Adventure Movies

25 Best Movies Like Top Gun

August 30, 202313 Mins Read


  • Movies like Top Gun appeal to fans of multiple genres, including war movie enthusiasts and action movie fans, who enjoy the focus on fighter pilots and intense pressure-filled situations.
  • Top Gun is not just a war-based action film, but also a movie about brotherhood, camaraderie, loss, and betrayal. It offers more than just basic action and is beloved by audiences of all ages.
  • Films such as Edge of Tomorrow, Unstoppable, and Porco Rosso offer similar themes and elements to Top Gun, including action-packed sequences, chemistry between actors, and fascinating stories centered around daring heroes.

Thanks to its resurgence in popularity after its sequel broke box office records, movies like Top Gun have become huge once again. With Maverick’s triumphant 2022 return and a new generation of pilots flying into action, fans of these movies might be looking to satiate their desire for more. When it comes to Top Gun, the movie appeals to fans of many genres. War movie enthusiasts enjoy Top Gun because it focuses mostly on fighter pilots. However, action movie fans love its explosions, daring rescues, and intense pressure-filled situations.

But there is more to movies like Top Gun than just war-based action. It is a movie about brotherhood and camaraderie; it is about loss and betrayal and the competition to be the best. With Tom Cruise in the lead, Top Gun offers a lot more than basic action movies, which explains its ability to live on as a beloved movie for audiences of all ages. It also opens up Hollywood to want to capitalize on everything that made the movie great, with several films that attempted to come close, or in some cases, surpass, the original.

25 Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise talking in Edge of Tomorrow

  • Edge of Tomorrow is available to stream on Max

Cruise stars alongside Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow, a Groundhog Day-like movie that sees Major William Cage (Cruise) repeating the same day of battle every time he dies. Like in Top Gun, Cruise is a soldier, though in this movie, he has no interest in fighting a war until forced to do so. With the same light tone but grave stakes, Edge of Tomorrow is an action-packed, non-stop ride. Blunt and Cruise’s chemistry is as excellent as any he’s had, and how William slowly inspires his team to follow him on a dangerous mission echoes Maverick and the rest of the Top Gun Academy.

24 Unstoppable (2010)

Denzel Washington and Chris Pine walking by a train in Unstoppable

  • Unstoppable is available to stream on Tubi

One of the more satisfying aspects of Top Gun is the begrudging respect that develops between Iceman and Maverick. For fans of that dynamic, a similar one provides the backbone of Tony Scott’s Unstoppable starring Chris Pine as Will, a greenhorn train conductor, and Denzel Washington as Frank, a veteran engineer, now relegated to an assistant position. At first at odds, Frank and Will have to quickly learn to trust each other to stop a runaway locomotive. With some incredible stunts and action sequences, Unstoppable doesn’t stop moving from the first scene. However, it’s Washington and Pine’s chemistry that gives the story the emotional heft it needs.

23 Porco Rosso (1992)

Fio Piccolo and Porco Rosso standing next to each other in front of flying flags.

  • Porco Rosso is available to stream on Max

Tony Scott’s cinematography in Top Gun puts the audience in the world of the pilots, providing jaw-dropping aerial sequences that still hold up. Hayao Miyazaki is even more fascinated by aircraft and flying, and some of his most dazzling displays of plane art and flying animation come in Miyazaki’s criminally underrated movie, Porco Rosso. Michael Keaton voices a WWI ace enjoying post-war life as a bounty hunter who has inexplicably been changed into an anthropomorphic pig. It’s a beautiful and calming movie and Porco is a fantastic protagonist, equal parts arrogant and sympathetic, and as talented a pilot as any in Top Gun.

22 Birds Of Prey (2020)

Margot Robbie leaning on a desk in Birds of Prey.

  • Birds of Prey is available to stream on Max

Birds of Prey is the spin-off/sequel to the 2016 Suicide Squad, starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Like Top Gun, Birds of Prey features an overconfident protagonist who flies by the seat of their pants. Also like Maverick, Harley learns to work with a team of other talented operators despite preferring to go it alone. It could be argued that Birds of Prey is the best DCEU movie for its combination of chaotic action and stylish cinematography. Robbie’s performance as Harley is once again excellent. The themes of getting over deep hurt and finding a family with like-minded individuals are very well-written.

21 Speed (1994)

Keanu Reeves hugging Sandra Bullock in Speed.

  • Speed is available to stream on AMC+

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock star in Speed, a ’90s action-drama where the passengers on a bus are forced to keep the vehicle moving or terrorists will blow it up. As thrilling and fast-paced as Top Gun, Speed is a white-knuckle ride that expertly uses tension and danger. Speed, like Top Gun, could have suffered from some of its cliched action movie moments, but it manages to overcome them through its confident direction and star-making performances from Reeves and Bullock. The movie led to the deeply unpopular Speed 2, but Speed ranks alongside any other action film from the ’90s for its strong characters and incredible action.

