Down 50 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 245,131 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 790 user | 266 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.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video

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
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
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
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 writer and wall street trader, Nick, finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby.

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton
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
Ray I (2004)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.

Director: Taylor Hackford
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two documentary filmmakers chronicle their time in Sonagchi, Calcutta and the relationships they developed with children of prostitutes who work the city's notorious red light district.

Directors: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman
Stars: Kochi, Avijit Halder, Shanti Das
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A look at the annual journey of Emperor penguins as they march -- single file -- to their traditional breeding ground.

Director: Luc Jacquet
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Charles Berling, Romane Bohringer
The Terminal (2004)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An eastern immigrant finds himself stranded in JFK airport, and must take up temporary residence there.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chi McBride
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multi-billion dollar class action suit.

Director: Tony Gilroy
Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson


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 <Save_Ferris85@hotmail.com>

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?


Alan Alda avoided watching newsreel footage of the real Senator Owen Brewster. Alda felt that public figures did not speak or behave naturally in front of the newsreel cameras and he wanted his performance to be more natural. However, Alda did make use of photographs of the real-life Senator and used Brewster's legendarily ugly appearance in crafting the role; because it wouldn't work to make Alda look that disgusting, Alda instead used Brewster's looks as an example of how his inner ugliness emerged, and made that the key to his interactions with Howard Hughes. See more »


Light screens are seen reflected in Robert Gross's eyeglasses. 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

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


References The Philadelphia Story (1940) See more »


Music and Lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva (as Buddy DeSylva), Al Jolson, and Vincent Rose
Performed by Benny Goodman Quartet
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label, a unit of BMG
Under License from BMG Film & Television Music
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.

621 of 869 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Alternatives to Leo? reversingtime
One masterpiece that I did not like cesium14
Cate Blanchett was in this?? ze_wombat
Beckinsale the weakest link Eurasiana
Discuss The Aviator (2004) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page