15 Best Movies Like Top Gun

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Thanks to its resurgence in popularity after its sequel broke box office records, movies like Top Gun have become huge once again. With Maverick back and a new generation of pilots flying into action, fans of these movies might be looking for more to satiate their desire for more. When it comes to Top Gun, the movie falls into a myriad of genres. It is a war movie as well as one that focuses mostly on fighter pilots. However, it is also a loud, busy action movie with explosions, daring rescues, and intense pressure-filled situations.


However, there is more to movies like Top Gun than just war-based action. It is a movie about brotherhood and camaraderie. It is about loss and betrayal and the competition to be the best. With Tom Cruise in the lead, Top Gun offers a lot more than basic action movies, which explains its ability to live on as a beloved movie for audiences of all ages. It also opens up Hollywood to want to capitalize on everything that made the movie great, with several films that attempted to come close, or in some cases, surpass, the original.

20 Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Available on Paramount+ & Prime Video

After years of rumors followed by even more release date delays, Top Gun: Maverick somehow managed to exceed all expectations and be seen as a sequel better than the original. The movie sees Tom Cruise return as Maverick, the daring and inspiring pilot now teaching a new generation at the Top Gun program. The movie manages to capture a lot of the elements that made movies like Top Gun so iconic, including Tony Scott’s directing style. But the sequel far outshines the original with its amazing aerial footage and stunts as well as a stellar performance from Cruise.

RELATED: 15 Reasons Top Gun: Maverick Is Better Than The Original

19 Devotion (2022)

In the same year that Top Gun: Maverick blew audiences away, it isn’t surprising that the aerial combat movie Devotion was overshadowed. Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell star as fighter pilots during the Korean War whose fearless and courageous efforts make them some of the best wingmen in the US military. It is funny seeing another movie of this kind hitting theaters and starring Glen Powell no less. But while it doesn’t come close to reaching the heights of Top Gun: Maverick it is another solid addition to movies like Top Gun with some daring heroes.

18 Flyboys (2006)

Available on Peacock Premium

Following a group of brave pilots wanting to prove themselves is a big part of the charm of movies like Top Gun. It is also a big part of the World War II adventure movie Flyboys. The movie tells the story of American pilots who volunteered to fight in the skies for the French military before the United States entered the war. The film is relatively low budget compared to other movies of this kind. The action sequences can also seem silly at times. But the level of cheesiness helps just as it does with Top Gun.

17 Red Tails (2012)

Many movies like Top Gun follow the successful model of its ensemble of elite airmen looking for glory and thrills in the skies. While Red Tails has a similar vibe, it is also a look at a ground-breaking historic crew. The George Lucas-produced movie follows the African American pilots of the Tuskegee training program who faces racism from their own military before being given a chance to prove themselves in World War II. The movie boasts an impressive cast that includes David Oyelowo, Leslie Odom Jr, and Michael B. Jordan.

16 Memphis Belle (1990)

Rent now on Apple TV & Prime Video

Coming out a few years after Top Gun, Memphis Belle feels like a direct attempt to capitalize on its success. Instead of focusing on the modern airborne military, Memphis Belle is a World War II movie focusing on the 8th Air Force as they set out to complete their final bombing mission after a perfect record thus far. Despite the period setting, there is a similar energy to movies like Top Gun, including an ensemble of young up-and-coming actors, including Billy Zane and Sean Astin with 80s star Matthew Modine in the lead role.

15 Only The Brave (2017)

Rent now on Apple TV & Prime Video

There is an excitement to movies like Top Gun where all these characters put themselves through arduous training and throw themselves into incredibly dangerous situations just for the chance to be the best. That is a sentiment behind the real-life disaster movie Only the Brave. Josh Brolin stars as the leader of a “hot-shots” firefighting team with Top Gun: Maverick star Miles Teller as the determined new recruit. The movie follows the team as it leads up to the tragic event that befell them in Arizona in 2013.

14 Midway (2019)

Despite countless great World War II action movies, the kind of dogfighting warfare is not often seen in movies like Top Gun. Midway looks at one of the most famous battles of this kind in which the American fleet clashed against the Japanese Navy which resulted in a turning point in the Pacific Theater. Though Top Gun: Maverick looks to be delivering some mind-blowing aerial sequences, Midway offers the kind of big CGI battle sequences to be expected from director Roland Emmerich. It also features an impressive ensemble including Woody Harrelson, Denis Quaid, and Patrick Wilson.

13 The Guardian (2006)

It will be interesting to see Cruise’s Maverick change from the arrogant young pilot with something to prove to the older and wiser mentor figure in Top Gun: Maverick. There is a similar relationship between the two characters in the action movie The Guardian. Kevin Costner plays the head instructor at a Coast Guard academy who has to contend with the new trainee (Ashton Kutcher) who is looking to prove he is the best. While Kutcher doesn’t have the same charisma as Cruise, the rescue sequences make for some thrilling moments.

12 G.I. Jane (1997)

There is something about the intensity of military training that is shown in movies like Top Gun that fascinates fans. Another movie showing someone pushing themselves in this kind of scenario and proving their strength is G.I. Jane. Directed by Ridley Scott, the movie stars Demi Moore as a woman who is given the opportunity to enroll in the brutal Navy SEALs training program. Though everyone expects her to fail, she is determined to prove them all wrong and be the toughest there is.

