A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Winning is the most important thing to these characters, though they also prize loyalty, friendship, and duty. While sexism is noticeable, two strong women characters help keep some of the objectification in check. Relatable friendships between men. Even though students compete with each other, they support Maverick after a tragedy.
Positive Role Models
Maverick is overconfident and cool, but he's got some depth to him, too, and he grows/matures somewhat over the course of the story. Charlie is a smart, tough woman. Goose and Viper are supportive friends and mentors to Maverick. Iceman is a great pilot -- eventually winning the Top Gun trophy -- because he's careful and follows rules.
All Navy personnel and Top Gun students are men. Two pilots are Black but are mainly in the background of the story. Some sexist comments and jokes (calling women "targets" and placing bets around sleeping with them), but main character Charlie has a PhD in astrophysics and an important job at Top Gun, and Carole is treated with respect.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
A main character is killed during a traumatic plane crash/malfunction (blood is shown on his face). A lot of fighter pilot skirmishes (some with missiles and enemy planes exploding) and characters in peril. Risky behavior like reckless driving and riding motorcycles without helmets.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A graphic-for-its-time love scene shows characters embracing intimately and tongue kissing in profile, but there's no nudity. A teacher sleeps with her adult student. Lots of shirtless men in locker rooms and an iconic beach volleyball scene. Innuendo/references ("I'm getting a hard on").
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Several uses of "s--t," plus "son of a bitch," "goddamn," "damn," "d--khead," "p---y," "hell," "a--hole," "ass," "laid," and "oh my God."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Maverick drinks wine and then drives off on his motorcycle. Beer drinking and cigar/cigarette smoking by adults. Memorable scenes set in bars.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Top Gun is a blockbuster 1980s action thriller starring Tom Cruise that's chock full of narrow escapes, chases, and battles. But there are also violent and upsetting scenes, particularly the death of a main character, which make it too intense for younger kids. There's also one graphic-for-its-time sex scene (though no explicit nudity) and quite a few shirtless men in locker rooms and, in one iconic sequence, on a beach volleyball court. Winning is the most important thing to all the pilots, who try to intimidate one another with plenty of posturing and banter -- though when push comes to shove, loyalty and friendship have important roles to play, too. While sexism is noticeable and almost all characters are men, two strong women help keep some of the objectification in check. A sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, was released in 2022. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Made at the peak of Cruise's career in the 1980s, Top Gun is still exciting to watch. For all of the serious drama in the film, it's also heavy on action and charisma. Adults of a certain age will remember how it spawned a fashion movement of aviator glasses and bomber jackets and what a huge star Cruise was. More than The Color of Money or the Mission: Impossible franchise, this well-directed, well-acted film is the one in which Cruise proved that he could play more than an arrogant jerk with a killer smile. Cruise imbues Maverick with so much warmth and depth that you can't help rooting for him.
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.