Watch: How Gay Is 'Top Gun?' Even Producer Jerry Bruckheimer Sees It

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Sunday May 23, 2021
Originally published on May 18, 2021

The 35th anniversary of "Top Gun" was celebrated this year with a rerelease of the film in theaters. As the world awaits its long-anticipated sequel, "Top Gun: Maverick," people are naturally wondering will it be as good as the first film. Others are also wondering will it be as gay.

"The critic Pauline Kael called the movie a 'shiny homoerotic commercial: The pilots strut around the locker room, towels hanging precariously from their waists,'" Variety reported in a recent interview with producer Jerry Bruckheimer about the film's reception. "With its lingering shots of cast members — including Val Kilmer, Rick Rossovich, and Anthony Edwards oiled up for a Bruce Weber—esque game of beach volleyball — the 1986 film lays bare the homosocial world of naval aviators and pulses with an undeniable homoerotic energy."

Although homoerotica wasn't the film's initial intention, Bruckheimer says he has come to recognize the film's gay undertones and "he is fine with that reading."

Confirming and dismissing years of rumors, Bruckheimer told Variety, "When you make a movie, people can interpret it in any way they want and see something in it that the filmmakers had no idea they were tapping."

There is always surprised with different perceptions, he explained: "So we're surprised every time we hear something talked about, or written about, the films that we make that have no real context for the filmmakers or what the filmmakers wanted to do. And yet there's a relevance to them, because people believe it."

In the movie "Sleep With Me," Quentin Tarantino said it best about "Top Gun": "You think it's a story about a bunch of fighter pilots. It is the story of a man's struggle with his own homosexuality."

Real struggle or imagined, the movie is a classic in more ways than one, and we can't wait for the sequel. Can you?

Watch this YouTube clip of gay moments from "Top Gun", which includes Tarantino: