Gay cult film «Top Gun» was that intentional? We’ll tell you the whole story behind it! — Cinema News

Paramount Pictures

There is an incredible amount of homoerotic moments in Top Gun . There are numerous camaraderie moments in the changing room between Maverick ( Tom Cruise ), Iceman ( Val Kilmer ) and Co. and above all the legendary beach volleyball game. In which the Navy pilots show off their muscles and although it takes place on a public beach, the audience is made up entirely of men, watching in admiration. The fact that the song «Playing With The Boys» is playing is just the icing on the cake.

With a lot of dialogue, one also has to wonder whether director Tony Scott and writers Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. deliberately made it ambiguous. We mean passages like » I want somebody’s butt, I want it now!» ‘ or the dialogue ‘ This gives me a hard-on! — Don’t tease me! “, in which the ambiguity was completely removed in the German dubbing.

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And then there is the heterosexual love story between Maverick and Charlie ( Kelly McGillis ), which director Scott not only deals with quite quickly and in one big block, but also at times McGillis is dressed in men’s clothes. Cult director Quentin Tarantino took up this in the otherwise not particularly noteworthy film “ Sleep With Me ” in a long-famous monologue (in which he modifies the famous original quote “You can be my wingman anytime!”, but otherwise makes all the right observations ):

The discussion about the homoerotic undertone of «Top Gun» is not new and was not sparked by Quentin Tarantino. In his monologue, the director refers, among other things, to the film critic Pauline Kael, whom he admires, who in her review for the New Yorker at the start of «Top Gun» described the military action drama as a «brilliant, homoerotic commercial» and was far from the only person to notice at the time.

«Top Gun» was also celebrated directly as a gay cult film and in the community. But was that intentional?

«Top Gun» was also based on homoerotic nudes

Successful Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer denies that homoerotic subtexts were deliberately used. Author Jack Epps Jr. also stated that he immediately understood how people came up with the idea that the dialogue should be ambiguous, but it never occurred to him when he was writing. But director Tony Scott, who died in 2012, was very aware of what he was doing. Because he got his inspiration directly from the gay community — albeit with different ulterior motives.

Scott, who has a background in advertising, studied hundreds of images of scantily clad men by photographer Bruce Weber, who is now controversial due to various allegations of harassment. It was clear to him that he wanted this aesthetic in his film. He wanted to stage naked, male upper bodies in a similar way to Weber. He even gave Cruise and Co. hairstyles like his models wore.

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He later said that Studio Paramount briefly panicked because Weber’s book, which Scott used in a presentation, was so popular among gays. But Scott didn’t have them as a target audience in mind…

Tony Scott’s plan: A film for women too

Rather, the director aimed at a female audience. He was aware that if «Top Gun» is to be a huge success, then not only men should go in, but women also have to find their way into the cinemas. And he was convinced that a staging of men’s bodies that attracts gay men will certainly meet with enthusiasm among heterosexual women.

That’s why it was important to the filmmaker to incorporate a love story in «Top Gun» — and for a long time he fought against all odds. Because the Navy, which had a great influence on the production, repeatedly vetoed it, forcing Scott to reduce the love story several times. And if you’re wondering why Kelly McGillis looks so tomboy in some scenes and Maverick doesn’t have sex with her until she dresses like a man: That too has to do with Navy influence — but also with the belated realization that that the director had the right instincts…

The love interest was too sexy for the Navy

For Tony Scott, Charlie, played by Kelly McGillis, should be an absolute sex bomb. But the Navy vetoed it early on, prevented various “too feminine” outfits and had planned scenes cancelled. This ultimately resulted in the first version of the film having almost no love story left — and test screenings proved Scott right. People wanted to see more of the love story. So the filmmaker was allowed to reshoot.

As part of this, not only the sex scene was created, but also the elevator scene, in which Charlie looks like a man with a baseball cap and aviator jacket. But why didn’t Scott make the actress look sexy in both sequences now that he knew the audience wanted it?

Because Kelly McGillis was already filming the fantasy romance » Made In Heaven » and the «Top Gun» makers were lucky to get her back on set for a few more days. Since she had long had a different hair color and hairstyle for the love story, it had to be hidden during the «Top Gun» reshoots — and that’s how the baseball cap came about. And then the rest was just a desperate attempt to create an outfit to match the headgear. And that’s why there’s so little of her in the sex scene.

Quentin Tarantino probably knew

The fact that in the monologue above Tarantino is harping on about the elevator scene with McGillis dressed as a man might indicate that he knew some of the background. After all, he and Tony Scott were good friends.

A young Tarantino, dreaming of a career of his own, would often visit Scott on set for Last Boy Scout to look over his shoulder. Scott then filmed Tarantino’s script for True Romance . Later, at the request of his colleague, the «Pulp Fiction» director came on board to brush up a few scenes and dialogues on the script for the submarine thriller » Crimson Tide «.

New edition in home cinema: That’s why you should definitely watch Part 1 (again) before «Top Gun 2: Maverick»!

We can well imagine that Scott himself told the story frankly. Finally, he later patted himself on the back. The fact that «Top Gun» has become such a great success is also due to the fact that many women went to the cinemas. The fact that the film was so well received in San Francisco didn’t hurt either, he also said — alluding to the fact that San Francisco was long considered the LGBTQIA+ stronghold.

» Top Gun 2: Maverick «, on the other hand, should not go down in history as a gay cult film — even if the volleyball game is now quoted with a football game in which numerous muscular bodies are again staged — whereby this time both a woman and a one can also watch. On the other hand, the sequel could well make history as a great action film. At least we’re pretty excited:

The FILMSTARTS review of «Top Gun 2: Maverick»

There is more of this enthusiasm in the current edition of the podcast on the screen , where our moderator Sebastian and his guests Pascal and Markus are of the opinion that «Top Gun 2: Maverick» is not only better than the first part, but also the want to have seen the best action of the year so far (though the author of this article may be allowed to note that the trio had not yet seen «RRR», which had just been released on Netflix, at the time of recording ).

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