The real-life Top Gun academy fines recruits for quoting movie

The US Navy’s Top Gun program fines recruits $5 every time they quote the 1986 movie, lest they not take their mission seriously.

Last Updated on July 11, 2024

Top Gun

You may feel the need – the need for speed – at the TOPGUN training program, but you better keep that to yourself, lest you end up on the fine list. While 1986’s Top Gun undoubtedly caused an uptick in interest in the US Navy among certain demographics, their Fighter Weapons School would rather you keep your fandom to yourself. So no shirtless Anthony Edwards posters, fellas!

As it turns out, quoting Top Gun will land you a $5 fine for every infraction. As he wrote in his 2020 book, former pilot and TOPGUN instructor Cmdr. Guy “Bus” Snodgrass noted, “It is a part of our bylaws that if someone overtly references the movie — it could be a direct quote, it could be something that is really close to a direct quote — that’s an automatic $5 fine. And it’s enforced. And you are expected to pay right then. You pull out your wallet and pay the $5.” Five bucks may not sound like much but that’s can add up if you go around quoting Top Gun at every chance – Quentin Tarantino’s character in Sleep with Me would be broke before lunch!

So what’s the reason for the Top Gun fines? Really, it comes down to staying focused on why you’re there – and it’s not to land Kelly McGillis. “When you get to TOPGUN, because it is such a professional organization and you want to emphasize that you are at the top of your game, that it’s about professionalism, about good leadership, you don’t turn TOPGUN into a joke by referencing the movie.”

It took more than 35 years, but Top Gun finally got a sequel in 2022’s Maverick, which ended up being the biggest moneymaker of the year, frequently receiving credit for getting butts back in movie theaters following the Covid-19 pandemic. (The original Top Gun was also #1 of 1986.) So, will we see a Top Gun 3? Going off of producer Jerry Bruckheimer, it’s a possibility, as “preliminary” conversations have been had with Tom Cruise.

What is your favorite quote from Top Gun? What would land you in the danger zone at the US Navy’s TOPGUN program?

Source: Business Insider

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with JoBlo.com periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.