Glossary for the Original “Top Gun,” as We Understood It in 1986


The hot-shot pilot played by Tom Cruise, who is super cute, but not as cute as he was in “Risky Business” when he started a small business with sex workers in his parents’ house. Maverick loves to go fast and not play by the rules!


Maverick’s rival pilot, played by Val Kilmer, who is also super cute. Iceman is cool under pressure, and hopefully also cool with inspiring the sexual awakening of millions of twelve-year-olds with popcorn stuck in their braces.

Beach Volleyball

Volleyball is totally not sexy when you play it in gym class and Coach Sartini keeps shouting at you to “get the lead out!”—but it’s super sexy when it’s on sand. The muscly airmen whose pectorals are slathered in what may or may not be Crisco appear to be working very hard not to punch each other furiously and/or furiously French.

“Highway to the Danger Zone”

The hit song by Kenny Loggins that’s on the “Top Gun” soundtrack. Also what the health teacher used as another name for “getting to third base.”


Maverick’s co-pilot, played by Anthony Edwards. He isn’t as cute but is an excellent wingman, both in bars and in F-14A Tomcats. Spoiler alert: he dies in a dramatic crash. It was probably for the best, though, because he didn’t like taking his shirt off for the volleyball scenes anyway. Just like how we didn’t want to take our shirts off at Megan’s pool party.

“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”

This song is something that men sing, a capella style, to women in bars, so that women will change their minds about whether or not to have sex with them. Dive bars on military bases must be the most romantic places on earth!

“Talk to me, Goose.”

What Maverick says to Goose on his walkie-talkie when they’re both being pilots. Also what we were told to stop saying when answering the family phone because it might be Father Donnelly.

“Take My Breath Away”

A song by a group called Berlin that’s the ideal song for making love to a headstrong blonde. This is also the ideal song for slow-dancing with Michael Havermeyer at the Sadie Hawkins dance, even though he will smell like Fritos, and will attempt to merge onto the Highway to the Danger Zone with you behind the bleachers.

“I feel the need, the need for speed.”

Maverick’s famous tagline that he says when he’s ready to go a thousand miles per hour in his jet. Did not work as well when yelled while backing Mom’s Chevy Impala out of the driveway and into the Dobsons’ fence.

“Because I was inverted.”

What Maverick says after he sees a MiG-28 do a 4G negative dive because he managed to fly his aircraft completely upside down. Also what Michael Havermeyer says when you ask why the Danger Zone felt so weird.

“You can be my wingman anytime, Maverick.”

The line Iceman says to Maverick after they both fly hard enough to save America from the Russians, and then work very hard not to punch each other furiously and/or furiously French.

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