The Aviator - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Aviator Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 22, 2015
Scorsese and DiCaprio make a formidable duo in this intricate biopic. The Aviator puts together Scorsese's masterful and colorful direction along with DiCaprio's career-defining performance to make for a classical film. 4/5
Super Reviewer
May 15, 2007
It's quite a good performance by DiCaprio but overall the film is not that compelling and, unfortunately, is too long.
Super Reviewer
May 25, 2013
An interesting biopic well-acted by DiCaprio. Nothing very bold about the film but it is well shot.
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2010
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!
Super Reviewer
½ November 3, 2011
'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.
Super Reviewer
April 16, 2008
The Way of the Future.

Saw it again! Epic Film! This truly is one of the best films ever made by Martin Scorsese and Leo DiCaprio. A superb biopic of Howard Hughes, the man that changed aviation as we know it. Fantastic Film! If you haven't watch this film before you really should, cinema at it's best right here.

Focusing on his early years (from the 1930 production of 'Hell's Angels' to the 1947 test flight of the Blue Spruce, when he was 42), this is the story of how young Howard Hughes transformed a small fortune into a massive one. The son of the Texan inventor of an amazing drill bit who died when he was 18, leaving him with 75% of the "Hughes Tool Co.", Howard Hughes quickly moved to Los Angeles to become a Hollywood film producer, where he helped launch the career of Jean Harlow and other starlets, and producing such classics as Hell's Angels, The Front Page, Flying Leathernecks, and Scarface (the 1932 original), eventually owning RKO Pictures. Hughes' legend came not from focusing on just Hollywood, however, as he simultaneously branched into industry after industry, including aviation in 1932 (including TWA Airlines), and during WWII, defense, leading to the creation of the (infamous) Spruce Goose, a flying boat of immense size. After WWII, Hughes' expansions continued, with an electronics company that was integral to the evolution of the satellite, and Hughes' several Las Vegas casinos (though this film may be ending before he moves there). This film will also focus on Hughes' romances with Hollywood stars like Katharine Hepburn and Ava Gardner.
Super Reviewer
October 10, 2011
As much as I like Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator left me feeling oddly left out of the life of Howerd Hughes, but definitely in on how many women he went out with, most notably Katherine Hepburn. Despite the loose ends, and the distant feel, Cate Blancett steals the screen as Katherine Hepburn, and Ian Holm is great as well, but I feel Leonardo DiCaprio always acts the same in all the movies. The Aviator has a great story, but failed to get me connected to the man it's all about.
Super Reviewer
May 12, 2011
Roll up roll up...Scorsese's second big historical epic, this time recounting the life of tycoon Howard Hughes from the 1920's to 1947. Again Scorsese uses DiCaprio for his main role yet for once I think we see the best of DiCaprio in probably his finest performance so far.

The film is epic in cinematography as well as casting and direction with every frame highly detailed and given amazing depth with the score.  Every scene and every shot looks perfect and seems to have been done with painful attention to accuracy and setup, the clothes the cast wear to the amazing sets are all beautifully done whilst the story of Hughes life is handled with care and includes a large range of big names from both show business and the financial world, I'm unsure if its all accurate but it damn well seems like it when watching.

A long film yes but it doesn't feel like it as there is so much going on throughout the film with so many people popping in and out of Hughes life, along with his personal conquests, that you find yourself wondering about what all these other people did and what happened to them, it makes you wanna read up on the whole history of it all. Its also really interesting to see many Hollywood legends portrayed by modern day stars and I was impressed at the levels of dedication shown, Blanchett, Beckinsale and a small cameo by Jude Law as Errol Flynn were all superbly done, especially Blanchett who clearly spend allot of time nailing Hepburn. DiCaprio is the star of this piece though for sure with a brilliant performance as Hughes that almost became annoying as he portrayed Hughes' compulsive disorder to nerve jangling levels, started to make you twitch watching him do it haha Can't forget about the amazing costume department though and their work, everyone looked so good in their duds, faultless right down to the massive amount of extras in many scenes.

