The Aviator is a 2004 American biographical epic drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, written by John Logan. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn, the supporting cast features Ian Holm, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law as Errol Flynn, Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow, Kelli Garner as Faith Domergue, Willem Dafoe, Alan Alda, and Edward Herrmann. Based on the 1993 non-fiction book Howard Hughes, The Secret Life by Charles Higham, the film depicts the life of Howard Hughes, the Aviator was released in the United States on December 25,2004. The film grossed $214 million at the box office, the movie is considered among Scorseses finest films and DiCaprios portrayal of Howard Hughes is regarded as one of the greatest performances of his career. In 1913 Houston, nine-year-old Howard Hughes mother gives him a bath and warns him about the recent cholera outbreak in Houston, fourteen years later, he begins to direct the film Hells Angels, and hires Noah Dietrich to manage the day-to-day operations of his business empire. After the release of The Jazz Singer, the first partially talking film, Hughes becomes obsessed with shooting his film realistically, despite the film being a hit, Hughes remains unsatisfied with the end result and orders the film to be recut after its Hollywood premiere. He becomes romantically involved with actress Katharine Hepburn, who helps to ease the symptoms of his worsening obsessive-compulsive disorder, in 1935, Hughes test flies the H-1 Racer, pushing it to a new speed record. Three years later, he breaks the record by flying around the world in four days. He subsequently purchases majority interest in Transcontinental & Western Air, Hepburn grows tired of Hughes eccentricity, and leaves him for fellow actor Spencer Tracy. Hughes quickly finds a new love interest with 15-year-old Faith Domergue, however, he still has feelings for Hepburn, and blackmails a reporter to keep reports about her and the married Tracy out of the press. Hughes secures a contract with the Army Air Forces for two projects, a spy aircraft and a transport unit. In 1946, with the Spruce Goose flying boat still in construction, Hughes finishes the XF-11 reconnaissance aircraft, however, one of the engines fails midflight, and the aircraft crashes in Beverly Hills, with Hughes getting severely injured. With the end of World War II, the army cancels its order for the H-4 Hercules, when he is discharged, he is informed that he must choose between funding the airlines or his flying boat. Hughes orders Dietrich to mortgage the TWA assets so he can continue the development, as his OCD worsens, Hughes becomes increasingly paranoid, planting microphones and tapping Gardners phone lines to keep track of her. The FBI searches his home for incriminating evidence of war profiteering, searching his possessions and, to his horror, Brewster privately offers to drop the charges if Hughes sells TWA to Trippe, but Hughes refuses. Hughes OCD symptoms become extreme, and he retreats into an isolated germ-free zone for three months, Trippe has Brewster summon him for a Senate investigation, certain that Hughes will not show up. Gardner visits him and personally grooms and dresses him in preparation for the hearing, an invigorated Hughes defends himself against Brewsters charges and accuses the senator of taking bribes from Trippe
Theatrical release poster
Hughes crashes in a field; screenshot showing the simulated bipack color film used in scenes depicting events before 1935.