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The Rocketeer Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The Rocketeer is mostly an example of pop moviemaking at its most derivative.

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  • 70

    out of 100


    Newcomer Campbell exhibits the requisite grit and all-American know-how, but the lead role is written with virtually no humor or subtext. Those around him come off to better advantage, notably Dalton as the deliciously smooth, insidious Sinclair; Sorvino and Alan Arkin, with the latter as the Rocketeer’s mentor; Terry O’Quinn as Hughes; and the lovely, voluptuous Connelly.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The movie lacks the wit and self-mocking irony of the Indiana Jones movies, and instead seems like a throwback to the simple-minded, clean-cut sensibility of a less complicated time. That doesn’t mean The Rocketeer is not entertaining. But adjustments are necessary to enjoy it.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The Rocketeer may not be perfect, but it's an excellent example of how to adapt a comic book to the screen.

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  • See all The Rocketeer reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 11+

More style than substance -- but fun, if gun-heavy, action.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie based on the graphic novel by Dave Stevens can get pretty violent. There are plenty of car chases, aviation disasters, gun fights, and explosions. A mobster holds a character's head close to a restaurant grill, but doesn't cause injury. The bad guys are killed off mainly by gunfire, with the exception of the two nastiest characters who are burned to death. There's some mild language (mostly "damn" and "hell") and sexual content too as a drugged heroine is revived and (unsuccessfully) seduced in the villain's bedroom. Kids will get a bit of a history lesson with the movie's depictions of Howard Hughes and W. C. Fields and a classic newsreel shown in a theater.

  • Families can talk about action movies as a genre. What makes for a good action film? Are they limited in any way?
  • How is Jenny like most damsels in distress in action movies? How is she different?
  • Families who enjoy the Iron Man movies can compare them to this film. How are the heroes different?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Good against evil plays a part here in pre-war 1938, although in real life the original plan for the rocket invention was not for use in the war.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: When Cliff finds the rocket he just wants to "borrow" it to make some money and fix his plane, but has to find his inner hero when Jenny is kidnapped. Mafia men turn suddenly patriotic when they find out they're working for a Nazi.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Plenty of car chases, aviation disasters, quick fist fights, gunfire (a house is practically turned into Swiss cheese), and explosions. A mobster holds a character's head close to a restaurant grill, but doesn't cause injury. Evildoers are killed off mainly by gunfire and falling from great heights, with the exception of the two nasty characters who are incinerated by an exploding rocket pack and a burning zeppelin. Jenny is knocked out with chloroform and kidnapped.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Some romantic kisses. Lots of lingering shots of cleavage as the drugged heroine is revived and (unsuccessfully) seduced in the villain's bedroom; she escapes his lustful clutches by knocking him out cold with a vase. W.C. Fields says he's "doubly charmed" as he leers at Jenny's cleavage.

  • language false2

    Language: Lots of "hell" and "damn" and "dammit" plus one "son-of-a-bitch" and one "bloody," but nothing stronger. Germans are called "Krauts" and Neville is called a "Limey."  

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some light smoking of cigars and cigarettes. Champagne is toasted and talked about.