The Pentagon Goes Hollywood

Filmmakers and the military enjoy a profitable partnership

The Tom Cruise film Top Gun, about U.S. Navy pilots training to be "the best of the best," had all the ingredients for a hit: a brash beefcake hero and a gorgeous, throaty-voiced heroine (Kelly McGillis), a pop-music sound track and MTV-style visual pyrotechnics. But the truly impressive stars of the film are its sleek, roaring fighter jets. Featured in thrilling aerial sequences, they make modern-day dogfights seem like the ultimate video game.

The high-flying hardware turns Top Gun into a 110-minute commercial for the Navy -- and it was the Navy's cooperation that put the planes in the picture. The...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!