3.8 28
Director: Martin Scorsese

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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 an…  See 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]

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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The Aviator 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
"The Aviator" is classic moviemaking at its best. A film that captivates its audience from the very beginning and holds us in its grasp until even after we leave the theatre. This is perhaps the most entertaining movie I have ever seen. As long as the movie is, it leaves us wanting more once it ends. Working with a long film is risky, but this one succeeds in captivating an audience throughout with nonstop action or human drama, at least an audience that is willing to watch. Every element falls perfectly into place: the direction, the acting, the sets, the cinematography, the music, the editing, the costumes, and every techical aspect imaginable. Leonardo DiCaprio gives the best performance of his career and Cate Blanchett it flawless as Katherine Hepburn. Scorsese has woven a story that will last for generations as a brilliant example of all that movies can be. A true American masterpiece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this film. I was inspired to pick up two biographies about Hughes, I loved it so much. The All Movie Guide description is inaccurate -- it was Hughes Sr. who perfected the drill bit; and Hughes bought his controlling interest in TWA, which was founded by Charles Lindbergh. Also, Hughes romanced many, many women. I love this movie because it shows Hughes in the 1930s and 1940s, possibly his best years. Hughes accomplished so many things -- aviation owes him for his innovations, the film industry owes him for his fight against censorship. Many people only know him for being a recluse, and Hughes was so much more. Loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a film made in the grand tradition of the old studios. It has gorgeous photography, beautiful people, a compelling story, and a marvelous soundtrack. Plus the director gets it just right as do all of the lead players diCaprio, Blanchett, Alda, and Reilly. Granted the film takes some liberties particularly with the portrayal of Hughes romance with Kate Hepburn and her family and Spencer Tracy (an outright fabrication of the blackmailing event) BUT the film is powerful and entertaining and that is what a film should be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My favorite part of the entire film was watching the filming of Hell's Angels. I also enjoyed Cate Blanchet. It's clear why she won the oscar.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Scorcese has adapted his style to suit the ADD crowd, unfortunately. It's almost cartoonish. The newsreel-like voiceovers before almost every scene that were added to explain the plotline along the way. Alec Baldwin's character was a cartoon. Nothing subtle about this film at all. Where is the art? Blanchett's Kate Hepburn character was over-the-top. She was probably told to do it that way, I guessing. Still, it's better than most of the product coming out of Hollywood.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very interesting movie. 4 stars here. Leonardo is as good as always, but Cate Blanchett got on my last nerves with her performance of Hepburn.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though I enjoyed the movie it just DRAGGED ON FOREVER in the second half. I believe that they could have cut out the a great pert in the middle. Sorry for all those who were lookign forward to it but its too long
Guest More than 1 year ago
Martin Scorsese reverts to old style moviemaking in this terrific film that was absolutely robbed at the Academy Awards. At no point is this movie ever dull as its characters and intense action keeps it moving until the very end. Leonardo DiCaprio is absolutely perfect in one of the most coveted roles in Hollywood: Howard Hughes. Throughout the entire film, DiCaprio works his acting magic as he vividly portrays a tormented man. Many people complain that the movie has no heart, but this opinion will vary with one's opinion of the main character, Howard Hughes. Every aspect of the production is great. This is your Best Picture of 2004, no matter what happened on February 27.
