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In 1986, Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun” was the highest-grossing film of the year. The action-packed military movie maintained its popularity for decades, making Tom Cruise a household-name. Now its sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick,” was released over Memorial Weekend and broke box office records .
Both movies have been monumental successes, so the messages they convey have reached far and wide. There is just one problem. While sexualized soldiers and roaring fighter jets have the romanticization power to re-invigorate the average American’s sense of pride in U.S. military might, the films actually offer a wildly unrealistic depiction of military life .
It’s probably not shocking to learn that the Pentagon was involved in the production of both Top Gun movies, providing military gear and general guidance. However, you may be surprised to learn that the Pentagon’s involvement was much more calculated and sinister than simply providing the proper tools to create an accurate and exciting action film.
Basically, the U.S. Defense Department’s Entertainment Media Office allows the use of military assets in exchange for control of scripts . This is true for various Hollywood productions, not just “Top Gun.”
According to journalist Robert Stahl, his small group of researchers “…acquired 30,000 pages of internal Defense Department documents through Freedom of Information Act requests and newly available archives at Georgetown University, which show that the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have exercised direct editorial control over more than 2,500 films and television shows.”
So what’s the military’s involvement in the “Top Gun” series?
Back in 1986, the Navy intimately guided the original “Top Gun,” and the Pentagon’s involvement wasn’t any secret, either. Department of Defense (DOD) documents show that the Pentagon itself characterized the film as a “…rehabilitation of the military’s image, which had been savaged by […]
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