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Published on October 3rd, 2011 | by Chris


Top Gun (1986, Blu Ray)

Reviewed by:
On October 3, 2011
Last modified:October 3, 2012


It's no Platoon or Saving Private Ryan, but Top Gun is definitely a classic, love it or hate it, and this Blu Ray release does it justice.

Top Gun (1986, Blu Ray)If, like me, you were alive in 1986, and of movie-going age, you've seen Top Gun.  Probably several times.  You probably used a few of the one-liners at some point, whether you realized it or not.  It was a pivotal blockbuster of the day, and I'd even say it has become a part of our culture....

Long story short.  Loose-cannon F-14 pilot Lt. Pete Mitchell, aka Maverick (Tom Cruise) and his RIO Goose (Anthony Edwards) get tapped to go to the Navy's Fighter Weapons School at Miramar NAS, aka "Top Gun."  It no longer exists as it did then, its been combined into the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center at Fallon.  Its purpose is to train fighter pilots in the finer points of air-to-air combat.  Aka, "the dogfight."

Anyway.  Maverick and Goose arrive at Top Gun, and Maverick falls for one of his instructors (unknown to him at the time), "Charlie" (Kelly McGillis) in a romance guaranteed to secure the female audience.  Various airborne (and ground-based, if you take my meaning, wink wink) episodes ensue.  Goose is killed in an unfortunate accident, Maverick is called to real-life combat versus some Russian MIG's in the Indian Ocean, and in the end Maverick and Charlie ride off into the sunset.

War Movie(tm)?  Probably not in a strictly defined sense of the word.  Watching this, though, it did remind me a lot of those WWII and Korea classics where there was a significant female love-interest role.  Since there was no shooting-war to base such a classic story line in, the Cold War would have to suffice, and it does quite well.  Not only that, but there's a lot here to recall the same feelings as those old classics.  The rebel-without-a-cause fighter pilot, plenty of classic cars, the smoky ready rooms and dogfight scenes....  It had been a long, long time since I'd seen this, and in this light it was almost like watching a new film.  I was prepared to pan the story as just another love-story wrapped in a war movie, but I think there's more to it than that.

It's also curious that this movie only gained a PG rating.  Given the, um, "bedroom scene" which I didn't recall being quite so racy for a PG film, I would have expected a PG-13.  Especially since it had just been adopted two years prior.  But since the impetus behind that was based on violence and not other content, I guess it makes sense.  Just one of those "hmmm" moments.  There are, shall we say, certain other overtones that were present, that one could read into, also.  Not sure if intentional or not, but definitely "pushing the envelope" for 1986 if so.

But the real stars of the movie are, of course, the aircraft.  Most notably the F-14 Tomcat.  Now retired from service, the Tomcat was the Navy's workhorse until completely replaced by the F-18 only recently.  If I recall, this movie did wonders for Navy recruitment at the time.  (Who didn't want to be Maverick? Even *I* had a Top Gun oak-leaf cap!!) You'll also see quite a few A-4 Skyhawks, as well as some F-5's dolled up to represent MIG's.  A forgivable incident, given that real MIG's were, well, difficult to come by, and computerized special effects didn't exist.

On to the Blu Ray release itself.  Picture wise, I was really surprised to not see the grain I was expecting.  Whether or not it had been "denoised" I really couldn't tell, but the picture was crystal clear at all times.  I did notice some artifacting during some "over water", fast moving scenes, but I was looking for it.  There was no "black noise" or other digital strange-ness going on at all.  Surprisingly, there were still a lot of dust-and-dirt white-specks present.  The specks almost lend a certain "at the movies" feel to it, though.  Sure beats VHS or old NTSC cable anyway, which was probably the last time I'd seen this movie.  You'll read a lot of complaints about it being cropped, but further reading suggests that this widescreen picture is actually what would have been on the big screen, and that subsequent full-screen releases were a product of the native 35mm filming.

The audio, however, was a totally different matter.  Holy crap!  From the beginning, this movie has never sounded so good.  Harold Faltermeyer and Kenny Loggin's soundtrack really took on a whole new life here in 6.1.  And the sounds of the aircraft and the carriers...  Amazing.  Just turn it up and listen to the flyby's and afterburners....

It's no Platoon or Saving Private Ryan, but Top Gun is definitely a classic, love it or hate it, and this Blu Ray release does it justice.

