The searing aerial action in this thunderous action film took younger filmgoers by storm on its first showing, pushing Tom Cruise into the megastar bracket at a single step.
It's the one about the maverick fighter pilot who bucks authority, proves he's the best, cracks up on the death of a friend, but comes good in the end to claim the glory or the girl.
In other years, it could have starred James Cagney and Tony Curtis; here it's Cruise, flashing his teeth a lot and oozing charisma, and Kelly McGillis, with multiple under-lid looks, who keep us watching, with the aid of lots of noisy action and an Oscar-winning song.
The remaining characters are so cardboard they could be wheeled on and off without affecting the plot.
And, this being the computer age, that thing on Cruise's shoulder is presumably a microchip!
Val Kilmer and ER's Anthony Edwards provide back-up for the star. Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins, Whip Hubley and Adrian Pasdar are buried in the supporting cast.