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The Unending Appeal of Top Gun

TopgunPity the poor Gen-X soul who admits to never having seen Top Gun! Alternating first between gasping disbelief and frenzied replays of the movie’s most famous quotes ("I feel the need…the need for speed!"), the uninitiated’s friends are likely then to treat him to an impromptu a cappella version of Kenny Loggin’s "Danger Zone."

Fans of the Tom Cruise tribute to aerial combat run from those who love camp to those who enjoy the pure escapism of the movie and the high-flying bravado of Cruise’s performance. As Pete "Maverick" Mitchell,  the wild-card lieutenant in the Navy’s most elite fighter-pilot training school,  Maverick quickly gains notoriety for disregarding military authority and flying on his own terms. Accompanied by his glib back-seat co-pilot Goose (Anthony Edwards), this renegade incites envy from his peers, and fosters a rivalry with the intense, uber-competitive Ice Man (Val Kilmer). When Maverick falls for his civilian flight instructor Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood (played by a steely Kelly McGillis in shoulder pads), the line between work and romance blurs. And that’s just before the shirtless volleyball scene.

One of the most popular movies of its time, Top Gun still appeals to our red-blooded desire to see men storm off on motorcycles, witness authority figures confounded by impulsive rebels, and root for the romance that arises between two equally temperamental lovers. Chalk up this film’s staying power to its ability to court both sexes, especially the ladies—take us to bed or lose us forever!

Top Gun plays tonight, Sunday January 13 on AMC at 8 p.m. | 7C.

(Correction: The original post incorrectly listed the director of the movie. As one of our commenter’s points out, the director was Tony Scott.)

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