The Aviator

7.52 h 50 min2004X-RayPG-13
HD. Martin Scorsese's brilliant, Oscar(R)-winning drama about the life of legendary tycoon and recluse Howard Hughes. Leonardo DiCaprio stars.
Martin Scorsese
Leonardo DiCaprioCate BlanchettKate Beckinsale
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
John C. ReillyAlec BaldwinAlan AldaIan HolmJude LawFrances Conroy
Chris BrighamSandy ClimanColin CotterMatthias DeyleLeonardo DiCaprioCharles Evans Jr.Graham KingDan MaagMichael MannAslan NaderyJoseph P. ReidyVolker SchauzPhilip Schulz-DeyleRick SchwartzBob WeinsteinHarvey WeinsteinRick YornMartin Scorsese
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagenuditysexual contentsmokingviolence
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4.7 out of 5 stars

3112 global ratings

  1. 79% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

RubyJeanReviewed in the United States on December 21, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Too Long & A Bit Boring
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There was nothing in the film I didn't already know, in fact they omitted things that would have made it much more interesting. Hughes was a womanizer, they barely touched on this. I couldn't stand Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Hepburn. She looked old enough to be Hughes mother! She's 5 yrs older than DiCaprio and she looks even older, while DiCaprio looks younger than the 30 yrs he was at the time. Hepburn was 2 yrs younger than Hughes at only 28 in 1935 when she's first introduced in the film. Blanchett looks 40 (was 35 at the time). Her attempt at replicating Hepburn's unusual voice needed a lot more work, her appearance hardly favored Hepburn. I greatly disliked her in any scene. As a 1930s film buff, none of the Actresses used to portray the film stars of the era resembled them! Nor did Jude law come close to looking or sounding like Errol Flynn! At nearly 3 hrs long, it needed more editing and I sped past several scenes that lingered too long without contributing anything to the storyline. The best scene was the crash landing, which was riveting, can't make that statement about any other scene. The ending failed to give the film closure, but I was glad it was over!
11 people found this helpful
TafkaswfReviewed in the United States on April 29, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Very Good Movie, Shows Descent into Mental Illness
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The Aviator is a beautifully filmed, almost epic film about Howard Hughes in the 1930s and 1940s. Lots of plush, opulent scenes and a story line that keeps your interest. Anyone over 50 knows the history, companies, and movie stars this film covers.

It also does a very good job of showing you how Howard Hughes' mental illness gradually increased. The Aviator makes you pivot between feeling sorry for Howard Hughes and wondering how anyone could put up with him. People treated him poorly (the Katherine Hepburn family was despicable!) and he was difficult too.

I didn't give this movie five stars because it simply went on too long (almost 3 hours), because some of the actor portrayals weren't believable, and because some scenes just weren't plausible. Leonard DiCaprio just didn't look like Howard Hughes. Alec Baldwin as the Pan Am CEO was just too pretty. Congressional Committee Chairmen don't let witnesses at a Congressional hearing hijack the hearing (they especially don't let the witness start questioning them instead!).

This movie also implies Howard Hughes' mother caused his mental illness, and that's just not believable either. The more you watch The Aviator, the more you suspect Howard Hughes' mental illness was organic. And his mother just aggravated whatever he was born with.

But this is still a four star movie, and any five star rating isn't unreasonable. The Aviator makes you want to see the next film showing Howard Hughes in the second half of his life. Because The Aviator does a very good job with the first half.
8 people found this helpful
Christina ReynoldsReviewed in the United States on April 8, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
A delightful rendering
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𝑫𝒐𝒏'𝒕 𝒕𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒎𝒆 𝑰 𝒄𝒂𝒏'𝒕 𝒅𝒐 𝒊𝒕.
𝑫𝒐𝒏'𝒕 𝒕𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒎𝒆 𝒊𝒕 𝒄𝒂𝒏'𝒕 𝒃𝒆 𝒅𝒐𝒏𝒆!!

The Aviator is a 2004 American epic biographical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by John Logan. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn, and Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner. The supporting cast features Ian Holm, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law as Errol Flynn, Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow, Kelli Garner as Faith Domergue, Matt Ross, Willem Dafoe, Alan Alda, and Edward Herrmann.
Based on the 1993 non-fiction book Howard Hughes: The Secret Life by Charles Higham, the film depicts the life of Howard Hughes, an aviation pioneer and director of the film Hell's Angels. The film portrays his life from 1927 to 1947 during which time Hughes became a successful film producer and an aviation magnate while simultaneously growing more unstable due to severe obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD).

