[[quoteright:301:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Rocketeermovieposter.jpg]]

A 1991 {{Disney}} [[note]]released as ''Walt Disney Pictures'' in North America and ''Creator/TouchstonePictures'' overseas[[/note]] live-action film, adapted from [[ComicBook/TheRocketeer Dave Stevens' series of comic books]], ''The Rocketeer'' follows the adventures of its titular hero: stunt pilot Cliff Secord, who uses a serendipitously found experimental rocket pack to fight crime in [[TheThirties 1938]] UsefulNotes/LosAngeles.

It was nominated for a Hugo in 1992, but lost to ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay''.

Although never reaching the same heights of popularity of other comic book films (including its contemporaries), this movie's fandom is still quite strong today, and the film has aged rather well. Its director Creator/JoeJohnston would later helm the vastly more succesful comic book film ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger''.

On another note entirely, its primary musical theme by Music/JamesHorner, Take Off, is practically [[RecycledTrailerMusic a movie trailer standard]].
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!!Provides examples of:
* AccentRelapse: Neville Sinclair speaks perfect English during the whole movie -- until he is [[spoiler:exposed as a Nazi spy, after which he reverts to speaking in a German accent]].
* AcePilot: played straight with Cliff, a stunt pilot; subverted with Malcolm, allegedly a WorldWarOne ace, but now in his dotage.
* ActionSurvivor: Cliff.
* AdaptationalAttractiveness: In the comics, Peevy was quite older. Oddly, movie Peevy looks like how Malcolm (the pilot Cliff saves) looked in the comic, while movie Malcolm is elderly like comic Peevy.
* AdaptationalBadass: Cliff Secord between the comic book (in which he was assisted by other pulp heroes) and the movie (which he actually saved other people, mostly by himself).
* AdaptationDistillation: The movie is very true to the tone and style of the original comic, although for obvious reasons, Dave Stevens' fanservice drawings of women in skimpy clothing didn't quite make the cut.
* AllPartOfTheShow: Said word for word when the Rocketeer first appears, and saves bumbling pilot Malcolm from fiery death. However, the airfield owner saying that has a hard time keeping up that line as the crashing plane destroys ''another'' of his fuel trucks.
* AlternateHistory / AlternateUniverse: But only ''slightly'' so. Everything's mostly the same as it was in our 1938, [[spoiler:except Howard Hughes has invented a jetpack, the Germans still use zeppelins, and the Hollywoodland sign ends up losing the "-land" eleven years early.]]
** The later parts of the movies also hint of [[spoiler:WorldWarII starting off differently and the rocket's blueprints technically out in the open.]]
* AluminumChristmasTrees: Believe it or not, ridiculously-shaped buildings like the Bulldog Cafe really ''did'' exist; they were something of a fad in midcentury UsefulNotes/LosAngeles. Perhaps the most famous is the Brown Derby restaurant, a stars' hangout in old-time Hollywood and the place where the Cobb salad was invented. Since they were built for novelty, not durability, most are gone--but a handful survive, most notably [[http://randys-donuts.com/frame.html Randy's Donuts]] of Inglewood, which is shaped like a giant donut.
* AreWeGettingThis: At the airshow. The cameraman may not know ''what'' it is, but he is getting it.
* [[AscendedFanboy Ascended Fangirl]] / BrokenPedestal: Jenny is a huge fan of Neville Sinclair until she sees he's a creep. [[spoiler:And a Nazi spy.]]
* BadBadActing: "O my sweet prince, that I may drink of your lips as deeply!" The second take was better...
* BehindTheBlack: Almost literally, as the ''Luxembourg'' suddenly looms out of the night from behind the Griffith Observatory.
* BeMyValentine: "100% American" Eddie Valentine, played with cuddly menace by Paul Sorvino.
** [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by [[spoiler:Sinclair, after they each turn their back on the other, when he is about to leave with Jenny]] and taunts, "Goodbye, Eddie. Happy Valentine's Day." This is followed by the arrival of...
* BigDamnHeroes: Cliff and the gangsters are all held at gunpoint by [[spoiler:Nazi paratroopers, about to be mowed down at Sinclair's orders, as he leaves with Jenny as his hostage. Suddenly, headlights light up and armed men appear with machine guns while their leader roars, "This is the '''FBI'''! Throw down your guns!"]]
** Then, later on, Howard Hughes and Peevy show up in an autogyro and rescue Cliff and Jenny from the exploding zeppelin.
* BilingualBonus: The German is left untranslated, though they got one bit of German wrong. At one point, the Nazi G-Man says "Ich habe meine Bestellung", which means "I have my orders", but "Bestellung" actually refers to the type of orders you'd give a waiter. He should've said "Befehle".
