Where was Top Gun filmed? Guide to ALL the Locations

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The 1986 classic that combined the best acrobatic flying jet sequences ever filmed with sweaty navy cadets in uniform has a sequel more than three decades after Maverick took instructor Charlie's breath away.

Top Gun was filmed primarily in San Diego, California, but also in Nevada.

Top Gun Tom Cruise motorcycle

The original story revolved around US Navy's elite fighter pilot Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell, played by, at the time, rising star Tom Cruise.

To convince him to play the role in 1985, a pilot took him for a ride to experience firsthand the power of the Navy's fighter jets. Cruise, who is a real adrenaline junkie, rushed out of the plane to make a call, all excited, to accept the role.

Welcome to our guide to all the filming locations of Top Gun. If you’re looking for the new 2022 movie locations you'll find our article revealing all the places where Top Gun: Maverick was filmed following this link.

Where was Top Gun filmed
The Naval Fighter Weapons School base, aka Top Gun, was filmed at the Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego, now the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (MCAS Miramar), nicknamed "Fightertown USA".

Until 1996, this Marine Corps installation was home to the real TOPGUN school, officially known as the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program.

The center is now based at the Naval Air Station Fallon east of Reno in western Nevada.
(You can open all the locations on Google Maps by clicking on the links below in the captions ↴)
  Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Map

Fightertown USA
Many dog fighting scenes with the aircrafts were recorded near the Naval Air Station Fallon area.

The rocky landscape pictured looks like the Mojave Desert or the Alabama Hills mountains located just a supersonic flight away from the Navy complex.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Map

USS Enterprise
The F-14 Tomcat fighter squadron VF-51 "Screaming Eagles" was available for the filmmakers to shoot the aerial footage.

The aircraft carrier where the jets are landing and taking off in the sunset was the USS Enterprise, decommissioned in 2017, and the USS Carl Vinson.

Also, some interior shots were filmed at the older USS Ranger supercarrier.

F-14 Tomcat Top Gun
Director Tony Scott revealed in an interview included in the special DVD edition that at some point, when filming scenes onboard the ship, the captain altered the course of the carrier, changing the sequence’s lighting.

Then, Scott decided to pay US$25,000 to turn the ship back to the course he needed to film the scene for another five minutes, which is the price that the captain estimated that the maneuver would cost the Navy. According to Scott, the check bounced.

The final invoice for the Paramount to use all the planes and aircraft carriers went up to $1.8 million.

Maverick and Charlie
There's a scene where Maverick approaches instructor Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood (Kelly McGillis) singing acapella The Righteous Brothers' 1965 classic You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' in the base Officers Club.

The club exterior and the graduation scene with the swimming pool at the end of the movie were filmed at the Island Club at the Naval Station North Island in Coronado.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Map

Lafayette Hotel San Diego
However, the interior was filmed at the Lafayette Hotel in University Heights, San Diego.

Built in 1946, this boutique hotel and swim club has hosted many celebrities throughout its history.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Map

Naval Training Center San Diego
According to IMDb, the hallway and restroom were filmed at the Naval Training Center headquarters building in San Diego.

When the movie came out in the 1980s it served as an excellent recruitment tool for the USAF.
Image courtesy of Paramount - Map

The Top Gun house

Top Gun house
The iconic Charlie’s beach house was originally located at 102 North Pacific Street in Oceanside.

Built in 1887, the small and gorgeous Graves House was one of the oldest surviving structures in the town.

In 2020, the house was restored and moved twice to leave room for the new Mission Pacific Hotel. Framed by this resort, the historical Victorian cottage is now opened as The Famous High Pie shop, situated a block away from its original location.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Map

Top Gun base
The school exterior with columns from the scene where Pete and Charlie have a fight was filmed at the corner of Roosevelt Road and Historic Decatur Road in San Diego's Liberty Station.

Today, this location is home to the Italian restaurant Solare.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Map

Roosevelt Road San Diego
The street that looks like the gate of the air station is also Roosevelt Road, between Rosecrans and Truxtun Roads.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Map

Porsche 356 A
In the car chase, Charlie is about to crash her cute Porsche 356 A at W Laurel and Union Streets in Bankers Hill, San Diego.

After Charlie talks to Maverick, Cruise originally had a line to say. But he forgot the line and kissed Kelly McGillis instead. Director Tony Scott liked it so much that he left the scene like this.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Map

Wave House Athletic Club
The locker room scenes were filmed at the Mission Beach Plunge, known today as the Wave House Athletic Club at 3115 Ocean Front Walk in Belmont Park.

Val Kilmer, who did not want to be in the original film, played Lieutenant Tom "Iceman" Kazansky, becoming one of his most iconic roles in his career.
Image courtesy of Paramount - Map

The Top Gun bar

Top Gun bar
The Great Balls of Fire bar scene featuring a super young Meg Ryan as Goose's wife, Carole, was filmed at the Kansas City Barbeque restaurant in Marina, San Diego.

Known as the "Top Gun bar", this spot was almost burned to the ground in 2008, destroying much of the original memorabilia and props from the movie, including the piano and some military coins.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Map

Windsock Bar San Diego
The bar overlooking the airport runway that appears in the scene after the accident was the now-closed Windsock Bar and Grill at San Diego International Airport.

All of Maverick's flying stunts were done by Scott Altman, who later went on to become a NASA astronaut.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Map

Viper's house
As The Movie District reported, the house of commanding officer Mike "Viper" Metcalf (played by Tom Skerritt) is a house in the New Point Loma Lighthouse area.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Map

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1- Anonymous - Jun 2, 2022, 11:50 PM
I always thought the outside Carrier scenes in the 1986 movie were filmed on the USS Carl Vinson CVN-70. The Ranger was also used for some scenes.

2- Anonymous - Jun 6, 2022, 6:21 PM
Actually, in 1986, Miramar was a Navy base - Naval Air Station Miramar (NAS Miramar) - not a Marine Corps base. It didn't become a Marine Corps base until the late 90s.

3- Anonymous - Apr 12, 2023, 7:45 PM
The restroom scene was at the former USO Building at Naval Training Center. At one time it had a plaque marking the historic event. To my knowledge, the building has been torn down.


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