Tom Cruise Celebrates 38 Years Since the Original “Top Gun”: 'It's Incredible to Look Back'

'Top Gun' producer Jerry Bruckheimer told PEOPLE in March that Tom Cruise has been pitched an idea for a third 'Top Gun' movie that "he liked"

<p>Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock</p> Tom Cruise in 1986


Tom Cruise in 1986's Top Gun

Tom Cruise is celebrating nearly four decades of taking to the skies.

On May 13, the actor-producer, 61, shared photos from the set of 1986's original Top Gun on Instagram in honor of the film's 38th anniversary.

The photos show behind-the-scenes pictures of him on set with the movie's director Tony Scott, who died in 2012 at 68, as well as a photo of him sitting with the film's cast in its air-hangar-turned-classroom set.

One throwback photo shows the actor smiling during a conversation with producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Another shows Cruise filming 2022's Top Gun: Maverick as he stares at the famous still of him and costar Val Kilmer shaking hands at the end of the original movie.

"It’s incredible to look back on the thirty-eight years of Top Gun," he wrote in a caption. "To the fans who have been with us since the start, there wouldn’t be a Top Gun Day without you."

Related: Tom Cruise Poses with Kids Bella and Connor for First Photo in Almost 15 Years — See the Rare Shot!

Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise in 1986's Top Gun
Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise in 1986's Top Gun

Cruise's original Top Gun movie was an immediate hit when it hit theaters May 16, 1986. The movie follows his character Pete "Maverick" Mitchell as he attends the U.S. Navy's Fighter Weapons School, better known as Top Gun. The movie costarred Anthony Edwards, Kelly McGillis and Kilmer, 64, as Maverick's chief rival and eventual ally Tom "Iceman" Kazansky."

Top Gun was the highest-grossing film at the domestic box office that year. It won one Academy Award, for Best Original Song, at the 59th Oscars in 1987, among four total nominations.

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Decades later, Cruise regrouped with producer Bruckheimer, 80, to make a sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, which similarly captured audiences' imaginations as the highest-grossing movie of 2022 domestically and made $1.5 billion worldwide. The sequel sees Maverick return to Top Gun to train a new generation of pilots — including characters portrayed by Miles Teller and Glen Powell, among others — for new missions with the Navy.

Related: Jennifer Connelly Is 'Ready' to Film Top Gun 3 with Tom Cruise: 'I'll Be There'

<p>Paramount/Courtesy Everett </p> Val Kilmer, Barry Tubb and Tom Cruise in 1986's Top Gun

Paramount/Courtesy Everett

Val Kilmer, Barry Tubb and Tom Cruise in 1986's Top Gun

Many have speculated about the franchise's future given the smash success of Maverick. The Hollywood Reporter reported in January that a third Top Gun movie was in development. In March, producer Bruckheimer told PEOPLE he is working on putting a new entry together.

"We pitched Tom a story he liked. But he's a very in-demand actor and he's got a lot of movies lined up, so we have to wait and see," he said.

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