It’s been 36 years since we first felt the “need for speed” when Top Gun was released in theaters. Produced by the dynamic duo of Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpsonand directed by the late great action filmmaker Tony Scott, Top Gun took the action war movie into the “danger zone” with its thrilling aerial action scenes, iconic moments that have forever been forged into pop-culture history, and one of the most popular movie soundtracks of all time.
Above all Top Gun was the movie that saw burgeoning actor Tom Cruise become the world’s biggest movie star in his role as the hotshot Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, leading a cast of upcoming talent who would go on to make a mark on the film industry for years to come. And now in 2022, we’ve been treated to Top Gun: Mavericka soaring sequel that has gone on to break box office records for Paramount Pictures.
If you’d like to revisit the world of the original Top Gunthe movie is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Paramount +. Now without further ado, here’s a look at the cast of Top Gun over three decades after they last took our breath away.
Tom Cruise – Pete “Maverick” Mitchell
Top Gun Starred Tom Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a Naval Aviator whose excellence as a pilot is often undercut by his naive cockiness. When Maverick is sent to attend Top Gun, the Naval Fighter Weapons School, he finds himself in a rivalry with the equally talented Iceman (Val Kilmer), while he begins a relationship with civilian instructor Charlie (Kelly McGillis).
The role of Maverick blasted the then 24-year-old Cruise into the stratosphere, the Risky Business actor bringing that wide-grinned star wattage to a role that brought Cruise’s confidence and intensity to the fore. Cruise would go on to become a consistent force as a box-office king with movies such as Rain Man, Minority Reportand War of the Worldsas well as scoring Oscar nominations for Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguireand Magnolia.
Top Gun began Cruise’s ascent atop the Hollywood ladder as not only a premier actor but a successful producer as well, with the first Mission: Impossible movie marking Cruise’s first foray into producing, resulting in a billion-dollar franchise that continues to grow strong with every new installment. After Maverickaudiences can next see Cruise in the two-part Mission: Impossible movies Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and Part Two.
Kelly McGillis – Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood
Kelly McGillis starred in Top Gun as Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood, an astrophysicist and Top Gun civilian instructor whose interest in Maverick’s hotshot flying abilities leads to a romance with the thrill-seeking aviator. It is with Charlie that Maverick opens up about the death of his father who was killed in action during the Vietnam War.
McGillis came to Top Gun hot off a BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated performance alongside Harrison Ford in the acclaimed thriller Witness. While McGillis would later star in acclaimed films such as The Accused alongside Jodie Fosterthe Julliard-trained actress would instead focus on the stage and was a featured actress at the prestigious Shakespeare Theater Company.
A return to film and TV during the 2000s saw McGillis star in acclaimed horror films such as Stake Land and Ti West‘s The Innkeepers. As of writing, McGillis’ last on-screen appearance was in the TV series Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story.
Val Kilmer – Tom “Ice Man” Kazansky
Val Kilmer made his mark in Hollywood with his role as Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky in the 1986 smash Top Gun. The adversary to Tom Cruise’s Maverick, the cool under fire Iceman views Maverick’s cocky attitude as dangerous and foolish yet would become best friends with Maverick when they fight alongside one another against a hostile enemy.
One of the most acclaimed actors of his generation, the Julliard trained Kilmer first broke into Hollywood with top-notch comedic performances in Top Secret!, and Real Genius. With Top Gun confirming Kilmer’s action man bona fides he would star in the 1988 George Lucas produced fantasy adventure Willowbefore establishing himself as an in-demand leading man throughout the 1990s with notable performances such as Jim Morrison inThe Doorsgunslinger Doc Holiday in Tombstoneand Bruce Wayne / Batman in Batman Forever.
Transitioning to a prolific character actor throughout the 2000s, Kilmer would face his toughest challenge when diagnosed with throat cancer which practically rendered him voiceless. In 2021, Kilmer’s voice was recreated through AI technology, the debut of which on the big screen came with his reprisal as Iceman in Top Gun: Maverick.
Anthony Edwards – Nick “Goose” Bradshaw
Maverick’s Radar Intercept Officer and best friend, Nick ‘Goose’ Bradshaw proved to be the steady hand to Maverick’s cheeky bravado both in and out of the cockpit, only for Maverick’s once unshakeable confidence to escape after Goose died during a dogfight.
Anthony Edwards already had a hit under his belt with the 1984 comedy Revenge of the Nerdsyet it was his role as Goose in Top Gun that is perhaps his most recognizable, with the line “talk to me Goose” one of the most repeated from the film. While Edwards amassed a solid filmography on the big screen with the 1988 cult classic Miracle Mile and a memorable supporting role in David Fincher‘s 2007 serial killer opusZodiacit was in TV where Edwards would shine with his multiple award-winning performances as Doctor Mark Greene in the medical drama ER.
It is in TV where Edwards would continue to mostly work of late, with recurring roles in Netflix hits Designated Survivor and Inventing Annaand Apple TV + miniseries WeCrashed. Edwards’ next big TV gig will be in the upcoming The Walking Dead spin-off anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead.
Tom Skerritt – Mike “Viper” Metcalf
The commanding officer and instructor of Top Gun, Mike ‘Viper’ Metcalf takes a shine to Maverick due to his having served with Maverick’s father in the Vietnam War. Viper sees potential in Maverick and tries to break through the young Navy pilot’s self-doubts and ego, so he can be the best he can be.
Tom Skerritt has long been a fixture on screens big and small with over 200 credits to his name. Before his role as Viper in Top GunSkerritt was known for his roles in the 1971 war comedy MASHthe sci-fi horror Alienand the horror thriller The Dead Zone. While Skerrit was as prolific as ever on the big screen post-Top Gunhis most popular and acclaimed role to date was Sheriff Jimmy Brook in the TV series Picket Fences, for which he won an Emmy. Skerritt continues to work at a prolific pace, with a recent turn in the independent drama East of the Mountains receiving high acclaim.
A hard-nosed Top Gun instructor, Rick “Jester” Heatherly views Maverick as a gifted pilot, but also a “wildcard” who cannot be trusted. Playing the role of Jester is Canadian actor Michael Ironsideone of the great genre actors who first came to prominence as a homicidal telepath in David Cronenberg‘s Scanners. A string of villainous and tough-guy performances would follow in both film and TV, highlights including Walter Hill‘s underrated 1987 action thriller Extreme Prejudiceand Paul Verhoeven‘s beloved sci-fi action films Total Recall (1990) and Starship Troopers (1997).
Ironside is still as prolific as ever in both film and TV, with recent credits including the TNT series The Alienistthe acclaimed action comedy Nobodyand the Hulu miniseries The Dropout. Ironside has also forged a career as a voice artist, notably as the voice of Tom Clancy‘s character Sam Fisher in the Splinter Cell video games.
Rick Rossovich – Ron “Slider” Kerner
Iceman’s Radar Intercept Officer and partner in crime, Ron “Slider” Kerner is often a thorn in the side of Maverick and Goose, as the battle for who is in Top Gun increases in stakes, even during a game of beach volleyball.
Playing the role of Slider is Rick Rossovichwho was previously known as the man who tried to take on Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator and met his doom. After Top GunRossovich landed a big part inRoxannethe Steve Martin-led adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac. He would then go on to star in Navy SEALsalongside Charlie Sheen and his Terminator co-star Michael Biehn.
Where the 1990s saw Rossovich branch out into TV with recurring roles in the hit medical drama ER and the “Baywatch on bikes ”TV series Pacific Bluethe 2000s and beyond proved to be very quiet for the once prolific Rossovich, with the last project of note the 2012 independent filmSandbar.