What the cast of Top Gun looks like today

It seems like only yesterday that Tom Cruise and his Top Gun castmates took our collective breath away with their high-flying antics, yet believe it or not, director Tony Scott's Cold War action classic is now more than three decades old. The story, written by screenwriting partners Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr., introduced audiences to a class of would-be pilots attempting to graduate from the Navy's most prestigious fighter weapons school—and the movie proved a roaring success upon its release in 1986, helped along the way by a killer '80s soundtrack and the growing star power of its young leading man. While Cruise himself has rarely been out of the spotlight since feeling the need for speed, not all of his former colleagues have been quite as fortunate in their careers—and one or two of them are unrecognizable now. Here's what the cast of Top Gun looks like today.

Tom Cruise (Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell)

The most recognizable graduate of the Top Gun academy by far, Tom Cruise went on to become one of the biggest stars in the game and remains as relevant as ever, even if certain sections of the Hollywood crowd have started to distance themselves from him. His turn as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell made him a bona fide A-lister, and he went on to front a string of hits throughout the remainder of the '80s, topping off the decade with a Best Actor nomination for 1989's Born of the Fourth of July. He received another nod from the Academy for 1997's Jerry Maguire and was considered again in the Best Supporting Actor category for 2000's Magnolia, though in more recent years, he's become increasingly well-known for his intimate relationship with the church of Scientology. Questions about his personal life still hang over him, but that doesn't seem to have made him any less bankable.

Kelly McGillis (Charlotte 'Charlie' Blackwood)

Kelly McGillis was already well on her way to becoming a star by the time Top Gun flew into theaters, having starred opposite Harrison Ford in Witness the previous year. While McGillis wasn't personally recognized among the nominations, Witness received Oscar nods in a total of eight categories and put the actress on the map. She followed up her successful turn as Maverick's love interest Charlie with a role as an assistant district attorney in 1988's The Accused, a film that won the Best Actress award for her co-star Jodie Foster but once again left McGillis empty-handed.

Unlike her Top Gun co-star, McGillis slipped off the radar, eventually turning to Syfy originals for work (she's seen above in a still from a 2014 episode of the network's Z Nation in which her character fought a "zombie bear"). Her career hit its lowest ebb in 2007 when she was "reduced to taking a thankless supporting role" in dreadful creature feature Supergator.

Val Kilmer (Tom 'Iceman' Kazanski)

Every hero needs a rival, and Val Kilmer's Iceman proved the perfect foil for Tom Cruise's Maverick, though their pairing onscreen would never have happened at all had it been up to Kilmer. The actor admitted that he never wanted to do Top Gun and turned down numerous meetings with Tony Scott; fortunately for Kilmer, the British director continued to pursue him for the part. After Top Gun exploded, so did Kilmer's career, starting with 1988's Willow. Kilmer starred as a disgraced knight in George Lucas' sword-and-sorcery fable, and while it never reached the heights of Star Wars, it was enough to convince Hollywood that Kilmer was a capable lead. He look on some iconic roles in the '90s (Jim Morrison, Elvis, Batman) and turned some others down (Morpheus in The Matrix, believe it or not), though his career seemed to slip into decline at the turn of the century. According to Michael Douglas, Kilmer's health is also going downhill, though the actor has called his former co-star's claims that he's suffering from throat cancer "misinformed."

Anthony Edwards (Nick 'Goose' Bradshaw)

Anthony Edwards got his first taste of life in front of the camera as an 11-year-old in the kinky 1973 detective flick Big Zapper, though his first proper acting gig was as Stoner Bud in Cameron Crowe's 1982 coming-of-age classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He managed to land lead parts in Revenge of the Nerds and Gotcha over the next few years, but it was his supporting role as "Goose" in Top Gun that made him famous. Edwards admits he's still "stopped every day" to talk about the film, though as a self-confessed "lefty liberal peace lover," he's grown to dislike "glorifying of the military" in all its forms, and Top Gun is no exception. Today Edwards is best known for his time on ER, playing Dr. Mark Greene all the way from the show's 1994 premiere until the end of season eight in 2002. His contribution to the long-running hospital drama earned him a Golden Globe and four Emmy nominations.

Tom Skerritt (Mike 'Viper' Metcalf)

Outside of his role as the mustachioed Commander Metcalf, Tom Skerritt is best known for playing Arthur Dallas, captain of the doomed commercial spaceship Nostromo in Ridley Scott's seminal 1979 sci-fi Alien. Skerritt had already appeared in more films than some actors make in a lifetime before he met either Scott brother, but it was his work with the siblings (along with an early appearance in the 1970 MASH movie) that he'd end up being remembered for, despite remaining active as an actor and director into his 80s. Skerritt credits Tony Scott for showing him the ropes on the set of Top Gun, allowing him to learn about life behind the camera. "I followed him around a lot, so for me he was a terrific teacher. He and his brother work in a very similar approach and he taught me a lot about filmmaking." He now divides his time between the occasional role and his work at The Film School, a Seattle-based non-profit that he co-founded in Seattle.

