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The Rocketeer (1991)

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0:31 | Trailer
A young pilot stumbles onto a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a high-flying masked hero.

Director:

Joe Johnston

Writers:

Dave Stevens (graphic novel "The Rocketeer"), Danny Bilson (story) | 4 more credits »
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Popularity
998 ( 187)
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Campbell ... Cliff (as Bill Campbell)
Jennifer Connelly ... Jenny
Alan Arkin ... Peevy
Timothy Dalton ... Neville Sinclair
Paul Sorvino ... Eddie Valentine
Terry O'Quinn ... Howard Hughes
Ed Lauter ... Fitch
James Handy ... Wooly
Robert Miranda Robert Miranda ... Spanish Johnny (as Robert Guy Miranda)
John Lavachielli ... Rusty
Jon Polito ... Bigelow
Eddie Jones ... Malcolm
William Sanderson ... Skeets
Don Pugsley ... Goose
Nada Despotovich Nada Despotovich ... Irma
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

21 June 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Rocketeer See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,600,754, 23 June 1991

Gross USA:

$46,704,056

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$46,704,056
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the original graphic novel, Cliff Secord's girlfriend is called Betty Page, not Jenny Blake. Dave Stevens (the creator of the comic novel) based the character "Betty Page" upon his real-life friend, 1950's pin-up girl Bettie Page. She would not allow her name to be used in the film. See more »

Goofs

The color of the endcap on the Gee Bee's control stick changes from red just as Cliff takes off to yellow after he flies over the car chase. See more »

Quotes

[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 ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tosh.0: How to Give a BJ (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

NIGHT AND DAY
Written by Cole Porter
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A steampunk Iron Man
21 September 2013 | by CuriosityKilledShawnSee all my reviews

The Rocketeer has almost all of the right parts to make it orbit the moon and back, but coughs and splutters and only manages a brief soar. The period setting in the golden age of Hollywood and a pre-war America has all of the innocence and wholesomeness you would expect from that era. The excitement of then-new technology leading to a high-tech future is hinted at, but is slowed down by the plot like a sprinter wading through melting tar.

Cliff Secord is a stunt pilot (played by the charisma-free Bill Campbell, who I have never heard of) who discovers a prototype jet pack designed and disowned by Howard Hughes himself. Cliff, and his friend Peabody (a much more likable Alan Arkin) experiment with the jet pack, but never make any solid plans for it. The movie loses altitude here. Instead of soaring into the stratosphere by giving a thrill ride into this new invention the movie too often deviates into a sub-plot with Jennifer Connolly as the girlfriend and Timothy Dalton as the villain, and the best thing about it.

What the Rocketeer should have done is establish the new-found jetpack within the first 10 minutes, given us about 20 minutes of the origins of Secord as a new superhero, and then spent the remaining 80 minutes fighting villains. It is so frustrating that every time the movie should finally take-off it cuts away to a story that drags it to a halt.

The production design and special effects are all top-notch. The pre-CGI sequences of the Rocketeer jetting around the sky don't look bad despite coming in at the tail end of the optical effects era. The anamorphic Panavision photography is extremely high-key, and this perhaps is a fault. If the film were a little more rough around the edges it might have worked in its favor. James Horner's twee, sweet-natured, treacle score was a misjudgment though. Silvestri or Goldsmith could have improved on it, but I guess that they were far too busy in 1991.

Despite its shortcomings it is a shame that the Rocketeer did not end up being as popular as the Mummy or Zorro series. Although Bill Campbell really does look like Brendan Fraser, who was also in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, which featured Timothy Dalton as a spy pretending to be an actor - exactly what he is in this movie. Weird.

It's easy to see why it has gone on to be a cult favorite, and it is still worth checking out.


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