3.8 28
Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale


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Martin Scorsese directed this fast-moving, epic-scale biopic documenting the life and loves one of the most colorful Americans of the 20th century, Howard Hughes. The Aviator follows Hughes (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) as the twentysomething millionaire, having already made a fortune improving the design of oil-drilling bits, comes to Hollywood with anSee more details below


Martin Scorsese directed this fast-moving, epic-scale biopic documenting the life and loves one of the most colorful Americans of the 20th century, Howard Hughes. The Aviator follows Hughes (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) as the twentysomething millionaire, having already made a fortune improving the design of oil-drilling bits, comes to Hollywood with an interest in getting into the picture business. It doesn't take long for Hughes, with his passion for airplanes, to jump from producer to director of his first major film project, a World War I air epic called Hell's Angels, which took three years to complete thanks to the shift from silent to sound filming and Hughes' relentless perfectionism. However, the film was a massive hit, and the eccentric inventor became a mogul in Hollywood, making Jean Harlow (Gwen Stefani) a star and enjoying a romance with Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett). But Hollywood's old-boy network never fully accepted Hughes, and in time his passion for flying began to reclaim his attentions as he began designing new planes, setting air speed records, flying around the world, and risking his life testing aircraft. Hughes also found time to romance Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale) and founded his own airline, Trans-World Airlines, though as his ideas became bolder, his approach became more eccentric, and he gained many powerful enemies, including the head of Pan-American Airlines, Juan Trippe (Alec Baldwin), and Senator Ralph Owen Brewster (Alan Alda), who attempted to prove that Hughes' radical design ideas were actually part of an effort to bilk taxpayers for millions of dollars through government contracts. The Aviator's star-studded cast also includes John C. Reilly, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, Ian Holm, and Frances Conroy.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
With one of the 20th century’s most colorful characters as his subject, director Martin Scorsese has turned out an unusually compelling biography that, like many of its kind, generates tremendous interest while ignoring or distorting portions of the historical record. Scorsese’s portrait of maverick tycoon/filmmaker/aviator Howard Hughes (played convincingly by a seemingly miscast Leonardo DiCaprio) is accurate in a “big picture” sense, even to its unstated but strongly implied attribution of Hughes’s legendary eccentricities to an undiagnosed case of what we know today as obsessive-compulsive disorder. And it certainly presents thrilling re-creations of his aerial adventures, which included setting a new airspeed record in 1935, crashing an experimental spy plane in 1946, and getting his mammoth flying boat -- derisively nicknamed “the Spruce Goose” -- airborne in 1947. But the film plays fast and loose with many other aspects of Hughes’s amazing life; for example, it completely ignores his ill-fated first marriage, which was well underway during the three-year production of Hell’s Angels dramatized in Aviator’s first act. It also disregards his torrid affair with then-famous actress Billie Dove and overlooks his lengthy, close friendship with actor Cary Grant. Still, Scorsese does a magnificent job of depicting the wild-and-woolly Hollywood of the late silent and early sound years, vividly recreating the bacchanalian atmosphere of such famous nightspots as the Coconut Grove. Hughes’s lengthy and improbable romance with Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett in an Oscar-winning performance) gets expansive treatment, as does his on-again, off-again fling with glamorous Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale). Critics and viewers caught up in the Hollywood sections of the film were less impressed with its last hour, in which a clearly disturbed Hughes, his mental illness exacerbated by head injuries sustained in the 1946 crash, fights for both his sanity and his business. But the tycoon’s memorable showdown with Senator Owen Brewster (Alan Alda), the culmination of Senate hearings called to investigate mismanagement of government funds by Hughes Aircraft during World War II, is a bravura climax that showcases The Aviator’s exceptional writing, directing, acting, and editing. Nearly three hours in length, the film has a few tedious stretches, but Scorsese achieves the heights he's aiming for -- a truly soaring cinematic experience.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
The Aviator is a rousing entertainment that does not shy away from the darkest aspects of Howard Hughes' life. The first hour of The Aviator feels like the most fun Martin Scorsese has had behind a camera in over a decade. The extended sequence of Hughes attempting to get Hell's Angels completed to his detailed ideal is the closest Scorsese himself has ever come to an onscreen biography of his own work habits. A notorious obsessive, Scorsese recognizes those traits in Hughes and with the assistance of a never-better Leonardo DiCaprio creates an affectionate but realistic look at Hughes' successes and demons. Though the film feels a bit overlong, it never loses the audience's interest, thanks in large part to DiCaprio's determined blue eyes. Those eyes are always able to communicate the intensity of Hughes' feelings -- be it his passion for women and aviation, or his fear of losing control. He is matched in the early part of the film by an as always first-rate Cate Blanchett, who manages to embody Katharine Hepburn without turning her into a caricature, showcasing her intelligence and humor without shying away from her own faults. They make arguably the most sympathetic couple in a Scorsese film since Kris Kristofferson and Ellen Burstyn in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. From his decision to replicate the look of the old two-strip Technicolor process (hence the blue peas and the blue golf course), to his first ever use of CGI effects, Scorsese utilizes every tool at a filmmaker's disposal. But for all of the filmmaking pyrotechnics, it is the clear-eyed empathy Scorsese brings to The Aviator that makes it one of the most emotionally rewarding films of his career.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Audio commentary with director Martin Scorsese on disc 1; deleted scene, "Howard Tells Ava About His Car Accident"; "A Life Without Limits: The Making of The Aviator; "The Role of Howard Hughes in Aviation History"; History Channel Modern Marvels documentary on Hughes; "The Visual Effects of The Aviator"; "The Affliction of Howard Hughes: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder"; "The Age of Glamour: The Hair and Makeup of The Aviator"; "Costuming The Aviator: The Work of Sandy Powell"; "Constructing The Aviator: The Work of Dante Ferretti"; an evening with Leonardo DiCaprio and Alan Alda; an OCD panel discussion with the cast; photo gallery; "Scoring The Aviator: The Work of Howard Shore"; "The Wainwright Family - Loudon, Rufus, and Martha."