11 An Officer And A Gentleman (1982)

Available on Prime Video & Paramount+

The thrills of movies like Top Gun come from Maverick’s adventures within the flight academy and the challenges he faces there. However, that is also balanced with an effective love story that helps to round out the movie. An Officer and a Gentleman pulled off a similar balance a few years before Top Gun. Richard Gere stars as a new cadet at a Navy aviation school with a bad attitude. But through his challenging drill sergeant and his new girlfriend, he learns to push himself more than he ever did.

10 Pearl Harbor (2001)

While Michael Bay’s movies have never been regarded as masterpieces, his WWII epic Pearl Harbor is considered by some as one of the worst movies of the 2000s. Among the problems are Pearl Harbor‘s dubious historical accuracy, the cheesy central love story, and suffering the typical bloated feeling of Bay’s films. However, those who enjoyed the fighter pilot aspects of movies like Top Gun could find enough to like in Pearl Harbor. The dogfights and aerial missions are impressive and Bay predictably creates a memorable set-piece with the central attack sequence.

9 Crimson Tide (1995)

Tony Scott returned to the Navy setting for a much quieter and more intense story. Crimson Tide stars Denzel Washington as a young commanding officer on a nuclear submarine. Tensions rise when he and his superior (Gene Hackman) battle over the decision to launch a warhead in an uncertain situation. The movie uses the claustrophobic setting to increase the intense conflict at the center of the story. Washington and Hackman are fantastic squaring off against each other and they are backed by a stellar cast that includes James Gandolfini and Viggo Mortensen.

8 A Few Good Men (1992)

Available to rent on Apple TV & Prime Video

Following his rise to stardom in the wake of Top Gun‘s success, Tom Cruise also returned to the Navy in a very different film. A Few Good Men finds Cruise playing a brash military lawyer who is assigned to defend two soldiers who accidentally killed a colleague in a hazing incident. The film bolsters an amazing cast with Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, and Jack Nicholson as an intense commanding officer at the center of the controversy. The movie is based on the stage play by Aaron Sorkin who adapts it into this taught courtroom thriller.

7 American Made (2017)

Available to rent on Apple TV & Prime Video

Perhaps as a way of preparing himself for movies like Top Gun, Cruise recently returned to the skies for American Made. The film is based on a true story about Bobby Seal, an American pilot who became a drug runner for the CIA in the 1980s. It’s not too often that Cruise plays morally dubious characters like this, and while Seal is certainly not presented as a villain, it’s fun to see the superstar step away from the hero role for a moment. It is a light, fun adventure with a winning performance from Cruise.

6 Captain Marvel (2019)

It’s hard for any movie that deals with fighter pilots not to owe a lot to movies like Top Gun. Though it is not a massive aspect of the MCU film Captain Marvel, the movie certainly tips its cap to the iconic movie that came before, including the adorable and deadly “cat” named Goose. The movie introduces Carol Danvers, a Kree warrior who discovers her mysterious past on Earth which could change everything she knows. The MCU movie divided critics and audiences, but there are still many who see it as pure comic book fun. Brie Larson perfectly falls into the title role and becomes perhaps the most powerful hero in the MCU.

5 First Man (2018)

Available to rent on Apple TV & Prime Video

While movies like Top Gun deal with the excitement of flying at top speeds, First Man deals with the terror of it all. The movie focuses on Neil Armstrong and his career in the astronaut program. Like the pilots of Top Gun, these men were willing to push the envelope, but the reality of what they were doing is far less glamorous. Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle creates a beautiful-looking film that will have fans gripping their seat during the intense flying sequences. Ryan Gosling is great as Armstrong in a take on the man that the public has never seen before.

4 Behind Enemy Lines (2001)

Despite being about fighter pilots, there really isn’t a lot of fighting in Top Gun save for the ending. So for those who are looking for a bit more straightforward action in movies like Top Gun, Behind Enemy Lines will likely satisfy that itch. Owen Wilson stars as a pilot who is shot down on a surveillance mission during peacetime and must survive alone in very dangerous territory. Wilson makes a surprisingly effective action hero and the film manages to be an effective thriller with some great sequences.

3 Days Of Thunder (1990)

Available to rent on Apple TV & Prime Video

Tom Cruise and Tony Scott teamed up once again to pursue their need for speed in Days of Thunder. The movie is basically movies like Top Gun with race cars as Cruise plays a cocky NASCAR driver who will stop at nothing to be the best of the best. It comes close to being one of those unofficial sequel movies. Though it might sound like a bit of a retread, the whole movie is worth it for the amazing race sequences. Scott films them with the same kind of skilled eye he uses in all his films, and it makes for an unexpected action-packed flick.

2 Hot Shots! (1991)

Though Top Gun might be a beloved film, there is a lot about it that is ripe for parody. So it’s not a huge surprise it was soon followed by Hot Shots!, a hilarious take on the film from the makers of Airplane!. Movies like Top Gun might be an easy target but Hot Shots! is comfortable going after a number of popular films. The result is a silly, outrageous comedy that will have fans laughing out loud. For those die-hard Top Gun fans, the movie is a must-see for how it recreates those famous moments.

1 The Right Stuff (1983)

Available to rent on Apple TV & Prime Video

Movies like Top Gun and The Right Stuff both explore the heroism behind the people who strive to go higher and faster. The Right Stuff is the epic tale of the men who broke the sound barrier and the speed record and flew into space for the first time. The movie is packed with young famous faces like Ed Harris, Sam Shepard, Jeff Goldblum, and Dennis Quaid playing real-life legends like John Glenn and Chuck Yeager. The movie is funny, intense, and inspiring to see the heights these people reached and the courage they had.

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