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There's One Thing I Absolutely Loved About Top Gun: Maverick That No One Is Really Talking About

Tom Cruise looking at Miles Teller in Top Gun: Maverick
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Top Gun: Maverick is an even bigger movie than most people thought it would be. The film is an absolute smash due to its incredible practical action sequences with fighter jets, and also due to its surprisingly emotional story, but I feel like there’s one thing about Top Gun: Maverick that not enough people are talking about, the fact that Tom Cruise looks short in the film.

Tom Cruise is 5’ 7” and while I wouldn’t consider that to be short myself, he’s taller than me, because I am short, he’s certainly shorter than many of the people he has starred alongside over the years. We all know this. The thing is that generally, in his movies, Tom Cruise doesn’t look short, but he does in Top Gun: Maverick.

Cruise has multiple scenes where he gets in conversations/arguments with co-star Miles Teller. Teller plays Rooster, the son of Goose, Maverick’s friend from the original Top Gun who died in an accident. Miles Teller is 6’ 1”, a good half foot taller than Cruise, and the movie actually shows their height discrepancy in these scenes. Cruise is always looking up at Teller.

For as long as Hollywood has been making movies it has tried to make it’s heroes look big and strong, and frequently, when the actual actor wasn’t that big, it meant shooting from specific angles, or even putting shorter actors on boxes to make them at least as tall, if not taller, than the people they were in the shot with. Cruise has certainly done his share of this, and he’s far from the first. Other actors, like Robert Downey Jr., reportedly also work to make themselves look taller on screen

There’s maybe one shot in the original Top Gun where you can really tell that Tom Cruise is shorter than co-star Anthony Edwards, who played Goose, who is an inch taller than Miles Teller, but the two are frequently shot at angles or while Edwards is leaning or seated, to make the height discrepancy less noticeable. 

And this is still largely the case in Top Gun: Maverick as well. It’s really only in these major dialogue scenes with Teller than the height situation is noticeable, but it is quite clear. These were the moments I was the most taken out of the movie because I realized how rarely I had seen Tom Cruise look shorter than his co-stars. 

And this was clearly an intentional decision on the part of the filmmakers. The same steps that have been taken previously to make Tom Cruise look taller could have been taken here, but they were not. The decision was made to shoot these scenes this way. Shooting this way certainly makes Teller look more imposing, which may have been what they wanted from the scene.

In the end, as a short person, it was nice to see Tom Cruise not looking super tall. He’s still awesome in Top Gun: Maverick, even if he isn’t the biggest guy there.  

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.