How old was Tom Cruise in ‘Top Gun’ and ‘Top Gun: Maverick?’

Somehow he seems both too young and too old to be flying a fighter jet.

Tom Cruise 'Top Gun: Maverick'

Tom Cruise is no stranger to box-office success, but 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick takes the cake in terms of the actor’s biggest blockbuster, which is quite the accomplishment considering the A-lister filmed the original Top Gun a full 36 years earlier.

Ever the action movie star, Cruise is known for not relying on CGI to do carry out his stunt work , even if that sometimes leads to injury . While there were trained Navy pilots actually piloting the jets in Maverick , Cruise was still flying around in an F-18 Super Hornet, which is impressive to say the least, especially considering the huge amount of time that had passed since the first one. Naturally, that begs the question of just how old Cruise was when he was climbing inside the cockpit. Both times.

Tom Cruise’s age in Top Gun

Kelly McGillis and Tom Cruise

The first Top Gun was directed by Tony Scott and released in 1986. Tom Cruise was a young man at this point in his life, as he was born in 1962, making him only 24 years old when the movie was released.

The film followed Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a hotshot United States Naval Aviator — played by Cruise — as he is sent to attend TOPGUN, the Naval Fighter Weapons School. Alongside him is Lieutenant Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, played by Anthony Edwards, who dies halfway through the film, as well as his rival, Lieutenant Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, played by Val Kilmer. 

The fresh-faced Cruise had already been knocking around Hollywood since 1981, in such films as Risky Business and Legend , but it was Top Gun that manifested him as a bonafide action hero before his 25th birthday.

Tom Cruise’s age in Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise 'Top Gun: Maverick'

Finally, almost half of his lifetime later, Cruise returned to one of his most iconic roles in Top Gun: Maverick . Directed by Joseph Kosinski, the legacy sequel continues the story of the titular character, who is now a captain, as he is picked to instruct a new team of pilots for a dangerous mission. Among these expert pilots is Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Goose, Maverick’s late best friend.

Cruise’s age in Maverick is interesting in that he was technically 57 years old when the movie finished filming in 2019, but due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, he found himself at the ripe age of 59 when it was finally premiered in theaters in May 2022.

Those delays didn’t hurt the film any, however, Maverick generated an eye-watering $1.4 billion at the box office and was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It was repeatedly praised for single-handedly saving movie theaters while Cruise was deemed Hollywood’s guardian angel. Had it not been for that December’s Avatar: The Way of Water , he also would’ve had the honor of being the biggest star in the biggest film of the year. If you’re someone who believes Avatar ‘s success comes from its immersive CGI alone (and not its story), you might say he still does.

It just goes to show, that no matter his age, Cruise still has his “need for speed,” which is something that all $1.4 billion dollars’ worth of audience members can appreciate. To see him in action, you can stream both Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick on Paramount Plus.

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Tom Cruise, 56, Looks Half His Age as He Straddles a Motorcycle for 'Top Gun: Maverick'

Tom Cruise took a joyride on the back of a motorcycle while on the set of his highly-anticipated film  Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise is feeling the need for speed.

The 56-year-old star took a joyride on the back of a motorcycle while on the set of his highly-anticipated film Top Gun: Maverick . He is set to reprise his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell for the sequel to his 1986 classic Top Gun — and by the looks of it, he’s barely aged.

Cruise wore a big grin while wearing his iconic bomber jacket, blue jeans and black aviator sunglasses.

In May, the actor shared the first shot from the set of the film to his social media on “#Day1” of production. The action star was decked in his aviation gear and held his helmet as he gazed across the tarmac at a plane.

Cruise labeled the picture “FEEL THE NEED,” referencing Maverick’s iconic quote, “I feel the need, the need for speed.” According to Variety , the Risky Business star’s character will now be an instructor.

Top Gun: Maverick will hit theaters in 2019, with Cruise and Val Kilmer , Lieutenant “Iceman” Kazansky, reprising their respective roles in the highly anticipated action drama, along with a new set of co-stars.

RELATED VIDEO: Watch Tom Cruise Force a ‘Terrified’ James Corden to Jump Out of an Airplane

Miles Teller is joining the film as Goose’s son. Goose was originally played by Anthony Edwards and died in an accident for which Maverick blames himself.

Other actors considered for the role were Hidden Figures ’ Glen Powell, who’s since joined the cast in another role, and X-Men ’s Nicholas Hoult.

Top Gun: Maverick is scheduled for release on July 12, 2019.

'Top Gun: Maverick' Cast & Character Guide: Who's Who in the Legacy Sequel

Meet the daring pilots joining Maverick in the Danger Zone!

Top Gun: Maverick is one of the biggest blockbusters since the 2020 pandemic. The film sees Pete "Maverick" Mitchell ( Tom Cruise ) return to the esteemed school, Top Gun, to lead a group of young aviators on a near-impossible mission. Seeing Tom Cruise return to Top Gun over 30 years later was a memorable sight. Top Gun: Maverick features familiar faces, new characters, and even appearances of characters who were only mentioned by name. This is a complete character guide for Top Gun: Maverick. Now that the biggest film of the year is available to stream exclusively on Paramount+, we’ve got you covered on who's who.

Maverick flying over Admiral

Related: When Will ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Be Available To Stream?

Tom Cruise as Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell

top gun maverick tom cruise poster social featured

The main character of both Top Gun films is Maverick himself, Pete Mitchell, played by the legendary Tom Cruise. Maverick started as a loose cannon who marched at the beat of his own drum. After the death of his best friend, Goose ( Anthony Edwards ), Maverick learned to grow up and become one of the best aviators in the Navy. When we meet Maverick in the Top Gun sequel, he is still as stubborn as ever, but now he’s often fighting for others. Once he’s tasked with returning to Top Gun, Maverick’s number one priority is making sure the pilots return home from their mission with zero casualties.

Tom Cruise is one of the biggest stars on the planet. You can see him in Edge of Tomorrow , the Mission Impossible series, and American Made ; his upcoming films include Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning (Parts 1 and 2), with both Luna Park and Edge of Tomorrow 2 in development.

Val Kilmer as Adm. Tom "Iceman" Kazansky

Val Kilmer as Iceman in Top Gun Maverick

Top Gun: Maverick went so far as to make Kilmer’s real-life battle with cancer a part of Iceman’s character. The Iceman graduated Top Gun alongside Maverick. The two didn’t see eye-to-eye at first, but they became best friends by the end of the first film. Val Kilmer delivers a terrific performance as Ice, and Top Gun: Maverick allowed the actor to return to the role. Kilmer had to retire from acting due to throat cancer so the film might be Kilmer’s last role, making it all the more touching.

Val Kilmer has a stellar filmography. Some of his most iconic work includes Tombstone , Kiss Kiss Bang Bang , and Heat . He’s also known for starring in Joel Schumacher’s cult classic, Batman Forever .

Miles Teller as Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw

top gun maverick miles teller

Miles Teller stars as Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw. The son of Nick ‘Goose’ Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) and Carole Bradshaw ( Meg Ryan ), Rooster and Maverick’s relationship is one of the film's most significant sources of tension. After the death of Goose in the first film, Maverick feels guilt but also a duty to take care of Carole and Bradley. This leads to friction between Bradley and Maverick since Carole doesn’t want Bradley to be an aviator and get killed like his father. As a favor to Carole, Maverick sets Rooster back three years.

This doesn’t stop Rooster, and he becomes a solid naval aviator. Good enough to be invited back to Top Gun, where Maverick confronts him. The two have a unique relationship, and Rooster is one of the standout characters. Miles Teller is best known for his performances in Whiplash , War Dogs , and Fantastic Four (2015). His most recent film is Spiderhead , and his upcoming projects are The Ark and the Aardvark , The Fence , and The Gorge where he'll star alongside Anya Taylor-Joy .

Jennifer Connelly as Penny Benjamin

top-gun-maverick jennifer connelly social featured

Penny is a character that was referenced in the original Top Gun but didn’t make an appearance until Top Gun Maverick . Penny and Maverick have had an on-again-off-again relationship for years, and we see their latest encounter in Top Gun: Maverick . Penny has a daughter named Amelia and owns a bar near Top Gun. Jennifer Connelly brings Penny Benjamin to life. Penny and Mav rekindle their relationship during his time back, and hopefully, it will last. She might be Maverick’s oldest and closest friend, making their bond all the more important to him. Connelly’s notable works include A Beautiful Mind , Requiem For a Dream , and Labyrinth . Connelly will next be seen in Alice Englert 's feature directorial debut Bad Behavior , where she'll star opposite Ben Whishaw .

Lyliana Wray as Amelia Benjamin

Lyliana Wray in Are You Afraid of the Dark

Amelia Benjamin is Penny’s daughter. She loves her mother and has a good rapport with Maverick. With the stranger nature of Penny and Maverick’s relationship, Amelia simply wants what’s best for her mother. Lyliana Wray has guest-starred on Black-ish , The Night Shift , and Strange Angel .

Glen Powell as Lt. Jake "Hangman" Seresin

Glen Powell as Hangman on the tarmac looking off to the side

Lt. Jake Seresin is one of the best pilots in Top Gun, but he’s reckless and leaves his fellow aviators hanging, hence the name. Ironically, Hangman isn’t so different from Maverick during his first stint at Top Gun. In a way, Hangman and Rooster mirror Maverick and Iceman. Glen Powell ’s charisma is on full display as Hangman. The actor initially auditioned for the role of Rooster but later took on the part of Hangman after a conversation with Tom Cruise . Glen Powell previously starred in Set It Up , Scream Queens , and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society . He most recently starred in another aviation-themed film, Devotion , where he starred opposite Jonathan Majors . Powell's career has exploded since the release of Top Gun: Maverick landing leading roles in high-profile projects like Richard Linklater 's action-comedy Hitman , the Kat Coiro -directed buddy-comedy Foreign Relations where he'll play opposite Nick Jonas , and the big-budget Prime Video original series Butch & Sundance which also stars Regé-Jean Page and is a reboot of the classic film Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid .

Monica Barbaro as Lt. Natasha "Phoenix" Trace


Phoenix is one of two female pilots invited to Top Gun. She is often at odds with Hangman and a friend to Rooster and the rest of the aviators. Monica Barbaro is best known for her time on Chicago Justice , The Good Cop , and Splitting Up Togethe r. Her next projects will be a voice-role in the Netflix anime series Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas and playing the co-lead in the Arnold Schwarzenegger -led Netflix series Utap .

Related: 'Top Gun: Maverick': Watch Miles Teller Rock Out to "Great Balls of Fire" in New Video

Lewis Pullman as Lt. Robert "Bob" Floyd


Bob becomes Phoenix's second seat and a trusted friend. His name is Bob, and his call sign is Bob, making for pretty funny banter between him and his fellow pilots. Lewis Pullman has previously appeared in Bad Times at the El Royale , Catch-22 , and Them That Follow . His subsequent appearances are in Thelma , Auxiliary Man , Salem’s Lot , and the Brie Larson -led Apple series Lessons in Chemistry .

Jay Ellis as Lt. Reuben "Payback" Fitch

top gun maverick image jay ellis

Payback and his partner Fanboy prove to be terrific pilots under Maverick’s teachings. So much so that they are chosen as major players in the upcoming mission. Jay Ellis starred as Payback and was previously seen in Insecure , Mrs. America , and Masters of Sex . His next role is in the forthcoming film, Someone I Used to Know from director Dave Franco .

Danny Ramirez as Lt. Mickey "Fanboy" Garcia


Fanboy is Payback’s flight partner and operates the backseat controls. He serves the same role Bob does for Pheonix or what Goose did for Maverick. Danny Ramirez most recently appeared in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier , Assassination Nation , and No Exit . His upcoming projects are Plus/Minus , Chestnut , and Captain America: New World Order .

Bashir Salahuddin as Wo-1. Bernie "Hondo" Coleman

Bashir Salahuddin as Hondo on the tarmac smiling

Bernie is a Warrant Officer Rank 1 and is working on a program that Maverick is test-piloting. When Maverick gets called back to Top Gun, Hondo goes with him and becomes his assistant coach. Bashir Salahuddin is the writer and star of Sherman’s Showcase , where he plays Sherman McDaniels. He has also appeared in Robot Chicken , The Dropout , and has an upcoming project titled Paradise .

Jon Hamm as Adm. Beau "Cyclone" Simpson

Jon Hamm as Cyclone talking to the rest of the class

Admiral Simpson is tasked with overseeing Maverick’s mission. He doesn’t tolerate Maverick’s shenanigans and doesn’t think he’s the man for the job. Cyclone is very strict and has a no-nonsense attitude, making him the perfect foil for Maverick. Jon Ham is best known as Don Draper from Mad Men. He has also appeared in Tag , Baby Driver , The Town , and he most recently starred in the title role in Confess, Fletch . 2023 looks to be a huge year for Hamm, he'll be reprising his role as Gabriel in Season 2 of Good Omens , will be joining the cast of Season 3 of the Apple original series The Morning Show , will play one of the leads in Season 5 of Fargo , he'll lend his voice to the animated comedy series Grimsburg, and will star in John Slattery 's directorial debut Maggie Moore(s) .

Charles Parnell as Adm. Solomon "Warlock" Bates


Admiral Bates is much more forgiving of Maverick’s past and wants to support him. Warlock works alongside Cyclone and offers a less-strict approach to the situation at hand. Charles Parnell has starred in many projects, including, The Last Ship , The Venture Bros. , and T ransformers: Age of Extinction . He most recently appeared in the FX series Kindred . He is slated to appear in Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning - Part One and David Fincher 's action-noir film The Killer .

Ed Harris as Rear Admiral Chaster "Hammer" Cain


Ed Harris has a brief appearance in Top Gun: Maverick , but his presence is felt. We meet Hammer when Maverick is attempting to push his plane to Mach 10 to save the program he’s currently test-piloting for. Hammer arrives to shut down the program in person, and Maverick is flying overhead as he comes. Hammer later informs Maverick that Iceman wants him to report to Top Gun. Ed Harris is known for his roles in The Truman Show , Apollo 13 , Westworld , and Pollock . His upcoming projects include Love Lies Bleeding , Downtown Owl , and Get Away If You Can .

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Tom Cruise as Capt Pete Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick.

Top Gun: Maverick review – irresistible Tom Cruise soars in a blockbuster sequel

Cinema’s favourite ageless fighter pilot returns with all the nail-biting aeronautics and emotional sucker punches that made the original an 80s-defining hit

A nd we’re back. A full 36 years (including some Covid-related runway delays) after Tony Scott’s big-screen recruitment advert for US naval aviators became an epoch-defining cinema hit, Tom Cruise is back doing what he does best – flashing his cute/crazy superstar smile and flexing his bizarrely ageless body in an eye-popping blockbuster that, for all its daft macho contrivances, still manages to take your breath away, dammit.

From the burnished opening shots of planes waltzing off an aircraft carrier to the strains of Kenny Loggins’s Danger Zone , little has changed in the world of Top Gun – least of all Cruise. Maverick may be testing jets out in the Mojave desert, but he’s still got the jacket, the bike(s), the aviator shades and (most importantly) the “need for speed” that made him a hit back in 1986. He also has the machine-tooled rebellious streak that has prevented him rising above the level of captain – showcased in an opening Mach 10 sequence that doesn’t so much tip its hat to Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff as fly straight past it with a super-smug popcorn-eating grin. See ya, serious movie suckers!