John Stockwell (Bill 'Cougar' Cortell)

John Stockwell's big break came when he was cast in John Carpenter's adaptation of Stephen King's Christine. The horror helmer was on a hot streak of box office hits at the time, though Christine turned out to be far from his best effort of the the '80s, described by the New York Times as "only a moderately engrossing film." Stockwell went on to win the part of Cougar in Top Gun, the wingman who quits flying after losing his cool mid-air in the opening stages. The role was a minor one, yet it's among Stockwell's most memorable one (he claims that Top Gun is guaranteed to come up within 30 seconds every time he meets someone new), though that's likely due to the fact that he was always keen to move into directing. The Texan hasn't acted since he appeared in "bland, perfunctory" thriller Breaking The Girls in 2012, yet in that time he's directed multiple projects.

Barry Tubb (Leonard 'Wolfman' Wolfe)

Another member of the Top Gun alum that cut his teeth on the set of Christine, Barry Tubb played a nameless footballer in the John Carpenter picture, his first big-screen experience. He played his first named character two years later in heartwarming Rocky Dennis biopic Mask, but that film would fail to reach the same cult status as his next venture. Tubb is best remembered as Leonard "Wolfman" Wolfe, a small part that consisted mainly of informing Charlie that Maverick had fallen into depression after Goose's death and left the school. Being part of such a huge movie was a rare treat for Tubbs, though it isn't his fondest memory of his career.

"Top Gun was fun," the actor admitted in an interview, "but I think Lonesome Dove, I fell back in love with Texas when I did that and that's when I really started coming back home a lot more." Tubb had moved to Paris in 1991 to take a job on a wild west rodeo show, though he decided to return to the States to pursue a career behind the camera. His first (and last) shot at directing a feature film was 2002's Grand Champion, a family-friendly drama with a main character called Hokey, a fact that reviewers didn't fail to pick up on.

Michael Ironside (Rick 'Jester' Heatherly)

Michael Ironside might not be as well known as some actors with over a hundred film credits to their names, but in genre film circles he's a legend. A specialist in villainy, Ironside was lucky enough to be cast as dastardly telepath Darryl Revok in David Cronenberg's cult hit Scanners and went on to become a household name in the sci-fi world, appearing in such otherworldly classics as Total Recall and Starship Troopers. It's little surprise that he holds science fiction close to his heart, seeing as his grandfather was part of a secret sci-fi society who shared genre literature before it gained mainstream acceptance—he claims to have read Frank Herbert's Dune "out of a shoe box" before it was published. Despite his love for all things alien, Ironside has enjoyed an incredibly varied career and is one of the few members of the Top Gun cast to be remembered for his contributions elsewhere. Now in his 60s, Ironside remains as active as ever today.

Meg Ryan (Carole Bradshaw)

Rob Reiner's "masterpiece of romance" When Harry Met Sally set a new benchmark in the rom-com genre and propelled its leading lady to stardom. Meg Ryan's performance opposite an affable Billy Crystal came three years after she appeared as Mrs. "Goose" Bradshaw in Top Gun, the easygoing, unashamedly southern wife of Maverick's right-hand man. As the '90s got going, Ryan became the new queen of the romantic comedy, appearing opposite Tom Hanks in Joe Versus the Volcano, Sleepless in Seattle, and You've Got Mail. She also won praise for her "agile and confident" performance as chopper pilot Karen Walden in the 1996 war drama Courage Under Fire, though as the decade dried up so did her opportunities. A quick glance at her Rotten Tomatoes filmography shows how little love she's received from critics since, with a decade and a half of Splats. She eventually made the move into directing and turned to her old partner in crime for help, casting Hanks to star opposite her in her 2016 debut Ithaca, though the prospect of seeing the two reunited proved "fun but fleeting."

Tim Robbins (Sam 'Merlin' Wells)

After graduating college in 1981, Robbins founded the Actors' Gang, an experimental theater group that would go on to count John Cusack, Jack Black, Jon Favreau, and Helen Hunt among its members. He appeared in a number of minor roles throughout the '80s, his turn as Merlin in Top Gun among them, eventually landing his breakout role in 1988 baseball rom-com Bill Durham.

He delivered his most famous performance at the midpoint of the following decade, acting opposite Morgan Freeman as Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, longtime number one on IMDb's Top 250 chart. Tom Cruise was one of the names originally considered for the part of Andy, even sitting down for a reading with Frank Darabont, though in the end he decided he wouldn't put his career in the hands of an untested director, leaving the door open for Robbins. It took another decade before the Academy acknowledged his ability as an actor, awarding him the Best Supporting Actor statue for his part in Clint Eastwood's Mystic River. Robbins' adaptation of Jordan Harrison's Pulitzer nominated play Marjorie Prime won the Feature Film Prize at Sundance.

