Maverick says he can't hear her, and zooms away.
    • We see him driving quickly, and then we see Charlie in her car speeding quickly as well.
    • Charlie almost causes an accident as she pulls up to Maverick, who has stopped along the side of the road to see what's up.
    • Maverick starts yelling. Charlie yells back and insists on finishing what she started to say earlier.
    • Her review of his flying is correct, but there's more to the story: she sees some real genius in his flying but couldn't say that during the Top Gun session.
    • Everybody would have seen right through here and she doesn't want anybody to know that she's fallen for him.
    • Finally, after numerous hints, Charlie admits that she's head over heels for Maverick.
    • He stares intently for a second, and then kisses her passionately.

    Scene 22

    • The scene shifts to a dimly lit blue room, with Maverick and Charlie facing each other. They start kissing as "Take My Breath Away" plays.
    • Maverick lies Charlie down on a bed, and continues to kiss her as they start having sex.
    • Later, we see Charlie lying in bed. It's morning, and Maverick has left a flower and a note (made into a paper airplane) lying on the pillow next to her.
    • We don't see what the note says.
  • Scenes 23-24

    Scenes 23-24

    Scene 23

    • Maverick, Goose, Hollywood, and Wolfman are walking to their planes.
    • Hollywood asks Maverick if he's heard that Iceman won another hop.
    • Maverick is unimpressed, and says to Goose, "I feel the need, the need for speed" (Goose chimes in during the last part.)

    Scene 24

    • We're in the air again.
    • Iceman is in first place, and Maverick is just two points behind.
    • Maverick and Co. spot the "bogeys," and then Viper's voice comes over the radio.
    • Whoa, Wolfman can't believe it. Goose reacts much the same, while Maverick cracks a joke.
    • The boys follow Viper and Jester, until Viper peels off and goes his own way.
    • Hollywood and Maverick are chasing Jester. When Maverick spots Viper, he can't resist.
    • Despite Goose and Hollywood's advice, Maverick decides to chase Viper.
    • Oops.
    • The chase is on, with Viper continually eluding Maverick, and both pilots praising the other ("Damn this kid's good," says Viper).
    • Viper continues to lure Maverick somewhere, repeatedly saying in multiple shots "Come on, come on, that's it, come on."
    • Maverick is really close to getting Viper in missile lock and then all of a sudden another plane shows up.
    • Maverick is in missile lock, and he can't believe it. 
    • He and Goose turn to see Jester on their tail: "Bingo, Maverick's dead. You're outta there kid," Jester exclaims.
    • Whoops, big mistake on Maverick's part.
  • Scenes 25-26

    Scenes 25-26

    Scene 25

    • The hop is over, and the Top Gun pilots are waiting for the showers.
    • Maverick is in a towel, and he seems upset that he made a mistake.
    • Jester comes in, and praises him, but then scolds him too: "That was some of the best flying I've seen yet, right up to the part where you got killed. You never, never leave your wingman."
    • Then, it's Iceman's turn, who also takes a dig at Maverick: "Maverick, it's not your flying, it's your attitude. The enemy's dangerous, but right now you're worse than the enemy. You're dangerous and foolish."
    • Maverick seems to know he's let Goose down again, and during Iceman's little speech, he approaches his pal.
    • Goose tries to look at things in a positive light, reminding Maverick that Viper got Iceman before he and Jester got them.
    • Maverick knows he was stupid, and tells Goose it'll never happen again.
    • Goose says he knows it won't.
    • Hmm, is this Goose's way of saying "I know it won't because I'll quit if it does?" 
    • That's a good question.

    Scene 26

    • Well, Maverick needs some time for reflection in his quarters after all of that.
    • Some sad music is playing while he pulls a photo out of his wallet.
    • It's clearly he and his father. Maverick is sitting on his dad's shoulders, and there's a jet in the background.
    • Maverick is thinking about his family history again, something we know has been on his mind throughout the film.
  • Scenes 27-28

    Scenes 27-28

    Scene 27

    • Whew, after the scolding and Maverick's moment, it's time for some fun.
    • Maverick, Goose, Charlie, Goose's wife, and Goose's son are in a bar-restaurant
    • Goose is playing a piano, and his son is sitting on top (he's singing "Great Balls of Fire" a song he sings throughout the film).
    • Maverick is at the table with Goose's wife and Charlie, and she's laughing and telling all the stories she knows about Maverick.
    • He can't believe she knows about the admiral's daughter Stinger mentioned earlier.
    • Maverick decides to go sing with Goose for a while, leaving the ladies at the table.
    • Goose's wife (Carole) tells Charlie that "there are hearts breaking wide open all over the world tonight."
    • Charlie wants to know why, so Carole makes it clear: "Because unless you are a fool, that boy is off the market. He is 100%, prime time, in love with you."
    • Carole jokes with Goose, and then the ladies join the fellas. They all sing as the scene ends.

