American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Top Gun" (1986)


Flight School Orientation Meeting

Audio mp3 delivered by Tom Skerritt


Commander Heatherly (Jester): Now, I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our Commanding Officer at Top Gun -- very first man to win the Top Gun trophy. You will not find a finer fighter pilot anywhere in the world: Commander Mike Metcalf -- call sign "Viper."

Metcalf: Gentlemen, you are the top 1% of all naval aviators -- the elite, the BEST of the best. We'll make you better. Fly at least two combat missions a day, attend classes in between, and evaluations of your performance. Now in each combat sequence you're going to meet a different challenge. Every encounter is going to be much more difficult. We're going to teach you to fly the F-14 right to the edge of the envelop, faster than you've ever flown before -- and more dangerous. Now, we don't make policy here, gentlemen. Elected officials, civilians, do that. We are the instruments of that policy. And although we're not at war, we must always act as though we are at war.

Goose: [to Maverick] What are you doing?

Metcalf: ...We're the tip of the spear.

Maverick: I'm just wondering --

Metcalf: And you best be sharp.

Maverick: -- who's the best?

Metcalf: In case some of you wonder who the best is, they're up here on this plaque on the wall. The best driver and his RIO [Radar Intercept Officer] from each class has his name on it. And they have the option to come back here to be Top Gun instructors.1 You think you're name's going to be on that plaque? [to Maverick].

Maverick: Yes, sir.

Metcalf: That's pretty arrogant considering the company you're in.

Maverick: Yes, sir.

Metcalf: I like that in a pilot.

Metcalf: Just remember when it's over out there, we're all on the same team.

Metcalf: Gentlemen, this school is about combat.

There are no points for second place.


Goose: [to Maverick]  Nice going.

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