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The Rocketeer (1991)

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure, Comedy  |  21 June 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 42,122 users  
Reviews: 129 user | 82 critic

A young pilot stumbles onto a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a high flying masked hero.



(graphic novel "The Rocketeer"), (story), 4 more credits »
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1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cliff (as Bill Campbell)
Robert Miranda ...
Spanish Johnny (as Robert Guy Miranda)
John Lavachielli ...
Nada Despotovich ...


Straight from the pages of a pulp comic from a past era, the Rocketeer recreates 1930's Hollywood, complete with gangsters, Nazi spies, and the growth of the Age of Aviation. Young pilot Cliff Secord stumbles on a top secret rocket-pack and with the help of his mechanic/mentor, Peevy, he attempts to save his girl and stop the Nazis as The Rocketeer. Written by Greg Bole <bole@life.bio.sunysb.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An Ordinary Man Forced to Become An Extraordinary Hero. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 June 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rocketeer  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)


$46,704,056 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints) (as Dolby Stereo)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Eddie Valentine and his gang learn that Neville Sinclair is a Nazi, they quit working for him and join up with the FBI agents against the Nazi thugs hidden in the shadows. This reflects the attitude of real-life American gangsters during this era, in that they did not like fascism, particularly because Benito Mussolini persecuted the Sicilian Families back in the Old Country. Nor did any Jewish mobsters like Adolf Hitler. In fact, organized crime was one of the biggest allies the American government and law enforcement had when it came to rooting out Nazi spies and collaborators. See more »


Set in 1938 but mentions Deutschemarks, which weren't introduced until 1948. The German currency at the time was the Reichmark. The term "Deutschemark" was used for double-D alliteration because Campbell's line was "He pay you in dollars or Deutschemarks?" See more »


[first lines]
Peevy: [as they bring the Gee Bee out for its maiden flight] Keep her straight, keep her level. It's your first time up, so don't do anything interesting.
Cliff Secord: Who, me?
Peevy: And remember, she stalls out at about a hundred. So keep the air speed up. Otherwise, you're gonna be drifting around all over the sky. And if the ailerons start to shimmy...
Cliff Secord: Peevy, I have flown a plane or two in my life.
Peevy: Not like this one, you haven't. This one's... This one's a handful. You sneeze in this thing and you're ...
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References The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) See more »


Written by Duke Ellington
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User Reviews

Two-fisted tribute to the serials of yesteryear
26 December 2004 | by See all my reviews


Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)

Sound format: 6-track Dolby Stereo SR

(35mm and 70mm release prints)

Based on Dave Stevens' graphic novel, this very un-Disney-like Disney movie is a joy from start to finish, a two-fisted tribute to the serials of yesteryear which combines nostalgia for the innocence of ages past with the Art deco gloss of a world on the brink of war. Bill Campbell (from TV's "Tales of the City") plays a 1930's air ace who stumbles on a jet-propelled device that allows its wearer to fly at high speeds, a device coveted by law enforcement agencies, gangland criminals, Howard Hughes (!), and a Nazi villain (Timothy Dalton) masquerading as a Hollywood heartthrob.

Handsome and talented, Campbell plays the title role with just the right amount of wide-eyed candor and boyish charm, and he's supported by a veritable who's-who of Hollywood's finest character actors, including Alan Arkin, Paul Sorvino, Terry O'Quinn, Ed Lauter, Jon Polito and Eddie Jones, alongside Tiny Ron as a hulking henchman clearly modelled after Rondo Hatton (courtesy of Rick Baker's rubbery makeup), whose speciality is - you guessed it - *snapping spines*! Sadly, Jennifer Connelly is unable to make much of an impression as Campbell's eye-candy girlfriend, an old-fashioned heroine who lacks autonomy and is almost entirely dependent on her co-star's strength and bravery. That small blip aside, director Joe Johnston (HIDALGO) plays the whole thing straight, without even a hint of camp (when Campbell asks how he looks in his spiffy 'Rocketeer' outfit, Arkin deadpans: "Like a hood ornament!"), and while the characters are mere stock figures, they're played with real integrity by an enthusiastic cast, and the film's many set-pieces culminate in a showstopping finale on board an exploding zeppelin high above the Hollywood hills! Yep, this is one movie where you *definitely* get your money's worth!!

Produced today, the script (by Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo) might have been co-opted by some overpriced 'star' whose off-screen notoriety could sap the magic out of every frame. It's the fact that Campbell WASN'T a household name during filming, and that the production dares to celebrate the movies of a bygone era without simultaneously mocking its references, which makes THE ROCKETEER so special. It carries none of the baggage that a major celebrity would have brought to it, and is simply a thrill-ride, no more or less, packaged and presented as a widescreen spectacle for audiences young and old (and DO try to see the film in its original Panavision dimensions). Incredibly, the movie underperformed at the American box-office, despite playing in 70mm (blown up from the original 35mm) at selected venues, though it has since found an appreciative audience on TV and home video. Originally released in the UK as ROCKETEER, an unnecessary abbreviation.

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