Study Guide

Top Gun War

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Top Gun is a special kind of war movie, the kind where there is actually very little warfare, but where the possibility of war is imminent. See, Top Gun takes place sometime during the early 1980's, i.e. right smack in the middle of the Cold War, a really long conflict between the United States and Russia that really entailed whole lot of getting ready for War-with-a-capital-W (mostly in the form of a massive, massive armament on both sides and tons of intelligence gathering). Nevertheless, the Top Gun pilots train as if war is imminent, and the film is framed by two encounters with enemy fighters (the fictional MiG-28's). In the final dogfight, Maverick and Iceman actually shoot down several enemy jets in a dazzling display of their newly acquired Top Gun skills.

Questions About War

  1. Why isn't there more actual combat in Top Gun? What is the effect of the film's lack of actual battle scenes?
  2. Is this actually a war movie? Why or why not?
  3. Some people have said that Top Gun glorifies war, killing, and the like. Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?

Chew on This

War is always a possibility. This is why it is essential that a country's pilots and troops always be prepared for the worst, and train to be best they can be.

The real wars in Top Gun are those between Maverick and his fellow pilots and Maverick and his past.

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