Hot-shot naval actor, Tom Cruise, plays hot-shot naval pilot Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell along side his co-pilot “Goose” Bradshaw of the Tri-Lambs. The film opens up with the dynamic duo flying their F-14A Tomcat in a mock battle against some MiG-28s over the Indian Ocean. During the melee, Maverick flips his jet upside down so he can give his rival plane the finger, cockpit to cockpit.
There’s another F-14A Tomcat flying alongside Maverick and Goose which is flown by “Cougar.” When he is almost shot out of the sky by the MiGs, Cougar is too shaken up by the near death experience to land his plane. Maverick talks Cougar down with a personal escort.
Cougar lands safely, and gives it all up for his family. With Cougar’s retirement, Maverick is the best the Navy has. He and Goose attend the Top Gun school for the best of the best pilots.
And if you screw up just this much, you’ll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!Stinger
Team Maverick/Goose are different in their flying philosophies. Maverick flies with reckless abandon because of the death of his father who was also a Naval Aviator. He died during the Vietnam War, but Maverick refuses to believe it was his father’s fault. On the other hand, Goose is a very cautious family man, which blends well with Maverick’s style.
At a bar, the day before they start Top Gun, Maverick hits on Charlie Blackwood, an astrophysicist and civilian Top Gun instructor. He only realizes who she is the next day in class. Maverick’s behavior in the sky peaks Charlie’s interest on the ground, but not everyone is a fan.
His behavior annoys Tom “Iceman” Kazanski, who thinks Maverick’s flying is reckless and dangerous. Iceman and Maverick become rivals because of it. Meanwhile, Maverick continues to pursue Charlie, and they quietly begin dating.
Maverick Gets Cocky
During a training mission, Maverick abandons his wingman to take out his instructor, Mike “Viper” Metcalf, but Viper outmaneuvers him, and his wingman shoots down Maverick. Teams win, Maverick. Teams win.
As training comes to a close, Maverick and Iceman pursue Jester. Maverick accidentally flies through the jet wash of Iceman’s aircraft, and both engines flameout. Maverick’s plane spins out of control, and both he and Goose eject. Goose slams into the aircraft’s canopy, and is immediately killed.
Somehow, an inquiry clears Maverick from any wrongdoing, but Maverick is guilt ridden, and he considers retirement. Maverick seeks Vipers advice on the matter, and Viper reveals that he served with Maverick’s father in Nam. He says that classified documents prove that his father died heroically. Viper further states that Maverick can graduate Top Gun, but his self confidence needs to return.
Maverick graduates, but his rival, Iceman wins the top pilot award. Very quickly though, Iceman and Maverick return to Enterprise with orders to deal with a “crisis situation.” They provide air support for a communications ship that has drifted into hostile waters. Iceman and Maverick shoot down four MiGs; forcing two others to flee.
Safely back on the ship, everyone celebrates a job well done. Maverick decides to return to Top Gun as an instructor, where he and Charlie reunite. Everyone lives happily ever after except for Goose and his family. Maverick’s poor behavior took care of that.