Itching to put viewers in Hughes’ shoes ( or rather, behind his lens), Scorsese designed each year in ‘The Aviator’ to look the way a colored movie from the featured time periods would appear. This was achieved through digitally enhanced post-production and replicates the appearance of both Cinecolor and two-strip Technicolor. Grainy sepia tones are used for sequences from 1927 to 1930 with bright and vivid colors highlighting the Jazz age of the late thirties and forties. Giving as much attention to detail in the costuming department (which, #funfact, had a budget loan of $2 Million alone), the cinematography and carefully ladled direction serve as adminicles on a quest for authenticity with admiration and equity.

Prior to filming DiCaprio prepared by spending time with the real life Jane Russell (whose first role was in Hughes’ 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑶𝒖𝒕𝒍𝒂𝒘) to hear her memories and to get an impression of Hughes. Awestruck by DiCaprio following this visit - Hughes’ reputation as a reserved but extremely bull-headed man is captured on screen with the longevity of poise and ill-fated intensity. Stealing scenes at times with a desire for credibility in stride, Blanchette's cheerfully stylized performance as Hepburn makes her more than deserving of the Oscar she received for it( which, funny enough, also makes her the first person to win one for playing a real-life Oscar winner). Balancing moments in which Hughes and Hepburn act like oil and water with those in which they seem compatible beyond Compare: a relationship muddled by codependency finds Its way on screen and avoids being an out-of-place contraption.

Ultimately a biopic intended to capture Hughes’ influence on the cinematic and aviation industry - it is a relief to know that these are shown rather accurately. Hell’s Angels (which did really go massively over-budget) stands out as a pioneering effort in the realm of realism and special effects. Much of Hughes involvement as it relates to Aviation is oversimplified, but his achievements (like breaking records) and setbacks (like potentially life-threatening crashes - which he was in a total of four) are given a fair chance to shine. What isn’t addressed as comprehensively is Hughs’ tumultuous relationships and his ongoing struggle with mental illnesses. The tendency for an intimate partners to distance themselves as a result of Hughes’ “quirks” and his obsession with perfection is intermediately dangled, but ‘The Aviator’ omits the fact that he was married twice during the periods covered (amongst other things). In addition to this the origin and development of his OCD is lightly sanitized as being related to his upbringing and there is no mention of factors that now reportedly excavated this condition; in example are the fact that Hughes contracted syphilis and also became addicted to pain medication following a significant injury, but I imagine a story with these elements present would be lacking in sympathy despite being garnished with understanding and bedridden insight.

All things considered: Scorsese's aptitude for treating most easily polarized figures as percontation and not absolutes is here in full display. It is through a substantially collaborative effort that Hughes’ intricacy is feasibly digested, and it is a delightfully rendered reminder that taking the risk of falling with experience is better than not reaching for great heights at all. Far from being the most accurate portrayal of Hughes’ life with the exclusion of many defining facts: ‘The Aviator’ captures the essence of who Hughes was, who Hughes wanted to be, and why his story should matter.
4 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on December 26, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Interesting look at genius & eccentricies of Hughes Just wish it wasn't almost 3hrs long
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Leonardo Di Caprio plays the famous Howard Hughes in The Aviator directed by Martin Scorsese. The film highlights the genius and eccentricities of the millionaire.

Hughes had an uncompromising vision for his movies, his planes, etc. His problem was that he had no idea how to manage them. His movie the Hell’s Angels for instance was costing him $25,000 a day. He didn’t care because he wasn’t making the movie for the movie going audience but for himself. This was the result of his obsessive personality which progressively got worse.

Scorsese of course is a master storyteller and creates some memorable scenes. There’s one where Hughes burns all his clothes. It was symbolic of Hughes’ life slowly going up in flames.

