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The Aviator (2004)



Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 213
Fresh: 186 | Rotten: 27

With a rich sense of period detail, The Aviator succeeds thanks to typically assured direction from Martin Scorsese and a strong performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, who charts Howard Hughes' descent from eccentric billionaire to reclusive madman.


Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 47
Fresh: 38 | Rotten: 9

With a rich sense of period detail, The Aviator succeeds thanks to typically assured direction from Martin Scorsese and a strong performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, who charts Howard Hughes' descent from eccentric billionaire to reclusive madman.



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 203,162

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Movie Info

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



John Logan

May 24, 2005


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All Critics (214) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (186) | Rotten (27) | DVD (40)

This handsome movie is an oddly well-behaved one to come from the preternaturally energetic Scorsese.

February 3, 2010 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This almost-great epic has one foot in legend: it's a vision of an American titan that could have sprung from the insides of Hughes's own obsessive, perfectionist head.

November 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite a pacy, technically brilliant but otherwise slightly ordinary first half-hour or so, Scorsese's Howard Hughes movie is his best since The Age of Innocence.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Its primary appeal is its speed: It rushes along, from scandal to air crash to movie romance to Senate hearing, each anecdote well realized but never tarried over.

May 20, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This undoubtedly is the movie Scorsese set out to make, and he made it exceedingly well. Still, we can fault him for choosing to celebrate its subject instead of examining him.

April 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

By and large I think this movie's chief function is to give Scorsese an opportunity to indulge in the pleasures of big-time filmmaking and to treat the audience to a heady dose of glamour.

December 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Good but not great, and not for younger kids.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comments (8)
Common Sense Media

It's all rather sprawling and a bit disjointed, but Scorsese's vigorous pacing and eye for detail hold it all together and provide a vivid setting for DiCaprio's masterful performance (his best work yet).

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Scorsese's most engaged and engaging filmmaking in a while.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source:

Its plot moves from event to event without a story driving it and the audience is left drifting along.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound | Comments (3)
Big Picture Big Sound

All tabloid style gloss accessorized with brassy special effects, and bloated storytelling based loosely on period gossip.

February 8, 2007 Full Review Source: WBAI Web Radio | Comments (4)
WBAI Web Radio

full review in Greek

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses | Comments (2)
Movies for the Masses

It's almost predictable in the way it delivers the cinematic goods, yet there's no denying that it is a compelling and entertaining look at a larger-than-life individual.

September 1, 2006
Christianity Today

The Aviator feels like old-fashioned Hollywood with a bracing jolt of Scorsese's cinematic flair

August 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

Scorsese gives us a lot more than the Charles Foster Kane of the clouds. He keeps focus on Hughes, the dreamer, who continually reached out, grabbed the future and pulled it toward him.

January 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

It's a measure of The Aviator's complexity and ambiguity that it can be read equally as a celebration of rugged, capitalist individualism and as a leftist critique of cutthroat free-market competition.

September 26, 2005 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

Beneath the glossy surface there's a niggling lack of depth, but otherwise this is a grand, impressive Tinseltown drama.

June 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A tremendous success.

June 2, 2005

The Aviator is more than entertaining and engrossing enough to keep you interested ... for at least 130 minutes or so.

May 24, 2005 Full Review Source:

Regardless of the fact that The Aviator may not be Scorsese's best work, it is unquestionably a creative piece of moviemaking.

May 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

If the folks who made Hollywood were going to make a movie today it would be made like The Aviator.