Clarence Gilyard (Marcus 'Sundown' Williams)

Top Gun marked a feature film debut for Air Force Academy dropout Clarence Gilyard, who spent the remainder of the '80s in similarly minor roles, portraying a nameless military man in The Karate Kid Part II and a computer hacker in Die Hard. As the decade drew to a close, Gilyard finally landed a meaningful part, though he had to make the move to the small screen to make it happen. When Kene Holliday was sacked by Matlock showrunners for (in the actor's own words) too much "drinking and drugging," Gilyard got the nod to replace him, and played private investigator Conrad McMasters for three seasons, making his last appearance in 1993 when a part opposite Chuck Norris in Walker, Texas Ranger came up. Gilyard would become best known as Norris' right-hand man Jimmy Trivette, portraying the money-hungry but kindhearted Texas Ranger for the show's entire eight-season run, calling time on his career after donning his cowboy hat for one final bow in the 2005 TV movie Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial By Fire.

Rick Rossovich (Ron 'Slider' Kerner)

Slider was to Iceman as Goose was to Maverick. That might seem like a riddle to those unfamiliar with Top Gun, but it's the best way to describe Rick Rossovich's character. The actor credits his wife Eva with securing him the part, insisting he was considered not because of his acting ability or past experience (he had a role in The Terminator two years previous) but because of the new haircut she'd given him beforehand. "Good hair and make-up is a must," Rossovich wrote on his personal blog, where also gave his opinion on the infamous Top Gun shower scene, calling it a "real steamer" with "heavy homo-erotic overtones."

He appeared in the critically acclaimed Steven Martin and Daryl Hannah rom-com Roxanne the following year, but started the '90s on a low when Navy SEALs was panned by critics, dubbed a "military recruitment propaganda movie that happens to star Charlie Sheen and Michael Biehn." His year spent playing Dr. John Taglieri in ER aside, opportunities grew scarce for Rossovich, and his career had almost stalled completely by the close of the decade. His last appearance came in 2003's Artworks, a low-key romantic drama that was described as "tedious and lacking emotional strength" by one of the few critics that bothered to review it.

James Tolkan (Tom 'Stinger' Jardian)

James Tolkan has enjoyed a long and successful career as a character actor, well-known for portraying stern, intimidating types. While you certainly wouldn't have messed with fiery Commander Tom Jardian, his most memorable turn as an authority figure was as Principal Strickland in the Back to the Future movies, a role he debuted the year before Top Gun and reprised for the two sequels. Having begun his career in the so-called golden age of television, Tolkan was never afraid to go back to TV work, flitting between the small and big screen over the years that followed. While the 85-year-old has slowed his activity in more recent years, he's still working: in 2015, he played the pianist in the Certified Fresh horror/western hybrid Bone Tomahawk. Even with his continued success, Tolkan doesn't mind reminiscing about the Top Gun days, and he was one of the first cast members to openly discuss Tony Scott's suicide. "He was very off the cuff and nonchalant," he said of the director. "But at the same time intense, if that makes sense. I'm still stunned about how he passed."

Whip Hubley (Rick 'Hollywood' Neven)

Whip Hubley had a minor role in the Brat Pack classic St. Elmo's Fire before he landed the slightly less minor role of Rick "Hollywood" Neven in Top Gun, the pilot assigned as Maverick's wingman for the training session in which they unsuccessfully attempt to chase down Commander Metcalf. Hubley's efforts were rewarded with a shot at the lead role in 1987's Russkies, the story of a shipwrecked Russian sailor stranded on the Florida coast at the height of Cold War paranoia. Despite a valiant effort from a young Joaquin Phoenix (leader of the group of boys who discover the foreign man), the reaction wasn't strong enough to sell Hubley as a viable leading man going forward, and he wound up turning his attention to television. He popped up in both Babylon 5 and Murder She Wrote in the '90s, though his longest-running role came as Tom Hampton in the revived Flipper series that aired between 1995 and 2000. His latest feature film is 2009's Homeland, a military drama that came and went without much notice.

Adrian Pasdar (Charles 'Chipper' Piper)

Adrian Pasdar had his life all planned out after winning a football scholarship from the University of Florida, though he was forced to reevaluate his options after sustaining serious injuries in a car accident before he could graduate. The collision left Pasdar scarred and wheelchair-bound for weeks, ending any hopes he had of becoming a professional sportsman after graduation. After recovering and turning his attention to acting, Pasdar auditioned for Top Gun at just 19, impressing director Tony Scott so much that he decided to write the minor part of Chipper into the script especially for him. His career move ultimately paid off: Pasdar went on to score larger roles in Kathryn Bigelow's cult classic Near Dark and Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way, though nowadays the self-confessed comic book nut mainly finds work as a voice actor, providing the voice of Tony Stark in the Marvel Anime: Iron Man series.