The main drawback is the length of the film. It’s almost three hours long. It really tried my patience. Still it was a good story that used events from throughout his life and weaved them together.
2 people found this helpful
RavenReviewed in the United States on September 5, 2018
3.0 out of 5 stars
Good For Old Hollwood
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This is a decent movie to watch, but I didn't think it was as good as many reviewers said. The part of the film that deals with Hollywood in the 20's and 30's was good. When it moves to Howard Hughes' business operations it bogs down. Cate Blanchett won an Oscar for her supporting role as Katherine Hepburn, but she leaves the film about midway. My biggest problem was that I didn't like Leo DiCaprio as Hughes. He looked to young for the part and his acting never really overcame the miscasting, although he did try. The script also never told you anything you didn't know about Hughes if you looked him up. So the film was OK, but not the masterpiece some wanted to call it.
3 people found this helpful
DetectorReviewed in the United States on December 26, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
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someone mentioned dicaprio seemed too young. That's true, but it's been a long time since I've seen photos of Howard Hughes, so it didn't really bother me; anyway aggressive age progression in films has not been good enough that it hasn't required some suspension of disbelief too, at least until just very recently. I could certainly tell he was attempting to capture his impressions of Howard hughs' voice and mannerism; again, I'd rarely heard HH and it was so long ago I wouldn't remember anyway. I dunno how accurate he was, but the character he played seemed very real, and it seemed revealing of his mental problems. Blanchett was interesting as Hepburn. I enjoyed the movie.
One person found this helpful
JohnReviewed in the United States on September 16, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of Scorsese's Finest - Excellent Blu-ray
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The Aviator, an epic biopic of Howard Hughes' career, won 5 of 11 Oscar nominations, 4 of 14 BAFTA, 3 of 6 Golden Globe, and 1 of 11 Satellite. It was well deserving of all these industry accolades, and more not listed here. His second film with Leonardo DiCaprio in the leading role has a lengthy all-star list of supporting actors and actresses that include Cate Blanchett, John C. Reilly, Kate Beckinsale, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Danny Huston, Gwen Stefani, Jude Law and Willem Dafoe. It's little wonder The Aviator collected dozens of major industry award nominations: (1) Stellar performances from a large all-star cast, (2) great attention to detail for accurate period costumes, props and sets spanning several decades, (3) numerous special effects created with large scale models (instead of using CGI), (4) special methods used on the film during processing to recreate the look of Hughes 2-strip "Multicolor" process used in the 1930's for color movies in the first 1/3rd of the film, then a shift in the processing to recreate the appearance of 3-strip Technicolor for the remainder of the film, and (5) a long 2:49 running length with a pace and sufficient action that makes it seem shorter than it really is. The Aviator is an epic in more than length and subject scope, it's epic in a half-dozen different aspects that were superbly executed. Even if the subject matter, Hughes' life, were not of interest, seeing the film just to observe the technical work that went into making it is worth while.

Blu-ray transfer is excellent with great color and much detail which would be expected with a 2004 film. The multi-channel audio is impressive, particularly the directional aspect of ambient environmental sounds from ongoing background activities (e.g. aircraft engine sounds) to include tracking of moving sound sources.
12 people found this helpful
Stella CarrierReviewed in the United States on May 14, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
DiCaprio's Intense Portrayal of Howard Hughes
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I am lucky to have originally watched my first showing of "Aviator" back in 2005 through a movie theater in San Diego California (I use to live in California when I was still in the military). Aviator is a captivating movie that highlights Leonardo DiCaprio's performance as Howard Hughes. The film captures Howard Hughes rise in wealth and fame during his lifetime through his work in aviation and the Hollywood film industry. There are multiple popular celebrities that featured in this film such as: Cate Blanchett, John Reilly,Kate Beckinsale, Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Gwen Stefani, Ian Holm, Danny Huston, and Brent Spiner. I admit that I purchased this dvd due to being a fan of DiCaprio's acting and noticed the great bonuses which include:
Disc One:
Feature commentary by director Martin Scorcese, Editor Thelma Schoonmaker, and Producer Michael Mann, an image of Leonardo DiCaprio pictured with Kate Beckinsale
Disc Two (many multiple features such as):
Deleted Scene: Howard tells Ava about the car accident. A Life Without Limits: The Making Of The Aviator. The Role of Howard Hughes in Aviator history. There is also the image of Leonardo DiCaprio walking through a beach wearing a suit.
Modern Marvel Feature: A History channel documentary on Howard Hughes. A feature titled "The Affliction of Howard Hughes: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD panel discussion with director Martin Scorcese, Leonardo DiCaprio, and feature of widow Terry Moore. An Evening with Leonardo DiCaprio and Alan Alda. The Visual effects of "Aviator" and Constructing the Aviator (the work of Dante Ferretti.
More disco two bonus features: Leonardo DiCaprio pictured with Gwen Stefani (in a scene from the movie) and another image of Kate Beckinsale. Costuming the Aviator: the work of Sandy Powell, and The Age of Glamour: The Hair and Makeup Of the Aviator. Scoring the Aviator: The Work of Howard Shore,The Wainwright Family-Loudon, Rufus, and Martha, The Aviator Soundtrack Spot and Still Gallery featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and many of the other celebrities in Aviator.
7 people found this helpful
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