The Aviator

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The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future.
There's too much Howard Hughes in Howard Hughes. That's the trouble.
Tell him thanks for the flowers. And he can kiss... both sides... of my ass.
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?
Everybody works for you, Howard.
You see, Howard, we're not like everyone else. Too many acute angles. Too many... eccentricities. We have to be very careful not to let people in or they'll make us into freaks.

The Aviator is 2004 biographical film about the aviation pioneer Howard Hughes, following his life from the late 1920s through the 1940s, a time when Hughes was directing and producing Hollywood movies as well as test piloting his own groundbreaking new aircraft, all while dealing with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by John Logan, based on Charles Higham's book "Howard Hughes: The Secret Life".
Some men dream the future. He built it.taglines

Howard Hughes[edit]

  • Boy, you are just hittin' on all six cylinders aren't'cha? My God. Would you do me a favor and just...? Would you just smile for me one time, just once? Yeah, yeah, see you got a short upper lip...makes for a much nicer smile. See I wonder what gives a beautiful woman like you pleasure. I mean say you're just standing there, right and I- I just touch you. Just like this... see my fingertips. I mean, do you like that? Do you? See, I wanna learn what pleases you. I wanna learn everything about you. Would you let me do that? Would you give me that job?
  • Tell Jimmy I want ten chocolate chip cookies, medium chips, none too close to the outside.
  • She'll go faster.
  • The XF-11! She's a spy-plane really. Designed every inch of her myself. She's got a top speed of 350 which means she can outrun anything they throw against her. Yeah, after the Japs stole my H-1 design for their goddamn Zeroes I figure I'd better do 'em one better. Yeah, she's my Buck Rogers ship.
  • I'm Howard Hughes, the aviator.
  • (In front of the Motion Picture Censorship Board) Good to see you, Mr. Breen. Gentlemen, it's good to see you- I haven't seen you all since that issue with all the violence in Scarface. The problem here seems to revolve around Ms. Russell's mammaries, is that correct? Mr. Breen feels that they are too prominant, yes? More prominant than other mammaries have been up on the screen? Well... we hope to dispel that notion. Jean Harlow. Ann Sheridan. Irene Dunne. Claudette Colbert, Rita Hayworth, Bettie Grable... and the lovely Ms. Jane Russell. Now all of these photos- save for Ms. Russell's- have been enlarged from pictures that received Mr. Breen's seal of approval... and as you can see they all contain mammaries. At this point I'd like to introduce my assisstant, Dr. Ludlow Branson. Dr. Branson is a mathematician of some note...yes. And he will prove that, in fact, Ms. Russell's mammaries are no more prominant than any of these other fine ladies. Doctor? Doctor... you forgot your calipers.
  • Quarantine. Q-u-a-r-a-n-t-i-n-e. Quarantine.
  • Sh- Show me all the blueprints, Odie. Show me all the blueprints... (Lower) Show me all the blueprints. I'm serious now- show me all the blueprints... ... ... Show me all the bl- Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints. (clears throat) I wanna get it done right so show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints show me all the blueprints.
  • Orange juice has... nutritional value. There's some... flies... outside the window. Little Howard likes... citrus. Don't he just.
  • Tell Juan Trippe something for me. Tell him thanks for the flowers. And he can kiss... both sides... of my ass.
  • I this the dark. I have a place I can sleep. I have a chair. That's just beautiful. Oh, yeah. I like the desert. It's hot there in the desert, but it's clean. It's clean. I need to sleep. I should drink something first. I should have some... some milk. Wait a minute... what if that milk is sour? That milk is bad I shouldn't pick up the bottle with my right hand. And I shouldn't take the top off with my left...put it in my pocket. My left pocket.
  • I am supposed to be many things that are not complimentary. I am supposed to be capricious, I have been called a playboy, I have even been called an eccentric. But I do not believe I have the reputation of being a liar. Now, needless to say, the Hercules was a monumental undertaking; it is the largest plane ever built. It is over five stories tall with a wingspan longer than a football field, that is more than a city block! Now I put the sweat of my life into this thing, I got my reputation all rolled up in it, and I have stated several times that if the Hercules fails to fly, I will leave this country and never come back... and I mean it! Now, Senator Brewster, you can subpoena me, you can arrest me, you can even claim that I have folded and taken a run-out powder, but, well, I have had just about enough of this nonsense! Good day!
  • [to Katharine Hepburn] You come out of the blue and tell me you’re leavin' me and have you have the nerve to expect graciousness?!
  • The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future.