    Scene 28

    • The real version of "Great Balls of Fire" is playing as the bar gives way to dusk.
    • Maverick and Charlie are on Maverick's motorcycle, racing by.
    • Then, we see them stopped, near a big ship. They're kissing, and Charlie repeats what Goose's wife told him during the previous scene: "Maverick, you big stud, take me to bed or lose me forever."
    • As they continue making out, "Danger Zone" plays in the background.
  • Scenes 29-30

    Scenes 29-30

    Scene 29

    • "Danger Zone" quietly plays. It looks like the early morning, and the jets are starting to take off.
    • Jester says that it is now hop 31, and graduation is in two weeks. The Top Gun trophy is still up for grabs.
    • Soon, we're in the sky. Two F-14's are next to each other.
    • Then we see them up close. One is Iceman. He looks to his left and glares. Then we see Maverick smiling back.
    • The subtext is clear: it's on. For Maverick, it's about having fun. Iceman is way serious, and this isn't a joke for him.
    • "Bogeys" are spotted, and both Maverick and Ice try to move in. Iceman cuts Maverick off, much to his (Maverick's) annoyance.
    • Iceman can't get a good shot at the big bogey, and Maverick and Goose keep telling him to hurry up and shoot or get out so they can try.
    • Finally, Iceman concedes and gets out of the way.
    • Maverick and Goose, however, get caught in his jet wash. 
    • This is a serious, serious situation, and their plane enters a flat spin.
    • Maverick can't control the plane, even though he tries. Soon, both of the plane's engines go out.
    • Why does this happen? Here's a good article that explains how a jet engine on an F-14 works, and why it would go into a spin in this situation. 
    • The force of the spin makes it impossible for Maverick to pull the eject cord. He tells Goose to get it.
    • Goose tries, and tries, seemingly unable to grasp the handles.
    • Finally, he's able to grasp them. He pulls them. 
    • The spinning and jolting suddenly stops, and it gets very quiet. We see the cockpit lid come off, and then we see Maverick and Goose eject.
    • Goose ejects right into the cockpit shell. This is not good.
    • We see his body parachuting into the ocean. It looks like he's dead.
    • Next thing we know, Maverick is screaming his name, pulling his body to the surface of the water.
    • Maverick knows it and so do we: Goose is dead.
    • A Coast Guard helicopter arrives and rescues the fellas.
    • We get one last glimpse of Goose's body being pulled out of the water.

    Scene 30

    • We see the outside of an emergency hospital. Then we see a sink, set up for shaving.
    • Enter Maverick, shaving in his underwear.
    • Viper comes in, wearing his nice white dress uniform.
    • Ostensibly, he's there to check on Maverick, but the things he says to Maverick smack more of a pep talk.
    • Maverick says Goose was his responsibility, and Viper gives him a short lecture about how if you fly jets long enough, something like this happens.
    • He talks about Vietnam, and tells Maverick he needs to let Goose go. 
    • Thanks for understanding Viper.
  • Scenes 31-32

    Scenes 31-32

    Scene 31

    • Maverick and Charlie are approaching in Charlie's car. She's driving. 
    • They pull over, and exchange a few words (Maverick still can't figure it out).
    • She says she's there if he needs her. It looks like he's at one of the Top Gun school buildings.
    • We see Goose's wife, sitting in a very comfortable chair, her son in the chair in front.
    • Maverick enters, goes into Goose's room, and starts picking up some stuff: his sunglasses, a picture of him and Maverick, his dog tags.
    • He tries to go into the room where Goose's wife is, but he can't do it and breaks down against the door.
    • Finally, he gets it together and goes in to be with her.
    • She says through her tears, "God he loved flying with you Maverick." Then she gets up and hugs him.
    • Goose would have flown without Maverick, she says. 
    • This seems to be her way of saying Maverick needs to keep at it, even without his partner in crime, Goose.

    Scene 32

    • Maverick is in what looks like a small courtroom. A Navy official declares that the F-14 crash was caused by a "disruption of airflow into the starboard engine."
    • He goes into more detail, but the final verdict is the key point: Maverick is not at fault.
    • He is restored to "flight status" and can go back up anytime.
    • Some ominous, 80's synth music starts playing as Maverick leaves.
    • Viper and Jester are at the back of the room.
    • Viper leans over to Jester and says, "Get him up flying, soon."
    • Well okay then Viper.
  • Scenes 33-34

    Scenes 33-34

    Scene 33

    • We see Maverick in the cockpit, putting his mask again. The same synth music from the previous scene is still playing.
    • The camera zooms in close on Maverick's eyes, and soon we're up in the air again. Maverick is flying with Sundown, who is telling Maverick to "engage," i.e. try to get his opponent in missile lock
    • Jester, the opponent, is also trying to get Maverick to engage.
    • Finally, Maverick breaks away, and Sundown can't believe it.
    • Maverick says it's not good, that the shot doesn't look good.
    • It's totally an excuse. Maverick seems to have lost his edge.
    • Back on the tarmac, Sundown is hollering at Maverick as they walk away from the plane.
    • Finally, Maverick can't handle it, and he turns and grabs Sundown and says he will fire when he's "goddamn good and ready."
    • Iceman and Slider see the whole thing go down. They know something's up.
    • We see Jester deplane as well. He approaches Viper, who is also watching.
    • Jester says Maverick can't back into it. Viper says it's only been a few days, and to keep sending Maverick up.

