Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is the protagonist of the 1986 action film Top Gun.
In the 1986 action film Top Gun, directed by Ridley Scott, Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is a US Naval Aviator, who flys a F-14A Tomcat fighter jet along with his Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) Lieutenant Junior Grade Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards). After defying orders in order to help a shaken wingman "Cougar" (John Stockwell) and his RIO "Merlin" (Tim Robbins) land after an encounter with some MIG-28s over the Indian Ocean, despite both of them being low on fuel, Maverick becomes eligible to attend the elite "Top Gun" fighter pilot school at the then-Naval Air Station Miramar after Cougar gives up his spot, citing concern for his newborn child. Despite his dislike for Maverick's reckless flying and numerous rule violations (citing flyovers of several control towers "and one Admiral's daughter"), his Air Group Commander "Stinger" (James Tolkan) decides to send him anyway.
Once there, Maverick rapidly makes himself known among both students and instructors, forming a rivalry with top student Lieutenant Tom "Iceman" Kazansky (Val Kilmer), who takes an immediate dislike to Maverick because he considers him "dangerous", as well as catching the eye of Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), an astrophysicist and civilian Top Gun instructor whom Maverick had previously and unsuccessfully tried to pick up in a bar and with whom he later forms a relationship. He annoys and impresses instructor Lieutenant Commander Rick "Jester" Heatherly (Michael Ironside) by breaking two rules of engagement to defeat him in a training sortie. However, he also learns lessons - when Maverick abandons his wingman Lt. Rick "Hollywood" Neven (Whip Hubley) during a training sortie in order to chase down chief instructor Commander Mike "Viper" Metcalf (Tom Skerritt), Viper and Jester work together to defeat Maverick, demonstrating the value of teamwork.
While on another training sortie near the end of the program, Maverick suffers a flameout of both engines after flying into Iceman's jet wash and enters an unrecoverable flat spin, forcing him and Goose to eject. Maverick clears the aircraft, but Goose is tragically killed on impact after hitting the jettisoned aircraft canopy. Although a board of inquiry clears Maverick of official responsibility for Goose's death, his self-confidence takes a serious blow and Maverick even considers leaving the Navy. However, after talking to Viper and learning of the true circumstances behind his father's death (the details of which were classified), Maverick decides to finish the Top Gun program.
During the graduation party, Iceman, Hollywood and Maverick are ordered back to the Enterprise to provide air support for the rescue of the SS Layton, a stricken communications ship that has drifted into hostile waters. Maverick and Goose's replacement Merlin are assigned as part of the backup for Iceman and Hollywood, despite Iceman's reservations. Despite having to support Iceman alone due to catapult failure for the other support aircraft, Iceman and Maverick manage to shoot down four MiGs and force the remaining aircraft to flee. Both pilots return victorious to the Enterprise, with Maverick earning Iceman's gratitude and respect. After being offered his choice of assignment, Maverick chooses to return to Top Gun as an instructor.