Top Gun (4K Blu-ray Review)

Well, it finally happened… We finally have Top Gun in 4K.  The iconic action classic finally hits home in the best way to watch films at home.  The sights, the sounds, the sweat, the soundtrack.  The film is a cultural standpoint for blockbuster filmmaking.  There is something special that radiates through this movie that is almost unexplainable. At one point, this was a film I avoided like the plague. Does the film still hold up? How about the transfer? Let’s go in depth below, and don’t forget to click the paid link at the bottom to preorder your copy of Top Gun, available May 19th!


Those of you that read my reviews know that I like to go over the story of the film, and then go into a little critique, and why I recommend or don’t recommend the film.  This film, however, is an icon on it’s own.  Even if you haven’t seen the film, you know something about it – be it a line, a song from the soundtrack, or what happens to the character.  That’s what pop culture does. With this film, you get the very definition of mid-80’s cinema.  There is no way around that thought. If you think 1986, I doubt you’d come up with another film that resonates the year better than Top Gun.

For those that haven’t seen the film… Maverick (Tom Cruise) is a fighter pilot trying out for Top Gun, a naval flight school.  When a classmate turns in his wings, the fearless and some would say reckless Maverick and his partner and best friend Goose (Anthony Edwards) head to Miramar to train for the program, to be the best of the best.  Along the way they challenge their superiors (including Tom Skeritt), make rivalries with other trainees (led by Val Kilmer), find love within the program (Cruise with Kelly McGillis), and engage in sweaty, homoerotic volleyball games. We also meet Goose’s young family (wife Meg Ryan and their son). The setup and story are quite simple, and there isn’t much more to it than that. That’s something to admire about Top Gun.  The story overall is very solid.  There aren’t plot holes.  There are no moments when you need to have laser focus to follow the story. Simplicity is the name of the game.

For me, Top Gun was a late discovery.  The film came out the year I was born, and my parents and siblings were huge fans of the film. I even had the soundtrack and knew the songs well.  For some reason, I had no desire to see the film and stubbornly held that opinion for a long time.  At the ripe age of 28, I finally gave in and bought a copy of the film.  Immediately, of course, I was taken with the film. The theme coming on before we see anything on the screen (Harold Faltermeyer’s echo-gated 808’s are just as iconic to me as any imagery in the film) before we see gorgeously shot footage of planes getting ready for their take-off.  Then Danger Zone hits, and the adrenaline rush begins.

Tony Scott deserves a great deal of credit.  His particular style set a precedent for how films are made even today. The color gradients, the mirage effect of heat, the lighting in the ships, nightclubs and bars… I keep saying it but they are truly iconic trademarks for Scott. We also can’t discount the casting of the film.  Tom Cruise became a superstar with this film. Kelly McGillis was at the time many a man’s dream, as was Meg Ryan.  Val Kilmer proved to be a formidable screen presence as Iceman. Anthony Edwards provides a lightness to the film that is very welcome too.  Tom Skeritt is right at home as a father figure to Maverick. If you look really hard you’ll see Tim Robbins in a small role too.  That’s a spectacular cast to be sure!


  • Encoding: HEVC/H.265
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Layers: BD-100
  • HDR: Dolby Vision
  • Clarity/Detail: Catalog title fans, rejoice! Top Gun has never looked better! Save for a couple of soft shots (movies from the 80’s always seem to have at least one or two) this is a solid, extremely noticeable upgrade from the 1080P counterpart. Struck from a recent 4K master, the image is sharp, clear and defined.  The look is still pure 80’s with a complimentary grain structure throughout.  The detail is spread out in wonderful ways. Those of us who’ve seen the film quite a few times will be noticing new things in interiors we’ve never seen before.  Interiors will be especially interesting as on the ship in the control room, or in the locker room, office or classrooms at the school. This is a clarity showcase for sure.
  • Depth: Depth and dimension are wonderful here as well. The film was once released in 3D, and while this isn’t a showcase for that, there is quite a bit of pop from the image. All of the dog fight sequences are the places to find the most outstanding moments of depth.
  • Black Levels: Black levels are recreated nicely thanks to the new HDR color grading. They go deep and there is no crush.
  • Color Reproduction: The color grading on the film was already fantastic, but with HDR via Dolby Vision, we are treated to some great expansion. The sunnier moments of course will be bright and beautiful, but the scenes at night or the iconic love scene show niceness in the shadows as well.  Reds, blues, pinks and greens all have an amazing look in this new transfer.
  • Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are nice and natural. Everyone looks like they really live in Miramar and have seen the sun for an extended period of time. This is natural though and looks great.  There is no loss of definition with the excessive use of sweat on all actors either.
  • Noise/Artifacts: Aside from the natural grain of the film stock, the film is clean.


