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Hot Shots! (1991)

PG-13 | | Action, Comedy | 31 July 1991 (USA)
A parody of Top Gun (1986) in which a talented but unstable fighter pilot must overcome the ghosts of his father and save a mission sabotaged by greedy weapons manufacturers.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Buzz Harley
Heidi Swedberg ...
'Red' Herring
'Mailman' Farnham


Topper Harley, a top gun fighter pilot, is recalled to serve on the SS Essess. Topper's mission is to destroy Saddam Hussein's nuclear plants. Unfortunately, Topper is psychologically imbalanced and is sure to crack under pressure. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1990s | mission | iraq | combat | plane | See All (67) »


The mother of all movies! See more »


Action | Comedy


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

31 July 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hot Shots: An Important Movie!  »


Box Office


$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,848,182, 4 August 1991, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The enemy are flying in the Northrop T-38 Talon, twin-jet trainer, airplanes built for the US Air Force as a supersonic training airplane for pilots and astronauts. See more »


When Topper enters the base on his motorcycle the first time, the gate guard salutes him even through he is not wearing any officer rank. See more »


Ramada Thompson: Topper Harley, I presume.
Topper Harley: Once, perhaps. Now I am called Tu-ka Chinchilla.
Ramada Thompson: What does that mean?
[camera pans down to Topper's bunny slippers]
Topper Harley: Fluffy bunny feet.
See more »

Crazy Credits

TOPPING FOR BROWNIES 1/2 cup butter 3 squares butter chocolate,melted 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar 1 or 2 teaspoons cinnamon(optional) 2 egg yolks,beaten Cream butter until light and lemon coloured. Gradually add sugar and egg yolks. Add chocolate. See more »


Spoofs The Godfather (1972) See more »


National Emblem
Music by Edwin Eugene Bagley
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

No classic but so much better than spoofs of today - 66%
11 May 2011 | by See all my reviews

I'd first watched this many, many years ago as a teenager and thanks to Film Four, I was reacquainted with it tonight. Of course, it isn't as funny as I remember but that's the thing with these spoofs - with the large number of gags on screen, there should be something to make you laugh. And sure enough, "Hot Shots!" does have several moments to make it worth your while. But due to its pedigree with classics like "Airplane!" and "The Naked Gun", it does suffer by comparison. Luckily, it isn't as bad as recent spoofs like "Meet The Spartans" so the chances are, you'll enjoy this.

Before finding the benefits of a web-cam and Tiger Blood, Charlie Sheen used to be an actor. Here he is as Topper Harley, the US Air Force's best pilot recruited back into the fold by Lt. Commander Block (Kevin Dunn) to assist in a top secret mission to destroy a nuclear weapons facility. But Topper has baggage - his father was an equally talented loose cannon, responsible for the death of one of his colleagues which is something Topper feels he is bound to repeat. But feuding with fellow pilot Lt. Gregory (Cary Elwes), Topper begins to fall for his therapist Ramada Thompson (Valeria Golino). But will his feelings wreck the mission or is it the underhand attempts at sabotage that may cost the lives of the team?

Like most spoofs, there is a machine-gun regularity to the gags whether there are spoken or visual. Sadly, not all of them hit the mark. There isn't a sense that you can't take your eyes and ears off the screen like you get with "Airplane!" where a momentary lapse in concentration means you miss some hilarity. Another issue I have is that the funniest actor on screen, by some margin, is Lloyd Bridges as the insane Admiral Benson. Giving the late Leslie Nielsen a run for his money is no easy feat but Bridges perfectly captures the straight-faced lunacy that the spoof genre requires. Sheen, Elwes and Golino simply can't match him but this movie still has enough to carry it through.

Maybe it's because I'm older now but "Hot Shots!" isn't as good as I remember. The jokes aren't as funny and the visual gags seem a little unimaginative but there are still some moments to enjoy. I also like the fact that it tries to spoof "Top Gun" which, if we're honest about it, kinda ran like a parody anywhere. Despite its age, "Hot Shots!" remains a comedy that most fans of spoofs will enjoy. It's no classic but considering how most spoofs these days are about as funny as a fifty mile hike, it remains a strangely amusing spoof of almost any military action flick you could mention. And if you're too young to have watched this the first time around then maybe it will do you some good to see Sheen before he became a rock god from Mars with Adonis DNA. This film is winning but isn't it an open goal anyway?

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