Katharine Hepburn[edit]

  • Do your worst, Mr. Hughes!
  • You see, Howard, we're not like everyone else. Too many acute angles. Too many... eccentricities. We have to be very careful not to let people in or they'll make us into freaks.
  • Ha! Men can't be friends with women. They must possess them or leave them be. It's a primitive urge from caveman days. It's all in Darwin: Hunt the flesh, kill the flesh, eat the flesh. That's the male sex all over.
  • Can't you eat ice cream out of a bowl like everyone else in the world?!
  • There's too much Howard Hughes in Howard Hughes. That's the trouble.

Noah Dietrich[edit]

  • Now, it's been a great ride. We've had a hell of a lot of fun. But you're losing $25,000 a day doing this. Every day.
  • Now I'm glad Jack is feeling so sunny about this, but I've seen the books. Now, I'm not just crying wolf this time; we're in serious trouble! You've gotta make a choice. You want to be bankrupted by the big plane or by the big airline?
  • You just placed the largest order for planes in the history of the damned planet, Howard!


Allene Hughes: Q-u-a-r-a-n-t-i-n-e.
Young Howard Hughes: Quarantine. Q-u-a-r-a-n-t-i-n-e. Quarantine.

Frank: You may be directing this movie, Howard. But what you're asking- we can't do it!
Howard: Don't tell me I can't do it; don't tell me it can't be done!
Frank: The gyro forces are too much here. You send these planes into simultaneous barrel roles they won't make it!
Howard: It's the goddamn climax of the picture Frank, all right, you make it work! Look decrease the vertical trajectory if you have to a Le Rhône rotary won't stall at 60 degrees- I've done it!
Advisor: Howard, we need to cut that sequence down, we don't have enough cameras.
Howard: No, no we're not cuttin' anything! I'll get those extra cameras, set up for rehearsal's in five!
[off-screen]: Howard, this is Mr. Dietrich.
Howard: Dietrich. You're a man on the come! I read your resume and talked to your references. You know what I'm lookin' for?!
Noah Dietrich: Well as I understand it you're looking for a second-in-command at Hughes Tools; someone to oversee the financial aspects of the business-
Howard: Yeah, I'm lookin' for somebody to run it and do a damn good job. Look, there's really only one thing you gotta know! My folks... they're gone now! So it's my money! Now what I choose to do with that money may seem crazy to those sons-a-bitches in Houston — and I'm sure as hell it does — but it all makes good sense to me, you got that?
Noah: Got it.
Howard: Good. Now you made what uh... five thousand dollars a year your last job; I'll pay you ten thousand!
Noah: Guess I'll be working twice as hard!
Howard: You'll be workin' four times as hard; I just got you half price, Mr. Dietrich. Welcome aboard. You're my voice now, make 'em understand that- look, some of those fine folks down there still callin' me Junior. You tell 'em its Mister Hughes now!
Noah: So when do we go to Houston?
Howard: We don't. Cholera epidemic in 1913, two thousand dead; whole place is nothin' but pestilential swamp. Typhus, malaria, cholera, yellow fever, you name it they got it. [gestures to the fleet] You see that, Mr. Dietrich? You are lookin' at the largest private air force in the entire world. What do you think of that, now?
Noah: Well... It's your money.
Howard: START 'EM UP!!!

