American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Top Gun" (1986)

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Briefing Exchange Between "Charlie," "Maverick," and "Goose" at Top Gun Flight School

Audio mp3 delivered by Kelly McGillis, Tom Cruise, and Anthony Edwards

Commander Heatherly (Jester): Now you'll also be trained and evaluated by a few civilian specialists. The civilians are here because they are our very best source of information on enemy aircraft. One of the most qualified is our TAGREP, callsign "Charlie." She has a Ph.D. in astrophysics and she's also a civilian contractor, so you do not salute her. But you'd better listen to her because the Pentagon listens to her about your proficiency. It's all yours, Charlie.

  Charlie: Thank you. Hello. We will be dealing with F-5s and A-4s as our MiG simulators. Now, then, as most of you know, the F-5 doesn't have the thrust-to-weight ratio that the MiG-28 has. And, it doesn't bleed energy below 300 knots like the MiG-28. However, the MiG-28 does have a problem with its inverted flight tanks. It won't do a negative G push over. The latest intelligence tells us that the most it will do is one negative -- Excuse me, Lieutenant, is there something wrong?

Maverick: Yes, ma'am, the data on the MiG is inaccurate.

Charlie: How's that lieutenant?

Maverick: Well, I just happened to see a MiG-28 do --

Goose: We!...We.

Maverick: Sorry, Goose. WE happened to see a MiG-28 do a 4G negative dive.

Charlie: Where did you see this?

Maverick: That's classified.

Charlie: It's what?

Maverick: It's classified. I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you.

Charlie: Lieutenant, I have top secret clearance. The Pentagon sees to it that I know more than you.

Maverick: Well, ma'am, it doesn't seem so in this case now does it.

Charlie: So, Lieutenant, where exactly were you?

Maverick: Well, WE --

Goose: Thank you.

Maverick: -- started up on his six, when he pulled through the clouds, and then I moved in above him.

Charlie: Well, if you were directly above him, how could you see him?

Maverick: Because I was inverted.

  Iceman: (cough) B------t.

Goose: No, he was, man. It was a really great move. He was inverted.

Charlie: You were in a 4G inverted dive with a MiG-28?

Maverick: Yes, ma'am.

Charlie: At what range?

Maverick: About two meters.

Goose: Well, it's actually about one and a half, I think. It was one and a half. I've got a great Polaroid of it, and he's, he's right there. Must be one and a half.

Maverick: It was a nice picture....

Goose: Thanks, man. I like my pictures....

Charlie: Uh, Lieutenant. What were you doing there?

Goose: Communicating.

Maverick: Communicating. Keeping up foreign relations. I was, uh, you know, giving him "the bird."

Goose: You know -- "the finger."

Charlie: Yes, I know the finger, Goose.

Goose: I'm, I'm sorry. I hate it when it does that. I'm sorry. Excuse me.

Charlie: [to Maverick] So you're the one.

Maverick: Yes, ma'am.

  Commander Heatherly (Jester): Alright, gentlemen, we have a hop [slang for a mission or flight] to take. The hard-deck on this hop will be 10,000 feet. There will be no engagement below that. Move it!


Original Script Note: Following Goose's apology for his wayward finger, the original movie script had Charlie offering these lines to Maverick. Charlie: "So you're the reason those SALT [Strategic Arms Limitations] talks failed." The script describes the reaction to take place: The room breaks into laughter at [Maverick]. Now [Maverick] grows red. Goose puts his hand on Maverick's arm, shakes his head as if to say: "Let it go, pal, she got you". The lines above were never delivered in the actual movie, perhaps because Charlie would have gained an upper hand in the exchange -- or at least the last word.

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