* BookcasePassage: In Neville Sinclair's mansion.
* BruceWayneHeldHostage: Valentine's mooks keep the airshow pilots--Cliff included--hostage at the cafe.
* TheBrute: Lothar, who is an {{Expy}} of ''Film/TheBruteMan'' himself, Creator/RondoHatton.
* BurningTheFlag: A Nazi propaganda film which shows their rocket soldiers attacking America has a burning American flag falling to the ground as the Nazi banner rises in its place.
** Gets an IronicEcho when the swastika emblazoned on the Luxembourg's tailfin is consumed by flames.
* TheCameo: Tiny Ron as one of the men who see Cliff fly by before crashing.
* TheCasanova: Subverted; Neville tries to seduce Jenny, but his chat-up lines are all from his own movies which Jenny (as an avid fan) knows off by heart.
** The BookcasePassage to [[spoiler:Neville's Nazi communications room]] was even opened by a book called "The Conquests of Casanova".
* ChekhovsGun: The Nazi airship is briefly mentioned in a newsreel the characters watch at the opening of the film. [[spoiler:You've probably forgotten all about it until it [[OhCrap suddenly shows up overhead]] at the climax.]]
** The bullet hole in the rocket pack.
** Cliff's habit of chewing gum, which saves his life covering the bullet hole on the rocket pack [[spoiler:and dooms Neville Sinclair's when Cliff slides it off.]] So would this be [[IncrediblyLamePun Chekhov's gum?]]
* CivvieSpandex: The Rocketeer's "costume" is actually fairly mundane pilot garb for the 1930's. The only truly remarkable thing about it is the helmet and the jetpack.
* ClimbingClimax: [[spoiler:The climax takes place on Cliff having to mount a zeppelin.]]
* ContrivedClumsiness: Cliff Secord does this when he's at the South Seas Club, where his girlfriend Jenny is with Neville Sinclair, who's looking for the rocketpack. He "accidentally" spills some champagne on Jenny just before she tells Neville about him and how he's got the rocketpack.
* CoolAirship: The ''Luxembourg''.
* CoolHelmet: The Rocketeer's with a big dorsal fin to enable him to steer.
* CoolOldGuy: Peevy.
* CoolPlane: Actual flying Gee Bee racer replicas.
* CreatorCameo: Blink and you'll miss him, but that's ''Rocketeer'' creator Dave Stevens playing the [[DisposablePilot test pilot]] in the German film Howard Hughes shows Cliff.
* DanceOfRomance: Neville Sinclair attempts to invoke this in his seduction of Jenny at the South Seas Club. It doesn't stick.
* DeadpanSnarker: Peevy. Cliff has his moments, too.
* DeathFromAbove: The airship.
* DeepCoverAgent: [[spoiler:Neville Sinclair.]]
* DieselPunk: The art direction has a lovely Deco Punk look.
* DirtyCoward: [[spoiler:Neville Sinclair.]]
* DisneyVillainDeath: A variation: [[spoiler:Neville Sinclair voluntarily flies out of the zeppelin with the rocketpack, but its fuel leak causes it to burst into a massive fireball, causing Neville to crash into the Hollywoodland sign and explode spectacularly]].
* DisposablePilot: As Neville Sinclair is making his escape aboard a Nazi zeppelin, the captain tells Sinclair that their pilot is the best in Germany, when Lothar's unconscious body knocks the pilot out of the zeppelin.
* DistressedDamsel: Subverted, somewhat, as Jenny does participate in her own rescue.
* DontTouchItYouIdiot
* EnemyMine: [[spoiler:During a gunfight in the climax, Valentine finds himself fighting the Nazis alongside the FBI agents. They glance at each other, and then resume firing.]]
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Eddie Valentine [[spoiler:quits working for Sinclair after finding out he's a Nazi.]]
-->'''Valentine:''' [[spoiler:[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome Now I may not make an honest buck, but I'm 100% American.]]]]
** [[spoiler:Almost TruthInTelevision as a lot of RealLife American gangsters during that era weren't too thrilled with fascism. In fact, gangsters were the police forces' biggest allies in weeding out Nazi supporters. This is due to Mussolini persecuting the Sicilian Families back in the Old Country. And Hitler wasn't a favorite of the Jewish mobsters either.]]
