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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.

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Won 5 Oscars. Another 81 wins & 130 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Howard Hughes
... Katharine Hepburn
... Ava Gardner
... Noah Dietrich
... Juan Trippe
... Senator Ralph Owen Brewster
... Professor Fitz
... Jack Frye
... Jean Harlow
... Errol Flynn
... Johnny Meyer
... Glenn Odekirk
... Faith Domergue
... Mrs. Hepburn
... 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:

For some men, the sky was the limit. For him, it was just the beginning. 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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site |  »

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

25 December 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El aviador  »

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many had tried to produce a Howard Hughes biopic before this. Among the failed attempts are: 1. A companion piece to Reds (1981) planned by actor and Director Warren Beatty. 2. John Malkovich and partner Russell Smith attempted in 1993. 3. The adaptation planned by Allen Hughes and Albert Hughes, who wanted Johnny Depp in the lead. 4. A Brian De Palma-directed biopic with Touchstone, which fell through because of the eighty million dollar price tag. 5. In January 2000, it was announced that Milos Forman was to direct a biopic with Edward Norton as Hughes, and a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. 6. In January 2002, Jim Carrey and Director Christopher Nolan tried to start the project with Castle Rock Productions, but it didn't get off the ground soon enough to beat this movie into production. See more »

Goofs

Hughes has small hands with slender fingers, but the right hand that reaches for the Cocoanut Grove bathroom door is broader with beefier fingers. 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

There are two different Panavision credits used: the "Filmed with Panavision Cameras and Lenses" credit, and after that, the "Filmed in Panavision" credit, despite being shot in Super 35. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 83rd Annual Academy Awards (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

After You've Gone
(1918)
Music and Lyrics by Henry Creamer and Turner Layton
Performed by Loudon Wainwright III
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A GREAT American TRAGEDY
17 December 2004 | by See all my reviews

This is an astonishingly beautiful and moving film. Martin Scorcese has created a seminal work -- one that brings the harrowing, big-studio, adult movie making of the 1970's and totally reinvents and reinvigorates it for today's audience.

The story traces the rise and demise of billionaire Howard Hughes as he struggles to find meaning and purpose in a life unfettered by concerns of money, talent or opportunity. Whether trying to get a plane off the ground or a young starlet into bed, Hughes attacks life with a fierce gusto -- plagued and prodded by obsessive compulsive germphobia that constantly threatens to consume and defeat him.

DiCaprio is amazing! It's the performance no one thought he was capable of. It is a dynamic, smart, funny, articulate, intense, mature and ultimately harrowing performance that relaunches his career as one of American's finest actors. At the end of the film, you just want to take him in your arms and sob. It's really that good.

Cate Blanchett is incredible as Katherine Hepburn. At first, I was a little thrown by how bravely she attacked the Hepburn trademark voice, but I was completely won over by the second line. It is a tender, funny, incredibly convincing star turn that supplies the heart for the first half of the film. The scene where she takes Howard home "for dinner" with the family is a classic! Kate Beckinsale does a surprisingly fine job with Eva Gardner -- conveying the slow burning passion of this Hollywood icon without ever lapsing into mere mimicry.

But, in the end, this isn't a love story -- it's a war story -- a war between Howard's unstoppable will and his fierce inner demons battling for Howard's soul. It is the major relationship in the movie and the true heart of the film -- one that fuels his eccentric genius and yet constantly threatens to rip his life apart. He tries to ignore it by sleeping with every beauty in town. He tries to outrun it, building faster and faster airplanes. Yet, it is his one constant companion from early childhood to his ultimate, inescapable end. And it is this relationship that leaves you devastated at the end of the film.

Brilliant!


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