“Your kind is headed for extinction,” growls Ed Harris’s forward-looking rear admiral (nicknamed the “Drone Ranger”) before admitting through gritted teeth that Maverick has in fact been called back to the Top Gun programme – not to fly, but to teach the “best of the best” how to blow up a uranium enrichment plant at face-melting velocity, a mission that will require not one but “ two consecutive miracles”. “I’m not a teacher,” Maverick insists, “I’m a fighter pilot.” But, of course, he can be both.

True to form, Maverick promptly throws the rulebook in the bin ( literally – the metaphors are not subtle) and tells his team of fresh-faced hopefuls that the only thing that matters is “your limits; I intend to find them, and test them”. Cue dog-fight training sequences played out to classic jukebox cuts, while thrusting young guns do 200 push-ups on the runway. In the local bar, an underused Jennifer Connelly serves up drinks and love-interest sass (Kelly McGillis was apparently not invited to this party) while Miles Teller ’s Rooster bangs out Great Balls of Fire on the piano, prompting a flashback to Maverick cradling Anthony Edwards’s Goose, who got famously cooked in the first film.

And therein lies what passes for the heart of the piece; because Rooster is Goose’s son, and Maverick (who still blames himself) doesn’t want to be responsible for history repeating itself. “If I send him on this mission,” Cruise emotes, “he might not come back; if I don’t send him, he’ll never forgive me. Either way I could lose him for ever.” Tough call, bro.

Cruise has described making a Top Gun sequel as being like trying to hit a bullet with a bullet – which is exactly the kind of thing that Maverick would say. Yet working with director Joseph Kosinski (with whom Cruise made Oblivion ) and scriptwriters including regular collaborator Christopher McQuarrie, he has done just that. For all its nostalgic, Miller Time sequences of shirtless beach sports and oddly touching character callbacks (a cameo from Val Kilmer ’s Iceman proves unexpectedly affecting), Top Gun: Maverick offers exactly the kind of air-punching spectacle that reminds people why a trip to the cinema beats staying at home and watching Netflix.

The plot trajectory may be predictable to the point of ridicule (like Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman , Tom is going up where he belongs) but the emotional beats are as finely choreographed as the stunts. As for the “don’t think, just do” mantra (a cheeky rehash of Star Wars ’s “Use the force, Luke”), it’s as much an instruction to the audience as to the pilots.

Personally, I found myself powerless to resist; overawed by the ‘“real flight” aeronautics and nail-biting sky dances, bludgeoned by the sugar-frosted glow of Cruise’s mercilessly engaging facial muscles, and shamefully brought to tears by moments of hate-yourself-for-going-with-it manipulation. In the immortal words of Abba’s Waterloo, “I was defeated, you won the war”. I give up.

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  • The New <i>Top Gun</i> Is So Much Better Than the First One

The New Top Gun Is So Much Better Than the First One

I t no longer matters whether you like or dislike Tom Cruise : no matter how good he looks in his ultra-moisturized, deal-with-the-devil skin, his ship has sailed not just into the waters of middle age, but beyond them. Always a performer desperate to be liked, Cruise has entered a new era, one of potential irrelevance, which could be the best thing that’s ever happened to him. In a world where we’re all either captivated or annoyed by TikTok , freaked out about global warming and the loss of a woman’s right to choose , and trying to coax recalcitrant relatives into getting vaccinated, it’s not even worth the effort to dislike him. And that, if you’re a person who has never liked Tom Cruise, frees you to enjoy the myriad over-the-top pleasures of Top Gun: Maverick.

Top Gun: Maverick , directed by Joseph Kosinski, is a much better film than its predecessor was, and much better than it needs to be overall. Tony Scott’s 1986 jockstrap of a movie about hotshot Naval pilots—produced by fast-lane Hollywood players Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, who perhaps bear more responsibility for its numbnuts machismo than Scott does—is a caveman relic that has achieved enduring popularity, a high-fiving fantasy populated with dude bros before we even had a name for them. In the ’80s, we went to Jim Jarmusch movies to get away from these guys.

Yet it’s easy to make peace with the 2022 version of these men, Cruise included. Top Gun: Maverick takes place in a world where no one seems to be all that worried about the threat to modern masculinity. One of the pilots in the current gang happens to be a woman (she’s played by Monica Barbaro), but even if that’s a significant departure from the 1986 movie, made at a time when women weren’t allowed to fly in combat, it’s still beside the point. Without ridiculing or diminishing them, Top Gun: Maverick allows its male characters to have doubts and insecurities, to fear that maybe they can’t be the best, to worry about being too old to matter. At one point Ed Harris, playing a crusty admiral in a cameo role that nods to The Right Stuff, one of the truly great movies of the ’80s, practically snarls at Cruise, playing aging whippersnapper Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, for disobeying orders: “The future is coming, and you’re not in it.” Even if this is cartoon anxiety about being sent out to pasture, it still counts. Every generation gets the feeling of creeping obsolescence it deserves.

And Maverick is feeling it. Never having achieved a rank higher than Captain, knowing that climbing the ranks would only ground him, he’s been working as a test pilot for the Navy: in an early sequence, he gets his Chuck Yeager moment, climbing into a plane that’s like a space bird and pushing both it and himself to the limit. What has he got to lose? But it turns out that that proverbial one last job is waiting for him: His old friend and rival Iceman ( Val Kilmer , whose inability to speak has been deftly written into the role), who is now officially a big gun, has called him in to train a group of youngsters for an almost impossible mission. They’ll have to guide their planes through—not above—a twisty canyon, flying at dangerously low altitudes, with the goal of taking out an enemy airstrip and bunker. Jealous Navy dude and uptight authority figure Cyclone (Jon Hamm) doesn’t think Maverick is up to the task, which of course means he can’t turn it down.

Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick

So Maverick returns to the place where it all started, the Top Gun training site known as Miramar, a.k.a. Fightertown U.S.A. He makes the move, apparently, on his motorcycle, with nothing more than his trademark patch-adorned leather jacket on his back. Who needs a U-Haul full of sofas, toaster ovens, and pants and T-shirts when you can just jump, unhelmeted, on your bike and go? Even before his first day on the job, he encounters his 12 recruits as they whoop it up at the local watering hole, which happens to be run by an old flame, Penny (Jennifer Connelly), mentioned in passing in the first movie but now a woman, and a character, with a life of her own. She has a daughter; she loves to sail. In one scene, she gets Maverick out on her boat, where she navigates staunchly at the tiller while Maverick clings tentatively to a railing behind her. Isn’t he supposed to be in the Navy, she asks him? “I don’t sail boats, Penny,” he informs her. “I land on them.”

Thar she blows—wit! Or what passes for it when Cruise is doing the talking. But Maverick is dead-serious when he’s training his pilots, a group he must narrow down to six for the mission. The crew of eager aspirants include Phoenix (Barbaro), whose presence the guys accept, correctly, as no big deal; arrogant Hangman (Glen Powell), toothpick hanging from his mouth with the devil-may-care insouciance of a guy who saw a movie once; and, most significantly, Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick’s old flight partner and best friend Goose (played in the earlier movie by Anthony Edwards), who died during a training maneuver—a loss Maverick has never gotten over, and one he still feels responsible for, even though the Navy has absolved him.

There’s understandable tension between Maverick and Rooster. Rooster wants to charge forward at life; Maverick, though he can barely admit it, would prefer to hold him back just to protect him. This is the central conflict of Top Gun: Maverick, one that’s resolved in the movie’s multilayered and, typically for Cruise, over-the-top climax.

Read more reviews by Stephanie Zacharek

If you haven’t already read a million things about how Top Gun: Maverick was made, and how solemnly Cruise accepted this mission, don’t start now. It’s not really worth it, and it could dull your joy in the fact that this is, at the very least, a feat of old-fashioned action moviemaking, light on CGI, and favoring human beings actually moving and planes actually flying. (Bruckheimer is, incidentally, one of the film’s producers. Simpson died in 1996.) The flying sequences are divine, sometimes tense and sometimes rapturously freeing, and they feel realistic because they’re minimally touched by CGI. (Cruise is an experienced pilot, and got extra training from the Navy on top of that; his fellow actors learned to fly as well.) But even its more casual sequences show definitive flair: at one point Cruise and the younger pilots, all in beachwear, cavort in the surf during a rowdy game of dogfight football. The sun glints off the men’s water-dappled pecs; their aviator sunglasses hide their inevitable squinting. Bruce Weber could have done it better, but Kosinsky—who has made two previous features, the 2010 Tron: Legacy and the 2012 sci-fi drama Oblivion, also starring Cruise—pulls it off even so.

It may be damning Cruise with faint praise to call him tolerable in Top Gun: Maverick. But even if he’s just playing at the indignity of aging rather than truly feeling it, he’s at least attempting to be less of a hologram and more a facsimile of a human. Early in Top Gun: Maverick, he sits at Penny’s bar by himself, looking on as the younger pilots swig their beers, taunt one another, argue with good or ill humor about who’s the best pilot. His gaze—affectionate, a little wistful—signals that he knows what’s coming for him, sooner rather than later. But first, to show these kids he’s still got it. Love Tom Cruise or hate him, he’s the only one we’ve got; his particular set of qualities have no equal. The day he stops needing to prove himself will be like the day a lion loses the will to roar. And only a cruel person would rejoice in that.

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Top Gun: Maverick

2022, Action/Adventure, 2h 11m

What to know

Critics Consensus

Top Gun: Maverick pulls off a feat even trickier than a 4G inverted dive, delivering a long-belated sequel that surpasses its predecessor in wildly entertaining style. Read critic reviews

Audience Says

If you loved the original -- or enjoy some good old-school action -- you need to speed your way to a screening of Top Gun: Maverick . Read audience reviews

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After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose”. Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.

Rating: PG-13 (Some Strong Language|Sequences of Intense Action)

Genre: Action, Adventure

Original Language: English

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer , Tom Cruise , David Ellison , Christopher McQuarrie

Writer: Ehren Kruger , Eric Warren Singer , Christopher McQuarrie

Release Date (Theaters): May 27, 2022  wide

Rerelease Date (Theaters): Sep 8, 2023

Release Date (Streaming): Aug 22, 2022

Box Office (Gross USA): $718.5M

Runtime: 2h 11m

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Production Co: Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Paramount Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Skydance Media

Sound Mix: Dolby Atmos

Aspect Ratio: Scope (2.35:1)

Cast & Crew

Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell

Miles Teller

Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw

Jennifer Connelly

Penny Benjamin

Adm. Beau "Cyclone" Simpson

Glen Powell

Lt. Jake "Hangman" Seresin

Radm. Chester "Hammer" Cain

Adm. Tom "Iceman" Kazansky

Lewis Pullman

Lt. Robert "Bob" Floyd

Charles Parnell

Adm. Solomon "Warlock" Bates

Bashir Salahuddin

Wo-1. Bernie "Hondo" Coleman

Monica Barbaro

Lt. Natasha "Phoenix" Trace

Lt. Reuben "Payback" Fitch

Danny Ramirez

Lt. Mickey "Fanboy" Garcia

Greg Tarzan Davis

Lt. Javy "Coyote" Machado

Jake Picking

Lt. Brigham "Harvard" Lennox

Joseph Kosinski

Ehren Kruger


Eric Warren Singer

Christopher McQuarrie

Jerry Bruckheimer

David Ellison

Tommy Harper

Executive Producer

Dana Goldberg

Don Granger

Mike Stenson

Claudio Miranda


Eddie Hamilton

Film Editing

Harold Faltermeyer

Original Music

Hans Zimmer

Jeremy Hindle

Production Design

David Christopher Campbell

Art Director

Andrew McCarthy

Set Decoration

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Critic Reviews for Top Gun: Maverick

Audience reviews for top gun: maverick.

A long waited sequel that surpasses the Original mainly because of the improvements in technology from 36 Years ago. Cruise hits the right notes as Maverick and Hamm, Teller, Connelly and the young pilots are all superb! I enjoyed every minute and feel this what summer blockbusters are supposed to be. It also pays a nice tribute to the past film. 05-30-2022

tom cruise age top gun maverick

A sequel that improves upon its predecessor in just about every way and while this is still very silly in many respect there is also a satisfying emotional arc at play here that feels totally natural.

When I first saw the original Top Gun, I really wasn't all that impressed. I found it to be incredibly cheesy and uninteresting. I continued to think negatively about it throughout the years but recently gave it another shot before the release of Top Gun: Maverick. I'm more than happy to admit when I'm wrong about something or when my mind changes, and I have to do that here. The first Top Gun is actually glorious for all the 80s cheese it has and the aerial scenes still hold up today. I actually had a good time with the original upon rewatching it. I was curious about this sequel, but I recently became very excited about it. After having seen it now, I can very happily say that Top Gun: Maverick is the definition of the word awesome. Here's why, even with everything working against me enjoying it over the last number of years, I highly recommend seeing it in theatres. Picking up over three decades after the events of Top Gun, this film once again follows Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise), but this time he is brought back to the Top Gun program to be an instructor for graduates. Training the best of the best for a near-impossible mission, this film is filled with training sequences, all of which are thrilling. You don't go to a film like Top Gun: Maverick for the story, but it also delivers on that front. With just enough substance, a likeable cast, and some terrific performances in some very key scenes, I was engaged with this film from start to finish. My only issue with the film overall is the fact that it does feel like an updated version of the original (in all of the best ways possible though). From the same musical queues to very similar scenes involving familiar characters, this film borrows many of the classic moments from the first film. It also has a similar structure to the first film and even some of the cheesy dialogue is present as well. Everything else about this sequel is so well done though that these moments all felt like they were intentional and they worked in the context of the film. Sometimes it's a little too on the nose, but I forgave that, simply because this cast sold every moment of it. This new crew that Maverick has to work with has charisma for days.  Ever since I saw Glen Powell in Everybody Wants Some!! I knew I was going to seek out anything he did next. He has the capabilities of being a real movie star and I hope he becomes more of a household name in the future. His performance as the cockiest pilot in the group really worked and his banter back and forth with Miles Teller (who portrays the son of 'Goose,' Maverick's old partner) also does a very good job here. There are many scenes between Cruise and Teller that made me tear up. The emotion is real in this film and that's why I felt so much for these characters. With that said, it's the aerial scenes that make these films stick with you and wow does this film deliver.  Every moment these planes are in the air felt real and authentic. I never once felt like I was looking at an effect. That's obviously due to the fact that this cast was in the planes as much as they were allowed to be. From the incredible sound design to the engaging action that has real stakes, my heart was pounding and my eyes were glued to the screen. This is the most thrilling, big screen Blockbuster I've seen in a while. If you're able to see it on the biggest screen possible, I suggest doing so. This movie is great, but the theatrical experience will make it so much better. Top Gun: Maverick is a true thrill ride from start to finish and I can't wait to see it again.

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Top gun: maverick, common sense media reviewers.

tom cruise age top gun maverick

Tamer sequel to '80s fave has peril, cursing, solid message.

Top Gun: Maverick Movie Poster

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Strong theme of second chances and redemption. Ski

Maverick has grown from his mistakes and teaches a

Racial and gender diversity among Navy personnel.

Intense moments of peril during dangerous flight m

Romance. A clothed couple makes intense eye contac

Strong language includes "d--khead," "hell," "s--t

Some brands are presented as aspirational, includi

Hanging out and drinking at a bar is shown to be f

Parents need to know that Top Gun: Maverick is the long-awaited sequel to '80s favorite Top Gun. Expect frequent intense peril and aerial combat, but kills aren't bloody, and you can see someone ejecting with a parachute after their plane is hit. Time has made Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom…

Positive Messages

Strong theme of second chances and redemption. Skill and instinct are a result of a thorough knowledge of the material plus training, practice, and learning from those with experience.

