You know the on-screen story of Top Gun, because it’s deeply absorbed in American culture. The movie launched the career of mega-star Tom Cruise and noted director Tony Scott, and lifted Jerry Bruckheimer to the status of a top echelon producer. But what makes it truly different is its longevity.

Fans will appreciate the complete Top Gun backstory, filled with anecdotes by people who were there and supported by studio and other historic documents.  

Movie buffs will love the detail Top Gun Memos contains, from the famous bomber jacket to the Ninja-riding stuntman racing the F-14.  

Navy personnel will revel in the accounts of pilots who were there, and the sheer importance of the role it played in making the movie.  

Historians will appreciate the information captured on production practices and references to other movies that help explain why Top Gun?




Artistry and Danger: An Investigative Journalist Digs in


90 Interviews

1,250+ pages of studio andproduction documents

All fact-checked.

Plus, never before seen photos!


TOP GUN MEMOS includes a thorough look at each of the movie’s famous scenes, from the romantic dinner at Charlie’s house to the death of Goose, from the hangar-turned-classroom to the shirtless volleyball game featuring some of the Hollywood’s hottest male actors of the day. Tony Scott knew he wanted handsome guys. Years later, Quentin Tarantino noted the movie’s homoerotic appeal in a scene in Sleep With Me (1984).


TOP GUN MEMOS is filled with anecdotes and fun times without shirking the responsibly of telling the full story, with production plights, off-screen danger, and challenges overcome by filmmakers. Included throughout are the Navy aviators that assisted the productions, whose stories are everybit as amazing.

Top Gun Fans

Why has Top Gun outlasted so many other movies in the public psyche? The fans.  They continue to visit locations associated with the movie, year after year, like Kansas City Barbecue in San Diego. An Oceanside real estate developer literally relocated a house that was a key location down the street to center its massive oceanfront development. Fans of the movie appreciate places like the popular USS Lexington Museum in Corpus Christi, which features this F-14, which was seen in the movie, among its exhibits.


Fun stories that take us to a different time in filmmaking ...


-- The Ninja-driving stuntman who raced the F-14 on the tarmac.

-- The location manager who lands the now famous Kansas City Barbeque restaurant for the dive bar scenes.

-- The costume designer who drove with Tom Cruise to Paramount for the final review of costumes but wouldn’t admit to the Paramount guard it was, in fact, Tom Cruise.

And a deeper look at three close calls during production …


-- The death of famed stunt pilot Art Scholl while shooting footage.

-- An incident offshore while filming the rescue scenes that nearly killed Tom Cruise.

-- A near miss with an F-14 while shooting the aerial flying scenes.

Based on interviews with key players:

Donna Scott, wife of Director Tony Scott



Executive Producer Bill Badalato

Cinematographer Jeffrey Kimball

First Assistant Director Dan Kolsrud

Second Assistant Director Sharon Mann

Production Designer John DeCuir Jr.

Casting Director Margery Simkin

Costume Designer Jimmy Tyson

Prop Master Mark Wade

Locations Manager Fred Baron

Transportation Coordinator Randy Peters

Harold Faltermeyer, musician and composer,

Supervising Sound Editor Cecilia Hall,

Editors Billy Weber and Chris Lebenzon  

Gary Gutierrez, special photographic effects



Admiral USNR (Ret.) Pete Pettigrew

Admiral USN (Ret) Robert F. Willard,

and former Navy aviators

Lloyd 'Bozo' Abel, Dave 'Bio' Baranek,

and John Semcken. 


And many others...