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The Aviator (2004)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 25 December 2004 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Martin Scorsese

Writer:

John Logan
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908 ( 72)
Won 5 Oscars. Another 81 wins & 130 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Howard Hughes
Cate Blanchett ... Katharine Hepburn
Kate Beckinsale ... Ava Gardner
John C. Reilly ... Noah Dietrich
Alec Baldwin ... Juan Trippe
Alan Alda ... Senator Ralph Owen Brewster
Ian Holm ... Professor Fitz
Danny Huston ... Jack Frye
Gwen Stefani ... Jean Harlow
Jude Law ... Errol Flynn
Adam Scott ... Johnny Meyer
Matt Ross ... Glenn Odekirk
Kelli Garner ... Faith Domergue
Frances Conroy ... Mrs. Hepburn
Brent Spiner ... Robert Gross
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Storyline

Biopic of billionaire Howard Hughes, starting with his early filmmaking years as owner of R.K.O. Pictures, but mostly focusing on his role in designing and promoting new aircraft. Hughes was a risk-taker spending several fortunes on designing experimental aircraft and eventually founding TWA as a rival to Pan Am airlines owned by his great rival Juan Trippe. When Trippe's politico Senator Ralph Owen Brewster accuses Hughes of being a war profiteer, it's Hughes who gains the upper hand. Hughes also had many women in his life including a long relationship with Katharine Hepburn. From an early age, however, Hughes was also germophobic and would have severe bouts of mental illness. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Martin Scorsese film 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Aviator See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$110,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$858,021, 19 December 2004

Gross USA:

$102,610,330

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$213,719,942
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Features Alan Alda's only Oscar nominated performance. See more »

Goofs

The sunlight when Hughes is in the cockpit of the XF-11, taxis down the runway, then takes off. 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

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Mouth 3 (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Cow Cow Boogie
(1941)
Music and Lyrics by Don Raye, Benny Carter, and Gene de Paul (as Gene DePaul)
Performed by Ella Fitzgerald
Featuring The Ink Spots
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Sorsese and DiCaprio deliver great work here
21 December 2016 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

The Aviator is another dynamic film from Martin Scorsese. He has employed his energetic style to the story of the Hollywood mogul / aviation pioneer Howard Hughes, the result is a fast-paced and entertaining biopic. It's a more restrained effort than Scorsese usually delivers and it's pretty obvious that it was going very much for a PG-13 rating given the very blatant method of including one f-bomb to affect this. So the material, while still showing the darker aspects of the title character, nevertheless whitewashes him considerably too – in real life he seemed to be anti-Semitic and racist, while he also killed someone due to dangerous driving (neither of these two aspects made it into this film). What we do see is still a man with many flaws though with his recklessness, excessive perfectionism, womanising and germ phobia. Leonardo DiCaprio really is excellent in the part it has to be said and shows again just what a skilled actor he really is.

Unusually for a biopic the story begins with Hughes already a millionaire and in the middle of making the World War I fighter-plane epic Hell's Angels. We see the money he threw at this picture and his perfectionist attitude leading to it being a very elongated shoot. Despite the film's huge success, he was never fully accepted by the Hollywood old boy's network and was considered an outsider. It's this aspect that has been used to make a hero of Hughes in this film, a man against the system if you will; even though I am sure the truth was less clear-cut given his massive wealth and more unsavoury character traits. Whatever the case, we see him push the boundaries of acceptability in movies with his violent crime film Scarface (1932) and his racy feature film The Outlaw (1943), we see him design ever more ambitious planes, we hear of him circumnavigating the world, and testing aircraft himself (this includes an expertly filmed sequence where Hughes crashes one of his planes into the middle of a populated area), we witness him founding his own airline TWA and in the process gain powerful business and political enemies which leads to a congressional investigation and finally we see a man suffering from paranoia who becomes a mentally ill recluse.

The story of Hughes life certainly was a dramatic one and Scorsese presents it as such. He even had romances with Katharine Hepburn (played brilliantly by Cate Blanchett) and Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale), which adds a glamorous social life to his high profile public achievements. The lush period detail adds a great deal to proceedings with a beautiful look maintained throughout. Scorsese even went so far as to use an old two-strip Technicolor process for the cinematography which leads to the strange moments where we see fields and golf courses replete with blue grass. So, all-in-all, this amounts to another typically well executed, handsome-looking and energetic effort from Scorsese and his first genuinely great collaboration with DiCaprio.


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