20 Best Top Gun: Maverick Quotes

It’s over 30 years since we were first introduced to Pete Mitchell, code name “Maverick,” in the hit movie Top Gun. I was in my first year of high school when it was released in 1986, and remember getting the VHS (remember those?!) from a neighbour who worked for a video rental company. I fell in love with the movie there and then, and it’s been one of the classics I never tire of watching.

Skip forward a couple of decades and it turns out to also be one of my husband’s favorite movies. So, we were thrilled when the sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” was finally released.

The sequel did not disappoint! It had everything and more – nostalgia, edge-of-the-seat-thrills and lots of emotion.

Top Gun Maverick Poster
Theatrical release poster

Top Gun: Maverick sees Tom Cruise, alongside Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, and Val Kilmer, reprising his role as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. Maverick is called back to the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program (known as “Top Gun”), where he must train an elite group of Top Gun graduates for a high-risk special assignment. He is forced to confront his past as one of the group is “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s deceased best friend Goose.

20 – “That’s why we call him Hangman. He will always hang you out to dry.”

Phoenix speaks this line when Hangman shoots off in another direction, leaving them while they’re up in the air on a training exercise.

Top Gun: Maverick Hangman
Top Gun: Maverick Hangman

19 – “He wants mach 10, let’s give him mach 10.”

At the start of the movie we see Maverick defying Rear Admiral Chester “Hammer” Cain’s orders and taking a prototype scramjet into the air. Hammer had wanted them to be going for Mach 10 (ten times the speed of sound), but they’d only planned to be trying for Mach 9. As Maverick leaves to board the jet, he says “He wants mach 10, let’s give him mach 10.” In fact, he goes on not only to break Mach 10, but beyond, although it doesn’t end well!

18 – “You’ve been called back to Top Gun.”

After Maverick has defied Hammer’s orders, he wants to ground him. But Iceman steps in and orders Maverick to instead be sent back to Top Gun as an instructor.

17 – “This guy needs an ego check.”

Everyone is in Penny’s bar, and Maverick has ended up having to buy everyone a round of drinks. Hangman, who obviously thinks of himself as the Alpha male, appears not to like the attention being directed onto Maverick and says “This guy needs an ego check.”

16 – “Your instructor is one of the finest pilots this program has ever produced. His exploits are legendary.”

The graduates are sat down ready to begin training. Warlock introduces them to their new instructor by saying “Your instructor is one of the finest pilots this program has ever produced. His exploits are legendary.

Top Gun: Maverick
Maverick

15 – “I’m not a teacher. I’m a fighter pilot.”

When Maverick is ordered to instruct the graduates at Top Gun to prepare them for the special assigment, he says to Cyclone “I’m not a teacher. I’m a fighter pilot.”

14 – “Today we’ll start with what you only think you know.”

Said by Maverick to his new students as he begins their training.

Top Gun: Maverick Graduates
Graduate Fighter Pilots

13 – “Despite your best efforts you refuse to die.”

When Rear Admiral Chester “Hammer” Cain is berating Maverick for taking the scramjet without permission and crashing it, he says “Thirty-plus years of service. Combat medals. Citations. Only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last 40 years. Yet you can’t get a promotion, you won’t retire, and despite your best efforts, you refuse to die. You should be at least a two-star Admiral by now, yet here you are. Captain. Why is that?” Maverick replies “It’s one of life’s mysteries, sir.”

12 – “Where am I?” “Earth.”

After Maverick crash lands the experimental fighter jet somewhere off-base, after pushing it beyond mach 10, he walks into a packed diner. Everyone looks up as he grabs a glass of water from a waitress and downs it in one go. He looks to a young boy who is staring at him open-mouthed and asks “Where am I?” The boy replies “Earth.”

11 – “What do they call you?” “Bob.”

So far, every fighter pilot we’ve been introduced to, both in the original Top Gun, and Top Gun: Maverick, has had a call sign. Here, when a group of Top Gun graduates are introduced to Bob, Phoenix asks him his name. Bob replies “Bob.” To which Payback asks “No, your call sign,” and Bob replies simply “Bob.”

Top Gun: Maverick Bob
Bob

10 – “My dad believed in you. I’m not going to make the same mistake.”

Throughout most of the movie, there’s tension between Rooster (Goose’s son) and Maverick. We find out that this is because Maverick blocked Rooster’s application to the Naval Academy, setting back his career, because of a promise he made to Rooster’s late mother. Rooster deeply resents Maverick for this as he doesn’t know the real reason, and says to Maverick “My dad believed in you. I’m not going to make the same mistake.”

Top Gun: Maverick Rooster
Rooster

9 – “Thank you for saving my life.” “It’s what my dad would’ve done.”

When Rooster saves Maverick’s life by putting his own in danger, Maverick says “Thank you for saving my life.” To which Rooster replies “It’s what my dad would’ve done.”

8 – “Trust your instincts. Don’t think, just do.”

Maverick says this to Rooster as a mini pep talk before he takes to the sky.

7 – “You told me not to think.”

Several times during the movie, Maverick tells his students not to think whilst in the air, “Don’t think, just do.” But when Maverick crash lands in enemy territory, Rooster comes to his rescue. He berates Rooster for not thinking and putting himself at risk, to which Rooster replies “You told me not to think.”

6 – “It’s the only one I got.”

This line is spoken by Maverick a few times throughout the movie, when people comment about the look on his face.

Top Gun: Maverick
Maverick

5 – “Just wave and smile.”

Maverick and Rooster have just stolen one of the enemy’s old fighter jets in a bid to escape enemy territory. An enemy plane flies by and looks straight at them in the cockpit. Maverick instructs Rooster to “Just wave and smile.” He accompanies this with a few random hand gestures, which don’t seem to have the desited effect, and they end up in a dogfight with the enemy planes.

4 – “It’s time to let go.”

This is one of the most poignant lines in the movie. This is mostly down to the fact that it’s one of the few lines spoken by Iceman, played by Val Kilmer. Kilmer has throat cancer, leaving him unable to speak much. Iceman therefore communicates by typing into a computer, but speaks this line, “It’s time to let go,” as he’s trying to help Maverick get over losing Goose. Maverick replies “I don’t know how.”

Top Gun: Maverick Iceman
Iceman

3- “One last thing, who’s the better pilot? You or me?”

Another top quote that comes from the emotional scene where Maverick sees Iceman for the last time. Before Maverick leaves, Iceman asks him “One last thing, who’s the better pilot? You or me?” To which Maverick responds “This is a nice moment. Let’s not ruin it.”

2 – “It’s not the plane, it’s the pilot.”

Maverick says this several times throughout the movie. Rooster reminds him by saying it towards the end, when Maverick is doubting his ability to get them out of the bad situation they’re in. Maverick says “An F-14 against 5th-Gen fighters?” And Rooster responds “It’s not the plane. It’s the pilot.”

1 – “Talk to me, Goose.”

A throwback to the orginal Top Gun, this classic line is again delivered multiple times by Maverick. In moments of need, he looks at Goose’s dog tags that he’s holding and says “Talk to me, Goose.” Listen closely and you’ll also here Rooster utter the line “Talk to me, Dad,” with his Dad being the legend that was Goose.

If you’re a fan of Top Gun: Maverick, check out our quotes print. Featuring some of the best quotes from the movie Top Gun: Maverick. Available as a digital download printable, or printed & shipped print.

All photos used © 2019 Paramount Pictures Corporation.

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