Top Gun is hella badass, and all the pilots in it have call signs as nicknames – nobody ever calls Goose Nick, for instance. But who gets the good monikers and who gets the shitty ones? We investigate.
Real name: Lieutenant Pete Mitchell
Played by: Tom Cruise
Nickname radness: Maverick is a cool nickname, but as soon as you’ve got it done in stickers on your helmet it’s kind of ruined. There’s nothing maverick about carefully measuring out letter spacing. It’s like having an expensive business card that says “Rebel”.
Real name: Lieutenant Tom Kazanski
Played by: Val Kilmer
Nickname radness: Iceman’s a pretty awesome nickname, although people might think you were saying “Nice Man”, which is basically the worst nickname imaginable.
Real name: Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Nick Bradshaw
Played by: Anthony Edwards
Nickname radness: Goose, as a nickname, is shit. It’s a fat honking bird, or the verb for when you grabs someone’s arse. No wonder he (SPOILER) dies (END SPOILER).
Real name: Commander Mike Metcalf
Played by: Tom Skeritt
Nickname radness: Brilliant. What a cool nickname. The only time being known as Viper would be anything other than brilliant would be in any kind of windscreen context. You wouldn’t know if someone was saying “There’s a problem with your windscreen wiper” or “There’s a problem with your windscreen, Viper.” That’s not likely to come up much though.
Real name: Lieutenant Commander Rick Heatherly
Played by: Michael Ironside
Nickname radness: Awesome, but only if, like Michael Ironside, you’re a steely block of emotionless granite. If you’re a wacky bastard in a Hawaiian shirt and you introduce yourself to someone as Jester, you’ll get a withering look at best and a kick up the bollocks at worst.
Real name: Lieutenant Bill Cortell
Played by: John Stockwell
Nickname radness: This was probably a cooler nickname before Cougar became a popular term for a sexually predatory older lady.
Real name: Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Leonard Wolfe
Played by: Barry Tubb
Nickname radness: Wolfman’s surname is Wolfe, which somewhat lessens the badassness of what is otherwise a really ace nickname. If the same naming convention that led to Wolfman was applied to the actor Barry Tubb, he’d be known as Tubman, which sounds like a half-human, half-bathtub superhero.
Real name: Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Ron Kerner
Played by: Rick Rossovich
Nickname radness: It’s a type of burger, so that’s nice, but it could also be used to refer to a type of really slippery poo. Jury’s out. A man named Rick Rossovich playing a Ron is fun though. It almost makes up for not seeing his helmet properly.
Real name: Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Samuel Wells
Played by: Tim Robbins
Nickname radness: Hmm. If you’re named after the wizard, that’s pretty awesome. If you’re named after the tiny fluttery bird, which is probably more likely in this flight-based scenario, it’s substantially less awesome.
Real name: Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Marcus Williams
Played by: Clarence Gilyard, Jr
Nickname radness: Pretty cool, although “Good morning, Sundown” doesn’t make any goddamn sense.
Real name: Lieutenant Rick Neven
Played by: Grant “Whip” Hubley
Nickname radness: If anyone else, anyone else in the world, had the nickname Hollywood, that’d be great. Thing is, the actor has the nickname Whip. That’s just so much better. “Hi Ma’am, I’m Whip”. God, that’s cool.
Real name: Commander Tom Jordan
Played by: James Tolkan
Nickname radness: Cool if named after a missile, bad if named after a curry famed for inducing diarrhoaea. Hey though, it’s Principal Strickland from Back To The Future!
Real name: Lieutenant Charles Piper
Played by: Adrian Pasdar
Nickname radness: Much like Wolfman, you can see the thought process at work here, but Wolfman sounds cool, while Chipper just sounds awful. It sounds like an ironic nickname for someone perpetually on the verge of suicide.