Top Gun: Val Kilmer’s 5 Best Performances

Some movie stars age gracefully. Others, not so much. (Still more don’t seem to age at all, but I digress as that’s a different conversation for a different day…)

Take, for example, the supernova that used to be named Val Kilmer. He paraded before the photogs recently at some celebrity ball in Las Vegas, and, to be frank, he’s not looking so hot anymore. Judge for yourself.

val kilmer 80s top gun best performances

His bloated and blotchy appearance got us here at It Goes to 11 reminiscing about Kilmer’s celluloid contributions. The dude has scored some plum roles in his career (although, it should be noted, those have slowed to a trickle in recent years); so many plum roles in fact, that we saw fit to compile a list of his 5 best performances…

5. Lt. Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky, Top Gun

Kilmer’s performance as a cocky fighter pilot (the foil to Tom Cruise’s Maverick) is like his handle — cold, cool and detached. At first, he’s the requisite villain, smug and petty, but by movie’s end he morphs into a more sympathetic character (“You can be my wingman anytime!”) after Cruise saves his ass and blasts three Soviet jets from the sky.

Our Top Gun Shirts will lead you right into the Danger Zone!


4. Jim Morrison, The Doors

I wasn’t wild about this biopic, but Val acquits himself nicely with a strong reading of the famed rock and roller. Idol worship is still idle bullshit.

Val Kilmer Jim Morrison 80s Movies

3. Chris Shiherlis, Heat

Kilmer is overshadowed somewhat by Robert De Niro and Al Pacino (who wouldn’t be?), but his portrayal of a conflicted safe cracker with a messy home life looking to make one last score is spot-on. His character is also the lone bank robber to escape at movie’s end, for what that’s worth.

Val Kilmer Heat 80s Movie

2. Doc Holiday, Tombstone

Four words every cowboy should know: “I’m your huckleberry.”


1. Chris Knight, Real Genius

This is the one that launched Val on his way to superstardom. From his minty-fresh appearance (he’s soooooo skinny) to his signature one liners, Kilmer is operating at peak form as an oddball brainiac seemingly immune to academic pressures. He’s not afraid to poke fun at himself, or anyone else for that matter. Oh, and those t-shirts

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