25 years ago, Tom Cruise is 'Top Gun'

Another time, another place and before that little mishap on the Oprah Show, Tom Cruise was The Man...

Putting sizzle in the early summer of 1986: Kelly McGillis and Tom Cruise in Top Gun.Putting sizzle in the early summer of 1986: Kelly McGillis and Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

In 1983, Tom Cruise had officially landed in the spotlight after starring in the film Risky Business. In May three years later, he was flying high with the release of Top Gun. (It is not completely clear what Cruise was doing for the three years in between the two blockbusters. But according to Cher, it was dating her.)

And what the young actor did for white socks and Wayfarers in Risky Business, he did in spades for Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses with the release of Top Gun. Oh sure, General Douglas MacArthur had sported the same style frames during WWII, but please, it was just NOT hot with that crazy pipe.

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In addition to the Bausch + Lomb bottom line, there were other things that the Cruise-Top-Gun touch turned golden in 1986:

  • Actress Kelly McGillis
  • The prolonged, in-profile thumbs-up sign
  • U.S. Navy recruiting (the military branch set up booths outside theaters in major markets and their numbers soared as a result)
  • The nickname "Maverick" (just ask Palin or McCain)
  • Co-star Anthony Edwards (the only actor who did not get flight-sick during filming and who would go on to be the beloved Dr. Greene on TVs ER)
  • Quotable quote: "It's classified. I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you."

Footnote: For years there's been talk of a sequel to Top Gun. But honestly, aren't some things just better left undisturbed in that airtight 80s time capsule?

Before Scientology, before Oprah's couch, Cruise is just so cool it, well...takes your breath away.

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