  • Format(s): English Dolby Atmos; French, Portuguese and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese (and many many others accessible from the disc menu)
  • Dynamics: Audio-holics rejoice too! The new Atmos mix for Top Gun is absolutely brilliant. Right off the bat (remember I mentioned the Echo-gated 808 drum) you are treated to deep lows and great surround effect.  The dynamics of this mix are top notch! Not a bad spot, drop out, or shortcoming to be heard! I can confidently go so far as to say this is a new standard for catalog reference audio.  With that said though, don’t set expectations for a repurposed mix ala Batman.
  • Height: Height channels handle a lot of the high-flying excitement for the film. Jet sounds, flyovers, and crowd noise hang out there and drop over the viewer.  One scene to call out, just for creativity with the format Is the scene where the boys serenade Charlie at the bar. The mic’d vocals come down from the top while the ones not mic’d go around you in the lower channels.  Creative! Excellent use of height speakers throughout!
  • Low Frequency Extension: Fantastic is the simple way to say it. The mix features what sound like the original sound effects from the stereo surround track that accompanied the film in it’s original release.  Those effects have been remastered and carry quite a bit of low-end rumble with them.  Jet engines rattle the floorboards and music carries a hefty thump as well.  This is one to appreciate at a nice loud volume!
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Surrounds are in play the entire film. Whether you’re in the quiet control room, a rowdy bar, Charlie’s little house or on the flight deck, the rear speakers are active. Small sounds and large live in those speakers and put you front and center to the action on the screen.  Excellence in surround sound to say the least.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialogue in the film is handled exceptionally well too! Even in louder sequences, not a speck of dialogue is missed and you never have to sit, remote in hand, to hear anything. Exceptional as well!


Top Gun arrives on 4K Blu-ray with a glossy slipcover, a digital code and a 1080P Blu-ray with the new 4K transfer and Atmos track in tow.  The special features from past releases are included too with one new one on the 4K disc and 1080p Blu-ray. Features are:

4K Disc:

  • The Legacy of Top Gun (4K SDR, 5:37): Cast and Crew of Top Gun: Maverick discuss briefly the legacy of the original film and we also get to see a tiny glimpse into the next installment, which while brief, intrigued me right away!
  • On Your Six – Thirty Years of Top Gun (HD, 29:54): A featurette created for the 30th anniversary that breaks down the casting, creation and legacy of the film.
  • Audio Commentary by Filmmakers and Naval Experts


  • Same features mentioned above, plus…
    • Danger Zone: The Making Of Top Gun (Feature length documentary)
    • Multi-Angle Storyboards: Flat Spin, Jester’s Dead
    • Best of the Best: Inside the real Top Gun
    • Music Videos for: Danger Zone (Kenny Loggins), Take My Breath Away (Berlin), Heaven In Your Eyes (Loverboy), Top Gun Anthem (Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens)
    • Original Behind The Scenes Featurette
    • Survival Training Featurette
    • Top Cruise Interviews
    • TV Spots


In the end, Top Gun became the highest grossing movie of 1986, is in the Library of Congress for being culturally significant and is on many a top ten list for film fans. There is no way around it… Top Gun is a very special classic in the action film genre, but also for popular film in general.  The film has it all: thrills, romance, humor, and drama.  The film also seems to be able to reach a very wide audience.  Even now, new viewers will no doubt be taken with the film.  34 years on, we are still feeling the need for speed, and rolling down the highway to the danger zone.  Fly on, Maverick!

**This is a paid Amazon link**

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