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File:Aviator 5007.jpg

The Aviator is a 2004 biopic about Howard Hughes, a 20th century industrialist, film producer/director... and, well, aviator. Martin Scorsese directed it, and Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the titular character; the film also features Cate Blanchett (in her Academy Award winning role), Kate Beckinsale, and a bunch of really famous people playing other famous people.

The story documents the production of 1930's Hell's Angels, Hughes's relationship with Katharine Hepburn, and his ever-worsening obsessive-compulsive disorder. It won five out of eleven Oscar nominations, including Best Supporing Actress.

This film contains examples of:


 Glenn Odekirk: Howard, you really think they're gonna let you put out a whole movie just about tits?

Howard Hughes: Sure. Who doesn't like tits?


  Howard: Hey Odie! Take it easy!" (after telling him to fire a janitor because he was staring at him)

  • Jar Potty: Part of Howard's first major breakdown.
  • Kill It with Fire: Howard does this to all his clothes after Katharine leaves him, presumably to get rid of her germs.
  • Kinda Busy Here: Howard says this on the phone during an argument with Katharine.
  • Madness Mantra: One of the symptoms of Howard's OCD.
  • Mangst: Practically Howard Hughes's middle name, especially as he tries to combat the symptoms of his obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Man On Fire: when the XF-11 crashes.
  • Married to the Job: The reason Katharine Hepburn dumps Howard.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: We get to see Howard's mother plant the seeds of germophobia in his mind when he's a kid.
  • The Missus and the Ex: Howard goes to dinner at Katharine's parents' house; her ex-husband is inexplicably hanging out with her family. You can guess how that turns out.
  • Name's the Same/Similarly Named Works: This film has no connection with the 1985 Christopher Reeve film also titled The Aviator.
  • Neat Freak: Oh boy.
  • No Ending: As men in black suits start walking towards him (or at least he thinks they're walking towards him) he starts saying "The way of the future" repeatedly. Brief flashback, then he says "the way of the future" a few more times. Roll credits.
  • Playing Gertrude: Leo, much to his detriment. Seriously, the guy was two years after playing a 16-year-old Frank Abagnale in Catch Me If You Can to playing a late-thirties Howard Hughes. A case study in how make-up and good acting can only do so much.
  • Practical Voice Over:many scenes are narrated by news reports coming through a radio somewhere.
  • Precision F-Strike: Alec Baldwin's last line.
  • Pretty in Mink
  • The Professor: Howard thinks Professor Fritz should be like this, introducting him as a "mathematician" and expecting him to be able to improvise some legitimate-sounding BS despite being a meteorologist.
  • Psychotic Lover: Faith Domergue.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor In Sense: Howard thinks Katharine's family is this trope. Viewers might consider Howard to embody it as well.
  • Romance on the Set: This film depicts Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy hooking up on a movie set while she's still in a relationship with Howard; in reality, she and Howard had already broken up. See also Rule of Drama.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules: This is pretty much Howard's approach to every endeavor. "I've got a tiger by the tail here and I'm not about to let go!"
  • Sleazy Politician: Senator Brewster operates in the interest of Pan-Am so that he can be a committee chairman.
  • Smug Snake: By the time Senator Brewster is deliberately arranging a hotel room to set off Hughes' OCD, you'll hate him just as much as Hughes.
  • Super OCD: This is Howard's biggest obstacle, but the film also implies that the manic attention to detail made him a famous billionaire. Knowing his planes down to the last bolt, being able to figure out the math of a corporate takeover in minutes, keeping meticulous records to use during his Senate testimony; it may not have helped his social life, but it did make him a financial success.
  • Tabloid Melodrama: Averted when Howard bribes a paparazzo not to publish photos of Katharine Hepburn and the married Spencer Tracy cavorting on a boat.
  • Ticker Tape Parade: After his around-the-world flight.
  • Title Drop: Done by Hughes in the immediate aftermath of the XF-11 crash. Also demonstrates what he considered important at the moment.

 Hughs: I'm Howard Hughes... The aviator.