Top Gun. Directed by Tony Scott Produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer Distributor - Paramount. Categories. Purpose of Top Gun – To Entertain, To Make money Medium – Film Form – Mainstream Box Office Feature film Genre – Action, War Film, Romance. Genre – Action.
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Top Gun Directed by Tony Scott Produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer Distributor - Paramount
Categories • Purpose of Top Gun – To Entertain, To Make money • Medium – Film • Form – Mainstream Box Office Feature film • Genre – Action, War Film, Romance
Genre – Action One man saves the day Slow motion dramatic moment Fast pace Male dominate Explosions Fast editing Conventions Fighting physical stunts Villains Helpless women Chase scenes High Octave music Heroes
Genre – War Films Strong Male bonding Good V Bad Patriotism Conflict between countries Conventions Strong Leader Negative portrayals of other countries Young “Hot Shot” in need of a mentor Dog Fighting Explosions Military Simple Storylines
Genre - Romance Soft music Power Ballad Soft lighting Conventions Smooth continuity editing A couple in love Walks on the beach An obstacle that the lovers must overcome together
Institution • Paramount Studios is one of America’s longest standing institutions and has worked with Tom Cruise for 14 years – the first film they made together being Top Gun.
Paramount Some of their most famous films • Ten Commandments • White Christmas • Shane • True Grit • The Godfather films • Ordinary People • Reds • Terms of Endearment • Saturday Night Fever • Raiders of the Lost Ark • Beverley Hills Cop • Top Gun • Ghost • The Hunt for Red October • Patriot Games • The Star Trek movies • Indecent Proposal • Forest Gump • Braveheart • The Mission Impossible movies • Titanic • Transformers
Audience • target audience, different audience reactions Men Filled with testosterone-charged dramatic action, male bonding, aerial dogfights, and locker-room boasting at a U.S. Navy flight school for fighter pilots. Women Top Gun also blends the right mix of ingredients to appeal to feminine tastes in romantic date movies. Men have always raved about this movie, but there's also plenty for women to enjoy.
Women Love it • Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer starred in this 1986 romantic action film when they were both in prime condition in their mid-twenties. • Kelly McGillis as the slightly older flight instructor with a Ph.D. in astrophysics comes across as a strong confident woman. As the love interest for Maverick, she projects the right amount of beauty, charm, and vulnerability that women viewers can admire without feeling too threatened. • These well-toned fighter pilots-in-training enjoy sweaty, shirtless, games of volleyball and nearly naked locker room scenes. Women viewers will enjoy them as well.
Women Love it 3. The dogfights and aerial stunts might be intended mostly for male viewers, but the music composer must have had females in mind when he wrote the score. Top Gun is filled with exciting music that soars with the jets and revs up the romance.
Men Love it • Gives the feeling you are in control of something important • You are flying a plane • Get to blow stuff up • In charge of something powerful • Fun • Lots of action • Typically male genre
Target Audience Young Men aged between 15 – 40 Those interested in the “Top Gun” programme Those people who like action/war films
Marketable Assets Tom Cruise – He made his film debut with a small part in Endless Love (1981) and from the outset exhibited an undeniable box office appeal to both male and female audiences. Though below average height and not particularly handsome in the traditional sense, within 5 years Tom Cruise was starring in some of the top grossing films of the 1980s One of the highest paid and most sought after actors in screen history. Was already successful after he film Risky Business
Marketable Assets Kelly McGillis a novice in acting, only doing a few stage roles when she managed to win a supporting role in the Academy Award nominated film Reuben, Reuben (1983). This led to work on numerous TV projects and a lead role opposite Harrison Ford in the highly acclaimed thriller Witness (1985). This box office hit, directed by Peter Weir got her noticed around Hollywood and movie producers took note of her. One of the producers was Jerry Bruckheimer who cast her in the highly recognized and career breakthrough role of Charlie Blackwood in Top Gun (1986) which became the highest grossing film of the year.
Marketable Assets Val Kilmer His professional acting career began on stage, and he still participates in theatre; he played Hamlet at the 1988 Colorado Shakespeare Festival. His film debut was in the 1984 spoof Top Secret! (1984), wherein he starred as blond rock idol Nick Rivers. He was in a number of films throughout the 1980s, including the 1986 smash Top Gun (1986).
