Cruise plays Lieutenant and fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in this drama, directed by Jerry Bruckheimer, about a team of Navy pilots at the Miramar training facility. Maverick is continually battling for supremacy among the other Top Gun pilots and reprimanded for his recklessness. He also begins and affair with one of the instructors, played by Kelly McGillis. After an accident kills Goose, his co-pilot, Maverick has to reassess his attitudes. Co-starring Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Val Kilmer and and Meg Ryan. Bruckheimer:
We sent him down to El Centro, and he jumped in the back of that jet and just had the ride of his life. At the time, he had shoulder-length hair, and [the Navy pilots] said, ‘We’re going to take this hippie for a real ride,’ and they just blasted him through the air and did rolls and did all kinds of crazy stuff with him. He got on the ground and walked over to a phone booth – we didn’t have cell phones in those days. He calls me up, he says, ‘I’m doing it.’ [Laughs] That was it.