Odie: Hey, you want the good news or the bad news?
Howard: Bad news, always.
Odie: Alright, we've installed the 450 radial, but the struts won't take the vibrations. [Gives Howard a magnifier to look at the strut] The minute we fire her up, the struts start cracking at the attach points.
Howard: Well, what's the good news?
Odie: There isn't any.
Howard: Goddamn it, Odie, if the 450's too big, we just gotta figure something else out.
Odie: Well, we've done everything. We've rebuilt her from top to toe. Now, if we drain the fuel tank for a couple of runs, she might make 180 MPH.
Howard: I want minimum 200, alright?
Odie: Yeah, well I want a date with Theda Bara, but that ain't gonna happen either.
Howard: Ah, don't be so sure...Well, if the struts won't sustain the engine, then maybe we get rid of the struts.
Odie: No, then the top wing falls off.
Howard: ...Then let it.
Odie: What?
Howard: Who-who says we need a top wing? Who says we need anything?
Odie: [Realizes what Howard's thinking] A monoplane...
Howard: A cantilevered monoplane, right? I mean, they're doing it in France. To hell with the top wing and the struts.
Odie: Put in a 550 Wasp engine...
Howard: 100 octane fuel, that would give us a top horsepower of what?
Odie: 700.
Howard: We squeeze that to 1,000, we've got the fastest plane ever built.
Odie: You know, I just gotta say, we've already spent over $200,000 rebuilding this plane.
Howard: Yeah, to hell with it. [Grabs a 2x4 and tosses it to Odie] Tear it up, Odie! Go on! [Odie swings the board at the struts, breaking them and the top wing]

Howard: I've been to Chatsworth, Santa Cruz, Encino, San Diego, Riverside, Van Nuys, and Bakersfield. It has been eight months! Where are my goddamn clouds, huh?
Professor Fitz: [shouting in frustration] They move, Mr. Hughes! Clouds move — that's what they do! They move!

Professor Fitz: Mr. Hughes! Mr. Hughes! Oakland! There are clouds in Oakland!
Howard: You're serious this time?
Professor Fitz: Yes! Goddammit, yes. I can promise you, clouds in Oakland.
Howard: Alright, alright. Don't get jittery on me. [Turns to his crew] OAKLAND! WE'RE GOING TO OAKLAND!

Katharine Hepburn: Well, if you're deaf, you must own up to it. Get a hearing aid, or see my father. He's an urologist, but it's all tied up inside the body, don't you find?
Howard: Mmm.
Katharine: Me, I keep healthy. I take seven showers a day to keep clean, also because I'm so vulgarly referred to as "outdoors-y." Well, I'm not "outdoors-y," I'm athletic. I sweat! There it is, now we both know the sordid truth: I sweat, and you're deaf. Aren't we a fine pair of misfits?

Howard: I feel like a little adventure.
Katharine: Do your worst, Mr. Hughes!

Katharine: Howard's building a new aeroplane.
Ms. Hepburn: Luddie built a birdhouse once!

[Howard runs out of fuel trying to push his H-1 Racer faster. It crash-lands in a field. Odie and the rest of the engineers rush to the field, an ambulance following close behind, expecting the worst. Odie sees Howard casually relaxing against the plane, writing notes]
Odie: Howard! Howard!
Howard: How'd we do?
Odie: [Breathless] ...352 on the last run! [Gives a chuckle of relief. Howard smiles]
Howard: She'll go faster.

Jack Frye: So you want me to bribe senators?
Howard: I don't want them bribed, Jack. I want it done legally. I want them bought.

Katharine: I've been famous - for better or worse - for a long time now... I wonder if you know what that really means.
Howard: I got my fair share of press on Hell's Angels. I'm used to it.
Katharine: Are you? Howard, we're not like everyone else. Too many acute angles. Too many eccentricities. We have to be very careful not to let people in or they'll make us into freaks.
Howard: Kate, they can't get in here. We're safe.
Katharine: They can always get in. When my brother killed himself there were photographers at the funeral. There's no decency to it.
Howard: [suddenly distraught] Sometimes... I get these feelings, Katie. I get these ideas, these umm... crazy ideas about (clears throat)... things that may not... um (clears throat)... things that may not really be there.
Katharine: [concerned] Uh-huh...
Howard: Sometimes I truly fear that I am... losing my mind. And if I did, it... it would be like flying blind.
[Katherine takes his face in her hands]
Katherine: You taught me to fly, remember? I'll take the wheel.