Marketable Assets Tom Skerritt Already well known in Hollywood having established himself in 1962 playing a military sergeant . Being that he was already established he was idea to play the older, more mature flight instructor and mentor role to Tom Cruise’s young hotshot role.
Director – Tony Scott Famous for being Ridley Scott’s younger brother Known for making fast paced films Since Top Gun has become known for very “Americanised” films Trade Mark Constantly wears a faded red baseball cap. It often appears in his films. [director's trademark - camera pan across a large tower]. The "top of the world" tower at the casino in Domino and Beat The Devil, The tower in Mexico City at the start of Man on Fire Has used dogs in many of his movies including Top Gun, True Romance, Crimson Tide, The Fan, Enemy of the State, Man on Fire, and Domino. Kinetic, choppy editing Frequently has sunlight flashing at characters to make the picture more effective
Marketable Assets Top Gun Naval Academy This is a real branch of the armed forces in American and as such was of interest to the general public. In the early years of the Vietnam war, the US was not achieving the level of superiority in air- to-air warfare that it had enjoyed in previous conflicts. By 1968, concerned about the relatively low kill rations achieved in Southeast Asia, Captain Frank Ault, serving with the Naval Air Systems Command, recommended the formation of a graduate level school to train a nucleus of fighter crews who would be highly trained in Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM) and weapons systems employment.
Top Gun Naval Academy The Navy established "Top Gun" at the Miramar Naval Air Station in 1969. It was a four week course that provided Navy pilots instruction that simulated realistic combat conditions. VF-121, the Pacific Fleet F-4 Replacement Training Squadron, was directed to establish a graduate level program for the entire Navy F-4 community. The first class convened on 3 March 1969, and TOPGUN was formally commissioned as a separate command at NAS Miramar on 7 July 1972 In October 1985, TOPGUN became an Echelon II Shore Command reporting directly to the Chief of Naval Operations. Navy Fighter Weapons School is the primary authority for Navy and Marine Corps tactics development and training. TOPGUN continues to refine fighter tactics in Power Projection and Maritime Air Superiority to keep the Fleet abreast of and trained to current tactical developments.
Representations Representation stereotypes/non-stereotypes Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell played by Tom Cruise Role – Hot Shot that doesn’t play by the rules Best pilot but with the worst attitude Maverick – a person who has unorthodox or differing views Father was involved in some unfortunate business and Maverick must deal with this Is eventually the hero and saves the day Is a stereotypical head strong young man
Representations Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood played by Kelly McGillis Main female character Unusual Job – A woman doing the job normally reserved for men – perhaps the reason she is known by Charlie Strong woman who becomes Maverick’s love interest Although not a stereotypical woman (helpless and in need of rescue) she does fill the stereotypical role of the love interest.
Representation of Women • The women in the film are represented either as beautiful and successful in a man's world (Charlie) or beautiful and supporting wholeheartedly the man she has married (Carol, Goose's wife.) Young women in the audience would perhaps see a role model in Kelly McGillis (Charlie).
Charlie There are two sides to her character - or at least to the way she is represented on screen. Although she initially seems to be very impressed at meeting Maverick and learning that he is a pilot, she is not so easily won over, refusing his seductive advances. Later, she is revealed as a civilian adviser in aerial combat techniques, knowing much more than the men she instructs. (All except Maverick, who challenges her over the question of the 4G dive with the MIG). She is visibly impressed - but the feminists in the audience will not be now since she is now being represented in a secondary role to the man - the "adoring female" type.
Charlie The representation of Charlie seems to move between these two readings throughout the film. She drives a Porsche fast and furiously - usually a male trick - impressing even the daredevil Maverick. She invites Maverick to dinner but "calls the shots" about when they should eat. ("Now! No, you can't have a shower!") Yet over the meal, long seductive glances are exchanged. It is the same next day when they meet in the elevator. She's even dressed like him now in white t-shirt, black leather jacket, baseball cap and jeans -and again those long seductive looks! She even gives up her Washington job to be with him at Miramar.
Carol Carol, on the other hand, is not seen in anything but a wife and mother representation. She does not complain about the long separations from Goose and having to bring up the children single handed. She adores him, but knows he loves flying more than he does her. When he is killed, she bears no ill will towards Maverick
Why is she in the film at all? To lend poignancy to Goose's death and intensify Maverick's guilt perhaps? To force the audience to compare Goose with Cougar, who gave up flying because he loved his wife and children more, and thus highlight the obsession some men felt for flying? Certainly she seems to me more a device than a real person. Both women however, probably represent the two sides of American womanhood: the successful career woman and the wife and mother, Barbara Bush, type. As such there is nothing unusual about their representations.
