• PG-13, 2 hr. 50 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Martin Scorsese
    In Theaters:
    Dec 17, 2004 Wide
    On DVD:
    May 24, 2005
  • Miramax

Opening

64% Hercules Jul 25
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16% And So It Goes Jul 25
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89% A Most Wanted Man Jul 25

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The Aviator Reviews

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

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

February 3, 2010
David Ansen
Newsweek
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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.

Full Review Source: Newsweek

November 1, 2007
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
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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.

Full Review Source: Time Out

June 24, 2006
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
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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.

Full Review Source: AV Club

September 26, 2005
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
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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.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

May 20, 2005
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
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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.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle

April 21, 2005
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
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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.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Original Score: 3/4

December 27, 2004
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
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We may enjoy watching the spectacles, but we don't much care for, or even have a feeling for, the guy in the cockpit.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

December 24, 2004
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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While we leave the film without much more of an understanding of Hughes' legendary obsessions than we did upon entering, we nonetheless leave with a sense of having been glamorously, thoroughly entertained -- which, these days, is a rare pleasure.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 24, 2004
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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It's history and biography and, as Scorsese, Logan and Orson Welles before them affirm, a distinctly American story.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 5/5

December 24, 2004
Tom Long
Detroit News
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For all the madness and tragedy in The Aviator, this is very much a movie that believes in crazy dreams, in reaching and recklessness and accomplishment.

| Original Score: A

December 24, 2004
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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A fast-moving, entertaining movie that boasts a fine performance by DiCaprio, who captures Hughes' brio, as well as the sadness that accompanied the gradual onset of insanity that turned Hughes into a legendary recluse.

| Original Score: A-

December 24, 2004
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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Hughes is the conduit for a titan of moviemaking to meditate gloriously on the power of film and flight to transform a nation, a culture, a world.

Full Review Source: Denver Post

December 24, 2004
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
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Sumptuously exciting, glowing with expertise, seething with life, gorgeously designed and thrillingly articulated.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 4/4

December 24, 2004
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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What a sad man. What brief glory. What an enthralling film, 166 minutes, and it races past.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 4/4

December 24, 2004
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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The first half -- covering Hughes's high-flying Hollywood years -- is an incredibly filmed treat.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3/4

December 24, 2004
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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Scorsese has crafted a luxurious entertainment that goes down like a flute of sparkling, silky champagne.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3/4

December 23, 2004
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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Makes a credible, and often thrilling case that Hughes' greatest creation was the idea of the man who could do anything, but does far less well when rolling in the muck with those who would rather see a crash than a new plateau achieved.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 2/4

December 23, 2004
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
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A stunning mosaic of contradictions.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: A-

December 23, 2004
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
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Other Scorsese films have carried more passion, but none has so brilliantly captured a lost era, or a lost American icon.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 4.5/5

December 23, 2004
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Scorsese's most accomplished, most disciplined movie since GoodFellas.

| Original Score: 3/4

December 23, 2004
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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A famous subject. A talented star. A script that combines spectacular special effects with an intimate look at a man slipping into madness. A master filmmaker back at the top of his game.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 4/4

December 23, 2004
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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It's a wonderful showcase for Scorsese's passion for making movies, which, in a sense, parallels the passion Hughes had for making movies.

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: B+

December 22, 2004
David Edelstein
Slate
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Few biopics with this kind of crazy scope have ever been so seamless.

Full Review Source: Slate

December 20, 2004
Ken Tucker
New York Magazine/Vulture
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The result is an admirably bumpy ride of a biopic, a rare one that leaves you feeling not safe but bracingly unsettled.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture

December 19, 2004
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
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A compelling and occasionally stirring movie experience.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 4/5

December 18, 2004
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
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It's stylish and fleet, and even though it's meticulously detailed, Scorsese's devotion to technique never weighs it down.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

December 18, 2004
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
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Someone is going to have to prove to me that those events occurred in that order. Watching The Aviator, I didn't buy a minute of it.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

December 17, 2004
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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As Hughes, DiCaprio is nimble and appealing.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 17, 2004
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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Another director would have made an uplifting picture about a great American success. Scorsese, instead, has made the only picture he could, risking studio millions on an intensely personal epic about a dark, complicated failure.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 17, 2004
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
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Unfortunately, though it may finally gain an Oscar for director Martin Scorsese, it is not his best work. The movie is disappointingly flat.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 17, 2004
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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The movie equivalent of a lavish coffee-table book, a love letter to the Golden Age of Hollywood from one of its foremost students.

| Original Score: 3/4

December 17, 2004
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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Scorsese's mournful celebration of Hughes's life from the 1920s to the late 1940s could be called Citizen Pain.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

December 17, 2004
Paul Clinton (CNN.com)
CNN.com
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The Aviator is the perfect melding of talent and material.

Full Review Source: CNN.com

December 17, 2004
Mike Clark
USA Today
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The first and third hours of this 20th-century epic are as dazzling as big-scale movies get.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 4/4

December 16, 2004
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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Tainted or not, Hughes' life was a remarkable one, and, flawed or not, Scorsese's film version deserves the same accolade.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

December 16, 2004
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
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Martin Scorsese's biography of the famously eccentric empire builder Howard Hughes is visually sumptuous if disappointingly hollow.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 2.5/5

December 16, 2004
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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Mostly pays lip service to Hughes' demons, though it does make charged American-movie poetry out of his dreams.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B

December 16, 2004
John Anderson
Newsday
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Sexy, inspiring and exhilarating, but perhaps more importantly, it's a generous portrait of a brave man, perhaps an artist, certainly a fractured genius.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 4/4

December 16, 2004
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
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Downright squeamish, skimming only the more palatable facts from the several informative biographies that exist of this increasingly secretive and paranoid man.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

December 16, 2004
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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A big, juicy, gorgeous, high-flying epic.

| Original Score: 3.5/4

December 15, 2004
David Denby
New Yorker
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Superbly demonstrates, with abundant humor and obvious sympathy, that this very odd bird once soared on golden wings.

December 14, 2004
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
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The Aviator could've been a Raging Bull brother film, given that masterpiece's crystalline purity of purpose and humiliated courage. But it brakes far short.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 14, 2004
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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A good, but not great, filmed biography, and continues Scorsese's recent flirtation with mediocrity.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

December 13, 2004
Rex Reed
New York Observer
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Mr. Scorsese is a great director who often fails, but you have to give him credit for always being on the prowl for new and demanding subjects, even when the results are disastrous, and for remaining true to his own vision, even when it is not shared.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

December 10, 2004
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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I believe this is now the front runner for best picture of 2004.

Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper

December 6, 2004
Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
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Scorsese has crafted a rip-roaringly gorgeous-looking, beautifully acted biographical epic that is certain to garner Oscar nominations across the board.

December 1, 2004
Todd McCarthy
Variety
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An enormously entertaining slice of biographical drama.

Full Review Source: Variety

November 29, 2004
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