Hot Shots! (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hot Shots! (1991)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

From director Jim Abrahams, one of the minds behind the Airplane! and Naked Gun films, comes another parody. This time around, Abrahams has his sights set on the action-adventure genre, specifically Top Gun. Charlie Sheen stars as Topper Harley, a maverick air force pilot who constantly lives in the shadow of his father's legacy. Unable to handle the pressure, Harley has left the Air Force to live among a tribe of Native Americans. But when the United States seeks to destroy some Iraqi nuclear facilities, there's only one man for the job. After being coaxed back into service, Harley soon realizes that in addition to Saddam Hussein, he'll have to contend with a rival pilot, played by Cary Elwes, and a devious aerospace executive. Among the many films lampooned are Dances With Wolves, 9 1/2 Weeks, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and Gone With the Wind. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovimore
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Jim Abrahams, Pat Proft
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 6, 2002
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment


Charlie Sheen
as Sean `Topper' Harley
Cary Elwes
as Kent Gregory
Valeria Golino
as Ramada Thompson
Lloyd Bridges
as Adm. `Tug' Benson
Kevin Dunn
as Lt. Cdr. James Block
Jon Cryer
as Jim `Wash Out' Pfaff...
William O'Leary
as `Dead Meat' Thompson
Kristy Swanson
as Dawn Kowalski
Bill Irwin
as Buzz Harley
Chris Coyle
as Conspiratorial Crewm...
Heidi Swedberg
as Mrs. `Dead Meat' Tho...
Bruce A. Young
as `Red' Herring
Ryan Stiles
as `Mailman' Farnham
Rino Thunder
as Owatonna `The Old On...
Mark Arnott
as Rosener
Ryan Cutrona
as Captain Margolis
Don Lake
as Doctor
Kelly Connell
as Air Controller
Tony Simotes
as Ambulance Driver
Don Luce
as Paramedic
Jeff Bright
as Communications Offic...
Marie Thomas
as Francine the Secreta...
Marc Shaiman
as Piano Player
Cylk Cozart
as 1st Drill Sergeant
Christopher J. Keene
as 2nd Drill Sergeant
Jimmy Lennon Jr.
as Ring Announcer
Annie O'Donnell
as Amish Woman
Pat Proft
as Lawrence Lipps
Gene Greytak
as Pope John Paul II
Tony Lorea
as Humphrey `Bogie' Bog...
Christopher Keene
as 2nd Drill Sergeant
Jerry Halera
as Saddam Hussein
Bob Lenz
as Elvis `The King' Pre...
Robert Puro
as Precocious Paper Boy
Richard Lasting
as Handsome Milkman
Elston Ridgle
as 1st Boxer
Max Jones
as 2nd Boxer
Eugene Greytak
as Pope John Paul II
Chris Doyle
as Conspiratorial Crewm...
Pablo Prietto
as Parking Valet
John Bankson
as Parking Valet
Jerry Haleva
as Saddam Hussein
Gary Brayboy
as Sleep Weasel Squadro...
Al Clegg
as Sleepy Weasel Squadr...
Kevin Eads
as Sleepy Weasel Squadr...
Richard Emanuel
as Sleepy Weasel Squadr...
Brent Freeman
as Sleepy Weasel Squadr...
Craig McIntosh
as Sleepy Weasel Squadr...
Tony Moreno
as Sleepy Weasel Squadr...
Dave Oliver
as Sleepy Weasel Squadr...
Nancy Abrahams
as Family in front of T...
Kip Pierce
as Sleepy Weasel Squadr...
Sean Wright
as Sleepy Weasel Squadr...
as Sleepy Weasel Squadr...
David Oliver
as Sleepy Weasel Squadr...
William Irwin
as Buzz Harley
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Hot Shots!

Critic Reviews for Hot Shots!

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (7)

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | July 31, 1991
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

A good parody will make a forceful play for laughs, but this movie practically holds the viewer down in a tickle chair, drilling for any reaction. I admire the determination but the effect has worn off some. Maybe it's Sheen.

Full Review… | August 2, 2011

Well, it's not Airplane! but precious little is.

November 5, 2004

No one does silly better than Lloyd Bridges.

April 23, 2004
Flipside Movie Emporium

On-target with satirical shots at familiar films.

Full Review… | July 18, 2003
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Hot Shots!