Representations Lt. Tom “Iceman” Kazansky played by Val Kilmer Is Maverick’s main competition for the Top Gun prize Arrogant Plays by the rules Typical American Golden Boy As cool as his nickname would suggest Doesn’t trust Maverick In some ways comes across as the “baddie” of the piece Unites with Maverick in the end to win the battle
Representations Lt. JG Nick “Goose” Bradshaw played by Antony Edwards Maverick’s best friend and co pilot Is a family man Often led into trouble by Maverick His death acts as a catalyst for Maverick to change
Representations Cmdr. Mike “Viper” Metcalf played by Tom Skerritt Is the man in charge of the flight school Becomes a mentor for Maverick as well as a father-like figure Believes in Maverick and forces him back into the air after the death of Goose Tough but fair commander Stereotypical in terms of his role in the film
Representation • The other males in the film, the instructors, are represented as firm, occasionally outwardly blustering, but essentially fair. Mike is, in addition, a father figure to Maverick, and having known and admired his real father, Mike listens to Maverick's problems and advises him on them, and even volunteers to be his co-pilot.
Narrative • narrative (e.g. characters, settings, actions) and narrative structure (e.g. normality/disruption/normality; single or multiple storylines; happy endings; cliff hangers) The film focuses on the “Cold War” between America and the U.S.S.R. The film is full of action, principally aerial "dogfights" between the Americans themselves in flight simulations, and, at both the beginning and end of the film, between the Americans and the Russians
Conflict Another feature of Top Gun is the different rivalries portrayed. Between America and Russia Between Maverick and Iceman Between Maverick and Charlie Between Maverick and his supervisors And with Maverick himself
Conflict – America and Russia The most obvious is the conflict between America and Russia, which is realised in the dogfights which begin and end the film. Parallels are drawn between the two confrontations both in filming techniques and use of music. Each begins with the pre-dawn activity of men and planes being equipped for action, the planes then streaking off into the sunrise, to the same musical accompaniment.
Conflict – America and Russia In the second more dangerous confrontation, when a real battle engages and planes are actually shot down, however, the pace of editing is faster, emphasising the increased tension and danger. Just as in the first confrontation Maverick had to escort Cougar to safety, so in the second Maverick has to do the same for Iceman. Iceman has been Maverick's closest rival for the award of "Top Gun" on the training course.
Conflict – Maverick and Iceman When Maverick first goes to Miramar, at the briefing when the commander, Mike Metcalf, tells the pilots about the competition, the camera shoots into close up of Iceman, thus ensuring that the audience knows who Maverick's closest rival will be. The rivalry continues throughout the film from the first "squaring up" in the pub, through the combat simulations, to Iceman receiving the award at the graduation ceremony, after Maverick had lost his nerve on the death of Goose. The rivalry however, ceases when Maverick rescues the stricken Iceman and escorts him back safely to the carrier.
Conflict – Maverick and his Supervisors Conflict too, is seen between the men and their instructors. After the confrontation with the Russian MIGs which begins the film, Maverick is "carpeted" by his commander for "ego mania". The commander is portrayed in a rather stereotyped way, insulting Maverick and shouting at him when we know he does not really mean it. True enough Maverick's fate is to be sent to Miramar to be one of the top 10% of pilots. At Miramar he conflicts with his superiors for "buzzing the tower" and breaking safety rules.
Conflict with Charlie and himself With the civilian instructor Charlie, when he challenges her assertion that an F14 cannot do an inverted 4G dive (Maverick having just done one!) Furthermore, conflict is seen within Maverick himself when he has to decide whether to give up flying on the death of Goose, or to graduate and return to active duty.
Setting Typical also of the genre is the setting - America - with all its associations of freedom and patriotism. The American flag is often in evidence, for example when Maverick calls on Mike Metcalf to discuss his future, and at the graduation ceremony around the swimming pool. Perhaps the blue and red lighting in the control room on the aircraft carrier is meant to remind us of America too! The dogfights between American and Russian planes arise because the Russian MIGs are invading the Americans' airspace and thus violating their freedom.