Positive Role Models

Maverick has grown from his mistakes and teaches a new generation to avoid prideful errors. He's willing to sacrifice his own reputation and status to do what he feels is right. He still defies authority, but usually with a purpose -- for the betterment of his colleagues. Several young fighter pilots are aspirational in their skill level and camaraderie, especially Phoenix, who holds her own (and then some) against the male pilots.

Diverse Representations

Racial and gender diversity among Navy personnel. The one female fighter pilot in the training group, a Latina woman (Monica Barbaro), is razzed about her gender by a male classmate but doesn't take it and proves she's just as capable as (or more capable than) her male colleagues.

Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.

Violence & Scariness

Intense moments of peril during dangerous flight missions and training sessions. Aerial combat, including planes being shot down and blowing up.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.

Sex, Romance & Nudity

Romance. A clothed couple makes intense eye contact while one is positioned above the other, who's lying on her back; in the next scene, they're talking and laughing while he's in bed shirtless and she's clothed, implying that they had sex. Kissing. Men are shirtless while playing sports.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.

Strong language includes "d--khead," "hell," "s--t," and one instance of "what the f--k."

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

Products & Purchases

Some brands are presented as aspirational, including a Ford Bronco and a Porsche. Additionally, Budweiser and Sailor Jerry rum are featured in a bar.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Hanging out and drinking at a bar is shown to be fun, cool, and a way to build relationships with others.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Top Gun: Maverick is the long-awaited sequel to '80s favorite Top Gun . Expect frequent intense peril and aerial combat, but kills aren't bloody, and you can see someone ejecting with a parachute after their plane is hit. Time has made Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell ( Tom Cruise ) more responsible, but he still sometimes can't help defying authority. And while many '80s teens likely saw his character as proof that cocky was cool and winning was everything, now Mav teaches his aviator students that knowledge and preparation hone the instincts they need for successful outcomes. He also passes on a moral code: Never leave your wingman. Mav's romance with Penny ( Jennifer Connelly ) is tame: A brief scene implies sex, but she's always shown fully clothed. As is the Top Gun way, the shirtlessness is reserved for men enjoying sandy sports together. Language is mostly "s--t," but there's one use of "d--khead" and a "what the f--k." It's possible to follow the movie's story as a standalone, but it will be far more meaningful if you've seen the first film -- and it will drive home the message that growth and change of perspective come with life experience. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .

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Community Reviews

  • Parents say (52)
  • Kids say (130)

Based on 52 parent reviews

From a Navy fighter pilot - AMAZING. Absolute must-see.

Feel good action film, what's the story.

In TOP GUN: MAVERICK, Tom Cruise reprises his role as Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, who's found his niche in the Navy as a test pilot, pushing the limits of new aircraft. When his friend and former rival Adm. Tom "Iceman" Kazansky ( Val Kilmer ) reassigns Maverick to train a new group of Top Gun graduates for a special high-risk mission, he must return to Miramar. But when he learns that the class includes Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw ( Miles Teller ), the son of Maverick's late best friend, Goose, he must find a way to resolve the past -- for the sake of Rooster's future.

Is It Any Good?

Compared to the original, this sequel is 70% less sweaty, 85% less sexy, and 90% more tween appropriate. Top Gun: Maverick is a tale of redemption both for Maverick and for the original film. Top Gun is a piece of classic cinema, one of the most significant films of the 1980s. But it projected hyper masculinity as aspirational, arrogance as cool, and the idea that rules are for losers. The fact that Maverick's recklessness cost his best friend his life was lost in the excitement of the Danger Zone and the camaraderie of volleyball on the beach and serenading bar beauties.

Top Gun: Maverick remedies this -- so much so that it's actually a really great idea to watch them as a double feature with teens and tweens. In the sequel, the perspective is flipped, with the class of swaggering fighter pilots shown from the instructor's point of view. They're not ready, they're overly confident, and it's clear that they need structure and guidance. Still shattered from Goose's death all these years later and afraid that Goose's son, Bradley (Teller), could lose his life the same way, Maverick has to teach the young guns how to take risks in the most risk-averse way. The movie's romance no longer has an uneven power dynamic (ahem, dating the teacher), either: Maverick's love interest, Penny ( Jennifer Connelly ), is the same age and has her own, separate career -- and things between them get about as sexy as a starched collar. Where viewers are likely to feel the intensity is in the aerial combat, which is notably more breathtaking and includes stunning action sequences. Cruise is known for insisting on authenticity by performing stunts himself, and he and the other actors really fly these planes. That helps make the film more immersive. Many former '80s teens have fond memories of watching Top Gun with their parents. Top Gun: Maverick is made for that experience to continue.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about "trusting your gut." What does that mean, and how can you cultivate an instinct?

What does Maverick mean when he says that being a pilot "is not what I am, it's who I am." Are you so passionate about anything that it feels like part of your personality?

In both films, Top Gun classmates have a rivalry. How can competition be used to help push you to be your best, and when can it be unhealthy?

What is the purpose of a sequel? How does Top Gun: Maverick complete the journey of Capt. Pete Mitchell? What characters from other movies would you like to check in on 30 years later?

How do characters demonstrate courage and humility ?

Movie Details

  • In theaters : May 27, 2022
  • On DVD or streaming : August 23, 2022
  • Cast : Tom Cruise , Jennifer Connelly , Miles Teller , Val Kilmer
  • Director : Joseph Kosinski
  • Studio : Paramount Pictures
  • Genre : Action/Adventure
  • Topics : Friendship
  • Character Strengths : Courage , Humility
  • Run time : 131 minutes
  • MPAA rating : PG-13
  • MPAA explanation : sequences of intense action, and some strong language
  • Awards : Academy Award , Common Sense Selection
  • Last updated : March 13, 2023

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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How Old Is Tom Cruise's Maverick in Top Gun: Maverick?

Maverick's age plays a surprisingly large role in both the original Top Gun and its blockbuster sequel. The producers went with the simplest answer.

The success of Top Gun: Maverick runs headlong against a number of Hollywood conventions, not the least of which is the age of its star. The perennially boyish Tom Cruise is currently in his sixties: well past the age of expiration for most action movie heroes. Yet, not only does he make it work, but Maverick fits the paradox into its story, as Cruise's Pete Mitchell remains an active captain when his peers have gone on to senior command positions . It helped the film become a colossal critical and commercial hit .

It does beggar the question of Maverick's age, however. The new movie doesn't specify how old he is, nor does the old one. The most agreed-upon answer is both simpler and more complicated than it appears. The short version is that he shares a birth year with the actor playing him. But that also encompasses a key part of his background , as well as the two movies' respective plots.

RELATED: Top Gun: Maverick Director Reacts to Steven Spielberg's Shock Compliment

Maverick's Age Plays into Top Gun's Story


The original Top Gun reveals one of Maverick's biggest character motivations: unresolved issues surrounding his father. His dad was a combat pilot in Vietnam, shot down under classified circumstances that leave him with a sullied name. Late in the film, Maverick's mentor Viper confirms that the senior Mitchell died a hero, which lets Maverick put his father's memory to rest. That also means that Maverick needs to be old enough to remember his father, but young enough to have few lasting memories of him. That would put his birth year somewhere close to the start of the Vietnam War, but before his father shipped out.

His age also matters in terms of the Top Gun program that he attends. Navy pilots need a four-year college degree, plus specialized training in order to become pilots. According to a 2022 article in Skies Magazine , the real-world TOPGUN school's pilots often apply after their first tour of duty, which typically lasts six months. That likely puts Maverick in his mid-twenties when the events of the film take place, which roughly matches the timeline regarding his father.

That comes into play in the sequel as well. At a certain point, age catches up to fighter pilots, whose job often entails considerable physical strain and requires razor-sharp reflexes. Yet, Maverick is still at the job in Top Gun: Maverick -- largely by piloting experimental planes -- well past the age where either promotion or retirement should have caught up with him. Both movies presume a contemporary setting, putting 2022's Maverick 36 years after 1986's Top Gun .

RELATED: Top Gun: Maverick's Jennifer Connelly Hid Her Fear of Flying From Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise Fits the Age in Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise as Maverick in a cockpit in Top Gun: Maverick.

Fitting Maverick into the needs of both movies -- and his own backstory with his father -- is key to the character's development. It gives him an organic history, as well as a few demons to overcome, which has helped make the two Top Gun films more than just empty pinball games. While the movies are purely fiction, Maverick's age does loosely correspond to the real-world requirements for someone in his position. Cruise's own physical fitness and current status as an action star make it easier to believe that Maverick might stay in the pilot's seat all these years, and Maverick is clear that his superiors think he's decades past the time to be put out to seed.

After all that, with the needs of the character and the film's respective plots in the forefront, the best answer is still the easiest. Cruise was born in 1962, which is the ideal fit for Maverick's timeline . It would put the loss of his father sometime between the age of 3 and 13. This would also make him 24 during his first stint in Top Gun school, and just tickling 60 during the events of Top Gun: Maverick . Both films were written with Cruise in mind, and have added his age to the character's story accordingly.

clock This article was published more than  1 year ago

Tom Cruise’s rare feat: Reviving Maverick, 36 years later

The new ‘top gun’ sequel isn’t the first time an actor has returned to a role after a long hiatus, but it doesn’t happen often.

Tom Cruise has hung off the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai and dangled from the wing of a plane thousands of feet above the earth. He has ridden a motorcycle off a cliff and held his breath underwater for six and a half minutes. He has even survived starring in “Cocktail” (1988) and jumping on Oprah’s couch (2005). But with the theatrical release of “Top Gun: Maverick,” Cruise accomplishes a feat that could be record-breaking. He’s portraying a character — hotshot fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell — that he first brought to the screen 36 years ago, perhaps the longest delay for a return appearance in Hollywood movie history.

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ rocks, with finesse, style and genuine emotion

Double plays (and more) are hardly unheard of, especially in a modern Hollywood addicted to franchise properties and characters. More people know Robert Downey Jr. from nine movies — nine! — as Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man , than from anything else he has done in his career. But Cruise’s feat is unusual for a number of reasons. The original “Top Gun” (1986) was a massive hit and a pop-culture touchstone (and a pretty terrible movie, but never mind), but it was always a one-and-done experience. When Maverick flew off into the sunset with Kelly McGillis’s Charlie at the end, everyone got up and went home.

Yet here’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” arriving nearly four decades after the original. To be fair, the sequel, which sees the hero put in charge of a cadre of young pilots assigned a dangerous mission against a conveniently anonymous enemy, began production four years ago and was originally scheduled for a July 2019 premiere. Production delays and the arrival of the coronavirus pushed back the release date no less than five times; even Cruise is helpless against the massed forces of delta and omicron. Ironically, the delay has only heightened expectations, and a project that seemed like a punchline when it was announced in 2010 has bowled over preview audiences and early critics in blockbuster-starved 2022.

The delays also gave Cruise the apparent record by lengthening the time between original and sequel. There have been several instances of an actor returning late in life to a character they established earlier, and in almost every case the phenomenon arises from the combination of a star whose career longevity has achieved legendary (or at least near-legendary) proportions and a property that audiences might want to pay to see again. Is the motive always mercenary? I can think of only three examples where the urge for the swallows to return to Capistrano is predicated on genuine creative curiosity or at least random serendipity.

The class act in this category is Paul Newman chalking his pool cue again as “Fast Eddie” Felson in Martin Scorsese’s “The Color of Money” (1986), a quarter-century after “The Hustler” (1961). Newman’s Oscar win was especially sweet, given that he’d been nominated for best actor six times before — including for “The Hustler” and “Hud” and “Cool Hand Luke” and “The Verdict” — without taking the prize.

Money may have been the deciding factor in Marlon Brando taking on the role of Mafia don Carmine Sabatini in “The Freshman” (1990) 18 years after Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” (1972), but the movie itself, a wonderfully flaky comedy, hardly feels like a cash grab. Does this even count as a return appearance, because Brando’s character isn’t Vito Corleone but (supposedly) the man who inspired him? Feel free to argue, but “The Freshman” wouldn’t exist without “The Godfather,” and that’s that. (Coincidentally, 1990 also saw Brando’s one-time co-star Al Pacino return to his “Godfather” role in the “The Godfather Part III,” a movie that only proved lightning doesn’t strike thrice.)

Were audiences clamoring for Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in “Bill & Ted Face the Music” (2020) three decades after “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989) charmed teenage stoners everywhere? Not really, which is one reason the movie’s so funny. Usually when actors deign to return to a classic role, they arrive with star wattage weathered but undimmed by time; the chiseled Cruise of “Top Gun: Maverick” makes the flyboy of the first film look like he’s still working off his baby fat. Reeves and Winter just look … older, and the film keeps booting them down the line into various futures to worsening effect. It’s all oddly cheering, as if you or I had been called upon to reprise our high school play at the 30th reunion.

Otherwise, these overdue returns are a form of what we now call fan service, in which a nostalgic blockbuster enterprise is dusted off two or three decades later with the original stars bringing gravitas to the project — or at least audiences wanting to touch a known talisman from their pop culture past. Sylvester Stallone returned to “Rambo” (2008) 20 years after “Rambo III” (1988) and “Rocky Balboa” (2006) 21 years after “Rocky IV” (1985). Leonard Nimoy re-upped as Spock for the 2009 “Star Trek” reboot 20 years after the last Trek movie with the original cast. Sean Connery cried uncle and agreed to play James Bond one more time in the aptly titled “Never Say Never Again” (1983), 12 years after “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971).

Have you noticed anything missing here? Like, maybe, actresses? Aside from Linda Hamilton reprising her role as Sarah Connor in “Terminator: Dark Fate” (2019), 28 years after “Terminator 2,” the delayed return visit seems mostly a male phenomenon, for reasons that don’t reflect well on Hollywood or on audiences. In the classic studio era, Bette Davis played Queen Elizabeth I twice in 16 years (“The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex” in 1939 and “The Virgin Queen” in 1955), but only because as far as anyone was concerned she was Queen Elizabeth — regal, peremptory, eternal. Otherwise, it’s the depressing truth that male movie stars are allowed to age in popular culture but not their female counterparts.

If you doubt that, remember the online insults from callow fanboys that greeted the late Carrie Fisher’s General Leia Organa in “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens” (2015). The actress responded valiantly, tweeting “Please stop debating about whether or not I aged well. Unfortunately it hurts all three of my feelings,” but why would anyone want to submit themselves to that? Kelly McGillis, Cruise’s co-star in 1986, is 64 now and wasn’t asked to be in “Top Gun: Maverick,” and that’s fine by her. “I’m old, and I’m fat, and I look age-appropriate for what my age is,” McGillis cheerfully told reporters. (Jennifer Connelly, 51, plays the love interest in the new movie.)

The humanity and humor of Carrie Fisher

That said, the undisputed king of returning movie warriors has to be Harrison Ford, by dint of his starring in the two franchises that started the ball rolling in the first place. “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens” (2015) came out 32 years after Ford’s last appearance as Han Solo, in “Return of the Jedi” (1983), while “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (2008) appeared 19 years after “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989). And let’s not forget the 35 years between “Blade Runner” (1982) and “Blade Runner 2049” (2017).

If you’re counting from the character’s debut, Ford’s last major appearance in a Star Wars film came out 38 years after the first, which gives him the crown. And the star still isn’t done. There’s a new Indy movie, already shot but as yet untitled, in the can for release in June 2023. It will mark 42 years since Ford first appeared as Indiana Jones.