** Even before TheReveal, Valentine is quite resentful of him:
-->'''Sinclair:''' Valentine, we're going to do what ''I'' think is necessary.\\
'''Valentine:''' And that includes breaking one of my men in half, huh? [[PapaWolf The next time you go after one of my men, I'll kill ya.]]\\
'''Sinclair:''' Don't threaten me, Eddie. Just do your job.\\
'''Valentine:''' Hey, Sinclair? (''lights cigar'') If the Feds take me, [[TakingYouWithMe I'm taking you with me.]] I'm gonna tell them everything.\\
'''Sinclair:''' Who do you think they'll believe? A cheap crook, or the number three box-office star in America?\\
(''as Sinclair leaves, Valentine throws his cigar at the door in disgust'')\\
'''Valentine:''' Number three ''jerk''!
* ExactEavesdropping: Sinclair hears Cliff talking to Jenny about the rocketpack on the set of his latest movie.
* {{Expy}}: Lothar is Creator/RondoHatton, while Neville Sinclair is Errol Flynn, [[spoiler:who was (wrongly) accused of being a Nazi spy.]]
* ExtraExtraReadAllAboutIt
* FanService: Creator/JenniferConnelly, as she puts on a stocking; her cleavage in the latter parts of the movie. Or basically, just Jennifer Connelly.
* FloatingHeadSyndrome: The cover used for home video releases after executives theorized that the art deco poster shown above looked ''too'' old-fashioned for most moviegoers.
* GenreThrowback: To the adventure serials of the 1930s (see also: TwoFistedTales).
* GiantMook: Lothar.
* GlamorousWartimeSinger: At the South Seas Club.
* GoSeduceMyArchnemesis
* GreasySpoon: The Bulldog Cafe.
* GroinAttack:
** Cliff tries this against Lothar aboard the zeppelin, though it only annoys Lothar, and worse, Cliff gets hurt trying it.
** Jenny gives a kick in the groin towards the aviator of the zeppelin near the end of the movie, though her white dress obscures the kick itself.
* {{Handwave}}: The reason the jetpack's operator's legs don't get fried to a crisp by the exhaust is that it's a "cool" propulsion powered by alcohol.
* HelloAgainOfficer: Cliff keeps running into the same three feds...
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Howard Hughes. Creator/ClarkGable and Creator/WCFields also appear at the South Seas Club.
* HistoricalInJoke:
** Cliff escapes from Howard Hughes by grabbing a (large) model plane and jumping off a balcony, gliding to safety. The plane is a model of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spruce_goose "Spruce Goose"]], and Hughes comments, "The son-of-a-bitch ''will'' fly."
** UsefulNotes/LosAngeles' famous "Hollywood" sign used to read "Hollywoodland". [[spoiler:Neville Sinclair makes a dramatic exit from the burning airship (see SoLongSuckers, below), right after he smirks "I'll ''miss'' Hollywood..." He then crashes into the last four letters of the sign, obliterating them. (In reality, the "-land" was removed in 1949, to reduce maintenance costs.)]]
** The newsreel shows that the first place to be visited by the German zeppelin is [[{{Hindenburg}} Lakehurst, New Jersey]]--though that could also be [[ShownTheirWork showing their work]], since Lakehurst was one of a handful of places in the country with airship landing facilities.
** Errol Flynn was suspected of being a Nazi spy. Unlike his {{Expy}}, he wasn't.
* HowDoIShotWeb: In his first flight, Cliff has trouble with the rocketpack.
* [[IHaveYourWife I Have Your Girl]] / ComeAlone: Cliff is summoned to the Griffith Park Observatory. Hey, it was 1938; these tropes were NEW!
* InsultBackfire: "Where's your stuntman now, Sinclair?" [[TalkToTheFist *PUNCH!*]] "[[NoStuntDouble I do my own stunts]]."
* JetPack: The rocket everyone is after.
** Plus the plot consists of thwarting StupidJetpackHitler
* KitchenChase: Cliff Secord is chased by Lothar and other gangsters through the kitchen of the South Seas Club. Justified as Cliff was disguised as a waiter.
* LampshadeHanging: Done ''literally''. When Lothar breaks into their house, Peevy hides the rocket by setting it on a corner table with a lampshade over it. Watch it [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC9t9bdybxk here]].
* LethallyExpensive: When Howard Hughes shows Cliff the Nazi propaganda film, he says "Keep watching, kid. It cost a man's life to get this out of Germany."
* LighterAndSofter: A slight case -- in the comic, Cliff's girlfriend is a nude model named "Betty" after pin-up icon Creator/BettiePage; in the movie she's Jenny, who works as a film extra.
* LineOfSightName: After such false starts as "Rocketman" and "Rocketboy", Bigelow coins "Rocket''eer''" after seeing the word "Pioneer".