From the creation of his epic 'Hell's Angels' to the obsessive and devoted creation of his aircraft through to the courtroom drama's between himself, Trippe and Senator Brewster to the finale and his flying of the Hercules 'airboat'.....this film is never dull even though I really thought it would be hehe probably one of the most accurate period films I've seen and a surprise from Scorsese really.
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2010
A very full and vibrant portrait of the aviator himself, Howard Hughes. Taking on one of the heavyweights of history, especially in the world of the motion picture, director Scorsese and title actor Leonardo DiCaprio bring the heat to a maudlin and intricate story that could only be told with glitz, glamour, and aeronautics. The eccentricities and overpowering presence of Hughes is encapsulated in DiCaprio's performance, just as altruistic of the audience as his previous roles. Here is a man with obsession issues towards germs, women, and the grand plan for his ascension to fame through motion pictures and aviation, truly donning the title of The Aviator. The supporting cast is packed with the Old Hollywood set, including Kate Beckinsale as a demure Ava Gardner and Cate Blanchett, perfectly cast, as the strong headed Katherine Hepburn. All praises of her actually becoming the actress are correct, as everything I've read on Hepburn is perfected by Blanchett's exhaustive research and watchful interpretation, in no way mimicking. As the film progresses from a simple tale of genius gone haywire to the mentally culpable later years that stranded Hughes in his own mind, the face changes from DiCaprio seasoned as a character, and becomes an almost perfect imitation of Welles' Citizen Kane. Much of Kane is filtered into this film, that of a high minded and rich inclined figure with all the trappings of wealth and none of the sympathies of a nation intent on seeing the mighty fall. Not on par with Kane, The Aviator does go raw, showing all that Hughes failed in, but climbed back from obscurity to accomplish. Along with the perfectly tuned soundtrack and airplane effects, this is one of the better made films of the decade, the truest look at insanity through persecution since Frances.
Super Reviewer
June 23, 2011
A good film. Leo DiCaprio was phenomonal and the fact it was a true story just made me even more intrigued.
Super Reviewer
February 28, 2011
Masterpiece, DiCaprio and Blanchett are amazing. I never had heard of Howard Hughes, but this movie takes us through a large part of his life. The settings and music and production were amazing and really well made. I love this movie, one of Scorsese's best.
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2007
A virtually straight-forward semi bio-pic. You wouldn't think that it was a Martin Scorsese film just from the sheer pace of it, but it is literally painted with his style. I love the performances, the costumes, the color schemes...everything. I also love the fact that Scorsese opted to use models of planes rather than just go to town with CGI. Now, there is some CGI in this film, but it's used as a storytelling tool, not an excuse, which is when it works best. It's one of DiCaprio's finest performances and one of Scorsese's best films. A masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
February 28, 2011
This is certainly one of the best Scorsese films. The costumes, acting, cinematography, story were all outstanding! I mean, you could not have more powerhouse performances in one film! And such gorgeous, rich colors! This movie captured me in instantly and never really slowed. Completely entranced!
I had a few, few, tiny story issues I didn't like... like the split screen. Dated technique. But still, amazing overall!
Super Reviewer
½ January 10, 2011
The Aviator is a biopic on eccentric tycoon, Howard Hughes. Martin Scorsese directs this picture with style, as we get a close look at the rise of Howard Hughes. In the role of Hughes is Leonardo Dicaprio. A well chosen actor to play this part. Leonardo Dicaprio gives a great performance in the lead role, and Scorsese crafts yet another great film. The Aviator like I've said, takes a look at Howard Hughes throughout his life, from his birth to the movie industry to the aviation industry. We see as he turns his millions into billions, acquires TWA and the war he waged against Pan Am. Howard Hughes was a very complex man with a lot of phobias. Scorsese manages to cover most of his life on film, and DiCaprio plays Hughes with precision.
The Aviator is a stunning film thats well directed and acted, and is quite possibly one of the best biopics ever made. Martin Scorsese has definitely made his best film since Goodfellas, and this film was only topped by his follow up, The Departed, for which he won an Academy Award for best director. The Aviator is yet another fine film from a director who knows to craft terrific pictures and Scorsese is a definite master of cinema. The way this film illustrates the life of such an intriguing man is superb, only Martin Scorsese could have made such an ambitious film about a man who had such an ambitious life. The Aviator also takes a look at the Spruce Goose, Hughe's famous flying boat that only flew once. If you're looking for a great biopic to watch, make it The Aviator, a truly interesting and entertaining film.
Super Reviewer
August 4, 2010
Grade: A+

The Aviator is a biography of Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his rise in aviation and the hardships he suffered. Whether is what with the women or the ticks he had about being clean all the time or just re-doing everything to make them perfection. He first started as just as a director for movies. It mainly follows his smash hit "Hell's Angels" which was the most expensive movie ever created (at it's time). But he soon starts to fall in love with aviation and starts to create planes and his new airline, Trans World Airlines.