Take that, Tom Cruise.

Ty Burr is the author of the movie recommendation newsletter Ty Burr’s Watch List at .

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tom cruise age top gun maverick

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The Golden Age of the Aging Actor

Tom Cruise in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ isn’t the exception—he’s the rule. There’s long been anecdotal evidence that top-line actors and actresses are getting older. Now, The Ringer has the data to back it up.

tom cruise age top gun maverick

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Like its predecessor, Top Gun: Maverick is a movie about sweaty beach sports , awkward sex scenes , and dogfights with enemies of uncertain national origin . More so than the original, though, it’s also about aging. Maverick, a trainee in Top Gun , is now an instructor, regarded as a fossil, an old-timer, the last of his kind. Tethered to the past, he’s told that he’s going to get grounded as the guard changes not just to the next generation of pilots, but to uncrewed drones. He teaches his students that “Time is your greatest enemy,” a lesson hammered home by his old frenemy Iceman’s struggle with cancer. “It’s time to let go,” Iceman informs him. “I don’t know how,” Maverick replies.

All of this seems to make the movie a metaphor for film stardom. Tom Cruise, who first played Maverick when he was 23 and reprises the role in his late 50s, is a household name who hails from an era when there was such a thing, and when people, not IPs, were the biggest box-office attractions; he’s “Hollywood’s Last Real Movie Star,” as a recent New York Times feature dubbed him, or “The Last Action Hero,” as Ringer contributor Noah Gittell did . It may be true that Cruise’s kind of big-screen (or any -screen) star is “headed to extinction,” to borrow a phrase from Maverick’s boss, rear admiral Chester Cain (Ed Harris). But even if, as Cain says, “the end is inevitable,” Hollywood hasn’t let go of aging actors just yet. In fact, it’s clinging ever more tightly to them.

In the past 20 years—and particularly the last 10 to 15—the average age of actors appearing toward the top of the bill in film and TV projects has risen significantly. Whereas the star, or the top two or three stars, of the typical movie or TV series released in the closing decades of the 20th century was typically in their late 30s—several years older than the median age of the United States population at the time—today’s average actor age has reached the mid-40s and is steadily climbing toward 50. Actors who became fixtures on big screens and small in previous decades haven’t given way to new blood as quickly as was once customary. As a result, Hollywood’s leading men and women of today bear a strong resemblance to the leading men and women from the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s after a trip to the beach from Old —except, of course, for the fact that actors like Cruise (who’ll turn 60 next week) don’t always look their age. The graying of actors—the ones with their natural hair colors, at least—appears to be the product of a confluence of factors that reflect the fracturing of culture in the post-monoculture age, the industry’s gravitation toward franchises and sequels, shifts in audience demographics, efforts to promote more inclusive casting, and a growing range of options for maintaining a more youthful appearance.

Top Gun: Maverick features 50-somethings Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, and Jon Hamm; 62-year-old Val Kilmer; and 71-year-old Ed Harris. The movie also makes space for a smattering of 30-somethings, led by Miles Teller, Glen Powell, and Jay Ellis (who turned 40 after filming finished), but the oldsters are the stars. Audiences have happily turned out to see them: The movie opened big at the box office over Memorial Day weekend, and its appeal has proved resilient in subsequent weeks. The movie has surpassed a cumulative gross of $500 million domestically and $1 billion worldwide, and although COVID concerns kept many older film watchers away from theaters during the peak of the pandemic, 55 percent of people who bought tickets to Top Gun in its opening weekend were over 35.

In this era, the average age of Top Gun ’s top two actors hardly stands out. Consider the duos associated with other recent, high-profile releases such as Coming 2 America (Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall) or Only Murders in the Building (Steve Martin and Martin Short); the aged (and sometimes digitally de-aged) ensembles of The Irishman or the just-concluded Grace and Frankie ; or the leads of Star Trek: Picard (Patrick Stewart) or Hacks (Jean Smart). The Taylor Sheridanverse that’s taking over TV features lead actors who range from their 50s to their late 70s: Kevin Costner, Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, Jeremy Renner. Heck, an increasing percentage of movies have had “Old” in their titles: Not only Old , but also All of the Old Knives , The Old Way , and Old Henry , just since the start of 2021. On TV, there’s the almost too on-the-nose The Old Man , the new FX/Hulu series featuring 72-year-old Jeff Bridges and 76-year-old John Lithgow.

tom cruise age top gun maverick

Granted, aged actors gracing the screen is not a new phenomenon, and neither is naming movies and TV shows with the word “Old.” (Old Yeller was only five years old , but the Grumpy —and Grumpier —Old Men were getting up there.) However, our analysis of IMDb data shows that this apparent aging of actors isn’t just anecdotal. The graph below displays the average age (at time of release) of the top-listed actor, top two listed actors, and top three listed actors in movies produced since 1980 that have garnered at least 1,000 IMDb user ratings (a really low bar cleared by 3,000 to 4,000 movies per year worldwide, including streaming releases).

tom cruise age top gun maverick

The same pattern appears in all three, as it does if we focus on more exclusive samples of movies with at least 10,000 IMDB user ratings (roughly 200 titles per year) …

tom cruise age top gun maverick

… or non-animated movies released in theaters …

tom cruise age top gun maverick

… or non-animated movies that made at least $10 million at the box office …

tom cruise age top gun maverick

… or the top-grossing movie of each year.

tom cruise age top gun maverick

As the average age of actors with prominent parts has soared, the fraction of movies in which at least one of the top two listed actors is over 60, and the fraction in which at least one is under 30, have correspondingly increased and declined, respectively:

tom cruise age top gun maverick

And while the aging of male action stars—the Cruises, Craigs, Keanus, Neesons, and Stallones—is among the most visible manifestations of the trend, it seems to span multiple genres.

tom cruise age top gun maverick

Recent releases have more missing birthdates on IMDb, as do younger actors, but that can’t skew the stats enough to account for these visuals. Essentially, actors who rose to prominence in past decades have yet to retire or be vaudeville hooked out of the frame, and the youngsters and understudies who might have been expected to succeed them haven’t really arrived the way their predecessors did. The chart below, a kind of aging curve for actors, shows how prolific actors born in each of the 20th century’s five 20-year buckets collectively were as they aged. The most recent cohort, which would be in its early 20s to early 40s now, is on a much less productive trajectory than the generations born between 1940 and 1960 or between 1960 and 1980. (For reference, there are more movies made than ever now, across all platforms and even after limiting to 1,000 or more IMDb ratings, though there’s been a decrease in theatrical releases over the past decade, which began prior to the pandemic.)

tom cruise age top gun maverick

The top two actors from the top-grossing movie of each year of the 1990s went on to appear in 185 movies from 2000 to 2009, and 129 from 2010 to 2019. The top two actors from the top-grossing movie of the 2000s went on to make only 101 movies from 2010 to 2019. So not only did the ’90s stars nearly double the next-decade output of the 2000s stars, but the ’90s stars were still more active two decades after their box-office heydays than the 2000s stars were one decade later. “There’s just greater longevity, frankly, of the people who are acting,” says Bruce Nash, founder of movie-industry database The Numbers . The most bankable actors, per his site’s current ranking , are Robert Downey Jr. and Sandra Bullock, both 57. But which is driving the trend: movie stars, or the movie business? Not to quash the suspense, but you know the drill: The answer is always “a bit of both.”

Ask industry sources, and you’ll get little pushback on the finding that lead actors, on average, are older than they used to be. (And not just in the sense that everyone who’s still living is older than they once were.) “People in Hollywood talk about this all the time,” says Matthew Belloni, founding partner and entertainment reporter at Puck (and host of Ringer show-business podcast The Town ). Nash adds, “It does certainly feel as though we do have that trend.” Casting director Mike Page confirms, “It definitely does track.” And Joshua Lynn, president of Piedmont Media Research , says, “It’s definitely true, you see the same names now that you did 15-to-20-plus years ago on the list of bankable stars.” The question is why this has happened—and on that topic, you’re liable to hear a range of responses.

One common hypothesis pins the blame for younger actors’ failure to reach the same heights of bankability on the decline of the monoculture. “The fracturization of the culture means it’s much more difficult to launch stars,” says Belloni. “You look at what’s going on with the Top Gun guys right now. In a previous generation, Miles Teller, Glen Powell, maybe Jay Ellis, those guys would all be stars that could be the center of their own movie now. But now, not really.” (Unless, that is, it’s a Marvel movie—but we’ll get to that.) As Page puts it, “It’s harder to establish these megastars now, because so few people are viewing the exact same content.”

In other words, actors of Cruise’s vintage, who came of age as actors and celebrities in a pre-internet age with fewer entertainment options and less siloed media diets, attained a level of cultural penetration that would be far more difficult for any actor to replicate now. Members of that generation who built their public profiles in a more fame-friendly era may be better positioned to cut through the static of competing people and products than those who didn’t debut or break big early enough to establish that foothold. Consequently, the former may be more able—or perceived as more able—to attract an audience on the strength of their reputation, which would make them more in demand. “You’ll keep seeing the same names over and over, because they happened to exist at a time when ‘movie stars’ were a more important thing to our culture than they are now,” Lynn says. Whether you noticed or not, Neeson has pumped out 24 action movies since starring in Taken in 2008, when he was 55. Another ’90s star, Adam Sandler, has made 22 non-animated movies since the start of 2008—including more comedies than he had in his whole career up to that point—most of which were part of lucrative Netflix deals .

Some sources suggest that somewhat paradoxically, the greater ease of access to celebrities today may diminish their movie-star cred. Jeff Bock, senior media analyst for Exhibitor Relations Co. , says, “Part of the mystique of being a larger-than-life movie star resides in the exclusivity of engagement with audiences. … Even though fans have more access [to younger stars], oftentimes it diminishes that unique bond one forms with consumers.” Belloni echoes that sentiment. “We can see Miles Teller all over his wife’s Instagram every day. And we can see him tweeting about the Phillies, and we can see him in all the paparazzi shots and on our TikTok feeds. And there’s nothing special about seeing Miles Teller in a movie anymore. Whereas … there [were] only a couple places to see Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Tom Cruise … or any of these guys that are considered action stars still today.” The social-media-driven “commoditization of actors,” Belloni believes, has “really, really diminished the ability to create new stars.”

Perhaps that’s partly because the current up-and-comers who might be movie-star material are less likely to inspire, or even aspire to inspire, the same sort of fandom as stars in previous eras. “There is a rising generation—more than one, really—of entertainment consumers that isn’t as committed to narrative entertainment as the generations before them,” says film historian and author Mark Harris . “Maybe they’re gamers, or maybe what they really enjoy is TikTok, or maybe it’s something else, but a generation can’t generate stars if it doesn’t really love the medium that creates and accommodates stars.” At the very least, the strain of stardom that newer media spawns may not look like yesterday’s flavor; the modern model may be closer to Kardashian than Cruise.

Even so, some actors still covet Cruise-ian cachet. (Per the Times , Powell told Cruise, “I’m trying to be you.”) They may just lack the avenues to achieve it, thanks to what Nash identifies as a “gap between the regular movies and the big blockbusters,” the latter of which are dwindling in number The remaining few, he adds, “come in, increasingly, the same mold. Really, what you’re seeing are superhero movies, [and] there’s not a lot of opportunity for people to become superhero movie stars.”

That increasing emphasis on franchise-based blockbusters has come at the expense of some of the old pathways to prominence. “There [are fewer] studio movies now than ever before, and the indie movie scene is pretty small and not as significant to Hollywood as it used to be, which allowed exciting new faces/voices into the mix,” Lynn says, adding, “There are just [fewer] opportunities for new people to suddenly emerge and lead a major film and then become stars, leading to more opportunities to lead other films subsequently.” To return to Teller: “In a previous generation, he would have the opportunity to do a mid-budget studio thriller, rom-com, something that would test his allure as a movie star and the ability to open a movie,” Belloni says. “And those movies are just not happening.”

Now, Lynn says, there are at most three routes to traditional movie stardom. You can rise from obscurity to star in a film from a respected studio director who became a big name in the ’80s or ’90s; you can earn critical acclaim from a series of smaller movies and then make the leap to Marvel, Star Wars , or another sci-fi tentpole; or you can cross over from a huge hit on TV, though it’s getting harder to have a Game of Thrones – or Stranger Things –level smash as streaming segmentation intensifies. Oscar Isaac, the Chrises , and Adam Driver, all now in their late 30s or early 40s, needed boosts from major genre movies to reach a new stardom stratosphere. As those movies make up a bigger proportion of the thinner studio release schedule, Lynn says, “You see the same people over and over again in those movies playing the same parts.”

Film data researcher Stephen Follows, who has also observed a 21st-century trend toward older actors, suspects that the thirst for reboots and sequels accounts for some of the aging trend, because recycling material leads to recycling stars. “It’s about films having the same people in them, and people sticking around for longer,” he says. “And therefore, by definition, they’re aging one year a year.” (Cruise, for instance, appears almost exclusively in sequels these days.) F. Andrew Hanssen, an economics professor at Clemson who detected early signs of a widespread aging of actors in a study published a decade ago, notes that whereas during the days of the studio system, studios would spend substantial sums on building up new stars, “The trend of paying large sums of money to relatively unknown actors to appear in a series of films (as Captain America, say)” may have “created an ‘anti-studio’ situation, in which the incentive to develop new actors except in this narrow capacity has become even weaker.”

Of course, the explosion in sequels, prequels, reboots, and remakes—not only in movies, but in other media, giving rise to what researcher Adam Mastroianni has labeled a “ pop oligopoly ”—stems in part from the fretting about breaking through in a crowded culture, which leads studios to default to the same old names. “The name above the poster is a rarity these days, and because the cost to green-light a blockbuster is an enormous risk for studios, these companies often lean on what has worked previously—sequels and big stars,” says Bock. Last month, Top Gun: Maverick producer Jerry Bruckheimer said as much, remarking , “I still get the same list of 10 men the studios want in a movie. You still get Tom, Leonardo [DiCaprio]. Get one of these big names and you’ve got a good shot at getting a movie made.” Asked for other names, he listed Brad Pitt, who at 58 just related that he’s on the “last leg” of his career; pressed for someone who wasn’t famous last century, he allowed that Hemsworth has “broken through.”

Which isn’t to say that things have to work that way. “Bruckheimer is not wrong in that there are a limited number of actors who can ‘carry’ a movie,” Belloni says. “But I think Hollywood is a little bit to blame here for being risk-averse and not trying certain actors in these roles. … A lot of it is fear that there is such a splintered culture.” Follows also attributes part of the aging effect to “the risk-averse nature of the people commissioning” blockbusters, though he notes that the evidence of actor aging even outside of theatrical releases from major studios “does suggest that it is more of a cultural trend than just the conscious or unconscious decision of 20 people.”

What else could be contributing to that cultural trend? For one thing, this situation isn’t the inverse of Wooderson’s line from Dazed and Confused , in which the actors get older while the audience stays the same age. The audience is getting older also, along with the U.S. population, whose median age is up 8.5 years since 1980. Consequently, catering to middle-aged spectators and senior citizens is more rewarding for the makers of movies and TV. “Older audiences are fueling moviegoing right now,” Belloni says. In 2019 , people 60 or older accounted for more tickets sold than any other age group except 25 to 39. And as younger viewers cut the cord and churn through streaming services , cable-connected and deeper-pocketed viewers are making their preferences felt on TV, too.

