Top 5000
Down 291 this week

The Aviator (2004)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  25 December 2004 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 241,590 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 788 user | 266 critic | 41 from

A biopic depicting the early years of legendary director and aviator Howard Hughes' career, from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video


The 25 Most Immersive Worlds in Cinema

Highly immersive cinematic worlds can carry a movie, and we've rounded up the best of the best.

See the full list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 36 titles
created 01 Nov 2012
a list of 34 titles
created 28 Feb 2013
a list of 37 titles
created 02 Jan 2014
a list of 37 titles
created 9 months ago
a list of 31 titles
created 8 months ago

Related Items

Search for "The Aviator" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Aviator (2004)

The Aviator (2004) on IMDb 7.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Aviator.

User Polls

Won 5 Oscars. Another 70 wins & 98 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1863, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father's killer.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A true story about Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars' worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
Blood Diamond (2006)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A fisherman, a smuggler, and a syndicate of businessmen match wits over the possession of a priceless diamond.

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly
The Beach I (2000)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Twenty-something Richard travels to Thailand and finds himself in possession of a strange map. Rumours state that it leads to a solitary beach paradise, a tropical bliss - excited and intrigued, he sets out to find it.

Director: Danny Boyle
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel York, Patcharawan Patarakijjanon
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor.

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton
Body of Lies (2008)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A CIA agent on the ground in Jordan hunts down a powerful terrorist leader while being caught between the unclear intentions of his American supervisors and Jordan Intelligence.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong
Cast Away (2000)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A FedEx executive must transform himself physically and emotionally to survive a crash landing on a deserted island.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Paul Sanchez
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The cruel King Louis XIV of France has a secret twin brother who he keeps imprisoned. Can the twin be substituted for the real king?

Director: Randall Wallace
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Shakespeare's famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona still retaining its original dialogue.

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, John Leguizamo
J. Edgar (2011)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

J. Edgar Hoover, powerful head of the F.B.I. for nearly 50 years, looks back on his professional and personal life.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Tells the story of Benjamin Button, a man who starts aging backwards with bizarre consequences.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A murder inside the Louvre and clues in Da Vinci paintings lead to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years -- which could shake the foundations of Christianity.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno


Cast overview, first billed only:


The script begins as a young Hughes directs one of Scorsese's favorite films, Hell's Angels. Hughes was so obsessed with perfection in the aerial sequences that he waits forever for perfect conditions, right down to cloud formations. The Aviator ends in 1946, when Hughes was still a dashing young man and romancing actresses like Ava Gardner and Katharine Hepburn. Written by Ryan McIntosh <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn the star who stole his heart. See more »


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, nudity, language and a crash sequence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »




Release Date:

25 December 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El aviador  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$110,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$858,021 (USA) (17 December 2004)


$102,608,827 (USA) (27 May 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Gwyneth Paltrow was originally signed on to play Ava Gardner but dropped out. She was replaced at the last minute with Kate Beckinsale. See more »


Errol Flynn holds a drink in his right hand and a cigarette in his left hand as the man behind him hits him with the crumpled-up paper ball. As he turns around to react in the next shot, the drink in now his left hand, and the cigarette is in his right hand. See more »


[first lines]
Allene Hughes: Q-u-a-r-a-n-t-i-n-e.
Young Howard Hughes: Quarantine. Q-u-a-r-a-n-t-i-n-e. Quarantine.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Miramax Films logo is also shown in 2-color Technicolor at the beginning of the movie, but before the Warner Bros. Pictures logo. See more »


Referenced in Film 2015: Episode dated 26 November 2014 (2014) See more »


