Top Gun director Tony Scott commits suicide. He personally paid 25,000 USD to keep an aircraft carrier on course and shoot the F-14s backlit by the sun

On Aug. 19, at around 12.30 pm, Tony Scott, film director of Top Gun, committed suicide by jumping from a Los Angeles county bridge.

Although he directed and produced many successful movies, his most famous hit is Top Gun, filmed in 1986.

Actually Top Gun 2 was in the works too with Tom Cruise initially thought to be a drone pilot and then “diverted” to the F-35 test pilot role. The future of the sequel project is obviously uncertain now that 68-year-old Tony Scott has died.

One of the most interesting things about Tony Scott and Top Gun was unveiled by the director in an interview included in the Special Edition DVD issued for the movie’s 25th anniversary.

During the filming, Tony Scott and his crew spent some days onboard USS Enterprise to shoot aircraft as they landed and took off from the aircraft carrier. Since the U.S. Navy’s flattop was on an operational cruise, the crew had to film normal flight ops. However, Tony Scott wanted to shoot flight deck activities with planes backlit from the sun. So, when the ship changed course with a consequent change of the light, Scott asked it the commanding officer could keep on the previous course and speed for a little longer.

However, he was answered by the commander that it would cost 25,000 USD to turn the ship, so he wrote the aircraft carrier captain a check so that the ship could be turned on the previous route for five more minutes thus giving him the possibility to shoot under the desired lighting conditions a bit longer.

The footage was used during the movie’s stunning opening scene.

Although I’m not sure whether that check was eventually collected, I think this story shows how much Tony Scott cared about the success of Top Gun.

As tweeted by BBC News Producer Johnny Hallam:

“I hope some crazy pilot buzzes the #Miramar tower today in memory of Tony Scott and Top Gun #AvGeek”

About David Cenciotti 4417 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.


  1. Wow, this is really too bad. Although I thought the movie had a fairly dumb plot (which is OK, it wasn’t billed as a documentary), the flying scenes were great. In fact, a lot of it was pure artistry, I don’t care what anybody says. The rolling scissors maneuver that they showed in the final dogfight of the movie was unbelievable.

  2. Actually I believe the story was closer to “me light, I’m losing me light” tell the captain to turn the ship around – after a few exchanges to with the bridge, Tony is told about how long it will take to turn the Carrier around and what it will cost – he thinks about it for a second and gives the go ahead to do it – after getting the shot – he asked if he was really going to have to pay all that money for the few seconds he wanted…

Comments are closed.