Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is a cocky pilot who along with his radar intercepts officer Goose is chosen to attend the Navy's elite Fighter Weapons School. Their flyboys compete with each other to become "Top gun". Maverick's toughest competition comes from Iceman, a cool and efficient pilot who takes an immediate dislike to this newcomer whom he views as "dangerous". Maverick also frightens Goose and the flight school commanding officers because of his reckless hot-dogging stunts. The problem is that Maverick's deceased father, a Vietnam pilot, had gotten a bad reputation in the military and was branded a coward. Alongside the machismo posturing of the flyboys and the joys of male camaraderie, Maverick, true to his nickname, goes his own way in a love affair with Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood, a civilian aeronautics expert who teaches at the pilots' school. When Maverick's confidence is dented by an accident, Charlie tries to convince him he still has the right stuff. In the end Maverick gets over his emotions and comes through with flying colors in real combat with the enemy over the Indian Ocean.