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Leonardo DiCaprio Howard Hughes
Cate Blanchett Katharine Hepburn
Kate Beckinsale Ava Gardner
John C. Reilly Noah Dietrich
Alec Baldwin Juan Trippe
Alan Alda Sen. 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
Stanley de Santis Louis B. Mayer
Edward Herrmann Joseph Breen
Willem Dafoe Roland Sweet
Kenneth Walsh Dr. Hepburn
J.C. MacKenzie Ludlow
Vincent Laresca Jorge
Justin Shilton Actor
Chris Ufland Actor
Josie Maran Actor
Nellie Sciutto Nadine Henley
Rufus Wainwright Actor
Sam Hennings Actor

Technical Credits
Martin Scorsese Director
Chris Brigham Executive Producer
Sandy Climan Producer
Leonardo DiCaprio Executive Producer
Charles Evans Producer
Dante Ferretti Production Designer
Martin Gendron Art Director
Petur Hliddal Sound/Sound Designer
Graham King Producer
Michele Laliberte Art Director
William J. Law Set Decoration/Design
Ellen Lewis Casting
John Logan Screenwriter
Michael Mann Producer
Randall Poster Musical Direction/Supervision
Sandy Powell Costumes/Costume Designer
Réal Proulx Art Director
Joseph P. Reidy Asst. Director,Co-producer
Robert Richardson Cinematographer
Lucie Robitaille Casting
Thelma Schoonmaker Editor
Rick Schwartz Executive Producer
Howard Shore Score Composer
R. Bruce Steinheimer Special Effects Supervisor
Luca Tranchino Art Director
Harvey Weinstein Executive Producer
Rick Yorn Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Side #1 -- The Movie - Widescreen
1. Young Howard [2:18]
2. "Welcome to Hollywood," Hell's Angels Year One [8:15]
3. Hell's Angels Year Two [6:58]
4. Hell's Angels Year Three [4:04]
5. "Howard Hughes' $4 Million Epic" [5:04]
6. "Follow-Through Is Everything in Golf, Just Like Life" [3:38]
7. TWA... "Tiger by the Tail" [2:18]
8. "I'm Sure You Know Errol" [4:31]
9. Teaching Kate to Fly [4:55]
10. H-1 Racer, Breaking the World Speed Record [5:20]
11. Letting Kate In [5:12]
12. Around the World in Four Days [1:31]
13. "Don't Worry About It Howard, She's Just Working the Room" [3:43]
14. Visiting the Hepburn Estate [5:30]
15. MPAA Outlaws Mammaries [4:43]
16. Selling The Hercules [1:07]
17. "There's Too Much Howard Hughes in Howard Hughes" [3:18]
18. The Constellation [3:21]
19. "We're Too Alike, You and I" [5:13]
20. Faith Domergue [1:44]
21. "Kill the Story," Burying the Hepburn-Tracy Scandal [6:45]
22. Ava Gardner [3:02]
23. "Show Me All the Blueprints, Show Me All the Blueprints" [2:57]
24. XP-11, Inaugural Flight and Crash [5:32]
25. Flowers From Juan Trippe [6:27]
26. Government Investigation [4:24]
27. Q-U-A-R-A-N-T-I-N-E [11:10]
28. The Germ-Free Zone [13:57]
29. Brewster Senate Hearings [4:36]
30. The Flying Boat [7:54]
31. "The Way of the Future, the Way of the Future" [9:41]
32. End Credits [4:02]

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