Flight of the Navigator (1986)



Critic 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.

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.
Action & Adventure , Kids & Family , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Walt Disney Productions

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Joey Cramer
as David Freeman
Matt Adler
as Jeff (age 16)
Albie Whitaker
as Jeff (age 8)
Jonathan Sanger
as Dr. Carr
Iris Acker
as Mrs. Howard
Richard Liberty
as Mr. Howard
Gizelle Elliot
as Female Technician
Raymond George Forchion
as Detective Banks
Raymond 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
Chase Randolph
as Lt. King
John Archie
as Agent
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
Bruce Laks
as Bixby
Arnie Ross
as NASA Technician
Fritz Braumer
as NASA Technician
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Critic Reviews for Flight of the Navigator

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (9)

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.

Full Review… | April 1, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | April 1, 2014
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | April 1, 2014
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | April 1, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | January 16, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Instead of creating an eye-opening panorama, Flight of the Navigator looks through the small end of the telescope. Life on Earth is magnified but without an expansive vision.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Flight of the Navigator

Always loved this Disney flick, great effects and adventurous plot that is kinda 'Back to the Future' mixed with 'Explorers' purely for kids with an extraterrestrial twist. The effects were fantastic for the time and it was the first film to use environment mapping, the CG was some of the first used in motion pictures and in my personal opinion they still hold up very well today, I might add they also used stop motion in the mix too! truly classic workmanship. As said the effects were always the star attraction with this film, the ship looked way cool (simple design for today of course), the hydraulic alien arm thing inside was nicely designed, the ships interior was really well designed and looked almost like the interior of the 'Predator 2' ship whilst the other aliens creatures were all decent muppet style creatures which were simple fun and amusing. The whole film was so well made and showed so much vivid imagination, it was colourful and a really exciting ride for kids at the time, I loved every minute of it. The only thing I never liked was Paul Reubens voice as the alien later on in the film, that spoilt the sensible aspect of the plot and made it stupid with his 'Pee Wee Herman' voice. SJP made up for it being very very cute and one of my first kid crushes :)

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer


This lively alien-fantasy-action film is exciting without relying on agression. The extra-terrestrial creatures are bad Muppet imitations, although that alien with a cold is a gem. As a NASA intern, Sarah Jessica Parker looks the same as she does now.

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer


Another movie I saw as a kid, this sci-fi adventure is pretty cool, but very much for kids. I don't think I'd like it as much today.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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