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The Aviator (2004)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 200,715 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 763 user | 267 critic | 41 from Metacritic.com

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

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Title: The Aviator (2004)

The Aviator (2004) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Won 5 Oscars. Another 55 wins & 71 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

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 <Save_Ferris85@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Some men dream the future. He built it. See more »

Genres:

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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

25 December 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Aviator  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$110,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$629,474 (Japan) (25 March 2005)

Gross:

$102,608,827 (USA) (27 May 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Mann was originally going to direct the film, but having directed back-to-back biopics The Insider (1999) and Ali (2001), he decided to produce instead, and offered the script to Martin Scorsese. See more »

Goofs

The real Howard Hughes had brown eyes, but Leonardo DiCaprio's blue eyes are not covered with brown contact lenses. See more »

Quotes

[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

Aside from company logos and the film's title, there are no opening credits. See more »

Connections

References Scarface (1932) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise
(1922)
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin and Buddy G. DeSylva (as Buddy DeSylva)
Performed by Rufus Wainwright
Courtesy of DreamWorks Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Falling Short of Greatness...Again
21 December 2004 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Scorsese has such an encyclopedic knowledge and understanding of cinema that every shot, however inventive and daring, is effortlessly composed. The direction, editing and cinematography are all the first-rate work by individuals who are clearly masters of their profession and the production design, costumes and makeup are the best you'll see all year. Their efforts combine to create a world of rich and lavish color, of excitement and glamour. Who wouldn't want to visit THIS Cotton Club in 1935? It's hard to imagine who could trump the technical team for Oscars this year.

With such a perfectly realized world in which to perform, the actors universally do an outstanding job. Despite the criticism of the hardcore DiCaprio-haters, the unprejudiced will observe an excellent performance that takes genuine risks and convincingly conveys the passing of more than twenty years. Importantly, DiCaprio more than holds his own when paired with Cate Blanchett and especially Alan Alda, who both give equally note worthy performances. Blanchett's interpretation of Katherine Hepburn seems spot on, and anyone familiar with the late actresses mannerisms will appreciate the hard work that clearly went into the recreation. Alda, one of the most consistently underrated actors around, delivers another masterclass in restrained character building as he oozes ambition and political dishonesty from every pore.

And yet, despite the obvious talent of all those involved and Scorsese's ability to effortlessly fill three hours, something about The Aviator fails to completely satisfy. Without wanting to sound like a film student, movies should, ultimately, be ABOUT something; love, honor, courage, redemption, the BIG ideas and themes that are the fuel of the plot. What was the drive of The Aviator? A rich guy recklessly spends lots of money to indulge his personal obsessions and gets away with it. We're never told how his experiences change him, and without change there's no journey. Considering the screenplay was written by John Logan, who usually displays a keen interest in showing the emotional evolution of his characters, the oversight is inexplicable. Ultimately then, much like Gangs of New York, The Aviator is simply the sum of it's parts, and however brilliantly those parts are realized, there doesn't seem to be a bigger theme to underpin and drive them.

The Aviator is a perfectly realized recreation of the era and one well worth experiencing. But the lack of a real emotional journey suggests 'all gloss and no substance', and ultimately prevents the movie from being truly great.


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