“You do have to target the older audiences, because they are the ones that are still paying,” Page says, adding, “They’re probably looking more for content and lead characters, lead actors, that are relevant and reflect their lives and experience.” Although Follows has found that the impact of actor age on audience turnout may be overrated, the perception of a link influences studios. “I probably would be more inclined to see Liam Neeson in an action movie, given my age, than Tom Holland,” says Nash, who’s 54. “You see that in romantic comedies as well. It’s not people in their early 20s anymore. It’s people in their 40s, sometimes, and the second chances at romance, and so on, tends to be a little bit more the prevailing force.”

Older characters require older actors—and like Cruise, those actors may seem to defy the ticking clock that Maverick warned about, especially compared to the chain-smoking stars of old (and old-looking) Hollywood. “Actors look young for longer, thanks to advances in exercise and diet (not to mention cosmetic surgery), and can credibly play action heroes or romantic leads at older ages than in the past,” Hanssen says. ( Physique-enhancing drugs may play a part, too.) Plus, there’s always the option of airbrushing. “Between both modern medicine and what they can do with digital makeup and things like that in post, you can have stars that are aging out, but you still pretend that they’re age appropriate,” Belloni says. And an aging audience might have an evolving definition of “appropriate.” Page points to a “societal expansion of what sexy is, what vitality is, and getting to see that there’s not necessarily an expiration date at 50, at 60, at 70.” (Which is the theme of Good Luck to You, Leo Grande , a movie released last week that stars the 63-year-old Emma Thompson and includes a much - discussed nude scene.)

Actors aren’t alone here: By historical standards, today’s top politicians , top touring musicians , top tennis players , and top quarterbacks are ancient too. It’s the era of presidential runs by Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders; pricey, sold-out concerts by Paul McCartney, Elton John, and the Rolling Stones; unprecedented title totals by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic; one-two MVP finishes by Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady . Just as new racket strings and slower playing surfaces have helped venerable tennis stars stay at a higher level for longer—and, for that matter, as improvements in manufacturing have kept cars on the road for record durations —tuneups to actors’ exteriors have helped them stay on screens and win Oscars at more advanced ages. Jessica Daniels , a Casting Society of America board member and the VP of casting for Walt Disney Television, says, “60 years old now doesn’t look like 60 years old did 20 or 30 years ago, and people are living longer, and so just by virtue of that, I think that we’re all adapting.”

Another factor fueling that change is anti-ageism advocacy by organizations such as the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Although in theory the extended tenures of legacy stars could prevent a group of more diverse actors from seizing the spotlight, studies show sweeping improvements in representation, at least in front of the camera. “It feels like the industry is … moving in the right direction as far as diversification in many areas, and I think age is one of those,” Page says. Historically, female actors have faced severe age discrimination , and that problem persists; Bruckheimer, when asked to list female counterparts to his bankable Brads, Toms, and Leos, said, “Women are harder. It’s just not that strong a list yet.” However, the trend toward older actors holds true for both men and women, and the age gap between them has seemingly started to shrink (though Top Gun costar Kelly McGillis attributed her absence from the sequel to her age and appearance).

tom cruise age top gun maverick

“I definitely think, specifically in television, we are breaking a lot more barriers,” Daniel says. “I think that there is so much more room for not only a diversity and inclusivity of experience, but I do think that there’s an audience that does want to see not only beloved actors that we’ve loved for years, but also just wants to see this experience, wants to see these stories being told.” Although the lines on that graph aren’t close to converging, Nash notes that there’s “not necessarily so much of a bias as there might once have been.”

For the foreseeable future, those “average age” lines may continue their ascent. “With YouTube getting more interest among kids than the state of the Academy Awards, and with streaming fracturing the landscape as we speak even further, I honestly don’t see that changing anytime soon,” Lynn says. The question confronting Hollywood seems similar to the question confronting the ATP Tour as Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic finally age out : Who’s next? “Beyond [Timothée] Chalamet, Holland, and Zendaya, name a movie star under 30.” Belloni says. “It’s tough.” Letitia Wright, Florence Pugh, Hailee Steinfeld, and (soon) Sydney Sweeney may make the most of their Marvel exposure, but in the absence of a deep pool of marquee talent, Page says, “Everybody clamors for the short list of the recognizable names.” Al Pacino anointed Chalamet as his pick to play Vincent Hanna in a potential Heat 2 , and Sony sold Uncharted to audiences using Holland’s post-Spider-Man star power, even though his older costar, Mark Wahlberg, was the one whose name helped get the movie made. (Wahlberg, now a fanatically buff 51, embodied the older-actors hegemony when in 2012 he replaced the 15-years-younger Shia LaBeouf as the face of Transformers .) But Holland and the Dune duo can act only so much.

Cary Grant, who retired at 62, supposedly said , “Hollywood is very much like a streetcar. Once a new star is made and comes aboard, an old one is edged out of the rear exit. There’s room for only so many and no more.” But what if the old stars won’t relinquish their status until they’re elderly enough for riders in real life to offer them seats? The star of Top Gun: Maverick has two more Mission Impossible movies on the way, but Chester Cain wasn’t wrong; Cruise can’t act forever, and by the time that second flick comes out, he’ll be pushing 62 himself. “There is not going to be another Tom Cruise,” Belloni says. “That era is over.” But the era of old actors has no end in sight.

Rob Arthur is a Chicago-based freelance journalist and data science consultant.

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Tom Cruise is back in 'Top Gun: Maverick'

Three Decades after the original "Top Gun", Tom Cruise returns to lead a fresh squadron of Navy fighter pilots in "Top Gun: Maverick."


It's been 36 years since Tom Cruise first took to the skies as Pete Mitchell with the call sign Maverick, the hotshot jet fighter pilot in "Top Gun."


TOM CRUISE: (As Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell) I feel the need.

TOM CRUISE AND ANTHONY EDWARDS: (As Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell and Lieutenant Nick "Goose" Bradshaw) The need for speed.

CRUISE: (As Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell) Ow (ph).

PARKS: Now Cruise is back in the cockpit in "Top Gun: Maverick." And the sequel is having a near-record Memorial Day weekend. Critic Bob Mondello says it's the same but sharper.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: The opening credits sequence is identical, almost shot for shot, as if to reassure audiences the filmmakers haven't forgotten what worked the first time - airmen readying sleek jet fighters in predawn light on the deck of an aircraft carrier, planes silhouetted against a sky just starting to glow orange as the sun burns off the mist, then the whine of jet engines as one plane fires up, then another and another and a roar as each one rockets into what Kenny Loggins is about to remind us is the danger zone.


KENNY LOGGINS: (Singing) Revving up your engine, listen to her howling roar.

MONDELLO: Having seen the original "Top Gun," what about the recruitment ads modeled on it after the 1986 Navy saw a 500% spike in enlistees wanting to be aviators?

LOGGINS: (Singing) Highway to the danger zone.

MONDELLO: We are in the zone here, going straight to shots of a still seriously fit, almost 60-year-old Tom Cruise revving up his Kawasaki Ninja, roaring down a highway to what looks like a gigantic arrowhead that he's supposed to fly to Mach 9. But, I mean, seriously, 9 with Ed Harris about to shut down the test? How about 10? How about 10.2, just so they'll have something to talk about when he's called on the carpet?


ED HARRIS: (As Rear Admiral Chester "Hammer" Cain) Thirty-plus years of service, combat medals, citations, only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last 40 years, yet you can't get a promotion. You won't retire. Despite your best efforts, you refuse to die. You should be at least a two-star admiral by now, yet here you are, Captain. Why is that?

CRUISE: (As Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell) It's one of life's mysteries, sir.

MONDELLO: Maverick gets assigned to train new blood in the Top Gun pilot program, much to the annoyance of Jon Hamm, his immediate superior.

JON HAMM: (As Admiral Beau "Cyclone" Simpson) I have everything I need to have you court martialed and dishonorably discharged.

MONDELLO: Yeah, well, Maverick has a guardian angel. His rival ace, Iceman, is now an admiral, still played by Val Kilmer, whose offscreen battle with throat cancer brings significant resonance when he shows up here. There is a mission. Call it impossible, if you must. Certainly, it's a risky business flying 30 feet off the ground at 500 miles an hour between cliffs. You get the impression Cruise could do this with eyes wide shut, but they've given him a few good men to work with...

GLEN POWELL: (As Lieutenant Jake "Hangman" Seresin) What do we have here?

MONDELLO: ...And one good woman...

MONICA BARBARO: (As Lieutenant Natasha "Phoenix" Trace) Fellas, this here's Bagman.

POWELL: (As Lieutenant Jake "Hangman" Seresin) Hangman.

BARBARO: (As Lieutenant Natasha "Phoenix" Trace) Whatever.

MONDELLO: ...All with descriptive call signs they've earned in flight.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Where's he going?

BARBARO: (As Lieutenant Natasha "Phoenix" Trace) That's why we call him Hangman. He'll always hang you out to dry.

MONDELLO: Others include...

CRUISE: (As Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell) Rooster.

MILES TELLER: (As Lieutenant Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw) Phoenix.

BARBARO: (As Lieutenant Natasha "Phoenix" Trace) We've got to move, Coyote.

GREG TARZAN DAVIS: (As Lieutenant Javy "Coyote" Machado) Who are your friends?

JAY ELLIS: (As Lieutenant Reuben "Payback" Fitch) Payback.

DANNY RAMIREZ: (As Lieutenant Mickey "Fanboy" Garcia) Fanboy.

BARBARO: (As Lieutenant Natasha "Phoenix" Trace) What do they call you?

LEWIS PULLMAN: (As Lieutenant Robert "Bob" Floyd) Bob.

ELLIS: (As Lieutenant Reuben "Payback" Fitch) No, your call sign.

PULLMAN: (As Lieutenant Robert "Bob" Floyd) Bob.

MONDELLO: OK, from my perspective, that's a cheap joke - just saying. Director Joseph Kosinski has clearly studied what the original "Top Gun" did, but he has a far better script to work with - not more plausible, exactly, but one that puts an adult Cruise in charge of all that free-range testosterone the film's unleashing that lets it channel emotions the first one couldn't, as when Maverick tells Rooster, the grown-up son of his wingman, Goose, who died all those years ago, to follow his instincts.

CRUISE: (As Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell) You think up there, you're dead. Believe me.

TELLER: (As Lieutenant Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw) My dad believed in you. I'm not going to make the same mistake.

MONDELLO: Rooster is played by Miles Teller with a mustache nearly as big as the chip on his shoulder and ripped abs that he and his fellow airmen display in team-building beach football rather than beach volleyball this time, all of which is designed to help the film barrel right past your plot objections before they quite have time to form in nerve centers overstimulated...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) What the hell?

MONDELLO: ...By vertigo-inducing...

CRUISE: (As Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell) Good morning, aviators.

MONDELLO: ...Aspect-ratio exploding...

CRUISE: (As Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell) This is your captain speaking.

MONDELLO: ...IMAX flight sequences. Cruise insisted that these be filmed with the actors actually in flight, and they are nerve-scrambling in ways digital trickery on screen just isn't. I'm not going to say "Top Gun: Maverick" takes my breath away, exactly, but it's one hell of a ride. I'm Bob Mondello.

LOGGINS: (Singing) Revving up your engine, listen to her howling roar.

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By A.O. Scott

Every so often in “Top Gun: Maverick,” Pete Mitchell (that’s Maverick) is summoned to a face-to-face with an admiral. Pete, after all these years in the Navy — more than 35, but who’s counting — has stalled at the rank of captain. He’s one of the best fighter pilots ever to take wing, but the U.S. military hierarchy can be a treacherous political business, and Maverick is anything but a politician. In the presence of a superior officer he is apt to salute, smirk and push his career into the middle of the table like a stack of poker chips. He’s all in. Always.

The first such meeting is with Rear Adm. Chester Cain, a weathered chunk of brass played by Ed Harris, who has an impressive in-movie flight record of his own. (Without “The Right Stuff,” there would have been no “Top Gun.”) He seems to be telling Pete that the game is over. Thanks to new technology, flyboys like him are all but obsolete.

Based on this scene, you might think that the movie is setting out to be a meditation on American air power in the age of drone warfare, but that will have to wait for the next sequel. Pete still has a job to do. A teaching job, officially, but we’ll get to that. The conversation with Cain is not so much a red herring as a meta-commentary. Pete, as I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, is the avatar of Tom Cruise, and the central question posed by this movie has less to do with the necessity of combat pilots than with the relevance of movie stars. With all this cool new technology at hand — you can binge 37 episodes of Silicon Valley grifting without leaving your couch — do we really need guys, or movies, like this?

“Top Gun: Maverick,” directed by Joseph Kosinski ( “Tron: Legacy” ), answers in the affirmative with a confident, aggressive swagger that might look like overcompensation. Not that there is a hint of insecurity in Cruise’s performance — or in Maverick’s. On the brink of 60, he still projects the nimble, cocky, perennially boyish charm that conquered the box office in the 1980s.

Back then — in Tony Scott’s “Top Gun” — Pete was a brash upstart striving to stand out amid the camaraderie and competition of the super-elite Top Gun program. He seduced the instructor Charlie (Kelly McGillis), locked horns with his golden-boy nemesis, Iceman (Val Kilmer), and lost his best friend and radar intercept officer, Goose (Anthony Edwards). Ronald Reagan was president and the Cold War was in its florid final throes, but “Top Gun” wasn’t really a combat picture. It was, at heart, a sports movie decked out in battle gear, about a bunch of guys showboating, trash talking and trying to outdo one another.

Times have changed somewhat. Pete is the instructor now, called to the North Island naval base to train a squad of eager young fliers for an urgent, dangerous mission. The frat-house atmosphere of the ’80s has been toned down, and the pilots are a more diverse, less obnoxious bunch.

tom cruise age top gun maverick

One advantage to the long gap between chapters is that the many credited screenwriters are free to fill in or leave blank as much as they want. In the last few decades, Pete has seen plenty of combat — Bosnia and Iraq are both mentioned — and pursued an on-and-off romance with Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly). Now he finds her working at a bar near the base and an old spark rekindles. She has a teenage daughter (Lyliana Wray) — Maverick is not the dad — and a world-weary manner that matches Pete’s signature blend of cynicism and sentimentality.

Other reminders of the past include Rooster (Miles Teller), son of Goose, and Iceman himself, who has ascended to the rank of admiral and kept a protective eye on his former rival. Kilmer’s brief appearance has a special poignancy. Apart from the 2021 documentary “Val,” he hasn’t been onscreen much since losing his voice to throat cancer , and seeing him and Cruise in a quiet scene together is as sad and stirring as something from the Epic of Gilgamesh.

The first “Top Gun” unfolded against a backdrop of superpower conflict. There was a formidable — if mostly offscreen — real-world adversary (the Soviet Union, in case you forgot) and the hovering possibility of nuclear apocalypse. This time, there’s a real live-ammo skirmish with an unidentified foe, a mysterious entity in possession of super-high-tech aircraft who is building an “unauthorized” weapons facility in a mountainous region of wherever. No names are mentioned, just “the enemy.” The circumspection is a little weird. Who or what are we supposed to be fighting? China? (In this economy?) The Taliban? Netflix? Covid?

It doesn’t matter. We never see the faces of the enemy pilots once the mission is underway. Which only confirms the sense that “Top Gun: Maverick” has nothing to say about geopolitics and everything to do with the defense of old-fashioned movie values in the face of streaming-era nihilism.