April 27, 2005 Full Review Source: 3BlackChicks Review
3BlackChicks Review

Audience Reviews for The Aviator

It's quite a good performance by DiCaprio but overall the film is not that compelling and, unfortunately, is too long.
February 21, 2014

Super Reviewer

Leonardo DiCaprio is stunning in the role of Howard Hughes, a millionaire film director at heart, but his soul is within his aviation career, building planes for the war. This film may not be perfect, but the writing and direction is. The flaws are in the plot and order of events. With questionable dialogue and cheap CG effects, "The Aviator" might as well be a fictional story, but the backstory of this legendary director/aviator is far too compelling to look away from. I cannot say that I love this film, but I absolutely loved the camerawork and the performances. "The Aviator" is but a fantastic film to add to the Scorsese shelf, but fails to provide any spectacular moments to remember in the future. I highly enjoyed this film for what it was!
September 11, 2012
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

'The Aviator' doesn't go deep enough into the enigmatic character to make you truly care about him, which is a problem given that its almost three hours. Still, Scorsese knows how to make authentic, larger-than-life scenes and he also gets a lot of mileage out of the talented cast.
August 5, 2012
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

Leonardo DiCaprio seems to work well in any film, as long as there is a well-recognized director attached. He does great with directors such as Baz Luhrmann, Clint Eastwood, James Cameron, and Christopher Nolan, but when it comes to working with Martin Scorsese, he casts a brighter light than ever imaginable. Like in THE DEPARTED, a slightly more recent collaboration, he takes on a thoroughly-convincing accent, though this time Southern rather than Bostonian. His personality given into portraying such a manâ"a man who lives the former half of his life as one of the most successful ever, and the latter half suffering increasingly from chronic pain and OCDâ"is grand, heartbreaking, and riveting. Maybe his performance as Hughes doesnâ(TM)t begin to match his effort as cop Billy Costigan in THE DEPARTED, but itâ(TM)s the number one highlight of the film.

Often, with THE AVIATOR, it is hard not to see the screenplay intertwined with the resulting images and audio of the film. That is to say, the acting, cinematography, and directing is so carefully, beautifully, robustly concentrated that we can imagine how they originated as the text in John Loganâ(TM)s script. The cinematography, of the three forenamed, may be the very best. Combine the split-screen tactics used by Martin Scorsese with Howard Shoreâ(TM)s jazzy, nostalgic score, and you begin to sit wondering whether you are watching a colorized version of a 1930s film. Itâ(TM)s just that utterly convincing.
February 17, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Howard Hughes: You want to go to war with me?
    2. Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: It's not me, Howard. It's the United States Government. We just beat Germany and Japan. Who the hell are you?
    – Submitted by MarieBella C (19 months ago)
    1. Noah Dietrich: I've gotta tell you, the board over in Houston has been getting a little concerned about the cost of this operation out here.
    2. Howard Hughes: Ah! would you stop showing them the books, Noah?
    3. Noah Dietrich: That be illegal Howard
    4. Howard Hughes: Well, maybe it's a little naughty.
    – Submitted by MarieBella C (19 months ago)
    1. Katharine Hepburn: I've been famous - for better or worse - for a long time now... I wonder if you know what that really means.
    2. Howard Hughes: Yeah, I got my fair share of press on Hell's Angels. I'm used to it.
    3. Katharine Hepburn: Are you? Howard, we're not like everyone else. Too many acute angles. Too many eccentricities. We have to be very careful not to let people in or they'll make us into freaks.
    4. Howard Hughes: Kate, they can't get in here. We're safe.
    5. Katharine Hepburn: Oh they can always get in. When my brother killed himself there were photographers at the funeral. There's no decency to it!
    6. Howard Hughes: You know I get these ideas Kate these crazy ideas about things that might not be there.
    7. Katharine Hepburn: Yeah
    8. Howard Hughes: Sometimes I truly feel like I'm losing my mind and if I did it would be like flying blind.
    9. Katharine Hepburn: You taught me to fly Howard, I'll take the wheel.
    – Submitted by MarieBella C (19 months ago)
    1. Howard Hughes: The way of the future, the way of the future, the way of the future...
    – Submitted by Nova Q (21 months ago)
    1. Howard Hughes: Good, and you made what, $5200 dollas a year at your last job? I'll pay you ten thousand.
    2. Noah Dietrich: I guess i'll be working teice as hard.
    3. Howard Hughes: You'll be working four times as hard. I just got you at half price.
    – Submitted by kateo l (21 months ago)
    1. Howard Hughes: Don't tell me I can't do it. Don't tell me it can't be done.
    – Submitted by kateo l (21 months ago)
View all quotes (16)

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