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The Aviator (2004)

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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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1,518 ( 208)
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 RKO studios 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 actress 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:

Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes the man who became a legend. See more »


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:

El aviador See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$110,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$858,021, 19 December 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$102,608,827, 27 May 2005

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$213,741,459
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

Two scenes were filmed aboard the retired ocean liner R.M.S. Queen Mary, permanently berthed in Long Beach, California, to take advantage of the vessel's still-existant 1930s Art Deco interiors. The "Hell's Angels" wrap party was filmed in the ship's Observation Bar. The scene introducing the H-4 Hercules ("Spruce Goose") scale model to the military, was shot in the former First Class main lounge, now called the "Royal Salon". The real "Spruce Goose" was on display in a domed hangar adjacent to the Queen Mary from 1980-1992. See more »

Goofs

The scene in which Howard Hughes locks himself in the projection room and cuts off most contact from the outside world for an extended period of time is somewhat misleading. Though Hughes battled germ phobia all of his life (the fear of germs was instilled in him early on by his mother) Hughes did not become a recluse until much later in his life. The scene that is portrayed in the movie is very similar to a documented incident where Hughes did spend almost a year in a private movie theater however it wasn't until he was near 50 years old. 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 King Kong (1933) 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

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User Reviews

 
An Interesting Muddle
22 January 2005 | by WriterDaveSee all my reviews

"The Aviator"--a biopic of Howard Hughes-- is clearly one of Scorsese's lesser works. Still, a lesser work from Scorsese is far superior to the greatest work of your average director. Here's the rundown:

The first quarter of the film is a total triumph, showing the young Hughes' bold endeavors in film when he produced what was at the time the most expensive and lavish film ever made. Scorsese tipping his hat to old Hollywood is the most fun he has had since "Goodfellas." The costumes, set designs, and pacing of this portion of the film are stunning and suck the viewer in.

The rest of the film, despite Scorsese's amazing and vivid attention to detail, is a muddled mess, giving us glimpses into Hughes' obsessive (and compulsive) ways, his womanizing, his ambitious foray into aviation and the early days of commercial flight, his fight against Congress at the end of WWII, and the notorious plight and ultimately single flight of his infamous "Spruce Goose." It's all semi-educational and semi-entertaining, but in the end I think the complicated life of Hughes remains a mystery.

As for the performances, they are amazing (thanks in most part to Scorsese, the ultimate actor's director). Leonardo Dicaprio in the title role gives yet another performance that goes against my natural loathing of him, and although he seems a bit too boyish playing Hughes in the latter years (and the film really suffers for it), he's impeccable for the better part of the film. Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn is simply stunning and steals every moment she is on screen. Her look, her mannerisms, and her speech perfectly match the screen legend to a haunting degree. Alan Alda and Alec Baldwin in supporting quasi-villain roles are methodically perfect. And the nicest surprise was Kate Beckinsale, a normally flaccid actress, playing Ava Gardner. She came across as gorgeous, intelligent, and maximized her minimal screen time without ever overtly stealing her scenes. Like Sharon Stone in "Casino" and Cameron Diaz in "Gangs of New York" Scorsese once again coaxes a great performance out of an otherwise unremarkable pretty face.

In the end, "The Aviator" flies high thanks to Scorsese and the acting, even if the real person it depicts remains lost in a muddle of half truths and speculation.


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