5 Ways 'Top Gun' Changed the Movie Industry and Society

30 years after the hit was released, we look back!

ByABC News
May 16, 2016, 12:22 AM

— -- It's hard to believe it's been 30 years since Tom Cruise played Maverick in "Top Gun." That's three decades since we sadly lost (Spoiler alert!) Goose and Val Kilmer epitomized the Iceman. No really, he IS Iceman, right?

Here's a look back and five ways this Tony Scott classic changed the film industry and even society at the time.

1 - The Quick Press Tour

Three decades ago, films would stay in theaters for months and months. Also, movie stars would spend the same time abroad promoting just one film.

Not Tom Cruise, who at the time, was ready to pump out multiple films a year.

"I thought, 'I want to make movies,'" he told Jimmy Kimmel in 2014. So the icon came up with a shorter promotional tour, to the chagrin of other actors.

"That's when I kind of came up with the idea of doing like, a country, and I thought we'd do a country in a couple of days," he added.

Kimmel joked, "So, all these other actors must want to kill you.”

2 - Tom Cruise

This is the film that made Cruise the biggest movie star on the planet.

Before "Top Gun," Cruise had done "Risky Business" and "All the Right Moves," but "Top Gun" really cemented him as a big box-office draw.

The actor was just in his early 20s and he would be a star for years and years after "Top Gun."

"Cocktail," "Rain Man," "A Few Good Men," all came after. He's still on his A-game today!

PHOTO: Actor Tom Cruise attends the 'Top Gun' Premiere Party, May 12, 1986, in New York.
Actor Tom Cruise attends the 'Top Gun' Premiere Party, May 12, 1986, in New York.

3 - New Way of Filming

"The aerial footage to date is the best aerial footage ever," Cruise says in the new extras on the 30th edition DVD. He gives all the credit to director Tony Scott for using the most cutting edge equipment at the time.

The aerial shots in the fighter jets do still look crisp today and that's because cameras were mounted inside and on the planes.

"Tony Scott, of course, changed how airplanes were filmed," Cruise adds in the extras, a clip of which was obtained by USA Today. "We were using [that technology] right to the extreme.... At that time, there were no GoPros. They had designed camera mounts and lenses."

PHOTO: A still of a flight scene from 'Top Gun.'
A still of a flight scene from 'Top Gun.'

Aside from just the fight scenes, "Top Gun" was one of the first true "blockbusters." Producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer were among some of the first to release the impactful trailers that promised two hours of action and suspense. "Top Gun" was one of the first big films that relied on star power, beautiful shots and action more than the plot itself.

4 - A Best-Selling Soundtrack

"Top Gun's" soundtrack was just as successful as the movie. Hits like Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" and the obvious ballad of "Take My Breath Away" helped the album sell over four million copies. The album eventually topped the coveted Billboard 200 list.

Several of the singles also neared the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

5 - It Made the Navy Cool

According to The Associated Press, back in 1986, after the movie hit it big, Navy recruiters actually posted up outside theaters looking to sign up moviegoers and answer their questions about the military.

"There seems to have been a big rush" in interest, Lt. Ray Gray told The AP 30 years ago. "I've asked several of these individuals if they've seen the movie and if that's why they came down to talk to us again and they've said 'yes.'"

He added, "On the other end of the spectrum, we've seen a general increase in interest in young men who don't yet qualify for the program, and I have to attribute that to 'Top Gun' also."