Is the defense successful? The action sequences are tense and exuberant, reminders that flight has been one of the great thrills of cinema almost from the beginning . The story is a mixed bag. In spite of the emotional crosscurrents and physical hazards that buffet poor Maverick — his career, his love life and his duty to the memory of his dead friend, to say nothing of G-forces and flak — the dramatic stakes seem curiously low.

The junior pilots enact a kind of children’s theater production of the first movie. The cockfight between Maverick and Iceman is echoed in the rivalrous posturing of Rooster and the arrogant Hangman (an interestingly Kilmeresque Glen Powell). We are treated to a shirtless game of touch football on the beach, which doesn’t quite match the original volleyball game for sweaty camp subtext. There are some memorable supporting performances — notably from Bashir Salahuddin, Monica Barbaro and the always solid Jon Hamm, as a by-the-book, stick-in-the-mud admiral — but the world they inhabit is textureless and generic.

At times Kosinski seems to be reaching for an updated version of the sun-kissed, high-style ’80s aesthetic that “Top Gun” so effortlessly and elegantly typified. What he comes up with is something bland and basic, without the brazen, trashy sublimity you find in the work of genuine pop auteurs like Scott, his brother Ridley, James Cameron or Michael Bay.

Though you may hear otherwise, “Top Gun: Maverick” is not a great movie. It is a thin, over-strenuous and sometimes very enjoyable movie. But it is also, and perhaps more significantly, an earnest statement of the thesis that movies can and should be great. I’m old enough to remember when that went without saying. For Pete’s sake, I’m almost as old as Maverick.

Top Gun: Maverick Rated PG-13. Running time: 2 hours 11 minutes. In theaters.

An earlier version of this article misstated the role of the character Goose in the first “Top Gun” film. He was the radar intercept officer for Pete Mitchell, not his wingman. It also misstated which naval base Mitchell is called to in “Top Gun: Maverick”; it is the North Island naval base, not Miramar.

How we handle corrections

A.O. Scott is a co-chief film critic. He joined The Times in 2000 and has written for the Book Review and The New York Times Magazine. He is also the author of “Better Living Through Criticism.” More about A.O. Scott

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How old was Tom Cruise in Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick?

Tom Cruise is a renowned American actor and film producer. Among his best movies is the 2022 blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick , a sequel to the 1986 film Top Gun . Due to the film's success, Tom Cruise's age in the two movies has been debated for a while. How old was Tom Cruise in Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick ?

How old was Tom Cruise in Top Gun Maverick?

Tom Cruise has worked as an actor and film producer in Hollywood for over 40 years. He has received numerous awards, including four MTV Movie & TV Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and two Producers Guild of America Awards. The actor's most recent film, Top Gun: Maverick , was a box-office success. What is Tom Cruise's age in Top Gun ?

How old was Tom Cruise in Top Gun?

Top Gun is an American classic film directed by Tony Scott and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. The film revolves around a hotshot Lieutenant Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, a United States Naval Aviator pilot played by Cruise.

tom cruise age top gun maverick

Famous Toms: 20 popular celebrities who share this name

Lieutenant Maverick is sent to Top Gun, an elite fighter weapon training centre. There, he trains alongside Lieutenant Nick "Goose" Bradshaw, portrayed by Anthony Edwards, and Lieutenant Tom "Iceman" Kazansky, portrayed by Val Kilmer . At the school, Maverick begins a fierce rivalry with Iceman. They must, however, work together to complete the mission.

The film performed well , grossing $357 million from a budget of $15 million. It was praised and awarded for its soundtrack, action and aerial footage. It was the most successful movie of 1986, box office-wise, but the critics were mostly lukewarm about it.

How old was Tom Cruise in the first Top Gun?

How old was Tom Cruise in the first Top Gun ? The film premiered in May 1986, and the actor was born in July 1962, making him 23 years old during production.

How old was Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick?

Top Gun: Maverick , also called Top Gun 2, is a 2022 American action film written by Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr. and Peter Craig. Joseph Kosinski directed it, and it is one of Tom Cruise's best movies . The film is a sequel to the original Top Gun film released in 1986.

tom cruise age top gun maverick

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Top Gun: Maverick also revolves around Peter Mitchell, who is now the instructor to a team of the best Top Gun graduates for a dangerous assignment. They have to bomb an unnamed country's uranium facility, which poses a threat to the US and its allies. Among Captain Maverick's pilots is Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw, the son of Goose, who died in the original film.

How old was Tom Cruise when he made Top Gun, the sequel? The actor finished filming the movie in early 2019, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film premiered in 2022. Tom Cruise was 56 when he was shooting the film and 59 when Top Gun: Maverick was released .

What is Tom Cruise's age now?

Tom Cruise's age in Top Gun

Tom Cruise was born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV on 3 July 1962 in Syracuse, New York, United States. He is 61 years old as of 2023, and his zodiac sign is Cancer.

tom cruise age top gun maverick

How did Goose die in Top Gun? The real story behind the tragedy

  • Who is Tom Cruise? He is an American actor and producer.
  • Where is Tom Cruise from? He was born in Syracuse, New York, but resides in Clearwater, Florida, United States.
  • How old is Tom Cruise? He is 61 years old as of 2023. He was born on 3 July 1962.
  • How old was Tom Cruise in the original Top Gun ? The actor was 23 years old during the filming.
  • How old was Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick ? He was 56 years old when shooting the movie and 59 when the film premiered in 2022.
  • Why did it take so long to make Top Gun 2 ? The director's death led to several years of searching for another director. Eventually, American director Joseph Kosinski was picked.
  • How does Tom Cruise look so young? The acter looks so young 36 years after the first Top Gun because of regular workouts, skincare routines, and a good diet.

tom cruise age top gun maverick

Best Johnny Depp movies: 15 films that made him who he is today

How old was Tom Cruise in Top Gun ? Tom Cruise is one of the best actors and producers in Hollywood. He has played Maverick in Top Gun movies 36 years apart. The American actor was 23 years old in the original 1986 movie and 56 in its 2022 sequel. published an article about SpongeBob's age . SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the most popular animation shows. It premiered in 1999 on Nickelodeon, and the lead character, SpongeBob, has stayed the same since. How old is SpongeBob?

SpongeBob SquarePants anime has been around for over 20 years. The animation revolves around a sea-living creature named SpongeBob. The character seems ageless despite being on the show for long leading to questions about his age. Find out how old SpongeBob is on the show and in human years.


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Screen Rant

How old was tom cruise when he made top gun in 1986.

Tom Cruise was very young when he was in Top Gun in 1986. There has been a huge time gap between the original and the sequel Top Gun: Maverick.

Tom Cruise has been the leading star in several movies since he was very young, but how old was he when he made the original Top Gun film in 1986? The recent, long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick has sparked new conversation about the actor and his illustrious career in Hollywood. Considering Tom Cruise started his career at a young age, it’s great to see him continue to do what he loves, but it's sometimes easy to forget how young he was when he found superstardom.

Tom Cruise began his acting career at only 18 years old. He started off in smaller roles as most beginning actors do. He was part of the ensemble cast of The Outsiders in 1983, but his career started to blossom when he starred in Risky Business  that same year. His star status was locked in place after leading the original  Top Gun in 1986 . The movie centered around the Navy's flight school, TOPGUN, that trains fighter pilots. Tom Cruise plays the reckless adrenaline junkie Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, alongside co-stars Val Kilmer as Iceman and Anthony Edwards as Maverick’s right-hand man, Goose. The film was packed full of action, plane stunts, tragedy, and iconic songs that are still well known today. Audience members and critics were very fond of his performance in the film and wanted to see more of him on the big screen–the rest is history. Tom Cruise is now one of the most accomplished actors in the industry, going on to star in, among other things, the Mission: Impossible franchise , Jerry McGuire , and Born on the Fourth of July .

Related:  Why Top Gun: Maverick Reviews Are So Positive

Though he had already been acting a few years before his big break, Tom Cruise was still only 24 years old when he starred in the classic film Top Gun in 1986. That role is what began to make a name for him in Hollywood. With the combined success of Risky Business and Top Gun , Tom Cruise began a meteoric rise to the top during the 1980s. In that same decade, he went on to star in and gain critical acclaim for his roles in The Color of Money and Rain Man after his performance in Top Gun .

How Old Tom Cruise Is In Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick.

Nearly 36 years after the original film, a sequel to Top Gun was released. Top Gun: Maverick  made it clear that Tom Cruise’s glory days are not behind him yet. The actor was 59 years old when Top Gun: Maverick was released , and not much has changed since 1986. Similar to the character he plays in the film, Cruise is also an adrenaline hound. He is notorious for doing his own stunts in films, no matter how dangerous. He flew real helicopters and fighter jets while shooting the movie, and he’s had his pilot's license since 1994.

It’s obvious that Tom Cruise has a passion for acting and action alike. He’s been dedicated to his craft since he was 18 years old, and gained fame only a few years later with Top Gun . Decades later, there seems to be no sign of the actor slowing down anytime soon. He will reprise his role as  top spy Ethan Hunt in two more Mission: Impossible movies, set to be released within the next two years.

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  • Top Gun: Maverick Easter Eggs & Every Callback To The Original
  • Everything We Know About Top Gun 3
  • How Much Of Top Gun 2 Is Real & How Much Is CGI
  • Is Maverick Better Than The Original Top Gun?

Next:  The Movie That Almost Reunited Tom Cruise & Val Kilmer (Before Top Gun 2)

Top Gun (1986)

Tom cruise: maverick.

  • Photos (117)
  • Quotes (59)


Tom Cruise in Top Gun (1986)


Maverick : I feel the need...

Maverick , Goose : ...the need for speed!

Iceman : You! You are still dangerous. But you can be my wingman any time.

Maverick : Bullshit! You can be mine.

Charlie : Excuse me, Lieutenant. Is there something wrong?

Maverick : Yes ma'am, the data on the MiG is inaccurate.

Charlie : How's that, Lieutenant?

Maverick : Well, I just happened to see a MiG-28...

Goose : We!

Maverick : a... Sorry, Goose. *We* happened to see a MiG-28 do a 4G negative dive.

Charlie : Where did you see this?

Maverick : Uh, that's classified.

Charlie : It's what?

Maverick : It's classified. I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

Charlie : Lieutenant, I have Top Secret clearance. The Pentagon sees to it that I know more than you.

Maverick : Well, ma'am, it doesn't seem so in this case, now, does it?

Charlie : So, Lieutenant, where exactly were you?

Maverick : Well, we...

Goose : Thank you.

Maverick : Started up on a 6, when he pulled from the clouds, and then I moved in above him.

Charlie : Well, if you were directly above him, how could you see him?

Maverick : Because I was inverted.

Iceman : [coughs]  Bullshit.

Goose : No, he was, man. It was a really great move. He was inverted.

Charlie : You were in a 4G inverted dive with a MiG-28?

Maverick : Yes, ma'am.

Charlie : At what range?

Maverick : About two meters?

Goose : Well, it's actually about one and a half, I think. It was one and a half. I've got a great Polaroid of it, and he's right there, must be one and a half.

Maverick : Was a nice picture.

Goose : Thanks.

Charlie : Eh, Lieutenant, what were you doing there?

Goose : Communicating.

Maverick : Communicating. Keeping up foreign relations. I was, you know, giving him the bird.

Goose : You know, the finger.

[holds up his middle finger to demonstrate] 

Charlie : Yes, I know the finger, Goose.

Goose : I'm sorry. I hate it when it does that. I'm sorry. Excuse me.

Charlie : So you're the one?

Stinger : They gave you your choice of duty, son. Anything, anywhere. Do you believe that shit? Where do you think you wanna go?

Maverick : I thought of being an instructor, sir.

Stinger : Top Gun?

Maverick : Yes, sir.

Stinger : God help us.

Maverick : Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby.

Air Boss Johnson : Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.

Charlie : [Maverick and Goose have just successfully serenaded Charlie with their rendition of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling."]  I love that song! I've never seen that approach. How long have you two been doing this act?

Maverick : Oh, I don't know, since uh...

Charlie : Puberty?

Maverick : Right, puberty.

Stinger : For five weeks, you're gonna fly against the best fighter pilots in the world. You were number two, Cougar was number one. Cougar lost it, turned in his wings. You guys are number one. But you remember one thing. You screw up just this much, you'll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong.

Maverick : Yes, sir!

Charlie : Listen, can I ask you a personal question?

Maverick : That depends.

Charlie : Are you a good pilot?

Maverick : I can hold my own.

Charlie : Great, then I won't have to worry about you making your living as a singer.

Maverick : I'm going to need a beer to put these flames out. Yo! Great Mav, real slick.

Maverick : Talk to me, Goose.

Viper : Good morning, gentlemen, the temperature is 110 degrees.

Wolfman : Holy shit, it's Viper!

Goose : Viper's up here, great... oh shit...

Maverick : Great, he's probably saying, "Holy shit, it's Maverick and Goose."

Goose : Yeah, I'm sure he's saying that.

Goose : Hey, hey, Slider. Thought you wanted to be a pilot, man what happened?

Slider : Goose, you're such a dickhead. Whose butt did you kiss to get in here anyway?

Goose : The list is long, but distinguished.

Slider : Yeah, well so is my Johnson.

Goose : So you're flying with Iceman, huh?

Slider : It's Mr. Iceman to you.

Iceman : Hey, Mother Goose, how's it going?

Goose : Good, Tom. This is Pete Mitchell. Tom Kazansky.

Iceman : Congratulations on Top Gun.

Maverick : Thank you.

Iceman : Sorry to hear about Cougar. He and I were like brothers in flight school. He was a good man.

Maverick : Still is a good man.

Iceman : Yeah, that's what I meant.

Iceman : You need any help?

Maverick : With what?

Iceman : You figured it out yet?

Maverick : What's that?

Iceman : Who's the best pilot.

Maverick : You know, I think I can figure that one out on my own.

Iceman : I heard that about you. You like to work alone.

Slider : Mav, you must've sold under a lucky star, huh? I mean, first the MiG, and then you guys slide into Cougar's spot.

Goose : We didn't slide into Cougar's spot. It was ours, okay?

Slider : Yeah, well, some pilots wait their whole career just to see a MiG up close. Guess you guys are lucky and famous, huh?

Iceman : No, you mean notorious. See you later.

Maverick : You can count on it.

Charlie : I'll have what he's having. Hemlock, is it?

Maverick : Ice water.

Maverick : Jesus Christ, and you think I'm reckless? When I fly, I'll have you know that my crew and my plane come first.

Charlie : Well, I am going to finish my sentence, Lieutenant. My review of your flight performance was right on.

Maverick : Is that right?

Charlie : That is right, but I held something back. I see some real genius in your flying, Maverick, but I can't say that in there. I was afraid that everyone in the TACTS trailer would see right through me, and I just don't want anyone to know that I've fallen for you.

Viper : I flew with your old man. VF-51, the Oriskany. You're a lot like he was. Only better... and worse. He was a natural heroic son of a bitch that one.

Maverick : So he did do it right.

Viper : Yeah, he did it right... Is that why you fly the way you do? Trying to prove something? Yeah, your old man did it right. What I'm about to tell you is classified. It could end my career. We were in the worst dogfight I ever dreamed of. There were bogeys like fireflies all over the sky. His F-4 was hit, and he was wounded, but he could've made it back. He stayed in it, saved three planes before he bought it.

Maverick : How come I never heard that before?

Viper : Well, that's not something the State Department tells dependents when the battle occurred over the wrong line on some map.

Maverick : So you were there?

Viper : I was there. What's on your mind?

Maverick : My options, sir.

