A couple of anecdotes from both movies from a guy who was in a Tomcat squadron (VF-32 Swordsmen) 1986-1988 … when Topgun came out. A LCDR in the squadron (call sign "Rat Breath…I never asked why) had been some how involved in The Final Countdown.
Final Countdown Trivia:
Kirk Douglas wasn’t all that tall so they built a little box that he stood on for the shots of him looking out the bridge windows …he does look more commanding.
The Nimitz was an east coast carrier and no, the Navy was not going sail it to Hawaii just to shoot the movie. All the “present day” Pearl Harbor shots were shot at NAS Key West.
Watch the air-to-air scenes of the F-14’s fighting the Zeros. Due to the radical differences between the aircraft, it was very hard for the Tomcats to stay behind the Zeros. There is one, few seconds shot where one of the Tomcats “departs” (departs controlled flight) and makes a big “swoop” towards the water before the pilot regains control. He filmmakers thought it was great and kept it in…the aircrew…not so much.
This is the only movie I know of with a scene shot in CVIC, the carrier’s intel center…a space where I have spent a good deal of my sea time.
They used a few real Navy guys in some scenes. Near the end of the movie the Senator grabs. Flare gun inside an SH-3 and it goes off blowing up the helo. Back on the carrier, a First-Class Petty Officer (E6) air traffic controller with, a bit thin and with red hair is sitting at his radar console, exclaims, “The helicopter! It’s gone. It just disappeared!” Or words to that effect. In 1986, this then Ensign as on the Kennedy (CV-67) and went into CIC for something where he saw a very familiar controller sitting at a radar position.
Me - Hey aren’t you the guy…?
Him- Yes that was me…and No, I am not going to say " It just disappeared" for you.
Actually he was a pretty good guy and a sharp fighter intercept director. His callsign was Redbone
Other than it was shot all over San Diego…meaning Maverick’s motorcycle would have had to been faster than his Tomcat to get from scene to scene…and and that many events were incongruous at best, having served in an F-14 squadron when the movie was released, per Navy regs I am required to think it the best film ever made (although it was tragically ignored at the Oscars)
I don’t have any flattering Topgun Trivia.
Goose was killed because he failed to follow NATOPS Bold Face procedures for a spin. In a flat spin it clearly states:
RIO - Canopy Jettison. Command Eject.
The NATOPS Spin Bold Face was recited from memory by one of the aircrew at the brief before every air-to-air training hop. If they got it wrong, they didn’t fly. I heard it so many times that even I can recite it from memory. Bottom line, although a realistic scenario, Goose really, really shouldn’t have missed that vital step.
On the plus side, the actor that played Goose was the only one not to lose his lunch during the F-14 fam flights.
Best line: Michael Ironsides (Jester), “You never leave your wingman.”
In the Navy Intel training we teach that two fighters together are a threat. One fighter by itself is a target. We use the Jester line to reinforce the point.