* LookMaNoPlane
* MadeOfIron: Lothar
* MaleGaze: When Jenny is introduced to famed comedian W.C. Fields, the camera shows us exactly why he is "Charmed. '''Doubly''' charmed" to meet her.
* MatchCut: Hills to a close-up of bedsheets; a flaming airship to a bunch of oranges.
* MentorOccupationalHazard: {{Averted}}--Peevy makes it to the end.
* MiddleManagementMook: Eddie Valentine.
* MinorCrimeRevealsMajorPlot: Theft of prototype rocket-pack → [[spoiler:Nazi aerial invasion of the world.]]
* MookFaceTurn: [[spoiler:Eddie Valentine, because working for a Nazi is [[NotWhatISignedOnFor not what he signed on for.]]]]
* MrFixit: Peevy
* MsFanservice: Jennifer Connelly at her peak.
* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: When Cliff arrives at the South Seas Club, he hides the rocket and helmet in a laundry bag in the laundry room. When he returns, he finds the room full of a dozen more bags.
* {{Newsreel}}
* NiceCharacterMeanActor: Neville Sinclair is an Errol Flynn-style '30s action hero actor who [[spoiler: turns out to be a Nazi spy, killing multiple people (enemy and ally alike) in his quest to steal the jetpack for his Nazi superiors so they can take over the world]].
** He's short-tempered toward the young starlet who kept messing up her takes, got Jenny fired, and accidentally stabbed his co-star (he was on-edge by then) when Cliff destroyed the set.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Jenny was about to take a taxi home from the South Seas Club when Cliff had to fly into the ballroom and trash the place, piquing her curiosity and getting herself kidnapped by Sinclair.
* NonindicativeName: In fact, everyone keeps calling the device in question "The Rocket" when everything that's shown tells us it's basically a jet engine.
** Completely justified by the fact that in 1938 "jet engine" was something that only few people were aware of and even fewer could have recognized one.
* NoMacGuffinNoWinner: The rocketpack gets destroyed [[spoiler:when Neville Sinclair crashes and burns into the Hollywoodland sign,]] although Peevy [[spoiler:took very good notes when they dismantled the rocketpack earlier in the movie, and got his notes back from Jenny after she swiped them back from Sinclair...]]
* NoPlansNoPrototypeNoBackup: Justified. The rocket pack we see ''is'' the protoype; Howard Hughes ''burns'' the plans ten minutes in, but Peevy draws new ones, with plans to build an improved version.
* NotWearingTights
* NotWhatISignedOnFor: Valentine.
* OperaGloves: Jenny
* PapaWolf: Eddie Valentine is protective of his fellow gangsters (see also: EvenEvilHasStandards).
* ParrotExpowhat: "The Rock-a-''who?''"
* PoliceAreUseless: Until the end.
* PunnyName: Lothar, which sounds like ''Lothario'', a philanderer from ''Don Quijote'', which [[IronicName this guy is anything but]].
* RecycledTrailerMusic: This movie may not be very well-remembered, but unless you haven't been to a movie theater since 1991, you absolutely have heard this score used in trailers for [[strike:dozens]] hundreds of other movies. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzNhQefDvH0 Have a listen.]]
* RedOniBlueOni: Cliff is Red to Peevey's Blue.
* {{Remaster}}: The 20th Anniversary Blu-Ray release. Its HD picture looks especially remarkable in comparison to the PanAndScan VHS and non-anamorphic {{Letterbox}} laserdisc and DVD.
* ScreamsLikeALittleGirl: Sinclair screams like this when [[spoiler:the rocketpack on him explodes and engulfs him in a fireball, after which he is hurled into the "-LAND" letters of the Hollywoodland sign]].
* SecretIdentity: Toyed with. The movie's compressed timescale (it takes place over three days) means that, over the course of the movie, Cliff's identity is a secret only in that it hasn't been publicly revealed, and not a lot of people have heard of the Rocketeer. There's no indication that he was trying particularly hard to keep it a secret--or even that he ''wanted'' to keep it a secret, long-term--and the film shows that anyone ''really'' interested in the Rocketeer's identity discovers it pretty quickly. In fact, when Cliff tells Jenny his big secret--that he's the Rocketeer--Jenny just says, "The Rock-a-''who?''"
* SequelHook: Jenny gives Peevy a perfect duplicate of the rocketpack's schematics. "[[HereWeGoAgain Oh, no,]]" groans Peevy.
* ShoutOut: Cliff never flies without some Beeman's Gum, just like Chuck Yeager in ''TheRightStuff''.