Guest More than 1 year ago
from start to finish, the aviator never ceases to entertain! lavishly produced, superbly acted and directed, it is a masterpiece in the good old grand tradition of movie making! bravo and kudos to all.......i loved it and have watched it at least once a day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
"The Aviator" is hands-down, without-a-doubt, and by-a-mile the most overrated film of 2004. The first half is so poor that it is painful to watch and the second half is just plain BORING. You are completely exhausted after the (very unnecessary) 3 hours. DiCaprio is miscast as Howard Hughes: being that he looks 12, he can barely pull off Hughes at the age of 20, much less 40, and his Southern accent is exaggerated, phony, and annoying. Blanchett gives (for the 1st time in her career) a poor performance with her extremely over-the-top portrayl of Katharine Hepburn. Though the accents are bad, there is so little layering to the characters in the script and so little emotion required in the dialogue, there is almost nothing else for the actors to work on. While there is little to the characters played by DiCaprio and Blanchett, there is absolutely nothing to Alan Alda's role- Alda was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar just for being Alan Alda. I cannot believe this movie was nominated for anything, much less won all of the awards it did. At Oscar time, I would rather have seen Paul Giamatti get a Best Actor nomination for "Sideways" instead of DiCaprio, have Sophie Okonedo win Best Supporting Actress for "Hotel Rwanda" instead of Blanchett, and have Alda's nomination go to either Mark Wahlberg for "I Heart Huckabees" or to Shaun Evans for "Being Julia". In the end, "The Aviator" is not the worst movie ever made, but why waste your time being bored and irritated on a less-than-average movie? There are many more interesting and enjoyable ways to spend 3 hours.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really excited to see this movie, and when one of my neighbors let me borrow it I was ready to love it! However, I didn't. I found the first hour/hour and a half interesting but it dragged on forever in the second half. I didn't even bother finishing the movie. It was too long and definately not Best Picture, Million Dollar Baby was so much better. Even Finding Neverland is really good. I think that The Aviator got a lot of unnecassary Oscar nominations (a la Best Picture) and Cate Blanchett was a bit overdone... The Supporting Actress Oscar should have gone to Sophie Okenado. I wouldn't reccomend this movie to anyone. But like I said, I wanted to love it...
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story was good, and some events were great, only the movie was so unnessicarily long, they should have cut out some parts!
Guest More than 1 year ago
"The Aviator", I'm sorry to say, was pure tedium, with the exception of Leonardo DiCaprio's portrayal of Howard Hughes' idiosyncracies, his fling with Katharine Hepburn, and the luminous apparels from different decades. Prior to seeing this film, I expected a dynamic movie that will leave me in tears. However, "The Aviator" went on for three hours not making any sense. Maybe it was me, but needless to say, it wasn't the best fim I've seen as of 2004.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading some reviews of this movie, I was quite neverous to watch it, but when I finally did, I was so impressed. Howard was such a genius but yet suffered from something that could be easily handled with medication today. Leonardo played this role so well, but his southern accent was getting a little annoying. I still get goosebumps thinking about his movie!! Loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was expecting to see a great movie,plenty of material to write from.This was a very average film.Will not watch again from my library of films.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie, which my son recommended for reasons Allah only knows..., was rather dull to say the least. I know that people like the characters in this film do exist in real life, but frankly if I had a nuke, I'd use it on such dull, trivial, superficial, rich spoiled dimwits. Don't get me wrong, Mr DiCaprio can act and has done a remarkable job in quite a few films--Gangs of New York being one of them---but not in this one. Nobody, including the prime character Mr. Hughes was remotely believable, and the extraordinary Ms. Hepburn in real life was a real charmer and not given to such dull, insipid and boring conversation, nor such a total empty materialistic know-nothing in reality, as the way she was made out to be in this film. The bottom line is that a story about Howard Hughes could have been done a whole heckuva lot better than this one. Howard deserved better and the reality of a man who did so much for his government only to be given an upturned middle finger by the Feds in return should have been brought out more clearly. Instead, with only a handful of movie sequences that were not obnoxious chattering of simpletons, this movie makes you glad you are not of the rich Republican elitist fascist pigdog snobs that at present do rule this society. But Oy Vay! See Adam Sandler's remake of The Longest Yard instead, at least you'll get a few laughs. This stinker will leave you in tears and horror...horror that you actually were stupid enough to watch the entire film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was completly amazing. Filmaking at it's rarest! Martin Scorsese is a genius! Leo transformed himself for this role, i think that he executed it perfectly. A well deserved Oscar nomination and should have won! Ray wasn't really that good in my opinion. Great Movie! Impressed Me!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was not so sure I would like this movie because I am not that interested in aviation, but it was more about the life of Howard Hughes. His life was so interesting! His germaphobia and other problems really escalate towards the end, and Leonardo DiCaprio did an awesome job, as well as Cate Blanchet. This movie kept me so focused and interested in the storyline!
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