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Things In Top Gun You Only Notice After Watching It More Than Once

Fighter pilots. "Danger Zone." Tom Cruise. Maverick. Goose. Iceman. "Top Gun" has it all. When the film hit the theaters in 1986, it was an instant success at the box office and has since been immersed in pop culture lore. Though events are different now than they were in the '80s, "Top Gun" is still a celebrated film, so much so that a sequel, about four decades later, is set to hit the theaters in summer 2022.

The action drama follows Maverick (Cruise), a fighter pilot who competes at The Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School for Top Gun -– or, in other words, the most talented and glorified fighter pilot. Though Maverick is bursting at the seams with raw talent, he's a hotshot who tends to disobey orders, which lands him in all sorts of trouble.

Movies have a magical power to change during a second viewing, as audience members tend to watch the production with a different lens or focus on other aspects. Here are things in "Top Gun" you might notice for the first time after watching the movie more than once. Spoilers for "Top Gun" follow.

A long intro with little context

When first going on the wild ride that is Maverick and Goose's attempts to become the top fighter pilot, viewers might not notice how long the intro — which doesn't come with much context — lasts. They might not even remember that "Danger Zone" was playing during this montage of sorts (and it also emerged during other scenes). "Top Gun" takes a little while to get started or even introduce the main characters, as the filmmakers decided to kick off the film by showing nameless fighter pilots cruising the skies.

Eventually, Maverick and Goose are seen saving a distraught wingman Cougar (John Stockwell) and escorting him back to the ship for good measure. On the ground, Cougar bows out of flying, leading to Maverick and Goose taking his place at Top Gun. And this, in a sense, is where the main storyline of the movie begins.

Tim Robbins makes an appearance

If you blink for just a second, you'll likely miss actor Tim Robbins' appearances in "Top Gun" as Merlin. Though he's Cougar's Radar Intercept Officer at the beginning of the film, Merlin reappears toward the end as Maverick's RIO and an adequate one at that — even if he can't replace Goose as Mav's best friend.

Robbins would go on to star as Nuke LaLoosh, an up-and-coming minor league pitcher, in 1988's "Bull Durham." Perhaps most notably, he starred in "The Shawshank Redemption" as Andy Dufresne. And he struck gold (if you will) by winning an Academy Award for his performance in "Mystic River." Needless to say, Robbins has had a successful acting career –- yet his appearance in "Top Gun" might go under the radar.

Tom Cruise might have been the big-ticket item when this film was released, but, looking back, it's evident that "Top Gun" wasn't lacking stars.

Essentially the entire Top Gun class sings to Charlie at the bar

"Top Gun" is best remembered for aspects such as Tom Cruise's performance in the leading role, the competition between Maverick and Iceman, and perhaps "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins. There's also the Goose-Maverick combo and all their antics. Yet viewers might have forgotten that virtually the entire Top Gun class sung to Charlie (Kelly McGillis) at the bar –- after, of course, they witness Maverick and Goose trying to serenade her (more so Maverick). A lot of attention for one individual indeed, and the class would later discover that Charlie is actually one of the Top Gun instructors.

This scene is supposed to come off as a light-hearted joke and it also puts the limelight on a bonding moment between Maverick and Goose. It's also the moment Maverick and Charlie, whose pairing makes up the subplot of the film, meet for the first time.

The bars are flooded with Budweisers

Product placement is on full display –- albeit subtlety –- during the bar scenes, when Maverick takes a load off and throws a couple back. After all, Budweiser is the only beer bottle shown, which presumably wasn't just because the fighter pilots and other Top Gun members enjoyed the red-label pale lager, nor was it likely the only beer sold at the bar. 

For what it's worth, there were draft beers in some scenes. This is an element that's easy to miss during the first viewing, especially when audience members are likely more focused on the events of the film than product placement, which has no significance to the plot.

On another note, the Top Gun members also wore the same sunglasses (or at least similar-looking sunglasses), but that could be coincidental given the pilots could benefit from wearing sunglasses while flying in planes. Either way, Budweiser and sunglasses shine brightly during this film.

