20 user 3 critic

Rocket Gibraltar (1988)

PG | | Drama | 2 September 1988 (USA)
An old patriarch unites for his birthday all members of his family. But the group of people is full of personal and social problems.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Levi Rockwell
Aggie Rockwell
Rose Black
Ruby Hanson
Amanda 'Billi' Rockwell (as Sinead Cusack)
Rolo Rockwell
Crow Black
Dwayne Hanson
John Bell ...
Orson Rockwell
Nicky Bronson ...
Max Hanson
Kane Rockwell (as Dan Corkill)
Dawn Black
Sara Goethals ...
Flora Rockwell
Emily Poe ...
Emily Rockwell


On the 77th birthday of the widow patriarch Levi Rockwell, his son and daughters come to his house by the sea with their families to celebrate his birthday. The promiscuous Aggie Rockwell comes alone but soon finds male company. Rose Black comes with her husband Crow Black, who is a baseball player with problems, and their children Cy Blue and Dawn. The workaholic Rolo Rockwell comes with his wife Amanda 'Billi' Rockwell and their children Orson, Kane, Flora and Emily. His daughter Ruby Hanson comes with her husband Dwayne Hanson, who is a comedian, and their children Max and Jessica. During the night, the children are on the beach with their grandfather and they ask him what he would like to receive as a birthday gift. Levi tells that he would like to have a Viking Funeral since the worms eat buried corpses. When Blue sees an abandoned boat on the beach, he suggests his cousins to repair the boat to give to their grandfather for his funeral. Levi and his doctor hide from the family ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 September 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El cohete de Gibraltar  »

Box Office


$187,349 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Canadian french title: Le patriarche See more »


As the camera pans from the boat model on the window sill to Burt Lancaster lying in bed while Billie Holiday's "You Better Go Now" plays, we see that the record player is turning counter-clockwise - indicating that she scene is played in reverse. See more »


Levi Rockwell: Nothing's as good as a midnight pee in the ocean.
See more »


References Sunset Boulevard (1950) See more »


Shorty George
Written by Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer
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User Reviews

Joined IMDb because of this movie.
10 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

So I have been an avid IMDb fan since, let's say, 1998, when I was in middle school. I wasn't the first to view the site and based on the date, not here from the beginning. I have roughly 2,000 star-click reviews on netflix but never joined here... and never really felt a need to join.

I joined tonight after almost 13 years of viewing this site because of the reviews I saw here and what I think is missing from those reviews.

I am not a movie snob, and respect Independent films to foreign films to old films to actually admitting to liking Norbit, Like Mike, and Blue Crush. No one's opinion means anything against your own judgment, but I hope my opinion makes you want to see this film.

Often we see movies where directors cast multiple children. Many times, people underestimate that a director has the desire to use this as a way to direct children on a higher level than say a "Spy Kids" or "Sky High." They want to create a movie for all levels, to understand at any stage in life.

First, this movie takes place in Sagaponack, NY. if you read the news, this zip code has become the wealthiest zip code in the country and is smack in the middle of the Hamptons. You never really hear of it as a Hampton town because there are no stores, only one post office attached to one Deli. This movie is one of the few media examples that documents what the Hampton's once were: a playground for artists and free spirits that had 'made it' and wanted a retreat. In the 22 years since this film was released, we see not only a change in our culture, but a change in how we spend and show the money we have. Today, the Hamptons is a playground for the wealthy. While artists are still there, it is not to the level it was when real estate wasn't 'the wealthiest zip code in the country.' In the landscape of this film, you can see how much we've changed.

Furthermore, people claim that the adult characters are stereotypes and really characters that don't come alive like some great films can manage to do. I disagree. I think that the film shows characters that can be understood on all levels, whether the person watching is the age of the children or the age of the adults. They are simple enough for children to understand what their purpose and identity is, and complex enough (sexually, maturely, etc.) for adults to see the things that kids will only understand over time. The best example I cam possibly think of is by the same director, Cocoon

I used to watch this as a child with my whole family. The first time I saw it was 1995, our first year living in Sagaponack. As you can now tell, I have a strong bias for this film but I hope my review proves my opinion is beyond bias. Rocket Gibraltar represents so much to me. Viewing it as a child, i loved the innocence of the children's quest to provide the Grandfather's seemingly simple last wish. As I got older, I understood how the reality of the adult real-world sometimes forbids us from listening clearly to our own family's desires- and even forbids us to listening to the innocence and straight-forwardness of a child. As a kid, I also loved Kevin Spacey's character as being 'out there' and sarcastic, Suzy Amis' character for being sexual in a way I knew was taboo but not why, Bill Pullman's character because I knew as a young male what being a sports wash-up would be like, and of course Burt's character for being that Grandfather that was soooo bad a$$ that none of his own kids could ever empathize with the life that he had lived.

I am not getting into depth with the children's performances because I will let you find the own child within you to realize how they each play their own part, and each represent not only a small part of you but on an exaggerated level, each can be linked to one of your own friends growing up.

As I got older, I realized things each and every time I watched the film, but I never forget how the movie represented a different mentality and state of being with each level of maturity I was a viewer.

The story itself, is very strong. Conflict is present. It is not in a truly original way, in which each and every character we've seen time and time again. But, while they all are recycled players, they are placed within a landscape of a story that is truly original and bold in what it was able to pull off. I really believe this movie is trapped in time. It couldn't be made now, for so many reasons.

Regardless of my ramblings, just go check this one out for yourself. Try to be the kid I was, the pubescent young man, the high-schooler, the college kid, and the man I was when I watched this film. If you do that, you really will see that it deserves much higher than a 6.4.

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