Viper : Simple. First you've acquired enough points to show up tomorrow and graduate with your Top Gun class, or you can quit. There'd be no disgrace. That spin was hell, it would've shook me up.

Maverick : So you think I should quit?

Viper : I didn't say that. The simple fact is you feel responsible for Goose and you have a confidence problem. Now I'm not gonna sit here and blow sunshine up your ass, Lieutenant. A good pilot is compelled to evaluate what's happened, so he can apply what he's learned. Up there, we gotta push it. That's our job. It's your option, Lieutenant. All yours.

Maverick : Sorry to bother you on a Sunday, sir, but thank you very much for your time.

Viper : No problem. Good luck.

[last lines] 

Charlie : Hello, Pete Mitchell. I heard the best of the best were going to be back here, so uh...

Maverick : This could be complicated. You know on the first one I crashed and burned.

Charlie : And the second?

Maverick : I don't know, but uh, it's looking good so far.

Stinger : Maverick, you just did an incredibly brave thing. What you should have done was land your plane! You don't own that plane, the tax payers do! Son, your ego is writing checks your body can't cash. You've been busted, you lost your qualifications as section leader three times, put in hack twice by me, with a history of high speed passes over five air control towers, and one admiral's daughter!

Goose : Penny Benjamin?

[Maverick shrugs] 

Stinger : And you asshole, you're lucky to be here!

Goose : Thank you, sir.

Stinger : And let's not bullshit Maverick. Your family name ain't the best in the Navy. You need to be doing it better, and cleaner than the other guy. Now what is it with you?

Maverick : Just want to serve my country, be the best pilot in the Navy, sir.

Stinger : Don't screw around with me Maverick. You're a hell of an instinctive pilot. Maybe too good. I'd like to bust your butt but I can't. I got another problem here. I gotta send somebody from this squadron to Miramar. I gotta do something here, I still can't believe it. I gotta give you your dream shot! I'm gonna send you up against the best. You two characters are going to Top Gun.

Maverick : [spots Charlie for the first time]  She's lost that loving feeling.

Goose : She's lo... No she hasn't.

Maverick : Yes, she has.

Goose : She's not lost that lo...

Maverick : Goose, she's lost it, man.

Goose : Come on!

Goose : [to himself]  Aw sh... I hate it when she does that.

Viper : How ya doin'?

Maverick : I'm all right.

Viper : Goose is dead.

Maverick : I know.

Viper : You fly jets long enough, something like this happens.

Maverick : He was my R.I.O., my responsibility.

Viper : My squadron, we lost 8 of 18 aircraft. 10 men. First one dies, you die too. But there will be others. You can count it. You gotta let him go. You gotta let him go.

Maverick : I think I'll go embarrass myself with Goose.

Iceman : You two really are cowboys.

Maverick : What's your problem, Kazansky?

Iceman : You're everyone's problem. That's because every time you go up in the air, you're unsafe. I don't like you because you're dangerous.

Maverick : That's right! Ice... man. I am dangerous.

Goose : No. No, Mav, this is not a good idea.

Maverick : Sorry, Goose, but it's time to buzz the tower.

[Charlie has just given Maverick her address while pretending to turn down his date offer] 

Slider : Crashed and burned! Huh, Mav?

Maverick : Slider...


Maverick : You stink!

Maverick : This is what I call a target-rich environment.

Goose : You live your life between your legs, Mav.

Maverick : Goose, even you could get laid in a place like this.

Goose : Hell, I'd be happy to just find a girl that would talk dirty to me.

Maverick : [to Cougar and Merlin while up in the air]  Any of you boys seen an aircraft-carrier around here?

[after the final dogfight] 

Maverick : Mustang, this is Maverick, requesting fly-by.

Air Boss Johnson : Negative, Ghost Rider. The Pattern is full.

Merlin : Uh, excuse me, something I should know about?

Air Boss Johnson : [gets his coffee]  Thank you.

[Maverick does a fly-by past the Enterprise, causing the Air Boss to spill his coffee] 

Air Boss Johnson : Goddamn that guy.

Charlie : The MiG has you in his gunsight. What were you thinking at this point?

Maverick : You don't have time to think up there. If you think, you're dead.

Charlie : Well, that's a big gamble with a $30 million plane, lieutenant.

Merlin : What are you doing? You're slowing down, you're slowing down!

Maverick : I'm bringing him in closer, Merlin.

Merlin : You're gonna do what?

Goose : It's the bottom of the 9th, the score is tied. It's time for the big one.

Iceman : You up for this one, Maverick?

Maverick : Just a walk in the park, Kazansky.

Maverick : That son of a bitch cut me off!

[Maverick is in a dogfight with a MiG and is down to one missile left] 

Merlin : This is it, Maverick!

Maverick : I'm gonna hit the brakes, he'll fly right by.

Merlin : Shit! He's gonna get a lock on us!

Maverick : [the MiG eventually gets a lock onto Maverick]  NOW!

[Maverick slams the breaks and the MiG passes by, then Maverick locks onto the MiG] 

Maverick : Got a good lock, firing.

[the MiG is then destroyed by the missile] 

Maverick : Whoo! Scratch four!

Radio Operator : Maverick, you're at 3/4 of a mile. Call the ball.

Maverick : Roger. Maverick has the ball.

[after Maverick decides not to shoot down Jester during a training exercise] 

Sundown : Hey, man, we could have had him. Hey, we could have had him, man!

Maverick : [grabs Sundown]  I will fire when I am goddamn good and ready! You got that?

[continues walking away] 

Viper : In case some of you are wondering who the best is, they are up here on this plaque.

[turns to Maverick] 

Viper : Do you think your name will be on that plaque?

Viper : That's pretty arrogant, considering the company you're in.

Viper : I like that in a pilot.

Charlie : It was a long cruise, was it, sailor?

Maverick : It was too long.

Charlie : What do you wanna do? Just drop right down on the tile and go for it?

Maverick : No, actually I had this counter in mind.

Charlie : Great, that would be very, very comfortable, yeah.

Maverick : It could be.

Viper : [after the first hop with Jester ends with Maverick shooting down Jester at the hard deck and Maverick doing a fly-by near a tower]  Gentlemen... You had a hell of a first day. The hard deck for this hop was 10,000 feet. You knew it, you broke it. You followed Commander Heatherly below after he lost sight of you and called no joy. Why?

Maverick : Sir! I had Commander Heatherly in my sights, he saw me move in for the kill. He then proceeded below the hard deck. We weren't below 10,000 for more than a few seconds. I had the shot, there was no danger, so I took it.

Viper : You took it... AND BROKE A MAJOR RULE OF ENGAGEMENT. Then you broke another one with that, uh, circus stunt fly-by.

[Viper sighs] 

Viper : Lieutenant Mitchell... Top Gun rules of engagement exists for your safety and for that of your team. They are not flexible, nor am I. Either obey them, or you're history. Is that clear?

Stinger : [to Maverick after the last dogfight]  How's it feel to be on the front page of every newspaper in the English-speaking world, even though the other side denies the incident? Congratulations.

Stinger : They gave you your choice of duty, son. Where do you think you want to go?

Maverick : Standby, Viper's coming down.

Maverick : I'll hit the brakes, he'll fly right by.

Charlie : [Looking over Maverick's shoulder in the classroom]  A rolling reversal would work well in that situation.

Maverick : [Motions with his hands]  If I reverse on a hard cross I could immediately go to guns on him.

Charlie : Yeah, but at that speed it's too fast... a little bit too aggressive.

Maverick : Too aggressive.

Charlie : [Smiling, says nothing] 

Maverick : Well, I guess when I see something I go right after it!

Charlie : I don't date students.

Maverick : I can see it's dangerous for you, but if the government trusts me, maybe you could.

Charlie : It takes a lot more than just fancy flying.

Maverick : Jesus, this guy's good!

Maverick : Too close for missles, I'm switching to guns.

Maverick : You're okay, Cougar. Just stay on my wing, I'll take you all the way in. Just stay with me. Easy, Cougar. Just a walk in the park, buddy.

Sundown : [Maverick suddenly flies off after refusing an easy shot on Jester]  Hey, where the hell are you going?

Maverick : Uh... It's not good. It doesn't look good.

Sundown : What do you mean, "it doesn't look good"? It doesn't get to look any better than that.

Maverick : There's Viper.

Goose : Hey Mav, stay with Hollywood.

Hollywood : Yeah Mav, stay with me.

Maverick : Hollywood, you look good. I'm going after Viper.

Hollywood : God dammit, Maverick.

Goose : All right, the bet is $20.

Maverick : $20!

Goose : Right. You have to have carnal knowledge - of a lady this time - on the premises.

Maverick : On the premises.

Goose : Come on, Mav. A bet's a bet.

Maverick : I don't know, it just - it just doesn't seem fair. For you, I mean.

Maverick : It's a big mystery. He disappeared in an F-4, November 5th, 1965. The stink of it was, he screwed up. No way. My old man was a great fighter pilot. But who the hell knows? It's all classified.

Maverick : Lieutenant, why didn't you tell me that you were a famous MiG insulter?

Charlie : Would it have made any difference?

Maverick : Not in the Ladies' Room, no.

Charlie : And what would've?

Charlie : I'm Charlotte Blackwood.

Maverick : I'm Maverick.

Charlie : Maverick? Did your mother not like you or something?

Maverick : Excuse me, Miss.

Goose : Hey. Hey-hey. Don't worry. I'll take care of this.

Maverick : [singing]  You never close your eyes any more, When I kiss your lips

Goose : There's no tenderness Iike before, In your fingertips

Maverick : You're trying hard not to show it

Maverick , Goose : Baby, But, baby, Believe me I know it, You've lost that loving feeling, Whoa, that loving feeling...

Maverick : Actually, I came in here to save you from making a big mistake with that older guy.

Charlie : Really? So I could go on to a bigger one with a *young* guy like yourself?

Maverick : Maybe.

Maverick : You always get what you want?

Charlie : No, not always. Yeah, maybe.

Charlie : I'm trying for this big promotion at work and if I get it, I'm not gonna be here much longer.

Maverick : It seems to me you've got it all figured out.

Charlie : Yeah.

Maverick : Except you did forget the wine.

Charlie : Oh, sorry.

Charlie : I'm sorry for being direct.

Maverick : No apologies.

Charlie : This is gonna be complicated.

Maverick : Wooo! Rock 'n' roll! Here's our chance. It's a big one, Goose.

Goose : I told her how tough it is here. You know, my ass dragging like an old, tired dog. I told her that you didn't even have a woman here.

Maverick : Oh, really.

Goose : You know what she said? Said, "Oh, he probably doesn't have one, he's got eight."

Maverick : Ice, fire or clear!

Maverick : Goose, I'm losing control. I'm losing control.

Carole : Maverick would you go fetch him!

Maverick : I'm gonna go embarrass myself with Goose for awhile.

Maverick , Goose : [singing]  You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain, Thinking 'bout your love drives a man insane, You broke my will, Oh, what a thrill, Goodness gracious, Great balls of fire!

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Tom cruise, ‘top gun: maverick’ and the uneasy echoes of hollywood past.

The flag-draped 1986 blockbuster ushered in the testosterone-fueled glory years of producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer — and cemented the industry’s most enigmatic (and complicated) star.

By Kim Masters

Kim Masters


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At left: THR’s 1996 story on the tributes to Don Simpson; Tom Cruise has gone on a worldwide press blitz (including a royal premiere in England and fighter jets flying over Cannes) ahead of Top Gun: Maverick’s theatrical debut.

T op Gun: Maverick , set to open May 27, sits at a sky-high 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. After seemingly endless pandemic miseries, it feels like there are whole audience quadrants hungry for an old-school, PG-13 popcorn movie, a throwback for parents who can revel in nostalgia while their kids enjoy the action.

But Top Gun also cooks up a pretty complicated stew of feelings for some — feelings about politics, about the fate of the business and, for me unexpectedly, emotion that had nothing to do with the action onscreen. (Truth: I had never even seen the original film until I watched it on Netflix the night before I went to the sequel’s May 4 premiere in San Diego.)

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While most critics obviously liked the movie, the politics of the film created a sense of unease for more than one. Writing that the original had “all the narrative complexity of a music video crossed with a military recruitment reel,” The Hollywood Reporter ’s David Rooney said the queasiness (despite the film’s multiracial cast) has only intensified in the post-Trump age, “with patriotism curdling into white supremacy” (a point he made weeks before the latest white-nationalist terror attack, in Buffalo). Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times concurred that it was “best not to think too long or hard about … the fetishization of U.S. military might.” And he raised another key point on the minds of many: “Is this movie one of the last gasps of a dying Hollywood empire? Or is its emotionally stirring, viscerally gripping and proudly old-fashioned storytelling the latest adrenaline shot that the industry so desperately needs?”

The audience at the premiere I attended just seemed ready to surrender to the star power of Tom Cruise , who (with Mission: Impossible 7 still unfinished ) is enjoying a spectacular international ride, including the helicopter landing in San Diego, a royal premiere in England plus a role in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration and, in Cannes, eight fighter jets overhead expelling smoke in red and blue to match the colors of the French flag and a “surprise” honorary Palme d’Or.

It was a long road, getting to this moment. Skydance’s David Ellison , as a very young heir to billions, years ago sought out the original’s director, Tony Scott , and persuaded him to consider the idea of a reprise. But in 2012, Scott stunned Hollywood by leaping to his death from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro. Cruise had been with him just two days earlier, scouting locations for the film. This version of the movie was finally greenlighted in the Jim Gianopulos regime, and much about the premiere and the film’s splashy rollout was already planned two years ago. (As Cruise has noted, there was no world in which Paramount wasn’t going to hold the film for a full theatrical run. Because he’s Tom Cruise.)

Now Paramount is poised to enjoy what looks like a global hit just months after Shari Redstone ousted Gianopulos partly for being (in her mind) too old-school about theatrical releases. She committed to a full push into streaming just before Wall Street’s infatuation with it started to cool. Paramount+ is building subscribers, but on the theatrical-movie front, the company has been dining very well on meals prepared by the departed chef. It’s a cliche in Hollywood that executives hit a hot streak after they’re fired, but Gianopulos’ run in this respect has been pretty remarkable. Even the old-fashioned The Lost City is a whisker away from $100 million in domestic box office, and that’s not supposed to happen anymore, at least for a comedic romp that is neither a franchise nor a superhero movie.

At the premiere in San Diego, to which Gianopulos was unsurprisingly not invited, someone asked me how I was enjoying the party. “Feeling a little bad for Cinderella,” I answered.

For many — including me — Cruise himself evokes a heavy mix of feelings. He’s been a movie star since he was 21, still huge in an era when there aren’t many left. His commitment to being a movie star is unflagging. He’s taken chances on a variety of material but still delivered the blockbusters, decade after decade. Still, a lot of people can’t forget — and those old enough to remember 2005, couch jumping and all, were vividly reminded by Cruise himself — that he is also deeply committed to Scientology. Lawrence Wright , Alex Gibney , Leah Remini and others have had plenty to say about what’s disturbing about the organization, and I’ve written a lot of words about Cruise and Scientology myself.

The issue isn’t what Cruise believes in private. Celebrities have always been valued by the group as “ornaments,” says longtime chronicler and Scientology critic Tony Ortega , but Cruise is the church’s biggest celebrity and crown jewel. If Cruise were to leave and denounce the group, Ortega says, “I doubt Scientology could survive it. That’s how important he is.” (There’s no sign he’s considering it.) He adds that Top Gun is “a huge boost for individual Scientologists, who will see the success of the Top Gun sequel as a vindication of Scientology, even if the movie has nothing to do with it.”