I Can't Give You Anything But Love
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Performed by Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France
Vocal by Freddy Taylor
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG
Under License from BMG Film & Television
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Open the Door...
13 February 2005 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator" is grand spectacle with a reverence for the nostalgic, set in simpler times. As a snapshot of Howard Hughes's life from 1927 to 1947, "The Aviator" is a portrait of a man of genius and unmatched innovation, and also a man debilitated by severe obsessive compulsive disorder and extreme depression. "The Aviator" has an amazing performance by Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, and a mesmerizing performance by Cate Blanchett, who seems to inhabit the role of Katherine Hepburn-- the love of Hughes's life. However, the one indelible image I have of the film is the scene in which Hughes is frozen in the men's restroom, because he can't make himself touch the door knob for fear of germs and contamination. Granted this was a time before obsessive compulsive disorder existed as a diagnosis. The scene is intended as a dramatic arc, distinguishing a tragic flaw in Hughes. However, for me it seemed overly indulgent, and was curious regarding the scene length. Much like most of the nearly 3 hour movie, this is an exercise in indulgence, and attention to detail that is only that. Scorsese's balance between Hughes's genius and his great suffering is good melodrama, but not very inspiring. I have a particular affinity for Howard Hughes the man. Had John Lone's (and Michael Mann's) story followed Hughes through the 1950's and beyond, the story would be even sadder. "The Aviator" illustrates the highs of genius, and the abyss of near insanity. This is an accurate depiction of an amazing man's life, but it is skewed toward the broken aspect. So just personally for me, it was frustrating to watch. To Scorsese's credit, one gets that he has immense compassion for Howard Hughes.

Hughes' life sentence is established in the opening scene. Hughes's mother while bathing the young Hughes, tells him something that perhaps leads to his obsessive compulsive nature. Apparently he is incomplete in his relationship with his mother, and the story surrounding what she said.

Fast forward to 1927, when Hughes left his father's wealthy drill bit tool company in Texas, to be a maverick film maker in California. Hughes is an ambitious and novice film director, but he is smart and has unmatched drive. However, his real genius is as a pilot and an innovative designer of airplanes. His gifts for fame and fortune are established. Hughes (DiCaprio) then pursues a touching romance with Katherine Hepburn (Blanchett). This is the highlight of "The Aviator", even amidst the spectacular aerial cinematography, because it is just about relationships that move people. There is a wonderful moment when Hughes lets Hepburn take control of his plane as they fly above Los Angeles at night. As great as the chemistry is between Dicaprio and Blanchett, this romance part of the story goes on a little too long in the context of the movie.

From this point on, the movie becomes increasingly darker. Sure, Hughes has his share of triumphs, but everything is tempered by his spiraling decline into depression and his debilitating obsessive compulsive disorder. The acting is outstanding throughout the picture. This is Leonardo DiCaprio's most mature performance. He truly captures Hughes's intensity, genius, and charm. His suffering also elicits great compassion. Cate Blanchett is outstanding as Kate Hepburn. At first one wonders whether she is doing a caricature of Hepburn. She is not. She is being Hepburn. Blanchett's performance is simply stunning. An unrecognizable Kate Beckinsale is awesome as Ava Gardner. Beckinsale gives surprising layers to Gardner, who is really not all that she appears to be on the surface. John C. Reilly is fabulous as Hughes's CFO. In an understated fashion Reilly's performance anchors the movie. Alec Baldwin as Pan Am CEO, Juan Trippe, and Matt Ross as Hughes's engineer Glenn Odekirk give strong performances.

Scorsese's "The Aviator" is spectacular to view, and has a sense of history and tragedy. He offers an interesting portrait of the dichotomy between genius and madness, with an emphasis on the dark. This choice really lost me. "The Aviator" is amazing work, that is not very inspiring, though it was probably not intended to do so. That is a bit of a disappointment.

40 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Alternatives to Leo? reversingtime
The Spruce Goose rmontro
Anachronism: The Chocolate Chip Cookies Ezrateach
One masterpiece that I did not like cesium14
Might Senator Brewster have placed LSD in Hughes' water glass? mimosa_mirabella
Cate Blanchett was in this?? ze_wombat
Discuss The Aviator (2004) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page