    Scene 34

    • We're in the locker room we've come to know so well. Maverick is gathering his things. Iceman comes in.
    • After an awkward silence, Iceman… breaks the ice. (Sorry, we couldn't resist.)
    • He tells Maverick (he calls him "Mitchell") he's sorry about Goose. After a few more sentences that make it clear Iceman doesn't know how to do this stuff, he says sorry again and leaves.
    • The camera shifts angles, and we see Wolfman sitting behind a locker as Maverick gathers a large duffle bag and walks out.
    • In the very next frame, Wolfman is on the phone with somebody. He breaks the big news: Maverick has just quit Top Gun.
    • Whoa.
  • Scenes 35-36

    Scenes 35-36

    Scene 35

    • We're inside a restaurant at or near the airport. Charlie comes in.
    • Maverick is sitting at the bar, his hands on his head, his eyes closed. She asks if she can sit down.
    • Apparently, Maverick is about to leave, and hasn't even bothered to say bye to Charlie.
    • Big no-no, buddy.
    • He's heard that she got the job in Washington, and congratulates her. She wasn't going to leave without saying goodbye though.
    • Maverick doesn't have a ticket, and he has no idea where he's going. Charlie points this out.
    • She reminds him that the accident wasn't his fault, and tries to get him to see things from the right perspective.
    • Maverick is pretty much unreachable, and he reiterates the fact that "it's over," for him.
    • He's already left, mentally, Charlie points out. It's clear Maverick hasn't "learned a damn thing," she says.
    • She pretty much calls him a quitter, gets up, and says goodbye.

    Scene 36

    • The somber music from the last few scenes is still playing as Maverick rings a doorbell. A middle-aged women lets him in.
    • She tells him to make himself comfortable and "Mike" will be right down. Hmmm, is this Viper's house?
    • Maverick looks at all the old photos on the walls. Viper comes in behind him, and immediately tells him that he flew with his (Maverick's) father.
    • Viper tells him that he's a lot like his father, only better, and worse. His father was one heroic dude.
    • Maverick's interest is piqued, and he asks Viper if his father really did do things right? Yep, Viper says.
    • They walk outside, and Viper gets right down to brass tacks, asking Maverick if he flies the way he does because he's trying to prove something.
    • The Top Gun theme starts playing.
    • Viper tells Maverick the truth about his father. It's classified, and it could end Viper's career, but he knows Maverick needs to hear it.
    • His father's jet was hit, and he could've made it back, but instead saved three other planes and then crashed.
    • The story was classified because the battle happened "over the wrong line on some map."
    • Maverick asks Viper about his options. He's reconsidered.
    • Viper says he has enough points to graduate the next day with his class if he wants. He can also quit.
    • They chat a little more, and Viper tells Maverick the truth: he feels responsible for Goose, and has a confidence problem.
    • He needs to learn from his mistakes.
    • Either way, the choice is his.
    • Maverick thanks him. They shake hands, and Maverick leaves.
  • Scenes 37-38

    Scenes 37-38

    Scene 37

    • Maverick rides by Charlie's place, but the "For Rent" sign shows that she's already checked out.
    • Maverick is flustered, and leaves her place.
    • In the next frame, he's sitting on his motorcycle, watching an F-14 land. 
    • It's just becoming night.
    • He's pondering.

    Scene 38

    • This is clearly the Top Gun graduation ceremony. It's by a pool somewhere. People are clapping.
    • Jester starts to talk about Top Gun. Some of the guys are wondering about Maverick.
    • In the next shot, the celebration has already started. Maverick shows up, and congratulates Iceman and Slider.
    • Viper interrupts to let them know that there is a crisis situation and some of the guys need to leave immediately: Ice, Slider, Hollywood, Wolfman, and Maverick.
    • Viper lets Maverick know that he'll get his flying partner (RIO) when he gets to the aircraft carrier.
    • If he doesn't, though, he can call Viper, and he'll fly with him.
    • That's a big deal. The big, bad Viper will fly with Maverick.
  • Scenes 39-40

    Scenes 39-40

    Scene 39

    • We're in a smoky and, it appears, very warm briefing room. Our old friend Stinger is telling the pilots about a situation.
    • A ship has wandered into hostile territory, and the pilots will be providing air support.
    • There are enemy planes near, and they're carrying dangerous missiles. The pilots are to fire if they "witness a hostile act."
    • Iceman and Hollywood are going up first. Maverick will be on standby as backup.
    • As the men begin to file out, Iceman expresses some reservations about Maverick.
    • Stinger knows Maverick is okay, and tells him: "I know what's on your mind Kazansky just get on it."