At the May 4 premiere at the San Diego Civic Center, Cruise stood onstage and, with immaculate politeness, thanked everyone involved. (He thanked Redstone and Paramount CEO Bob Bakish , who were there, but saved his most lavish praise for Ellison.) The audience included rows of naval officers in their immaculate white uniforms, and of course Cruise thanked the Navy, too. I wondered whether any of those officers gave a thought to Scientology or if they were just dazzled, like millions around the world, by that high-wattage smile and the undeniable movie-star magic.

For me another wave of emotion came when the lights went down and the screen was filled with “ Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer ” in giant letters. Bruckheimer wasn’t obligated to give Don credit on the screen more than 25 years after his death, but he did.

I wasn’t in Hollywood for the original Top Gun , but I was around for the aftermath, when Simpson and Bruckheimer were in their testosterone-fueled glory, with massive deals at Paramount and then Disney. At Paramount, the two sat at a long shared desk. Don was brilliant and funny and profoundly self-destructive. He was also one of my most important early sources on this beat, a true professor of Hollywood-ology. He absolutely gloried in the gossip and social comedy of the town. I knew about the madness, the hookers and the blow, and he knew that I knew and took a dim view. It was understood, but it wasn’t my job to look after him or scold him. It was my job to learn and report.

When Nancy Griffin and I were working on Hit & Run , our book about Jon Peters and Peter Guber , we were invited at one point to Jon’s house. Don called me before and after, insisting on knowing and interpreting who sat where and what, if anything, we were offered to eat or drink. He deconstructed the whole encounter. As a regular customer, he arranged an introduction to the troll-like Madam Alex , the precursor to Heidi Fleiss , and I had tea at her house, poured by one of her “creatures,” as she called them. Alex — then already in a turf war with Fleiss — lay in her bed and filled me in on the Hollywood sex trade, specifically as it related to the characters in our book, and then some. It was invaluable.

When Disney chairman Michael Eisner fired studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg in 1994, Don worked the phones and filled me in on what had gone down and what they were saying about each other. I couldn’t believe it, but they didn’t seem to suspect that he was reporting back to me. I still remember his enthusiasm, his delight, his outright joy when the story came out in Vanity Fair .

One January afternoon in 1996, we spoke at great length in anticipation of his first interview about his recent, painful split with Bruckheimer — who, very understandably, couldn’t cope with the insanity anymore. I told him he’d have to address the matter of the doctor who had been found dead from drugs in his pool house the previous August. “What do I say?” he asked. I told him I couldn’t advise him, but I offered to let him off the hook entirely; I didn’t want to put more stress on a person whose health had long been a worry. But Don said he’d do the interview, and we planned to meet. Only hours after we hung up, someone called me and said Don was dead. “No, he’s not,” I said. “I was just talking to him.”

That was more than 26 years ago. He was just 52 years old. But Don and Jerry were together again, on the screen, at the Top Gun premiere. And despite the politics, the L. Ron Hubbard of it all, the uncertainties confronting the world, it felt, at least for a flickering moment, that things were as they should be.

This story first appeared in the May 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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Top Gun (1986) cast ages: How old was the cast then (and now)?

By aysha ashley househ | aug 10, 2023.

American actor Tom Cruise on the set of Top Gun, directed by Tony Scott. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

We’re all so obsessed with 1986 film Top Gun starring Tom Cruise, and it was so amazing to get a sequel, Top Gun: Maverick , in 2022! When the production was first released to audiences in the ’80s, it was to mixed reviews. Can you believe it? However as the weeks went by, the movie became the the highest-grossing domestic film of 1986. And the second film in the franchise has received massive success, currently streaming on Paramount+ .

The action drama takes us to the Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School and introduces us to fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Cruise). The new student’s cocky attitude causes tension between him and the other pilots. But this guy has two goals – become the top fighter pilot and get the attention of his flight instructor Charlotte (Kelly McGillis).

Ever wondered how old the actors were at the time? We’ve shared the cast’s ages at the time of the movie’s release in May 1986, as well as how old they are now as of August 2023.

(Photo by Paramount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

How old was Tom Cruise in Top Gun?

The leading man who played LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell was only 22 years old when the film began shooting, and 23 when it was released. He is the youngest amongst his co-stars. The iconic actor’s birthday is July 3, 1962 which means he is currently 61 years old.

How old was Kelly McGillis in Top Gun?

The actress was two months away from her twenty-ninth birthday when the production came out, taking on the role of Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Blackwood. Her birthday is only a few days after her co-star’s – July 9, 1957. She is currently 66 years old. McGillis didn’t reprise her role in the sequel but has continued to act in films throughout the years.

How old was Val Kilmer in Top Gun?

The actor who played LT Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, aka Maverick’s rival at the school, was 26 years old when the movie premiered. He is a winter baby, having been born Dec. 31, 1959. Kilmer is currently 63. The star reprised his role in the sequel and his most recent movie is a documentary about his life and career titled Val which is streaming on Prime Video.

How old was Anthony Edwards in Top Gun?

The LTJG Nick “Goose” Bradshaw actor was 23 years old, just two months away from turning 24 when the production debuted on the big screens. He was born July 19, 1962 and is currently 61 years old. Following his role in Top Gun , you may recognize Edwards from television shows like ER , Law & Order True Crime , and WeCrashed .

How old was Meg Ryan in Top Gun?

Ryan played Edwards’ onscreen wife, Carole Bradshaw. The actress was 24 years old during the action drama. She is currently 61 years old and her birthday is Nov. 19. The celebrity became one of the most successful actresses in the ’90s and 2000s, mostly known for romantic comedies like Sleepless in Seattle , When Harry Met Sally…. , You’ve Got Mail.

How old was Tom Skerritt in Top Gun?

Skerritt, aka CDR Mike “Viper” Metcalf in the film, was 53 years old when it was released to audiences. He is currently 89, soon celebrating his 90th birthday on Aug. 25. Skerritt is the oldest of his co-stars. The talent has been acting since 1962 with his debut film War Hunt .

How old was Michael Ironside in Top Gun?

The LCDR Rick “Jester” Heatherly actor was 35 years old when the Tom Cruise-led movie was released. Ironside is currently 73 years old and was born on Feb. 12, 1950. He has continued to act, many of his jobs in voiceover roles including projects like Superman: The Animated Series ,  Wolverine and the X-Men , and  Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising .

How old was Tim Robbins in Top Gun?

Radar intercept officer, LTJG Sam “Merlin” Wells, was played by Robbins. He was 28 years old at the time of movie, and is currently 64. Oct. 16 is when the actor celebrates his birthday. He’s known for roles such as Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption , Griffin Mill in The Playe r, and Senator Robert Hammond in Green Lantern .

Top Gun and its sequel Top Gun: Maverick are both currently streaming on Paramount+ .

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Tom Cruise revealed he got just as emotional as fans did during his on-screen reunion with Val Kilmer in Top Gun: Maverick . 🥹

In the emotional scene, as he seeks advice on how to handle his working relationship with his late flying partner Goose's son Rooster, Maverick learns that Iceman has terminal cancer.

"I just want to say, that was pretty emotional," Tom said during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live .

val kilmer tom cruise top gun

"I've known Val for decades, and for him to come back and play that character—he's such a powerful actor that he instantly became that character again," he continued. "You're looking at Iceman."

When Kimmel admitted he cried whilst watching their scene together, Tom shared he was very moved as well.

"I was crying. I got emotional," he admitted. "He's such a brilliant actor, and I love his work."

Tom reportedly fought to have Val back for the sequel, while the latter also chose to incorporate his real-life illness into the script.

In his memoir , the Batman Forever star explained he approached the producers himself to return as Iceman.


"Tom was Maverick, but Maverick's nemesis was Iceman. The two went together like salt and pepper," wrote Val.

"It didn't matter that the producers didn't contact me. As The Temptations sang in the heyday of Motown soul, 'Ain't too proud to beg'."

Top Gun: Maverick is currently in the running for Best Picture at the upcoming Oscars.

The film is nominated in other five categories, including Best Song for "Hold My Hand," performed by Lady Gaga and BloodPop.

Top Gun: Maverick is available to watch on Paramount+ .

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Reporter, Digital Spy

Stefania is a freelance writer specialising in TV and movies. After graduating from City University, London, she covered LGBTQ+ news and pursued a career in entertainment journalism, with her work appearing in outlets including Little White Lies, The Skinny, Radio Times and Digital Spy . 

Her beats are horror films and period dramas, especially if fronted by queer women. She can argue why Scream is the best slasher in four languages (and a half). 

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Tom Cruise in Talks to Star in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Film at Warner Bros. and Legendary

By Katcy Stephan

Katcy Stephan

  • IATSE and Teamsters Warn of Another Hollywood Strike at Massive Rally: ‘Put Your Helmets On’ 21 hours ago
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Tom Cruise, Alejandro Iñárritu

Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment are in negotiations for a new film from Alejandro González Iñárritu , with Tom Cruise attached to star. The untitled project would be Iñárritu’s first English-language film since “The Revenant.”

The film will be produced and directed by Iñárritu, with a script he co-wrote in 2023 with “Birdman” co-writers Nicolas Giacobone and Alexander Dinelaris, along with Sabina Berman. Plot details are still under wraps.

This will be Cruise’s first film since signing a deal to develop and produce theatrical films with Warner Bros. Discovery in January. His last project with the studio was “Edge of Tomorrow” a decade ago.

Iñárritu won back-to-back Academy Awards for his direction of “Birdman” in 2015 and “The Revenant” in 2016. He followed up those projects with 2017’s “Flesh and Sand” (“Carne y Arena”), a virtual-reality short giving viewers the perspective of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border with a coyote. The project debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017 and earned a special achievement Oscar in 2018. In 2022, he co-wrote, co-scored, edited, produced and directed “Bardo,” which earned an Oscar nomination for best cinematography.

Cruise and Iñárritu are both represented by CAA.

Deadline was first to report the news.

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Top Gun, Risky Business, Mission: Impossible and more... Have you seen these Tom Cruise classics?

Posted: March 4, 2024 | Last updated: March 4, 2024

The one aspect that brings all of the elements of 'Top Gun' together is the glorification of war. In fact, the movie's theme proved to hit such a chord with general audiences, that the US saw a significant surge in applicants in the opening week of the film. Wanting to capitalise on the trend, the Navy posted recruitment booths outside of several theatres across the country. The tactic was successful, as officers reported there had been at least a 500 per cent increase in recruits.

Cruise's most memorable movies

Although it isn’t the most faithful adaptation of the classic H. G. Wells book of the same name, 'The War of the Worlds' is still very much a great Tom Cruise movie. The actor, who stars alongside Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin, turned in a great performance as Ray Ferrier, a family man who is determined to save his children from the impending alien invasion. The Steven Spielberg-led picture also proved that Tom Cruise could fit into the sci-fi genre just as well as his action movies.

The War of the Worlds

'A Few Good Men' has one very good man in particular! The 1992 thriller, which boasts a cast that also includes Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore and Kevin Bacon, tells the story of a U.S. military lawyer who discovers there is more to a murder case than meets the eye. As well as being an all-round excellent film, 'A Few Good Men' is also the birth place of Jack's iconic line, "You can't handle the truth!"

A Few Good Men

Actress Emily Blunt, who played Rita Vrataski in the sci-fi film, recalled the moment she nearly killed her co-star whilst shooting a high speed car chase scene.  She said: "I hear him [Cruise] under his breath as I approach the right-hand turn, going 'Brake, brake, brake. Brake. Brake, brake, brake... Oh, God. Brake, brake, brake. Brake it hard! Brake hard!' I left it too late, and so drove us into a tree… I almost killed Tom Cruise!"

Edge of Tomorrow

Tom's breakthrough role also happens to be one of his best! Starring in the 1983 coming-of-age picture with Rebecca De Mornay, Tom plays a well-off teen who gets involved with a working girl with some disastrous consequences.  The film contains a memorable dance scene, in which he slides into the frame wearing just a shirt and underwear! Looking back at the scene, the actor said: "I'll never forget that night, that day that I shot that scene. Just, you know, he gave me the opening frame of that shot ... [director] Paul Brickman, great filmmaker. He and I talked about it, [and] he said, 'Here's the choreography.' Look, I grew up dancing in my underwear in my house, who didn't?"

Risky Business

When you think of Maverick you can only picture Tom Cruise, but that wasn't always going to be the case. 'Grease' legend John Travolta was approached to play the fighter pilot. However, the studio eventually backed out of the deal after deciding he was too expensive and too risky, with him recently suffering a number of box office bombs. Patrick Swayze was also offered the role, though he too turned it down after finding that the movie wasn't for him.

Mission: Impossible

'Born on the Fourth of July' is very much Tom's anti 'Top Gun', with it warning against military propaganda instead of promoting it. In the 1990 movie, the actor, who stars alongside Oliver Stone and Willem Dafoe, plays Ron Kovic, a patriotic man who joins the Marine Corps, but is left paralysed after an accident that changes his attitude on war. To say Tom was the stand-out highlight of the film would very much be an understatement. In fact, Tom was so good in the film, that it earned him his one and only Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Born on the Fourth of July

In the 1986 film, Cruise - who appears with Paul Newman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio - is taken under the wing of an expert scammer who introduces him to the world of pool hustling. Years later, Tom revealed that the veteran actor taught him a lesson that he has brought with him throughout his illustrious career. He said: "I am doing this scene, and I mean, I'm telling you, it's so cold I can't even speak. I'm in between takes, and [Paul] is in a car, and I'm running to this area. They're trying to thaw [me]. Newman's like, 'Where's the kid? Where's the kid?' So finally, I have this scene where he's in the car, and I'm next to him. I look in, and I'm like, 'What?' He had the warm coat. He had the heater in there. It was an electric heater, He looked at me, and he's like, 'T-shirt? You tried your wardrobe on in the summer, didn't you?' I was like, 'Yes, sir. I did.' He's like, 'Watch and learn, kid. Watch and learn.' I never forgot it. I literally never forgot it."

The Color of Money

Despite gaining his helicopter pilot license in 1994, the action star sustained multiple injuries whilst shooting a chopper scene that sees his character Ethan loose his grasp and fall seven feet from the aircraft. Cruise had to reshoot the scene five times, getting the wind knocked out of him upon impact.  In another scene, Ethan smashes into the edge of a roof when attempting to leap between two buildings chasing August Walker (Henry Cavil).  The impact shattered Tom's ankle for real. He said: “I was chasing Henry and was meant to hit the side of the wall and pull myself over but the mistake was my foot hitting the wall. “I knew instantly my ankle was broken and I really didn’t want to do it again so just got up and carried on with the take. I said, ‘It’s broken. That’s a wrap. Take me to hospital,’ and then everyone got on the phone and made their vacation arrangement.”

Mission: Impossible - Fallout

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ truly is a cinematic triumph. The 2022 movie is the long-awaited sequel to the 1986 picture, and it masterfully built on every aspect on the original, whilst retaining its charm. Perhaps the best part of the film is the fact that there is very little CGI, and all of the stunt work seen on screen was done for real, making the whole experience deeply immersive and will no doubt have every audience member on the edge of their seat. Cruise returns as Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell , and is joined by a phenomenal supporting cast that includes Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw (Miles Teller) Jake ‘Hangman’ Seresin (Glen Powell) and Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly). Once all the characters, story and effects are added together, you are left with a near-flawless experience. In fact, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is so good, it may very well be considered one of the best pictures ever. Period.

Top Gun: Maverick

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