Maverick enters the ladies room to talk to Charlie

After Maverick's meet-cute with Charlie, he goes into full-on stalker mode by entering the women's bathroom to continue his conversation with her. This could have gone horribly for so many different reasons, but "Top Gun," like all productions, is sprinkled with movie magic -– and apparently Tom Cruise can get away with this event. So it's glossed over, despite Charlie and Maverick making a non-PG joke during the bathroom encounter.

Fast forward to the next day, and Maverick realizes he made a fool out of himself after he discovers Charlie is an instructor for his class. In the long run, Charlie enter into a relationship with one another -– in fact, the movie ends with Charlie playing the same song ("You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by The Righteous Brothers) on the bar jukebox to get Maverick's attention. In this attempt, it worked like a charm. But inviting yourself into the women's bathroom to hit on a woman? While possibly drunk on top of that? Not the best choice, Mav.

If Top Gun had a villain, it would be Maverick

Okay, so "Top Gun" does technically have an antagonist, as the American fighter pilots were tasked with providing air support for a ship that drifted into enemy waters. Therefore, the opposing fighter pilots were direct enemies, yet they didn't necessarily play an integral role in the movie. From Mav's point of view, Iceman very well could have been the enemy since he was his rival –- yet they were all on the same team and pushing each other to be better.

If "Top Gun" has an actual villain from start to finish, it's kind of Maverick. He routinely defies orders. He doesn't care about anything as long as he gets what he wants. He is arrogant, pushy, reckless, and various other traits that can be described as villainous. He also was flying the jet when the beloved Goose died. 

Of course, Maverick is the main character and the person audience members are supposed to root for, as the movie follows his perspective. But Maverick did partake in villain-esque acts, such as creeping on a lady in the women's bathroom and not listening to his superiors.

Top Gun is actually a very romantic movie

For some viewers, this might be a no-brainer, as "Top Gun" is an action drama film. That said, given all the fighter pilot scenes, the locker-room antics, and the professions of the central characters, it's not out of the question for viewers to consider "Top Gun" an action movie through and through. However, from the music to the way scenes are shot, "Top Gun" is jam-packed with perfectly splendid romantic features.

For starters, Charlie and Maverick's relationship is a big part of the film's story, as is Goose and his wife Carole's (played by Meg Ryan) marriage. Scenes where it's solely Charlie, Maverick, and an epic backdrop are straight out of a romance movie. Not to mention, one of the most memorable songs of "Top Gun," outside of Kenny Loggins' catalog of hits, is "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." And that's all without mentioning "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin. 

Most importantly, who knows where Maverick would be if he didn't have Charlie by his side. She not only taught him invaluable lessons as a pilot instructor, but she helped him get through the loss of his best friend. Carole also revealed the importance of his friendship with Goose — and the couple gave him a glimpse of what a loving family looks like.

How does Maverick stay in the race for Top Gun?

Yes, Tom Cruise plays the leading role and, sure, the story is told from Maverick's point of view. However, Maverick is somehow right behind Iceman for Top Gun for most of the film, despite the instructors continuing to make an example out of Maverick for breaking the rules. Even after Maverick crashes and Goose perishes, he's still in line to finish toward the top, since it's deemed that the accident wasn't his fault. It's not until he physically removes himself from the running that Iceman is deemed Top Gun.

Maverick's higher-ups aren't afraid to tell him how talented he is, but they make a point of his recklessness and why it's important to follow orders –- doing otherwise could lead to casualties. Even still, he was in a position to outduel Iceman as the best in class, until he went on a soul-searching journey that brought him back to being the ... best fighter pilot, minus the title.

Strip away the jets and at the heart of this film is brotherhood

There are a plethora of messages in "Top Gun," but the main one is brotherhood. All the Top Gun students are in this adventure together as they occupy the skies in a dangerous profession, where every day could be the last. The students sing together, drink together, work together, live together, and they even play volleyball together -– shirtless and covered in sweat, mind you. Although the Top Gun students are mind-numbingly competitive and make jokes at each other's expense, they have each other's backs and make fun of one another because they secretly care about each other — they're just not allowed to say it aloud, since this is an '80s action flick. "Top Gun" features romance and action, but the camaraderie and teamwork are arguably the most important messages.

Ultimately, whether audiences picked up on these elements during the second course of this movie or not, nothing can take away from the fact that "Top Gun" was a successful film and fans have sung its praises since the '80s. Those same fans have been gifted with the long-awaited sequel.