    Scene 40

    • In a throwback to the opening scene, we see planes taking off (probably Iceman and Hollywood).
    • As the Top Gun theme plays, Maverick walks over to his jet, checks his missiles, and gets in, waiting for takeoff.
  • Scenes 41-42

    Scenes 41-42

    Scene 41

    • We're in the air control tower, with the same operator we met during the film's opening scenes.
    • He's on the radio, and he tells Iceman ("Voodoo 1") that there are MiGs in the area.
    • Iceman and Slider have spotted the MiGs as well.
    • Maverick is waiting on deck, his air mask already on. He gently touches Goose's dog tags. 
    • Is Maverick going to be able to do this? We have to wonder.
    • Meanwhile, it turns out that there are 4 MiGs, not two. Uh-Oh.
    • Slider notices it (the audience, however, has already seen them). Then, another MiG shows up on the radar, and gets Hollywood in missile lock.
    • He shots him down, but it looks like Hollywood and Wolfman have ejected okay.
    • Maverick is launched, and is racing to get there to help Iceman.
    • Iceman is in big trouble. There are now six MiGs. He's doing his best to avoid them, but he needs help.
    • Maverick gets in range, and then there's a MiG on his tail. He avoids him, but gets caught in a jet wash again and goes into a spin.
    • Uh-oh. Goose was killed when Maverick couldn't get out of a spin.
    • He manages to recover, however, and Merlin is yelling at him to engage. Maverick says "it's no good," i.e. that he doesn't have a shot.
    • It looks like his old problems are coming back, and that he is still isn't able to get over Goose's death.
    • Stinger, and everybody else (especially Iceman and Slider), are irate. Stinger, like usual, screams, "Goddamnit Maverick!"
    • Maverick asks Goose to talk to him, while Merlin can be heard yelling in the background. Finally,
    • Maverick re-engages. Whew, that was close.
    • He talks to Iceman, and gets the MiG on Iceman's tail in missile lock, and shoots him down.
    • Maverick runs into his own problems, and Merlin tells him to get out of there. Maverick, however, has learned his lesson and will not leave his wingman.
    • Iceman's turn: he shoots down a MiG before taking some bullets to his plane (he loses an engine but he's okay).
 Maverick shoots down another MiG, and then has another one on his tail. He lures him in close (much to Merlin's surprise), and then executes his trademark move: he hits the breaks, and the MiG blasts by.
    • Now it's Maverick's turn again. He gets the MiG in lock, and shoots him down. The rest of the MiGs head for home, and the air control tower celebrates.
    • Maverick, elated by his success, requests permission for a flyby, is denied, but does it anyway.
    • The same guy from before is manning the tower, and he again spills his coffee.
    • Back on deck, all the pilots are celebrating, including Hollywood and Wolfman, who arrive safely via helicopter.
    • Iceman finds Maverick, and tells him that he's still dangerous, but that he can be his wingman anytime.
    • Maverick says the same thing, and they hug.

    Scene 42

    • A freshly showered (it seems) Maverick is standing somewhere below deck, overlooking the water.
    • The Top Gun theme is still playing as he looks at Goose's dog tags again.
    • After contemplating it for a moment, Maverick hurls the dog tags into the ocean, saying a final farewell to Goose (and proving that he's ready to move forward with his life).
  • Scenes 43-44

    Scenes 43-44

    Scene 43

    • In the locker room, Maverick is getting his stuff together, and Stinger comes in.
    • He asks Maverick how it feels to be on the front page of every newspaper. Apparently, the Navy is giving him his choice of jobs.
    • Maverick says he's thinking about becoming an instructor.
    • Stinger blows a puff of smoke out of his mouth (he always has his cigar), and says: "Top Gun!?"
    • Maverick assents, and Stinger says, "God help us," and laughs as he departs.

    Scene 44

    • Back in Miramar, a.k.a. Fightertown, USA. Maverick is sitting at a bar. We see a hand put money in a jukebox.
    • "You've Lost that Loving Feeling" starts playing again. Maverick's interest is piqued, and he approaches the jukebox.
    • We see Charlie over Maverick's shoulder, and she says "Hello Pete Mitchell." They start repeating lines they both used during their courtship.
    • Maverick starts out by saying it could be complicated. She smiles, and they approach each other.
    • He puts his hands on her face, and is about to kiss her as the scene closes.
    • We see the guys from the film, and the names of the actors and their characters as the film ends.