I have to capitulate to my favorable memories of this movie, the excellent new presentation, and a healthy dose of "I love airplane flicks" and give this a 8/10. I just may pick this release up for my own shelf.

I also read that this is being prepped for a 2012 re-release, in (you guessed it) 3-D.  Um, think I'll pass on that one.  Unless you can give me 1986 Kelly McGillis in 3-D, then I'll consider it.


Top Gun [Blu-ray] Top Gun [Blu-ray]
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Top Gun takes a look at the danger and excitement that awaits every pilot at the Navy's prestigious fighter weapons school. Tom Cruise is superb as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, a daring young flyer who's out to become the best of the best...

DVD Information

Binding: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Manufacturer: Paramount
Original Release Date:
  • Tom Cruise
  • Tim Robbins
  • Kelly McGillis
  • Val Kilmer
  • Anthony Edwards


  • Run Time: 109
  • Release Date: 2013/05/14
  • PG


Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars TOP GUN 3D, February 21, 2013
JD (Nashville, TN) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is about the new 3D version of TOP GUN and not the story itself. TOP GUN has been around in so many different formats that anyone that likes this type of movie should already be familar with the story.

The TOP GUN 3D case includes two discs, a Blu-ray 2D and Blu-ray 3D disc. There is also an UlTRAVIOLET Code to Download a Digital Copy.

Both Blu-ray discs have three audio choices: DTS Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital sound.

The video of the 2D TOP GUN Blu-ray is as good or better than previous releases of this title. The audio from both discs is also excellent.

The big disappointment is the 3D BD version, which is probably the main reason someone would buy this movie re-release. The video noise is so great that it is one of the worse grainy blu-rays I've seen. Even with turning the sharpness all the way down on my OPPO BD Player the grain was still unsatisfactory. I also checked the disc on a Panasonic 3D BD Player and... Read more
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182 of 203 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OK3, February 18, 2005
Top Gun never claims to have epic scope, emotional gravitas, or a deep plot. I imagine that those who criticize this movie for its supposed shortcomings also look upon the Three Stooges with disgust for not exploring the depth of Moe's antagonistic relationship with Curly. The fact is that only about 10% of films released in general circulation attempt to have the depth of a Citizen Kane or Godfather. Among the other 90%, Top Gun is the best of the best.

Top Gun's obvious strength is the aerial visuals. Not since perhaps Howard Hughes' Jet Pilot has there been such an ambitious attempt to capture the look and feel of high performance flight. The F-14's photogenic qualities combine with Tony Scott's signature backlighting to create a terrific sense of energy and screen presence for the Grumman bird. The tactical realism may suffer, but the tight spacing and resulting packed frames of the ACM sequqnces are uniquely energetic and fast-paced. It is a shame that this may... Read more
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57 of 65 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 3D version has really bad video quality, August 11, 2013
George in So. Cal. (Acton, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The video quality of the 3D version is so poor I stopped watching it after the first 10 minutes and changed to the regular blu-ray version I had bought a few years ago. As others have mentioned, the 3D version has a really grainy look to it and the red and orange highlights are so over-saturated that they look ridiculous. If they couldn't do a decent job of the conversion, they shouldn't have bothered. Amazon's no return policy on opened movies is pretty much the same as any store, but I do feel I wasted my money! Shame on you, Paramount, for such a schlocky release.
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Top Gun (1986, Blu Ray) Chris

Summary: It's no Platoon or Saving Private Ryan, but Top Gun is definitely a classic, love it or hate it, and this Blu Ray release does it justice.


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)

About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.

One Response to Top Gun (1986, Blu Ray)

  1. Alan says:

    If I understand correctly, Lucasfilm’s new war movie “Red Tails” (in theaters January 2012) will have 11.1 channel 3D audio, although initially at only a limited number of already converted theaters. We might hope|fear that success of “Red Tails” will trigger a spate of other, new 3D audio movies, especially in the action, aerial combat, and science fiction categories. No doubt theatrical acceptance of the technology would lead to the 9.1 and|or 10.1 channel variants of 3D audio that were designed for the Home Theater market actually making it into consumer surround equipment, together with enhanced coding Blue-ray Disks of these new (3D audio) movies. Some similar existing movies will presumably be remixed for 3D audio also . . . and my first choice for a 3D audio remix and Blu-ray re-re-release would of course be “Top Gun”!

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