All Top Gun Movies By Their Release Year

In 1986, Top Gun, a classic action-adventure movie about an adrenaline junkie fighter pilot, hit the box office. As the movie hit the box office, it was an instant hit praised by the fans. The Critics had mixed opinions on the movie.

Through the years since its release, the movie has gained popularity and aged like fine wine, now considered to be a cultural Icon of the 80s cinema, and rightfully so. This adrenaline-fueled, action-filled, and emotionally charged movie has been praised for being a fun watch.

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After a hiatus of more than thirty years, Top Gun finally made a comeback, and a very stellar one at that. With the return of Tom Cruise as Maverick and Van Kilmer as Iceman, fans had many reasons to rejoice.

Top Gun Movies

All Top Gun Movies in Chronological Order

Due to the original Top Gun’s popularity, it spawned a sequel, which was released in cinemas in May 2022.  

The films in the Top Gun series in chronological order are as follows-

  1. Top Gun
  2. Top Gun: Maverick

Top Gun Franchise has Tom Cruise, who plays the role of a confident and skilled pilot Pete Mitchell who gets recruited in Top Gun, a renowned Navy Fighter Weapons School in San Diego, California. His impressive skills, which he took utmost pride in, earned him a few enemies. Considered among the best of the best, Pete Mitchell gets a comeback in Top Gun Maverick, but this time around, he returns as an instructor appointed at Top Gun.

  1. Top Gun

    Director: Tony Scott

    Writers: Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr., Ehud Yonay

    Stars: Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins, Kelly McGillis

    Genres: Action, Drama

    Top Gun (1986) on IMDb

    Top Gun (1986) was directed by Tony Scott and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer in association with Paramount Pictures. The Movie stars Tom Cruise as Pete Mitchell, Van Kilmer as Iceman, and Kelly McGill playing Charlotte. The movie’s script was loosely based on an article released in California magazine three years before the movie’s release.

    Despite the weak first few weeks, the number of theaters showing the movie shot up by an astonishing 45% in its 4th week. The movie has maintained its popularity through the years and was even released in IMAX 3D in 2013. The film won the best original song award for “Take my breath away” by Berlin at the Academy Awards.

    The first Top Gun talks about the story of Pete Mitchell, a Navy ace who is admitted into Top Gun, the prestigious fighter school. As a reckless and impulsive person, Pete earns the nickname Maverick.

    With his eyes set on the coveted Top Gun trophy, Maverick decides to give it his all to go against the best pilots in the country. He finds a competent rival in Iceman, who is a talented and very competitive classmate of his.

    Amidst his drive for the Top Gun trophy, a strange and sudden personal life catastrophe keeps haunting Pete, while he has to fight through this and convince Charlie that he deserves the opportunity and spot he has been provided at the Top Gun Academy.

  2. Top Gun: Maverick

    Director: Joseph Kosinski

    Writers: Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr., Peter Craig

    Stars: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller

    Genres: Action, Drama

    Top Gun: Maverick (2022) on IMDb

    In Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise, and Van Kilmer make a grand return as Maverick and Iceman. Both of these characters go through their past reminiscing about what they did through nostalgic callbacks to the original 1986 cast.

    Kilmer lost his voice while battling throat cancer, so being on-screen was significant for him. According to Variety, the innovative application of artificial intelligence (AI) vocal reconstruction technology made it possible for Kilmer’s renowned role to return to the big screen.

    Top Gun: Maverick ended up being the only movie of that year to cross the billion-dollar mark.

    Nearly 30 years after graduating from TopGun Academy, Pete remains a test pilot to avoid subordination to superiors. Admiral Hammer plans on axing Pete’s personal project in favor of his own. 

    Pushing his project to the limits to reach the required contract specification, Pete ends up destroying it. In an act to save Pete’s career, Iceman sends him to a TopGun School for his next assignment.

    Pete is tasked with training a fresh group of flight graduates for a special assignment. During this training, he has to confront ghosts of his past, all of which culminate in a mission that would require the ultimate sacrifice to be accomplished.

In What Order Should You Watch These Movies?

The release order provides the best viewing experience of watching the two movies. As the two movies are connected very well and hold a strong continuity, the best way to watch them would be to watch the 1986 release of Top Gun first, then move on to watch Top Gun: Maverick.

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Watching the two movies in release order helps the audience better understand the motive behind Maverick and Iceman decisions throughout the movie. The first movie does an excellent job of establishing the behavior and character traits of our protagonists, and these carry over to the next movie too.

Will There Be Another Sequel?

At the time of writing this article, there are only two Top Gun movies, and the prospect of a third movie seems bleak. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Miles Teller said “That would be great, but it’s all up to Tom. I’ve been having some conversations with him about it.”

Currently, at the peak of its popularity, a third top gun movie seems like the right step, many fans are even asking for a web series that explores the character of Maverick in more depth.

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The return of Tom Cruise will play a big role in the comeback of Top Gun, as a Top Gun sequel without Tom Cruise almost seems useless. Until the announcement of a sequel, the fans will have to make do with the two movies they got.


Top Gun is the franchise that has proved that no matter how old the movie, franchise and even actors might be, the main principle that makes a movie good is its story. People doubted the return of Top Gun as another revival of an old movie, like the die hard franchise. What set Top Gun apart from the other remakes is the passion and hardwork that was put into the movie, which was clearly visible to the audience.

Top Gun has been praised as one the best classic action movies and with the success of its sequel, the reputation of the franchise has only shot upwards. With the popularity of the series at its peak, this would be the right time to release a sequel, but all we can do is wait.

All Top Gun Movies According To Highest To Lowest IMDb Ranking

  • Top Gun: Maverick – 8.3 with 598K

  • Top Gun – 6.9 with 476K

All Top Gun Movies Box Office Collection

  • Top Gun – $357.3 million

  • Top Gun: Maverick – $1.496 billion


Is Top Gun 2 a remake or a sequel?

Top Gun:Maverick picks up nearly 30 years after the events of the 1986 movie and continues on the story of Maverick.

How many movies does Top Gun have?

As of writing this article, Top Gun has 2 movies: the 1986 Top Gun movie and the 2022 movie Top Gun: Maverick.

Will there be another sequel to Top Gun: Maverick?

The confirmation for a Top Gun 3 or a sequel has not been announced yet, but the shining reviews and 97% on Rotten Tomatoes suggest there should be.

In what order should I watch Top Gun?

As the two movies are connected very well and hold a strong continuity, the best way to watch them would be to watch the 1986 release of Top Gun first, then move on to watch Top Gun: Maverick.

Where Can You Watch The Top Gun Movies?

The 1968 Top Gun movie is currently available on Amazon Prime Video. The sequel Top Gun: Maverick is currently available on Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, and Apple TV.

Kierra Rowsey
Kierra Rowsey

Kierra Rowsey is a freelance TV, Film and anime critic for over 12 years, living in Arkansas with her husband and three kids. She graduated from NYU College of Arts & Science in 2008.

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