Top 5 Aerial Dogfights In Movies


Our Picks for Top Fighter Jet Dogfights in Film History

When you get to watch ace pilots go toe to toe on the big screen, the effect can be truly inspiring. These full-throttle sky battles are like a work of majestic aerial art! Directors have been capturing the thrills and
intense G-forces of these advanced aerobatics for decades. With so many awe-inspiring cinematic aerial dogfights, it’s tough to choose the best!


We’ve worked hard to compile the top five best fighter jet dogfight scenes of all time so you can relive the magic of full speed on the big screen. Here are our top picks:

1. Flyboys

This film stars James Franco and showcases the intense training and dangerous situations that the Flyboys of World War I experienced. This film has captivating air battle scenes and is incredibly entertaining!

2. Tora! Tora! Tora!

A classic war film released in 1970, Tora! Tora! Tora! portrays the events that led up to Pearl Harbor. It has stunning imagery and tells a great story with minimal dialogue. Any fan of aerial dogfights will appreciate this classic.

3. Les Chevaliers du Ceil (Sky Fighters)

This is a French film that displays some of the most intense and realistically depicted dog fights of all time. With high-voltage camera work and some excellent cinematography, it is definitely worth a watch.

4. Red Baron

This German biopic, based on World War I, focuses on the German Air Force fighter pilot Ace
Manfred von Richthofen. He was known as Baron von Richthofen by the English and with an estimated 80 air combat victories after becoming Jasta 11 leader in 1917!

5. Top Gun

Last but certainly not least, there’s Top Gun. Top Gun is the quintessential aerial battle scene movie. This film centers around the U.S. Navy training elite pilots for aerial combat. The top 1 percent of pilots in the Air Force achieve “Top Gun” status by participating in this training, so you know there’s a lot of competition involved!


Directed by Tony Scott, Top Gun incorporates a moving story, heart-pumping fight scenes, a musical score for the ages, and, of course, Tom Cruise as Maverick.

Fun Facts About Top Gun and Flying a Fighter Jet 

Clearly, we love Top Gun. Who doesn’t? But what does it mean to turn and burn, and why is a wingman important? Read on to learn some behind the scene facts about this classic air combat movie. 

How Realistic Is the Film Top Gun From a Logistics Point of View?

According to an article published in
Time Magazine¹, Top Gun producers went out of their way to create a realistic depiction of a fighter jet experience. To make the film, producers paid the military around $1.8 million to use the Naval Air Station and actual aircraft carriers, planes, and pilots. Time confirms these services cost producers a whopping $7,600 an hour! 


When the movie was released in the late 1980s, military recruiters positioned themselves at movie theaters to handle a surge of interest. They also received an increase in calls about Naval Aviation officer programs.

Why Is There a Wingman in Aerial Combat?

In a visual air combat flight, the
wingman allows the engaged fighter to concentrate on the fight itself. The role of a wingman is relied on to support the efforts of aerial combat making each flight a little bit safer. A wingman also increases situational awareness, allowing for more dynamic aerobatic tactics and increased potential firepower.

What Does It Mean To ‘Turn and Burn’ in Top Gun?

This term involves a 90-degree turn and allows the pilot to gain an aerial advantage on their opponent. However, this maneuver tends to burn a lot of fuel, especially with the necessary use of afterburners.

RELATED: The Evolution of the Fighter Jet

That’s a Wrap!

So, there you have it. These are some of the top dogfights in movies to hopefully increase your curiosity and give you a glimpse into the intense training and finesse of these talented jet pilots. The advanced aerobatics in these movies are extremely impressive and absolutely worth checking out.

Although these combat scenes are intense, nothing can compete with the thrills of experiencing a fighter jet flying experience for yourself. At Sky Combat Ace, you can! In fact, with our
Sky Combat package, you can experience the thrills of a fighter jet ride as you wage a battle of aerial dominance. No pilot experience is needed! Contact our team to learn more.


¹Waxman, Olivia B. (31 May 2018).
The Real Military History Behind Top Gun. Time Magazine. Retrieved 15 November 2021.

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