The Rocketeer

Last Updated on: October 18th, 2023

the rocketeer touchstone movie

“The Rocketeer” is a superhero action-adventure film released by Touchstone Pictures in 1991. Directed by Joe Johnston and based on the comic book created by Dave Stevens, the film is set in 1938 Los Angeles and follows the story of a young pilot named Cliff Secord (played by Billy Campbell).

Cliff discovers a mysterious rocket pack hidden in his plane, and with the help of his engineer friend, Peevy (played by Alan Arkin), he modifies it into a high-flying jetpack. The rocket pack was originally created by Howard Hughes and stolen by gangsters, who are now after Cliff to get it back.

As Cliff dons the rocket pack and becomes the Rocketeer, he finds himself in the middle of a thrilling adventure involving Nazi spies, a glamorous actress named Jenny Blake (played by Jennifer Connelly), and a sinister Hollywood actor turned villain, Neville Sinclair (played by Timothy Dalton).

“The Rocketeer” is a delightful blend of action, adventure, and classic Hollywood charm. Set in the era of golden-age Hollywood, the film captures the essence of the 1930s with its stunning production design and art deco visuals. It pays homage to the adventure serials and pulp comics of that time while adding a touch of modern superhero sensibilities.

The movie features exhilarating aerial stunts and thrilling action sequences, as the Rocketeer soars through the skies to save the day and protect his friends from the clutches of evil. With its charismatic lead and a strong supporting cast, the film brings a sense of nostalgia and wonder, appealing to both young and adult audiences alike.

“The Rocketeer” is a rare gem that perfectly balances family-friendly entertainment with exciting action and witty humor. It may not have been a huge box office success upon release, but it has since become a beloved cult classic, cherished for its heart, nostalgia, and the sheer joy of watching a regular person transform into a daring hero. The film remains an enduring favorite among fans of superhero films and vintage adventure stories.


Fun Facts

  • “The Rocketeer” is a 1991 superhero film directed by Joe Johnston. It is based on the comic book series of the same name by Dave Stevens.
  • The film is set in 1938 and tells the story of Cliff Secord, a young pilot who discovers a mysterious rocket-powered jet pack and becomes a superhero known as The Rocketeer.
  • The Rocketeer’s iconic helmet design was inspired by various sources, including World War II aviation helmets and the design of the Flash Gordon character.
  • The film’s screenplay was co-written by Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, who were also responsible for developing the story for the popular ’80s TV series “The Flash.”
  • In a nod to classic Hollywood, “The Rocketeer” features Timothy Dalton as Neville Sinclair, a suave and charismatic actor who is secretly a Nazi spy. Dalton had previously portrayed James Bond in “The Living Daylights” and “Licence to Kill.”
  • Jennifer Connelly plays the role of Jenny Blake, Cliff Secord’s love interest. Her character is a homage to the “scream queens” of 1930s and ’40s films.
  • The film received positive reviews from critics, who praised its nostalgic charm, visual effects, and the performance of Alan Arkin as Cliff Secord’s mentor, Peevy.
  • “The Rocketeer” was not a huge commercial success upon its initial release but has gained a dedicated fan following over the years, with many appreciating its homage to the classic adventure serials of the era.
  • The Rocketeer’s jet pack was created using a combination of practical effects and visual effects. The rocket pack prop was built to withstand fire and explosions, and wires were used to help the actors simulate flight during certain scenes.
  • Despite not becoming a major franchise, “The Rocketeer” has endured as a beloved cult classic. It inspired merchandise, comics, and an animated series that aired in 2019, titled “The Rocketeer: The Animated Series.”
The Rocketeer


Additional Details

Cast

  • Billy Campbell: Cliff Secord/The Rocketeer
  • Jennifer Connelly: Jenny Blake
  • Alan Arkin: A. “Peevy” Peabody
  • Timothy Dalton: Neville Sinclair
  • Terry O’Quinn: Howard Hughes
  • Ed Lauter: Fitch
  • James Handy: “Wooly” Wolinski
  • Paul Sorvino: Eddie Valentine
  • Jon Polito: Otis Bigelow
  • William Sanderson: Skeets
  • Margo Martindale: Millie
  • John Lavachielli: Rusty
  • Clint Howard: Mark
  • Melora Hardin: South Seas Singer
  • Rick Overton: South Seas Patron
  • Max Grodénchik: Wilmer
  • Tiny Ron Taylor: Lothar
  • Eddie Jones: Malcolm
  • Don Pugsley: Goose
  • Nada Despotovich: Irma
  • America Martin: Patsy
  • Michael Milhoan: Jeff
  • Daniel O’Shea: Mike
  • Joe D’Angerio: Stevie
  • Tommy J. Huff: Lenny
  • Pat Crawford Brown: Mrs. Pye
  • Paul DeSouza: Pauly
  • Gene Daily: Clark Gable
  • Bob Leeman: W.C. Fields
  • Julian Barnes: Charlie

Crew

  • Director: Joe Johnston
  • Producers: Charles Gordon, Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin
  • Screenplay: Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo
  • Music: James Horner

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About the Author

Craig Smith
I am founder and editor of DisneyNews.us. My passion for all things Disney goes pretty far back to my first trip to Walt Disney World in the mid-80's. I have since returned to the magical place more than 20 times. I started this site when I came to the realization that I spent a significant portion of my day reading articles about Disney and watching Disney content with my 8-year old, so it made sense that I would start sharing some of what I read and see and building a little community around it. Other interests include 80's nostalgia, vintage toys, video games, LEGO, Star Wars and tech gadgets. Other sites include DMR and VideoGamesStats.com.