1986’s Top Gun is many things: a homoerotic romance, a beautiful display of Tom Cruise’s early talents, and an unrepentant bit of pro-military propaganda. But, hey, don’t get mad about us about that. It’s Tom Cruise’s opinion. Or, at least, it was in 1990.
Following a mid-career crisis that saw Cruise jumping on couches, railing against mental health medications, and becoming the poster boy for L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, Cruise focused on action movies where he did his own stunts. After realizing that sequels were the only version of Cruise that people were interested in, he jumped back into the cockpit for Top Gun Maverickwhich was “irresponsible” according to a younger, smarter Cruise.
In this 1990 interview with Playboy ,via gizmodo), Cruise explains that “some people felt Top Gun was a right-wing film to promote the Navy,” and a lot of kids loved it. Kids famously love war.
Playboy, [Born On The Fourth of July] is also the flip side of Top Gunwhich is essentially war by Nintendo game and a paean to blind patriotism.
Cruise: OK, some people felt that Top Gun was a right-wing film to promote the Navy. And a lot of kids loved it. But I want the kids to know that that’s not the way war is—that Top Gun was just an amusement park ride, a fun film with a PG-13 rating that was not supposed to be reality.
That’s why I didn’t go on and make Top Gun II and III and IV and V, That would have been irresponsible.
It was a rare moment of candidness from Cruise, who doesn’t really give these kinds of interviews anymore. Instead, he mainly saves his personal opinions for the set—unless it’s about motion smoothing, Last year, Cruise became the Internet’s BFF after chasting a crew member for not wearing a mask or social distancing on set. The Hollywood Reporter reports that both Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie are ,believed to be unvaccinated, which supports his argument for masking and social distancing.
But back in 1990, Playboy held Cruise’s feet to the fire on this thing, saying that movies like Top Gun inspire young people to sign up for the army.
Playboy: Is Born a redemption of Top Gun,
Cruise: They are to different things. Top Gun is a joy ride and shouldn’t be looked at beyond that. Born is about real people and real events. Top Gun should be looked at as going on Space Mountain—it’s like a simple fairy tale.
Playboy: A lot of boys have gone off to war to that kind of drumbeat. That is the history of war—young, callow kids marching off to a fairy-tale glory as in Top Gun,
Cruise: Think of that: I am totally responsible for World War Three [laughs], Come on. Let’s look at the reality of what I am saying—where my beliefs lie. I didn’t have anything riding on Top Gun, The fact is, I really want people to see Born On The Fourth Of July—it’s a movie that had to be made.
As gizmodo notes, the military used to set up recruitment booths outside theaters playing Top Gun in 1986, Things haven’t changed much. For Top Gun MaverickParamount worked with the Navy as most Hollywood films about the military have done in the past.
In a video uploaded by Paramount Pictures Promoting the nature of that relationship, Cruise said that he wouldn’t make a sequel “until we had a special story worthy of a sequel and technology evolved so that we could delve deeper into the experience of a fighter pilot.”
“We worked with the Navy and the Top Gun school to formulate how to shoot it practically. Because if we’re going to do it, we’re flying the F-18s,” Cruise says in the video that has more than 4 million views.
Anyway, Cruise’s latest “irresponsible” attempt at making war look like “an amusement park ride, a fun film” flies into theaters on May 27.