Narrative Structure The narrative structure of the film can be classed as Classic Hollywood. In it, an individual, in this case Pete Mitchell (Maverick), struggles to achieve a goal or solve a problem. The character is in conflict with others, circumstances surrounding him, and even himself. In Top Gun there are the outer struggles of Maverick to win the award of best pilot at Miramar and the respect of his fellow pilots, and the love of his lady, coupled with the inner struggle of coming to terms with the death of his best friend Goose, of whom he had said "You're the only family I've got." The film ends decisively for Maverick for, although he did not win the top pilot's award, he managed to regain his nerve in combat flying and save Iceman. In addition, the love story worked out well with Charlie giving up her lucrative job in Washington to be with him.
Narrative Structure Following the pattern of classical narrative, the opening shots of Top Gun pose questions for the audience, which are ultimately answered. The opening sequence with the legs and aeroplanes moving in and out of the frame, in the pre-dawn light, causes the audience to wonder where and when all this is taking place. As the planes take off and shots of the men in the cockpits are interwoven with shots of the men in the control room, and as we listen to the dialogue, we realise that the Americans are chasing two MIG intruders out of American airspace.
Narrative Structure We quickly realise that Maverick is going to be the hero of the film as he, against orders from control takes charge of the situation, and, having seen off the intruders, brings Cougar - who has lost his nerve - safely back to base. We also realise that he is a stubborn self willed character who is bound to come into conflict with authority.
Narrative Structure When Maverick is sent to Miramar and we hear about the "Top Gun" award, we wonder whether Maverick will achieve this. The ending of the film confirms the classical structure, since Maverick has overcome his emotional block brought on by Goose's death, has "got the girl" and has developed into a mature responsible human being about to take up his post as an instructor at Miramar. Thus the young man in conflict with authority has become part of the authorities himself.
Narrative Structure Just as the narrative follows a pattern which audiences easily identify, the same can be said of the representations of the characters within the film. This is a white oriented society which upholds the values of fair play, justice and the American way. The Americans throughout are seen as the "good guys" who are instructed, in the encounters with the MIGs, not to fire unless and until they are fired upon. And indeed, in the final confrontation, it is the Russians who open fire on the Americans.
The “Buddy” The American "buddy system" operates too. Every pilot and co-pilot are intensely loyal to one another and depend on one other for their lives. Thus we can understand Maverick's devastation when Goose is killed. We can also understand the reluctance of many of the other pilots to fly with Maverick in combat: so much so that Mike Metcalf says he will co-pilot with Maverick if no one else will.
Buddies - cont The close relationships of the pilots with each other are shown in the scenes in the showers after the fight simulations, in the game of volley ball, and in the sauna. The fact that they are all semi-naked and are thus revealed as perfect physical specimens beautifully tanned and muscled, would appeal to both women and men in the audience - the men perhaps identifying with them.
Language technical and cultural codes and the reasons for their use The Camera work in these flight sequences is spectacular, since the camera is either in the cockpit with the pilots with lots of close-ups and reaction shots, or is in another 'plane following, in long shots, the aerobatics of the fighter planes. The cameras tip and tilt like the planes, giving viewers a real sense of involvement in the action.
Setting The film enables America to feel good about itself after the disastrous Vietnam War, whose veterans the American nation would rather forget. The setting of Miramar itself is in prosperous California, where the sun always shines. It is a typical White Anglo Saxon Protestant society with little evidence of ethnic groups. There is one negro pilot who becomes Maverick's new partner after the death of Goose, but he is represented in a rather unsympathetic way. Maverick has forced himself into the skies, but has lost his nerve. The negro pilot seemingly unable to comprehend Maverick's "block", berates him for not firing on the "enemy”. This pilot in addition is the only black man seen at the graduation ceremony.
Key Scene In the conflict with the MIGs with which the film opens, there is also rapid cutting from the control room in the aircraft carrier to the 'planes themselves. The red/blue lighting of the control room adds to the tense atmosphere with its clipped dialogue of naval jargon - "a trailer", "a Single", "he's bugging out and going home", - and serves to differentiate between locations of the ship and the 'planes.
Key Scene One very effective sequence occurs about 2/3 of the way through the film when Maverick's (Tom Cruise's) plane gets into a "flat spin" out of control, and the camera emulates the spinning movement. In these "dogfight" scenes the pace of the editing is extremely fast, cutting from pilot to pilot and 'plane to 'plane.
Music is an important feature of Top Gun Music is heard right from the start of the film when white titles on a black background are accompanied by slow music with a strong beat.