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USA: Miramax Films
UK: Buena Vista International (UK)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, John C Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Ian Holm, Danny Huston, Gwen Stefani, Jude Law, Adam Scott, Matt Ross, Kelli Garner, Frances Conroy, Brent Spiner, Stanley Desantis, Edward Herrmann, Willem Dafoe, Kenneth Walsh, J C Mackenzie, Jacob Davich, Amy Sloan, Sam Hennings, Joe Chrest, Rufus Wainwright, Harry Standjofski, Vincent J Giordano, Josie Maran, Justin Shilton, Arthur Holden, Raymond Ducasse, Joseph Reidy, Ste' Phane Demers, Yves Jacques, Loudon Wainwright, Jason Cavalier, Chris Ufland, Al Dubois, Alan Toy, Sebastian Tillinger, Francesca Scorsese, Charlotte Scott, James Bradford, Joe Cobden, Linda Smith, Alan Fawcett, Jordan St James, David Purdham, Kevin O'Rourke, Lisa Bronwyn Moore, Emma Campbell, Martha Wainwright, Vincent Laresca, Matt Holland, Dennis St John, Keith Campbell, Al Vandecruys, James Rae, Kathleen McAuliffe, Nellie Sciutto, Terry Haig, James McNamara, John Koensgen, Vladimir Kuznetsov Smith, Mark Akeson, Jason Pollard
Director: Martin Scorsese
Countries: USA / Japan
USA & UK: 169 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, nudity, language and a crash sequence
UK Certificate: 12A contains one use of strong language and a moderate scene of injury
USA Release Date: 24 December 2004
USA Release Date: 17 December 2004 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 6 January 2005
UK Release Date: 26 December 2004 (Limited Release - London, West End)
"I am by nature a perfectionist and I seem to have trouble allowing anything to go through in half-perfection condition. If I made any mistake it was in working too hard and in doing too much of it with my own hands."
-- Howard Hughes
One of the most compelling figures of the 20th century, Howard Hughes was an influential innovator, savvy industrialist, glamorous motion picture producer and quintessential American risk-taker - but he thought of himself first and foremost as an aviator. With THE AVIATOR, director Martin Scorsese focuses his storytelling lens on the most prolific period of Hughes' life: the period from the mid-1920s through the 1940s, when Hughes' daring-do and passion for flight drove his pioneering efforts in both aviation and the movies. A time of rampant invention, turbulent love affairs and savage corporate battles, this was also the time when Howard Hughes' high-flying ambitions first met with the costs of fame, fortune and his own obsession with perfection.
In making this film about a man fascinated by technology and driven by dreams of the future, Martin Scorsese used cinematic innovations to recreate the reality of Hughes' world. Merging digital technology with classic techniques of lighting, costuming, set design and miniatures from the 20s, 30s and 40s, Scorsese and team have painstakingly forged the look of THE AVIATOR to resemble how the film might have appeared to audiences had it been shot in the two-strip and three-strip Technicolor of Hughes' heyday. The result brings Scorsese's modern aesthetic to a viscerally alive American past.
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Howard Hughes, who, just barely out his teens, makes the maverick decision to use his inherited fortune from his father's drill bit company to film a World War I dogfight-themed epic, "Hell's Angels." Bucking the Hollywood system as an independent producer, Hughes sets out to make a movie unlike any other, performing his own outrageous aerial stunts, designing special aircraft and racking up the largest feature film budget in history. A roaring success, "Hell's Angels" plunges the still boyish Howard Hughes beyond fortune into celebrity.
After founding Hughes Aircraft Company and boldly shattering several speed records, Hughes becomes the most famous American flyer since Charles Lindbergh, a mythic figure imbued with an aura of excitement, mystery and glamour. In the 1930s, Hughes takes over the airliner TWA, and begins efforts to usher America into the Jet Age - while developing audacious plans to build the largest plane in the world, the flying boat known as The Hercules. Yet the man celebrated for his wealth, his daredevil brilliance, his romantic dalliances and his spirited pursuit of the future cannot seem to escape the corrupting forces of his personal compulsions no matter how fast or high he flies.
THE AVIATOR explores not only the achievements but the emotional life of Howard Hughes, including his love affairs with two Hollywood legends: the elegant, Yankee-bred leading lady Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett) and the luminous screen beauty Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale); as well as Hughes' fierce competition with Pan American's visionary head Juan Trippe (Alec Baldwin); his life-long relationship with his right-hand man Noah Dietrich (John C Reilly); his public battles with Senator Owen Brewster (Alan Alda); and the devastating airplane crash and phobias that led him to ultimately withdraw from the world.