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The Aviator (2004)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  25 December 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 241,617 users   Metascore: 77/100
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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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Won 5 Oscars. Another 70 wins & 98 nominations. See more awards »



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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


Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes the man who became a legend. 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?


Howard Hughes' Los Angeles home in the film was actually the home he lived on Muirland Drive. See more »


Hughes flies the H-1 without goggles, yet his eyes are not affected. Even with a windscreen, the wind should have caused his eyes to water. 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 Warner Brothers logo is the classic shield version, and is shown in 2-color Technicolor, rendered as a static painted card instead of the modern 3D animated sequence. See more »


Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #22.2 (2013) See more »


Written by Artie Shaw
Performed by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra
Courtesy of RCA
Under License from BMG Film & Television Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Insightful and well done
18 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Scorsese does it again with this period piece detailing the life of the eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio). The film opens with Howard directing his 1930 war epic, "Hell's Angels." Which took 3 years and 4 million dollars to make (not a small chunk of change back then, not even that small now). The movie moves to his meeting and subsequent courting of Katharine Hepburn, played exceptionally well by Cate Blanchett. It also depicts him moving on to the likes of Ava Gardner and Faith Domergue. "The Aviator" shows us the many aspects of Hughes' being, both good and bad. He is a dreamer, sparing no expense to make his movies or build his aviation empire, despite the financial trouble it causes the company which he inherited from his family that is based in Houston (the name of the company escapes me. We also see his obsessive compulsive nature, afraid of contracting germs and constantly trying to stay as clean as possible. When Errol Flynn grabs a pea off of Hughes' plat with a nice cut of meat on it, Hughes pushes it aside with only one bite gone. Also, Hughes is contracted by the government to make fighter planes and an "air-boat," a giant airplane that can transport the troops, their equipment, and transportation across the Atlantic so that German u-boats will stop taking down U.S. submarines and ships. He call's it "The Hercules." The project takes too long, and it isn't completed in time to help in the war. Well, Hughes' new airline TWA doesn't amuse the big wigs at Pan Am Airlines, so their owner uses his personnel senator (Leon Brewster of Maine) to get a bill before Congress to put a monopoly on international aviation travel. Hughes takes on Brewster and his hearing and wins, then he takes the maiden voyage of his "Spruce Goose," as Brewster called it, and retires the vessel forever. If you didn't know who Hughes was before this movie, then it will give you a great foundation on which to build knowledge of this quite intelligent, quite intriguing man. DeCaprio turns in a superb performance, further distancing himself from his teeny-bopper early years. He has definitely changed my opinion of him with his last three movies (Gangs of New York, Catch Me If You Can, and The Aviator). I realize he might have been good in earlier movies (though don't you dare say "Basketball Diaries," which sucked), but I haven't seen them all.

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