While spending millions of dollars on the planes that either fell apart or didn't work, he had to battle with his mental illness, obsessive compulsive disorder. He had a real problem with being clean that had him washing his hands constantly and not touching anything dirty. There is one part in the movie where he was unable to open the bathroom door and waited for another person to enter so he could exit without touching the doorknob. There is another scene where Hughes puts tape in every corner of his house that is covered in germs and the only place he could stay in was places that didn't have any tape, the "germ free zone".

He was also battling Panam airlines for the control of the skies as Hughes puts it. He also had criticism for his work since his planes never worked and used millions of dollars to create them.

Howard Hughes, a mental illness, a famous director, an aviator, a survivor of a deadly plane crash, and a ladies man died in 1976.

The movie is fantastic. Martin Scorsese did a perfect job on The Aviator, especially with the planes for "Hell's Angels". Leonardo DiCaprio gave an amazing performance that gave him an Academy Award nomination. A truly perfect movie that is both dark and beautiful in their own ways.

***The Aviator was nominated for 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and won 5, one of them was Best Supporting Actress - Cate Blanchett.***
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2010
Just tell me...have DiCaprio ever played a bad role? The guy is a safe card. A good and interesting movie...That guy is not healthy...Nice dialogue...nice filmed...good actors...Succes
Super Reviewer
December 5, 2009
Hmmm.... Idk, I have very, very mixed feelings here. The film is technically perfect: the costumes, cinematography, sets, etc. The cast is incredibly brilliant. Leonardo DiCaprio can do these type of roles incredibly well. Cate Blanchett is obviously great. Katherine Hepburn is not an actress I admire at all, but Blanchett caught her spirit AND managed to make her fairly pleasent. That is quite an accomplishment. I sort of wonder what Gwen Stefani did in the film. I do not remember seeing her; but a couple big numbers from No Doubt would have punched the film up a lot! Jude Law as Errol Flynn made me chuckle. I guess, that is my only problem with the film right there. It feels like it should be and is intended to be intense, dramatic, and heavy, but overall it comes out way to light. I found myself chuckling and amused far too often, and probably in all the wrong places. Still, the film is certainly an accomplishment of a sort, and never less than enthralling despite its length. So, it is good, yes, but flawed.
Super Reviewer
½ January 21, 2007
Beautifully, beautifully made. So stunning. Scorsese is a virtuoso, as if there was any doubt. It's a shame that the one thing in this movie that I didn't find compelling was Howard Hughes himself. Leonardo diCaprio was a poor choice for this movie, as he is an actor who has built a reputation around being SO FUCKING SERIOUS that the ridiculous things Scorsese has him do go horribly awry. I ended up laughing at most of his depictions of Hughes' mental illness, which is a very bad sign, as insanity is not really something I view with levity. I understand that this character had some larger-than-life obsessive-compulsive issues, but come on, a hundred jars of pee in a row? Naked diCaprio repeating "Come in with the milk" over and over? How can you show those things and NOT expect people to burst out laughing? Anyway, this further cements my general ambivalence toward diCaprio, but I've developed a feverish love for basically everything else about The Aviator. It's a pretty pulpy, flash-in-the-pan biopic, but in a universe so deeply entrenched in Hollywoodian excess, what else was Scorsese going to do?
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2009
Not only is it one of Scorsese's most ambitious projects, it's Leonardo DiCaprio's as well. When you are trying to capture the essence of a man, it's extremely difficult because there's so much to take in all at once. Inevitably you're going to leave something out. However, The Aviator really doesn't do that. It's probably the most well rounded biopic ever made. It centers around a few of Howard Hughes' most important decades in his life. It shows the importance of a man's legacy and also his humanity. You get to see Hughes as a genius and as an OCD driven psychopath, I think it's both honest and fair. Like with all of Scorsese's films, the acting performances are phenomenal. Next to DiCaprio's dead on representation of Howard Hughes, you have Cate Blanchett playing an equally great Katherine Hepburn. The use of color and visuals is stunning and unforgettable, a modern masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
March 13, 2010
Lock yourself in a screening room, don't shower, shave, brush teeth, be naked with tissue boxes as shoes, piss in jars and leave them out. Do this for several months Howard Hughes, OCD is a real killa!
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