Glenn Odekirk: Howard, you really think they're gonna let you put out a whole movie just about tits?
Howard Hughes: [beat] Sure. Who doesn't like tits?

Howard: [clearing his throat, looking at a cleaner] Ode?
Ode: Hm?
Howard: That man sweeping up over there, does he work for me? I mean, have you seen him before?
Ode: His name's Nick, something like that.
Howard: Why's he looking at me?
Ode: I dunno.
Howard: Fire him, and make sure they use damp brooms from now on. Respiratory diseases are expensive and I don't want a bunch of damned lawsuits.
Ode: Okay, but can we at least proceed with the instrument panel we discussed? The tool shops are ready to go...
Howard: No, I want to see the blueprints again.
Ode: Look Howard, the deadline is now completely unrealistic. At this rate, the war's gonna be over by the time she's done. Now, I need you here to help consult on vital decisions and you're off, dealing with movies. You got a thousand goddamned workers waiting for you to make a decision here...
Howard: HEY, Ode! Take it easy. Alright? I understand you're under a lot of pressure, but it's gonna do me no good if you crack up on me like that. Alright? Look, take a couple hours off, alright? Just relax a little.
Ode: Okay.
Howard: See your wife.
Ode: Okay.
Howard: Be sure to show me all the blueprints.
Ode: Alright.
Howard: [to himself] Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints. [to Ode] I'm serious now, Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blue-Show me all the blueprints
Ode:[chuckles] Howard...
Howard: Show me all the blueprints! Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints. [clears his throat] I want to get this done right so show me all the blueprints. [looking upset] Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints, show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints
Ode:[concerned] Howard...
Howard:[Backing away] Show me all the blueprints Show me all the blueprints. Show me all the blueprints Show me all the blueprints Show me all the blueprints Show me all the blueprints Show me all the blueprints Show me all the blueprints [Raises his finger as if to say "Excuse me" and takes off running]

Doctor: [after detailing Howard's terrible injuries in the plane crash] He's getting blood transfusions now, but, uh...
Noah: Whose blood?
Doctor: I'm sorry?
Noah: Whose blood?
Doctor: From our stock.
Noah: Oh, he's not gonna like that.
Doctor: Mr. Dietrich... I doubt he's ever going to like or dislike anything again. I'm terribly sorry.

Howard: You want to go to war with me?
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: It's not me, Howard. It's the United States Government. We just beat Germany and Japan. Who the hell are you?

Howard: If that shit-ass thinks he owns the entire goddamn world he's got another thing comin'!
Jack: Juan Trippe is smart. We oughta think about Mexico.
Howard: Oh, the hell with Mexico, Jack! No one airline should have a monopoly on flyin' the Atlantic! For Christ's sake, it just isn't fair! Look, he owns Pan-Am. He owns Congress, he owns the Civil Aeronautics Board, but he does not own the sky! We are in a street-fight with that sonuvabitch now and I'm not gonna lose; I been fightin' high-hat, Ivy League pricks like him my whole goddamn life!

Ava Gardner: You listened to my phone calls?
Howard: No! No! No! Honey, I would never do that! I'd never do that! I... I just read the transcripts, that's all.

Howard: Does that look clean to you?
Ava Gardner: Nothing's ever clean, Howard. But we all do our best, right?

Howard: Will you marry me?
Ava Gardner: You're too crazy for me.

