Flight of the Navigator

1986

Flight of the Navigator

Critics Consensus

Bolstered by impressive special effects and a charming performance from its young star, Flight of the Navigator holds up as a solidly entertaining bit of family-friendly sci-fi.

83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 29

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 59,413
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Flight of the Navigator Photos

Movie Info

The year is 1978: 12-year-old David Freeman (Joey Cramer), playing in the woods near his home, is knocked unconscious. He awakens and heads home, only to find strangers living there. He also finds that the year is 1986, and that he's been officially missing for eight years. NASA officials determine that David was abducted by aliens during his blackout, and hope to scan the boy's brain in order to unlock a few secrets of the universe. Answering the call of a strange, unseen force, David boards a well-hidden spaceship and takes off, guided by the jocular voice of a computer named MAX (voiced by none other than Paul Reubens, aka Pee-Wee Herman). Realizing that he can't fit in to 1986 so long as he's a child of the '70s, David hopes to retrace the steps of his alien abductors and get back to his own time.

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Cast

Joey Cramer
as David Freeman
Matt Adler
as Jeff (age 16)
Albie Whitaker
as Jeff (age 8)
Iris Acker
as Mrs. Howard
Richard Liberty
as Mr. Howard
Gizelle Elliot
as Female Technician
Raymond Forchion
as Detective Banks
Raymond George Forchion
as Detective Banks
Cynthia Caquelin
as Woman Officer
Ted Bartsch
as Night Guard Brayton
Gizelle Elliott
as Technician
Brigid Cleary
as Technician
Michael Strano
as Technician
Parris Buckner
as Scientist
Robyn Peterson
as Scientist
Tony Tracy
as Observation Guard
Philip Hoelcher
as NASA Officer
Butch Raymond
as Hangar Guard
Bob Strickland
as Control-Room Guard
Michael Brockman
as Control-Room Guard
Louis Cutolo
as Radar Technician
Debbie Casperson
as Radar Technician
Rusty Pouch
as Gas Station Attendant
Robert Goodman
as Tourist Man
Ryan Murray
as Tourist Child
Keri Rogers
as Jennifer Bradley
Peter Lundquist
as Newscaster
Julio Oscar Mechoso
as Hangar Guard
Jill Beach
as Newscaster
Kenny Davis
as Kid in Mustang
Arnie Ross
as NASA Technician
Fritz Braumer
as NASA Technician
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Critic Reviews for Flight of the Navigator

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (5)

  • Flight of the Navigator won't earn a place among Disney's classics. but it's a perfectly entertaining sci-fi movie that does a creditable job with the stale human-meets-alien theme.

    Oct 24, 2018 | Full Review…
  • When the film shifts into the action mode in its second half -- the flying saucer returns to aid in David`s rescue -- it becomes quite bright and lively.

    Apr 1, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • If there is more than a little something borrowed from Spielberg, Kleiser's movie is amiably undemanding entertainment that says the right things, albeit without great originality.

    Apr 1, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • There's no mistaking Flight of the Navigator for a really first-rate children's picture like, say, The Black Stallion. But Flight of the Navigator is an enjoyable film that encourages kids to use their heads.

    Apr 1, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Whereas its plot may be derivative--and at several junctures, unconvincing--"Flight of the Navigator" nevertheless manages to develop considerable humor and poignancy from David's predicament and what he does about it.

    Apr 1, 2014 | Full Review…
  • This children's adventure turns out to be, despite its title, less of a Star Wars trip than an entertaining variation on the time-travel adventure Back to the Future.

    Jan 16, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Flight of the Navigator

  • Sep 07, 2015
    great and original film, like so many sci fi family films attempting to find its feet in the 80s, this film is no exception. Flight of the navigator has strong character, an intriguing concept and just unleashes something really fresh. great for a trip down memory lane.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2013
    A 12 year old boy (David Freeman) goes missing and returns 8 years later. He has not aged in this time and is unaware of his disappearance. Scientists, Doctors and his family are all equally baffled over this strange phenomenon. All are at a loose end until NASA come on the scene. NASA are very interested in David following their discovery of a UFO; which seems to have a lot in common with the young boy. The fun really begins when the 2 are reunited. The Flight of the Navigator is an 80's classic, Sci-Fi, family film. The story is easy to follow, light-hearted and very easy going. This is a great movie to watch when you are tired, ill or just don't want to use your brain too much. Flight of the Navigator is a very enjoyable watch. I had fun revisiting it this week and loved this film as child. It was one of my most watched "taped off the TV" VHS tapes. I think the special effects are quite good for the time, I like the pun in the opening credits, the music is pretty good throughout and I find Joey Cramer's performance as David very good indeed. I think it's a shame his movie career began to fade away rapidly after this point. Randal Kleiser (Director) did a decent job with this film. I think it's one of his greater achievements. He also had success and praise with Grease, The Blue Lagoon and White Fang. As a movie it achieves everything that it sets out to do; to entertain a family audience. I feel that it can stand comfortably amongst many other solid, light hearted, family movies of this time, such as; Batteries not Included, Honey, I shrunk the Kids, The Never Ending Story, Big, The Karate Kid, Short Circuit, Gremlins, Cocoon, etc. I think that, that category is where Flight of the Navigator belongs. To set it's sights on anything higher would be, in my opinion, "punching above it's weight". I don't think that it can be regarded as one of the really great or top family movies of the 80's. There's too much competition with movies such as; Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark and ET. Mr. Spielburg was really firing with both barrels at this time. Comparisons aside, The Flight of the Navigator remains an enjoyable family movie that entertains children and adults alike. I think it was probably my favorite movie when I was about 8, and continued to be so until the release of Independence day. But what did I know, I also liked Teen Wolf, Mac and Me and Harry and the Hendersons.
    James C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2011
    Once you get past the so-so acting and seeming plot holes early in the flick, Flight of the Navigator is light, wholesome family entertainment which hits on a broad number of topics near and dear to kids. There's a fantasy of being a VIP in major, interstellar affairs (and having an all-powerful best friend). The film is heavy on the family aspect, particularly between David and his brother-once adversaries, but now friends in the future. Bad adults who just don't understand a kid. And the list goes on. No one gets any particular depth to their characters-especially poor Howard Hesseman as the NASA scientist trying to figure out what's going on. The chase piece of the film is extremely light: after all, how do humans chase down a spaceship? Still, it's a fun nostalgic trip with more than a couple laughs thrown in.
    Jason V Super Reviewer
  • Dec 16, 2010
    a fantastic film from the minds of disney and had a gripping story that sucked me in in the first 20 minutes
    Michael E Super Reviewer

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