"Hot Shots!" comes during the peak of spoof films, just before the downhill disasters and right after the best of the best. With clever jokes throughout, this loosely-Top-Gun-based spoof is not one to miss. Charlie Sheen (Topper) leads this film into the hilarious picture that it is, due to the films that inspired it. The jokes run a mile a minute, the action is just as impressive (intentionally cheesy at times), and the cast all do their very best to give the audience a great laugh. With direction that knows exactly when and where to land the jokes, there is talent surrounding this film everywhere. In the end, I would highly recommend this spoof movie, and that is saying something, because it is extremely rare for spoof movies to be this consistently funny. "Hot Shots!" may have a few too many dumb gags, but the remainder of them are way too clever to pass up on. If you have not had the chance to see this film, it comes highly recommended.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Back in 1986 there was a movie called 'Top Gun', you might have heard of it, it did quite well. During casting the young Charles Sheen was considered for the main role in the movie (later taken by Cruise), his brother Emilio turned down the role! Well later on down the line we got this spoof which really does seem like Sheen's late audition for the real deal. Its odd because in a way you could actually see him in the role of Maverick, its not a stretch, and here you do feel he's making the best of it to show us all just that (my thoughts).

There have been many spoofs over the years but this franchise is generally considered to be one of the best alongside 'The Naked Gun' trilogy. Its of course no surprise that all the best spoofs have been written and directed (one or the other) by Jim Abrahams, the dude has a knack. Everyone knows the drill here, you can tell from the movie logo alone, as said the film sends up 'Top Gun' from start to finish whilst including the odd pot shots at various other movies. The difference with this movie unlike newer spoofs was the fact this actually had a proper story and mainly parodied one movie, it wasn't just a collection of silly skits.

The plot isn't entirely scene for scene the same as that Scott movie though, it differs of course but in general much is the same right down to the main soundtrack. Sheen plays the dark haired, good looking, brash young pilot Topper, his arch nemesis is the blonde haired, good looking, by the books Kent (Elwes), and they are both after the frizzy haired Ramada (Golino). I never really understood how Golino got this part because she isn't much of a looker in my view but hey. Other pilots are a cliched bunch highlighted by Jon Cryer as the near blind Pfaffenbach (he has wall-eye vision) but the stand out performer for the movie has to be Lloyd Bridges as Tug Benson. This guy nailed every scene he's in, he clearly knew how to perform comedy and it shows, his visual skills were just as good as his verbal skills. Bridges has to be one of the two best spoof comedy actors ever, the other being Leslie Nielsen.

The best thing about these movies was obviously the humour, some of it was childish, some of it clever and witty, yet at times some was also surprisingly adult. But it wasn't just the easy visual gags that made this hilariously smart, it was the hidden gems, the tiny visual nods n winks that you may have missed the first time around. The film has many (sort of) secret Easter eggs strewn throughout which some folks will pick up and others might not, depending on your country of origin and how much of a movie buff you are. Even now I can read about this flick and find things out I never knew. Of course other than that there are the blatant movie parodies and cheap slapstick gags that cater for all ages, some being very good with excellent levels of detail (Rocky sequence), others just being dumb and maybe even somewhat cringeworthy these days (Superman sequence).

Like most spoofs the movie is a product of its time with many gags, visual or otherwise, referencing issues of the time or current pop culture (of the time). Although this does still work to a degree it has waned over time which is to be expected. Its now very odd to think that Saddam Hussein was once such a threat and iconic to speak. So much time has passed since the 90's and the Gulf War it felt strange watching a movie where Saddam was the villain and parodied, not sure why but I guess because it doesn't seem that long ago and I was a young teen at the time. Its only watching now you realise...holy hummus! it was along time ago! Christ I'm old!

By the predictable finale the movie has well established itself as a solid spoof with some classic moments of comedy no doubt. The jet fighter aerial sequences are a clear montage of real footage, other movie footage and some highly dubious model work, but the film embraces the cheesiness with open arms. At no point does the movie try for spectacular effects, its all hokey as hell and looks like a cartoon, although there are some neat tricks to be seen. Personally I enjoy segments of this, some stuff works really well, others don't, back in the day I kinda felt the same truth be told. For me the movie heavily depended on the brilliance of Bridges' rubber-faced versatility and the small hints of Cryer, but overall its still a highly accurate spoof of the hefty testosterone infused 80's.

'you risked the lives of some damn fine pilots...and that's my job'

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer


Top Gun takes a turn for the funny in Jim Abrahams' Hot Shots!.Flying in at 80+ minutes of screen time, the comedic spoof of a story manages to keep itself together with all the senseless antics. Much like any other comedy, the humor is hit and miss; however, Hot Shots does manage a good number of laughs, as it should with the constant barrage of senseless comedy written into the script.The brain doesn't have to function at a high level to pick up on the fun. At the same time, a lot of it is easily relatable without having to be high on pop culture.The faces of Charlie Sheen, Valeria Golino, and Cary Elwes, among others, do what they have to do in a film of this caliber. Lloyd Bridges is the star of the show. If there are laughs to be had, it is at his expense.Hot Shots! is a comedic quickie and a relaxing sit through. Nothing more, nothing less.

JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

Hot Shots! Quotes

– Submitted by Leandro D (13 months ago)
– Submitted by Arnie M (4 years ago)

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