In Nabokov’s Lolita, Humbert Humbert tortures himself with images of his nymphet in the arms of “kissy-faced brutes”; that’s what Top Gun is full of. When McGillis is offscreen, the movie is a shiny homoerotic commercial featuring the elite fighter pilots in training at San Diego’s Miramar Naval Air Station. […] What is this commercial selling? It’s just selling, because that’s what the producers, Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, and the director, Tony (Make It Glow) Scott, know how to do. Selling is what they think moviemaking is about. The result is a new “art” form: the self-referential commercial. Top Gun is a recruiting poster that isn’t concerned with recruiting, but with being a poster.

Pauline Kael, The New Yorker June 16 1986