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The Rocketeer
The Rocketeer
Actors: Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino
Director: Joe Johnston
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
PG     1999     1hr 48min

The discovery of a top-secret jetpack hurls test pilot Cliff Secord into a daring adventure of mystery, suspense, and intrigue! Cliff encounters an assortment of ruthless villains, led by a Hollywood screen star who's a se...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino
Director: Joe Johnston
Creators: Charles Gordon, Dave Stevens, Larry J. Franco, Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, William Dear
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Superheroes, Indie & Art House, 7-9 Years, 10-12 Years, Adapted from Books, Family Films, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/17/1999
Original Release Date: 06/21/1991
Theatrical Release Date: 06/21/1991
Release Year: 1999
Run Time: 1hr 48min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 35
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Great movie, terrible transfer
classicmoviefan | Rancho Mirage, CA | 02/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This movie is clearly a five star film. It's exciting, fun, adventurous and great for kids, but also for adults! The photography is great, sets and costumes are authentic, and the acting is first rate. HOWEVER, this has got to be the worst DVD transfer I have ever seen. It looks to me like they took a widescreen 72 mm print and projected it on a screen, then rephotographed it on 35 mm... no kidding. Nearly every letterbox film I have goes from one side of my flat panel monitor to the other. This one is well within all 4 sides of my monitor... and the color is milky and faded and there is a grainy character to the picture. The sound is clearly stereophonic and wonderful... so why Disney can put out an amateur transfer like this is beyond me. Having said that, the film is not expensive and I still recommend it.... but Disney needs to re-release a clear transfer of this wonderful film. I will be worried about the quality of future Disney and Miramax films on DVD if this is how they are going to be released."
Top notch movie lousy DVD transfer
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 01/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Based on Dave Stevens' graphic novel (which was inspired by "King of the Rocketmen" a movie serial from the 40's), this retro fantasy is a blast (pardon the pun). Unfortunately, the DVD transfer is not so hot. Director Joe Johnston ("October Sky", "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" and "Jurassic Park III")does a nice job with this feature film recreating the look of Hollywood in 1938.

Cliff Secord (Bill Campbell) and "Peevy" (Alan Arkin) have put together a cutting edge stunt plane. During a test flight the plane is destroyed in an accident involving the FBI and the Mob. It seems the Mob has stolen a revolutionary rocket packet designed by Howard Hughes (the great Terry O'Quinn)which the U.S. wants to use for military purposes. Unfortunately, so do the Nazi's who hired Mob kingpin Eddie Valentine (Paul Sorvino) to steal it. Secord accidently comes into possession of the rocket pack and suddenly everyone from Hollywood actor/Nazi agent Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton) to the FBI want to catch him and retrieve it.

This is a fun witty film of the graphic novel. The DVD transfer looks so-so. The image is frequently too dark and there's lots of digital artifacts (aliasing, etc.) that mar the picture. Presented in widescreen, it's not enhanced for 16x9 sets and doesn't appear to be an anamorphic transfer either. Why does all that matter? Because on a widescreen TV it would have enhanced and improved the picture quality making it look sharp, vivid and alive. The original theatrical trailer is the only extra. I don't know if Disney has any immediate plans to reissue this but if you do purchase it, be aware that it doesn't look all that great on DVD because of the transfer by Disney.

I'm hoping that Disney will be reissuing this terrific movie because it certainly deserved it. Unfortunately, the film with its loopy charm and srong performances didn't get the audience it deserved and died at the box office. Disney, get off your duff and reissue this as a two DVD Special Edition as it deserves!"
A Wonderful Ride!
Stephen Reginald | Chicago, IL United States | 08/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Rocketeer is one of the most enjoyable action-adventure movies ever made. Everything about this film is wonderful. Director Joe Johnson perfectly captures the look and feel of Hollywood (or what Hollywood should look and feel like) during the 1930s. Great casting with Bill Campbell right on target at Cliff Secord, Jennifer Connelly as his best girl, Jenny Blake, Alan Arkin as Cliff's mentor and mechanic/inventor friend, and Timothy Dalton as the evil Nazi spy-movie star Neville Sinclair. Like Raiders of the Lost Ark, it is a homage to the film serials of the period, but with a lot more spit and polish. The special effects are great, the set decoration, costumes, makeup, all evoke the time and place perfectly. A wonderful script adapted from the graphic novel of the same name sets this movie apart from others in this genre. The dialogue is funny, fast and at sometimes furious. Campbell plays the All-American boy with a real gee whiz, almost Jimmy Stewart kind of charm. The plot about a secret plan by the Nazis to build rocket packs for an army of "Rocketeers" to take over the world is added and abetted by Dalton as the Errol Flynn-like movie star. When a prototype rocket pack accidentally ends up in the hands of Campbell and Arkin, the action, and their troubles, really start. This film is filled with dozens of wonderful characterizations. Some of the best are Paul Sorvino as gangster Eddie Valentine, Terry O'Quinn as Howard Hughes, and Tiny Ron as Lothar. The musical score by James Horner is outstanding. It's heroic, quiet and inspiring. Why this film didn't turn out to be the big blockbuster it should have been is beyond me. I love Raiders of the Lost Ark, but this film matches it in almost every category. One of my favorite modern films, I never tire of watching it. Perfect entertainment and perfect for all ages. The Rocketeer is a real winner."
"The Rock-a-who?"
Emily Todd | USA | 02/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The Rocketeer" is a wonderfully nostalgic gem of a movie that giddily embodies the spirit of Old-Hollywood adventure. Unfortunately, its charms were completely lost on this jaded generation. It wasn't a big box office success and thus squashed the producer's hopes of turning "The Rocketeer" into an ongoing series, something that I will forever be upset by.

Set in 1934 Los Angeles, director Joe Johnston ("Jumanji", "Jurassic Park III", "Hidalgo") has created a truly flawless, old-fashioned adventure. Our hero is Cliff Secord (Bill Campbell), a flying ace who comes into possession of a stolen rocket pack designed by Howard Hughes (Terry O'Quinn). They don't know where it came from, but they soon find out that both the feds and the mob are looking for it and are willing to kill for it. While they decide what they are going to do with it, Cliff is forced to use it to rescue a pilot in trouble during an airshow. He straps on the jetpack and a helmet designed by his friend Peevy (Alan Arkin) which not only protects him, but serves as a handy superhero-identity-concealer.

Cliff barely manages to rescue the pilot, while hundreds of awe-struck spectators cheer him on. He quickly makes headlines, and tinsel town is aquiver with rumors of "The Rocketeer". Everyone knows about him, except for his girlfriend Jenny (Jennifer Connelly). When he tells her "I have a secret. I'm the Rocketeer!" she confusedly responds "The Rock-a-who?"

The main villain who wants to get his hands on the rocket is handsome, charismatic film star Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton), an obvious parody of Errol Flynn. This parody of Flynn and the film's ability to tie together many aspects of 1930's-40's pop-culture is its greatest strength. Drawing heavily on Hollywood icons, then-contemporary world events, and on aviation history, you'll find yourself completely immersed in this 1930's world and wishing you could've lived then."