During a confrontation with Maverick in a locker room, Ice Man chomps his teeth at Maverick. What was that about? An attempt at intimidation? Catching a fly? It was just so weird and random.
I agree with @Omegacron answer. But just wanted to say, I thought so too. It was weird and random and totally missed it's mark imo.– therebelcoderMay 27, 2017 at 18:00
Your first guess was correct - it was an attempt at intimidation. The chomping of the teeth was a common gesture at the time, meant to indicate biting down (like a dog snapping at a bone, or a shark snapping at meat). It could also be a seductive gesture, but obviously - given the context - that wasn't the case.
Iceman was basically saying to Maverick "I'm gonna get ya.", with the implication being that the second Maverick messed up, his rival would be there ready to take advantage of it.
I agree that it was intended to intimidate, but why do you say it was “a common gesture at the time”? As somebody alive at the time, I can say with confidence that I never saw this maneuver except in Top Gun or in imitation of it. Sep 12, 2022 at 0:54
@MichaelStern - maybe it was a regional thing, dunno. It was common enough when I was in school, late 70s & early 80s Texas. Sep 14, 2022 at 1:26