Howard: I'll put this very simply. On February 12th, at the Mayflower Hotel, did you or did you not tell me that if I were to sell TWA to Pan Am that this entire investigation would be called off?
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: No, I did not, and I have asked you repeatedly to submit your questions in writing.
Howard: How long have you known Juan Trippe, Senator?
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: I've known Mr. Trippe for some time now, and that's not the question here.
Howard: Is it not true that Juan Trippe donated $20,000 to your last campaign? I mean, he spoke to me as if you worked for him.
[Murmurs spread through the court]
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: I have a personal friendship with Mr. Trippe, but--
Howard: Is it not true you accept free tickets from Pan Am, so you can circle the globe in support of your C.A.B. bill?
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: No, no, it is not true.
Howard: Well, who wrote that bill, Senator?
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: No, we're asking questions--
Howard: Who actually wrote the C.A.B. bill? The actual words in the bill. Did you write them?
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: This is not how these hearings are going be conducted, Mr. Hughes--
Howard: I have it right here. Maybe it'll refresh your memory. "Bill S-987 to amend the Civil Aeronautics Act." Now, you introduced this bill to the Senate. [looking through the pages] Lotta words. You write all of them? Did you write any of them, Senator?
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: Now, look, Mr. Hughes--
Howard: Now, this entire bill was written by Pan Am executives and designed to give that airline a monopoly on international travel. And you've been flogging this bill all around the world on their behalf, have you not?
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: I have duties that take me all over the world, Mr. Hughes.
Howard: Oh, what the hell does a senator from Maine need to visit Peru for?
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: I was-- I was seeking outlets for our trade-- our trade goods.
Howard: Ah. Buy a lotta lobsters down there, do they?
[People in the court laugh]
Howard: Senator Brewster, how many times have you visited Juan Trippe's office in New York in the last three months? Huh? Would you like me to tell you, Senator?
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: All right, this has gone on long enough. Juan Trippe is a great American. His airline has advanced the cause of commercial aviation in this country for decades. Juan Trippe is a patriot. Juan Trippe is not a man who is interested in making money.
Howard: Hm. Well, I'm sure his stockholders would be happy to hear that.
[People laugh again]

Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: Mr. Hughes, did you receive $43 million to manufacture one hundred XF-11 spy planes for the United States Air Force?
Howard: I did.
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: How many functional planes did you deliver to the United States Air Force.
Howard: None.
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: Would you lean a little closer to the microphone, sir?
Howard: [Leans in, annoyed] None!
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: Did you receive $13 million to manufacture a prototype of a flying boat known as The Hercules?
Howard: I did.
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: And did you deliver that plane?
Howard: I did not.
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: So, by your admission in this chamber, Mr. Hughes, you have received $56 million from the United States government...for planes you never delivered?
Howard: That is correct.
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: [Barely containing his delight] Well, excuse me for asking, Mr. Hughes, but where did all that money go?
Howard: Well, it went into the planes, Mr. Senator, and a lot more.
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: More? [chuckles] Do tell, Mr. Hughes. What other larcenies did you commit?
Howard: I mean, I put my money into these planes, Senator. My money. See, the thing is–
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: Mr. Hughes, your personal finances are–are not–
Senator: [quietly, to Brewster] Let him speak.
Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster: Alright, proceed, Mr. Hughes.
Howard: See, the thing is, I care very much about aviation. It has been the great joy of my life. That's why I put my own money into these planes and I've lost millions, Senator Brewster, and I'll go on losing millions. It's just... what I do. Now, if I've lost a lot of the government's money during the war, well, I hope folks will put that into perspective. You see, more than 60 other airplanes ordered from such firms as Lockheed, Douglas, Northrup and Boeing never saw action either. In all, more than $800 million was spent during the war on planes that never flew. Over $6 billion on other weapons that were never delivered. Yet, Hughes Aircraft, with her $56 million, is the only firm under investigation here today. Now, I cannot help but think that has a little more to do with TWA than planes that did not fly!

[Juan Trippe has just seen Howard's triumph at the Senate hearings on TV]
Juan Trippe: [to an employee] Switch it off.
Pan-Am Employee: The hearings aren't over yet.
Juan Trippe: The hearings are over. The airline bill will be defeated in the Senate. TWA will begin flights over New York to Paris, leaving over Moscow to Japan, to Hawaii, to Los Angeles... to New York. Fuck!

Howard: Do you know those men? Do they work for me?
Noah: Everybody works for you, Howard.


  • Some men dream the future. He built it.
  • For some men, the sky was the limit. For him, it was just the beginning.
  • Imagine a life without limits.


External links[edit]

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