1986 was a landmark year for military aviation in cinema. Top Gun came out in May, the very start of the Summer blockbuster season, and immediately boosted Navy recruitment by 10 bajillion percent. That’s not an approximation, those are the official figures from the Navy. 10 bajillion percent. People flocked to this movie, and who could blame them? It was the perfect synthesis of Cool, Sex, Militarism, and Cinema. In Reagan Era America, it was a guaranteed recipe for success.
Or was it?
Because we aren’t talking about Top Gun. This week, courtesy of our audience choice poll, we are diving into the OTHER military aviation action extravaganza from the same year. It’s the story of a teenage boy whose father is shot down, held captive, and scheduled for execution in a “fictitious” enemy country. When the military seems unwilling or unable to do anything about it, the boy and his friends take matters into their own hands, with the reluctant help of Academy Award Winner Louis Gossett Jr. Released in January of 1986, today’s film is a testament to the notion that getting there first isn’t as important as getting it right.
Next Episode: Top Gun (1986)
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