** It's also TruthInTelevision, as Beeman's was long considered the lucky gum of pilots.
** In the air show, the announcer refers to Secord as "the Fearless Freep", a reference to the ''LooneyTunes'' cartoon short "High Diving Hare." An anachronism, as "High Diving Hare" came out in 1949 and ''The Rocketeer'' is set eleven years earlier.
* SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan: Jenny is briefly dazzled by Neville's charm and star power, but quickly returns to her long-term boyfriend because he loves and respects her.
** And because Neville keeps trying to court her by quoting lines from his own movies. And then there's [[spoiler:the evil--and not just any run-of-the-mill evil, but being a ''Nazi spy''. Not the best dating tactic. Nor is chloroforming and kidnapping your date. And definitely not taking her hostage for a rocket pack, of all things.]]
* SoLongSuckers: A note-perfect example, complete with one-liner and swift, ironic death.
* SpreadingDisasterMapGraphic: A Nazi propaganda film shows [[StupidJetpackHitler German troops]] equipped with {{Jet Pack}}s flying to the attack, with maps showing arrows representing them reaching out to conquer Europe and invade the U.S. Watch it [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMQwT9z0Jyc here]].
* StockingFiller: Jenny's first scene.
* StupidJetpackHitler: Preventing this is the story's main plot.
* ThemeMusicPowerUp: Towards the end, as Cliff picks up his helmet before flying after the zeppelin.
* ThermalDissonance: The rocketpack stays cool even after flight, [[HandWave attributed]] to a double-walled chamber and preheated fuel.
* TapOnTheHead: ''Many'' times; played with in that the victims sometimes recover faster than their assailants were planning.
* ThinkNothingOfIt: Hughes slips away at the end before Cliff can even think of expressing his gratitude.
* ToastedBuns: An attempt at [[{{Handwave}} handwaving]] was made, though.
* TodayXTomorrowTheWorld: "Heute Europa, Morgen die Welt"
* TheThirties
* ThoseTwoGuys: FBI agents Fitch and Wooly.
* ThoseWackyNazis
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: Some people said they didn't need to see the film, the trailer told the whole story.
* TrojanHorse: The ''Luxembourg'' airship, ostensibly in UsefulNotes/LosAngeles for peaceful purposes.
* TwoFistedTales: The comics and movie alike were loving homages to the TwoFistedTales of the Thirties.
* VanillaEdition: The laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-Ray releases were all this, even the "[[MilestoneCelebration 20th Anniversary Edition]]".
* VictoriasSecretCompartment: Where Jenny hides the rocket pack plans.
* VillainousBreakdown: Sinclair has it when he learns the jig is up and he is [[spoiler:revealed as a Nazi]]. It first happens when he catches Jenny reading up on it and kidnaps her for real. It then becomes more obvious when Cliff manages to convince Valentine and his gang that Sinclair, their boss, is a Nazi. When the gangsters confront their former boss with this information, not only does Sinclair confirm this by holding them all hostage with a new gang, this one of Nazi soldiers lurking in the shadows, but [[spoiler:he does all this while speaking -- nay, screaming, [[MoodWhiplash rather abruptly]] in German]]!
* WagTheDirector: Sinclair gets Jenny fired after Cliff accidentally destroyed the set of "The Laughing Bandit" looking for her.
* WasItAllALie: Variation. "It wasn't lies, Jenny. It was acting!"
* WasntThatFun: After his first flight with the rocketpack, Cliff simply says "I like it!"
* WeaponOfChoice: The FBI Agents and the Police use Colt Official Police revolvers, while the mobsters use Colt 1911 pistols and Colt 1903/1908 Hammerless Pistols. Also, in a ShoutOut to the comic books, The Rocketeer uses a Mauser C96 near and during the climax. In the comics, the Mauser C96 Broomhandle was his weapon of choice.
* WickedCultured: Neville Sinclair. Lothar, too, as he's introduced listening to opera when Sinclair calls him.
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: ''Everyone'' in the movie keeps calling it a "rocket" (Even Howard Hughes who ''built'' the damn thing) desite the fact that ''everything'' we see in the movie marks the device as a jetpack. Although this is [[JustifiedTrope Justified]], as in the Thirties the jet engine wasn't exactly commonplace.
** It's actually odder than it seems - the reason NASA has the ''Jet'' Propulsion Lab is because the word was actually used to refer to rockets as well.
* YouMustBeCold
* ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld: Since it's only a ''slightly'' alternate version of TheThirties (see above), the Germans use a zeppelin to visit 1938 Los Angeles (when in fact airship travel ended in 1937 with the ''Hindenburg'').