What Top Gun's Director Was Thinking When He Shot The Famed Volleyball Scene

Top Gun Volleyball scene

Top Gun is a movie about cocky fighter pilots in jets shooting missiles at things, as such, it's very much viewed as a "manly" movie, but there's this one scene... You know the scene I'm referring to. The one where the entire movie stops happening and instead of watching jets fly or pilots getting in each others' faces, they stop and play volleyball...with their shirts off. What exactly was director Tony Scott thinking by inserting this scene into the film? As it turns out, he was thinking exactly what it looked like he was thinking, he needed to show off the bodies of a bunch of good looking guys. In Scott's words...

I didn't have a vision of what I was doing other than just doing soft porn. I knew I had to show off all the guys, but I didn't have a point of view, so I just shot the shit out of it. I got the guys to get all their gear off and their pants and sprayed them in baby oil.

The result of just shooting "the shit" out of the scene and then cutting everything together is essentially a music video that takes place in the middle of Top Gun. Kenny Loggins "Playing with the Boys" blasts behind numerous edited shots of all the major players of the film playing volleyball together. The scene does show a degree of camaraderie among the aviators, even among those that don't particularly like each other. Beyond that, however, there really isn't much else going on. Tony Scott admitted this during an interview on the Blu-Ray for the film's 30th anniversary (via The Wrap). He just wanted to show off the guys. This is why the scene isn't shot from any particular point of view and is just generally unfocused. Scott apparently decided to just shoot the scene and then figure out what to do with it all later.

It's unlikely Tony Scott had any idea what he was actually editing together when the volleyball scene was completed. The result became one of the single most famous scenes in the film, in large part because it has become one of the most parodied scenes in modern movie history. To be fair, having fun with it is pretty easy.

One has to wonder if they'll be a similar sequence in Top Gun 2 a movie which, after being rumored for the better part of three decades, appears to actually be happening. Tom Cruise has said filming is expected to begin next year and Crusie's Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski is rumored to be taking over for Tony Scott who passed away in 2012.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.