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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2004
Howard Hughes was definitely one of the most fascinating and eccentric Americans from the last century. This film does an excellent job of telling his story. What's really great about this documentary are the interviews with some of the people who were really close to Hughes, like his best friend. It's great to hear their first hand accounts of the man and his life. There's a ton of cool footage as well.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2004
You'll want to see this movie if you've seen the new Scorcese film. This one delivers great interviews with people close to Hughes, and fills your need for more background of this unusual life.

However, the producers have adopted some really hard-to-take conceits in presenting their material:

1. A really bogus "first person narration" device by some guy with a fake Texas accent. The writing of this narrative line is stilted, hackneyed and takes away from good content.

2. Overuse of a musical track. I used to like the song they used until they ran it into the ground.

3. "Dancing stills." The producers watched way too many Ken Burns documentaries.

The material itself is strong; Hughes' life story is dramatic enough. The excesses and melodrama used here take away from a real underlying story...
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2005
The Scorcese film was great. But there is nothing like the real thing, the real footage, the real McCoy. Hughes was an incredibly interesting man and this film covers a lot more of his life than the Hollywood Blockbuster does. It's amazing that after all these years, those who were close to him are still brought to tears when recalling Mr. Hughes. I thought the actor did a great job expressing Hughes' feelings throughout his adventures. The interviews were moving and the editing seamless and concise. A must for biography collectors!

I highly recommend this DVD.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Like many reviewers, my interest in Howard Hughes is ignited on account of Scorsese's engaging movie, "The Aviator", and I bought this DVD, along with Hell's Angels, from amazon.com, in a bid to heighten my knowledge base on the tragic mogul. However, this documentary was unduly disappointing. While it gave selected rare footages and interviews with Hughes' family/friend/business associates*, it was brief and did little to offer a well-rounded picture of Hughes' incredible life story. Conversely, Hell's Angels was good watching as it gave viewers a glimpse into Hughes' seriousness and dedication as a filmaker, like his insistence in doing his own stunts when no hired pilot would risk their lives for, amongst other technical details that went into making the movie an epic of its time.

As many reviewers would attest, the best way to learn about Hughes would be to peruse the best biographies out there, notably "Howard Hughes: His Life & Madness" by Donald L. Barlett and "Howard Hughes: The Untold Story" by Peter Harry Brown. These two books probably provided key background information to the screenplay of the exceptional cinematic depiction of Hughes' life. The difference is that "His Life & Madness" focussed more on Hughes' business dealings whilst "The Untold Story" zeroed in on his private persona & escapades, but both of which are well-researched page-turners, filling any gaping voids in our pursuit to complete the study of Hughes' life, feats and loves.

*The books may steer readers to the conclusion that certain interviewees may have been "convenient" with the truth. I shan't mention any names here but it was implicated that at least one of the so-called close aides/family of Hughes interviewed for the purpose of this DVD successfully got a slice of his empire/wealth by years of skilful, pre-meditated plotting. Curious? Read the books and be your own sleuth!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2005
This is a great documentary on the life of Howard Hughes. No lifespan can be fully covered in 110 minutes, so if you want every detail, I would suggest a book instead.

However, if you want the "big picture" - and Howard was big in more ways that one - then this is a great DVD. It briefly covers his boyhood and developing love for airplanes and flying, his movie-making business, world-record-setting flights for both speed and distance, and his business and military aircraft designs.

Interspersed with the first-person narration are interviews with personal friends, ex-wives and business partners. They seem genuinely moved at the memory of Howard, who turned out to be a reclusive, drug-addicted loner in the end.

No matter how strangely Howard lived his later years, he was a true aviation pioneer, made some very big contributions to the industry, and ended up giving his fortune to a medical/science fund.

On a side note, I actually stood on top of the flying boat (the "HK-1", called the "Hercules" but popularized as "the Spruce Goose" due to its wood construction) when it was on display in the dome at Long Beach. I knew the security person involved, and it was wholey unauthorized :-)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2005
Wasn't completely blown away by the documentary. IF you are a fan of his flying and ground breaking aircraft production, then the footage on this DVD is worth buying.

I agree with the other review, the narration w/ the texan accent and over use of old timers soundtrack makes the THE REAL AVIATOR not a classic or must have. If you are looking for tons of info about his death, vegas empire, etc then this DVD will not satify your appetite. The movie talks a lot about his life in aviation which made me buy it and watch it a lot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2007
On balance, a downer. With all this material, fantastic film footage from Hughes' heyday, it was very disappointing to listen to the fake "autobiographical" memoirs, which were both imaginary and poorly imagined. Besides being delivered in a voice and manner which in no way appeared to match the features, character or speech of the real man. The film, and the accompanying bits and pieces, are still interesting in spite of this, but one was constantly aware of how very much better the whole treatment could have been. There has to be a much better and more genuinely understanding account of Hughes' life out there somewhere. What does come across is that Hughes was a very likeable man, who came to an extremely tragic end.
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on February 5, 2014
Very nice product. I strongly recommend it and you will love it too. I am very happy with it because its very good.
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on January 31, 2015
Great Film...rare footage and My husband and I loved it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2007
I LOVED THIS DVD. I HAVE THE MOST RESPECT MR. HUGHES. HE WAS A MAN THAT WASN'T GIVEN THE RESPECT THAT HE TRUELLY DESERVED.HE WAS AND STILL IS THE REAL AVIATOR.HE LOVED FLYING.AND WATCHING THE DVD YOU WILL GET THE FEEL FOR THE PASSION JUST AS HE DID.HE WAS A HANDSOME, TALENTED MAN. THERE WILL NEVER BE ANYONE THAT CAN COMPARE TO THE MR. AMAZING HOWARD HUGHES. IF YOU ARE A FAN AND INTRESTED IN LEARNING MORE ON HUGHES THEN START HERE THEN WORK YOUR UP TO HIS BOOKS. STARTING WITH THE ONE WRITTEN BY MR.NOAH DIETRICH AND YOU'LL HAVE THE SAME PASSION AS HE DID FOR FLYING AND FOR MOVIES.. HOW COULD SOMEONE W/SO MUCH TALENT GET LESS THEN WHAT HE TRUELY DESERVES? BUY THIS DVD AND YOU'LL SEE EXCATLY WHAT I'M TRYING TO SAY.I AM A TRUE FAN OF HOWARD HUGHES.........
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