At Charlie's residence in Top Gun (1986), Charlie is lying on the couch and Maverick speaks about his father:

Maverick: My old man was a great fighter pilot. But who the hell knows? It's all classified.

Charlie: Somebody must know.

Maverick: Yeah, somebody knows everything.

Charlie: Is that why you're always second best up there?

Maverick: You are direct, aren't you?

Is Maverick's rank in the competition tied to his father's classified information?

  • Rank? Do you mean placement in the competition?
    – Paulie_D
    Apr 29, 2023 at 5:32
  • @Paulie_D Yes. That's what I meant. Apr 29, 2023 at 6:10

1 Answer 1


It has nothing to do with the military rank. My unserstanding of this is:

  1. Maverick says he can't learn the truth about his father's career because it's classified.
  2. Charlie thinks it's because his father may have a very "damaged reputation" (for lack of a better expression) that ruined his career/reputation.
  3. This background is held against his son, and forbids him to be promoted (he always gets the second place1).

Later, when he talks to Viper, he learns that it's classified because there was a fight in a restricted area, "on the wrong side of a border" (means "illegal").

1. Maverick is second to Cougar, second to Iceman, and remains second as backup when they graduate. He'll remains second until he's the asset in winning against the MIGs.

  • 1
    I took it that it's more of a mental block on Maverick's part, rather than people actively working against him.
    – Darren
    May 4, 2023 at 9:59
  • 1
    @Darren : agreed. He feels better after Viper tells him, but yes, he's "maverick" because he's fighting as much against himself as against the opponents.
    – OldPadawan
    May 4, 2023 at 10:05
  • @Darren (from the script) -> "JESTER (in Viper's office): I don't know what to say, Skip. His fitness report says he's a wild card. Seat of the pants. Completely unpredictable -- nothing by the book. All over the sky." You may be the GOAT, no one in the military will let you climb the ladder to the top if you don't follow the rules. Period. And that's what happens to Maverick, his attitude is his glass ceiling, like when he pisses CIF Johnston(?) with his zoom right by the tower, level with the observation window. He almost got fired when CIF spills his cup of cofee all over his shirt.
    – OldPadawan
    May 4, 2023 at 12:27

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