20 Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Tom Cruise in Top Gun Maverick in an action shot in a plane cockpit, wearing a helmet and oxygen mask

  • Top Gun: Maverick is available to stream on Prime Video and Paramount+

After years of rumors followed by even more release date delays, Top Gun: Maverick somehow managed to exceed all expectations and become a sequel better than the original. The movie sees Tom Cruise return as Maverick, the daring and inspiring pilot now teaching a new generation at the Top Gun program. Maverick manages to capture a lot of the elements that made movies like Top Gun so iconic, including Tony Scott’s directing style (though this film was helmed by Joseph Kosinski). But the Maverick far outshines Top Gun with its amazing aerial footage and stunts as well as a stellar performance from Cruise.

RELATED: 15 Reasons Top Gun: Maverick Is Better Than The Original

19 Devotion (2022)

Tom and Jesse squinting at something off-screen in Devotion.

  • Devotion is available to stream on Paramount+

In the same year that Top Gun: Maverick blew audiences away, it isn’t surprising that the aerial combat movie Devotion was overshadowed, even if it did star Maverick‘s Powell. He and Jonathan Majors star as fighter pilots during the Korean War whose fearless and courageous efforts make them some of the best wingmen in the US military. But while it doesn’t come close to reaching the heights of Top Gun: Maverick, Devotion is another solid action movie centered on daring heroes.

18 Flyboys (2006)

James Franco and two other pilots standing around their plane in Flyboys.

  • Flyboys is available to stream on Peacock

A group of brave pilots wanting to prove themselves is a big part of the charm for movies like Top Gun and the World War II adventure movie Flyboys. Flyboys tells the story of American pilots who volunteered to fight in the skies for the French military before the United States entered the war. The film is relatively low budget compared to others of its kind, and the action sequences can also seem silly at times. But the level of cheesiness helps just as it does with Top Gun.

17 Red Tails (2012)

Michael B. Jordan as Maurice Wilson in Red Tails.

  • Red Tails is available to stream on Disney+ and Hulu

Many movies like Top Gun follow the successful model of its ensemble of elite airmen looking for glory and thrills in the skies. While Red Tails has a similar vibe, it is also a look at a groundbreaking historic crew. The George Lucas-produced movie follows the Black pilots of the Tuskegee training program who face racism from their own military before being given a chance to prove themselves in World War II. The movie boasts an impressive cast that includes David Oyelowo, Leslie Odom Jr., and Michael B. Jordan.

16 Memphis Belle (1990)

Captain Dennis Dearborn and his co-pilot in Memphis Belle

  • Memphis Belle is available to rent on Apple TV+ and Prime Video

Coming out a few years after Top Gun, Memphis Belle feels like a direct attempt to capitalize on its success. Instead of focusing on the modern airborne military, Memphis Belle is a World War II movie focusing on the Eighth Air Force as they set out to complete their final bombing mission after a perfect record thus far. Despite the period setting, there is a similar energy to movies like Top Gun, including an ensemble of young up-and-coming actors, including Billy Zane and Sean Astin with ’80s star Matthew Modine in the lead role.

15 Only The Brave (2017)

A line of men known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots walking in single file over a mountain in Only the Brave.

  • Only the Brave is available to rent on Apple TV and Prime Video

There is an excitement to movies like Top Gun where all these characters put go through arduous training and throw themselves into incredibly dangerous situations just for the chance to be the best. That is a sentiment behind the real-life disaster movie Only the Brave. Josh Brolin stars as the leader of a “hot-shots” firefighting team with Top Gun: Maverick star Miles Teller as the determined new recruit. The movie follows the team as it leads up to the tragic event that befell them in Arizona in 2013.

14 Midway (2019)

Four soldiers standing in front of a plane in Midway.

  • Midway is available to rent on Apple TV+ and Prime Video

Despite countless great World War II action movies, dogfighting warfare is almost always worth a watch. Midway looks at one of the most famous battles of this kind in which the American fleet clashed against the Japanese Navy, which resulted in a turning point in the Pacific Theater. Though Top Gun: Maverick delivers its share of mind-blowing aerial sequences, Midway offers the kind of big CGI battle sequences to be expected from director Roland Emmerich. It also features an impressive ensemble including Woody Harrelson, Dennis Quaid, and Patrick Wilson.

13 The Guardian (2006)

Ashton Kutcher standing at attention in front of Kevin Costner in The Guardian.

  • The Guardian is available to stream on Hulu

One of the most interesting things about the Top Gun sequel was seeing Cruise’s Maverick change from the arrogant young pilot with something to prove to an older and wiser mentor figure. There is a similar relationship between the two lead characters in the action movie The Guardian. Kevin Costner plays the head instructor at a Coast Guard academy who has to contend with the new trainee (Ashton Kutcher) who is looking to prove he is the best. While Kutcher doesn’t have the same charisma as Cruise, the rescue sequences make for some thrilling moments.

12 G.I. Jane (1997)

Demi Moore on a walkie-talkie in G.I. Jane.

  • G.I. Jane is available to stream on Paramount+

There is something about the intensity of military training that is shown in movies like Top Gun that fascinates fans. Another movie showing someone pushing themselves in this kind of scenario and proving their strength is G.I. Jane. Directed by Ridley Scott, the movie stars Demi Moore as a woman who is given the opportunity to enroll in the brutal Navy SEALs training program. Though everyone expects her to fail, she is determined to prove them all wrong and be the toughest there is.

11 An Officer And A Gentleman (1982)

Richard Gere holding Debra Winger in An Officer and a Gentleman.

  • An Officer and a Gentleman is available to stream on Paramount+

The thrills of movies like Top Gun come from Maverick’s adventures within the flight academy and the challenges he faces there. However, that is also balanced with an effective love story that helps to round out the movie. An Officer and a Gentleman pulled off a similar feat a few years before Top Gun. Richard Gere stars as a new cadet at a Navy aviation school with a bad attitude. But through his challenging drill sergeant and his new girlfriend (Debra Winter), he learns to push himself more than he ever did.

10 Pearl Harbor (2001)

Ben Affleck's character attempts to dodge an attack in Pearl Harbor pic

  • Pearl Harbor is available to stream on Max

While Michael Bay’s movies have never been regarded as masterpieces, his WWII epic Pearl Harbor is considered by many as one of the worst movies of the 2000s. Among the problems are Pearl Harbor‘s dubious historical accuracy, the cheesy central love story, and the typical bloated feeling of Bay’s films. However, those who enjoyed the fighter pilot aspects of movies like Top Gun could find enough to like in Pearl Harbor. The dogfights and aerial missions are impressive and Bay predictably creates a memorable set-piece with the central attack sequence.

9 Crimson Tide (1995)

Denzel Washington arguing with Gene Hackman In Crimson Tide

  • Crimson Tide is available to rent on Apple TV and Prime Video

Tony Scott returned to the Navy setting for a much quieter and more intense story. Crimson Tide stars Denzel Washington as a young commanding officer on a nuclear submarine. Tensions rise when he and his superior (Gene Hackman) battle over the decision to launch a warhead in an uncertain situation. The movie uses the claustrophobic setting to increase the intense conflict at the center of the story. Washington and Hackman are fantastic squaring off against each other, and they are backed by a stellar cast that includes James Gandolfini and Viggo Mortensen.

8 A Few Good Men (1992)

Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men.

  • A Few Good Men is available to stream on DirecTV

Following his rise to stardom in the wake of Top Gun‘s success, Tom Cruise also returned to the Navy in a very different kind of film. A Few Good Men finds Cruise playing a brash military lawyer who is assigned to defend two soldiers who accidentally killed a colleague in a hazing incident. The film bolsters a spectacular cast with Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, and Jack Nicholson as an intense commanding officer at the center of the controversy. The movie is based on the stage play by Aaron Sorkin who adapts the screenplay into this taught courtroom thriller.

7 American Made (2017)

Tom Cruise as Barry Seal flying a plane in American Made.

  • American Made is available to rent on Apple TV and Prime Video

Before Top Gun: Maverick, Cruise returned to the skies for American Made. The film is based on a true story about Bobby Seal, an American pilot who became a drug runner for the CIA in the 1980s. It’s not too often that Cruise plays morally dubious characters like this, and while Seal is certainly not presented as a villain, it’s fun to see the superstar step away from the hero role. It is a light, fun adventure with a winning performance from Cruise.

6 Captain Marvel (2019)

Carol checking out a plane in Captain Marvel.

  • Captain Marvel is available to stream on Disney+

It’s hard for any movie that deals with fighter pilots not to owe a lot to movies like Top Gun. And the MCU’s Captain Marvel certainly tips its cap to the iconic movie that came before, including the adorable and deadly “cat” named Goose. The movie introduces Carol Danvers, an ex-US Air Force pilot and Kree warrior who discovers her mysterious past on Earth which could change everything she knows. Brie Larson perfectly falls into the title role and becomes perhaps the most powerful hero in the MCU.

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