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A 1991 Creator/{{Disney}} [[note]]released as ''Walt Disney Pictures'' in North America and ''Creator/TouchstonePictures'' overseas[[/note]] live-action film, adapted from [[ComicBook/TheRocketeer Dave Stevens's 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''.

Its director Creator/JoeJohnston would later helm ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger''.

On another note entirely, its primary musical theme by Music/JamesHorner, Take Off, is practically [[RecycledTrailerMusic a movie trailer standard]].

[[SequelGap After 25 years]], the Rocketeer is finally getting a sequel, called ''The Rocketeers''. Little is known at the moment except that it will be written by Matt Spicer and Max Winkler and will star a black, female lead.

!!This film 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; implied as the backstory for Malcolm, allegedly a UsefulNotes/WorldWarI ace, but now in his dotage.
-->'''Cliff''': I can fly a ''shoebox'' if it had wings!
* ActionSurvivor: Cliff. He's just a stunt pilot, but when he finds out his girlfriend is in trouble, he jumps into action without hesitation.
* 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).
* AdaptationalHeroism: Cliff and Peevy were a bit more grumpy jerks in the comics, as well as Cliff needing help to save the day.
* AdaptationalVillainy: Lothar in the comic was more tragic, [[ItsPersonal blaming Cliff]] for the death of the woman he loved. In the film, he's a straight-up thug willfully working for Sinclair.
* AgeLift: In the comics, Peevy was quite older. Oddly, movie Peevy looks like how Malcolm (the pilot Cliff saves) looked in the comics, while movie Malcolm is elderly like comics Peevy.
* 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: But only ''slightly'' so. Everything's mostly the same as it was in our 1938, except [[spoiler: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:UsefulNotes/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://randysdonuts.com/photos/ 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.
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: Cliff asking Eddie Valentine, "What's it like [[spoiler:working for a Nazi]]? Does he pay you in dollars [[spoiler:or Deutschmarks]]?"
* ArtisticLicenseHistory:
** The question Cliff asks to Eddie Valentine about whether he's paid in dollars [[spoiler:or Deutschmarks]] is anachronistic, since it refers to a currency which didn't exist in 1938. [[spoiler:The Deutsche Mark didn't exist until 1948; in 1938, the German currency was named Reichsmark.]]
** In the movie, airship travel is still a thing in 1938, when in RealLife, it ended for good in 1937 after [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindenburg_disaster the Hindenburg Disaster]].
* AscendedFanboy: Jenny is a huge fan of Neville Sinclair who gets to work with him in a film.
* BadBadActing: "O my sweet prince, that I may drink of your lips as deeply!" The second take was better...
-->'''Director:''' Acting is [[ShapedLikeItself acting like you're]] ''[[ShapedLikeItself not]]'' [[ShapedLikeItself acting]]. So act, but don't ''act'' like you're acting.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Early in the film, mentioned by name, when the FBI and LAPD are chasing after Eddie's goons, one of the FBI agents wishes the "black and white" (the cop car) would get out of the way so he could fire on Eddie's men. After the cop car wrecks, it exposes the agents to Eddie's men's Tommy gun.
* 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 [[spoiler:the FBI]].
* BigBad: Neville Sinclair is the man who wants to get the rocket. He hired Eddie Valentine and his gang to steal it and gives orders to Lothar to find it. [[spoiler:He is a Nazi, and working to get the rocket to his superiors to use for world domination.]]
* 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 FBI Agents and the LAPD 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".
* BondOneLiner: Jenny delivers one after [[spoiler:clocking Neville as part of her attempt to seduce him and escape]].
--> '''Jenny''': ''(Zips up her dress)'' [[spoiler:I finally played a scene with Neville Sinclair.]]
* BookcasePassage: In Neville Sinclair's mansion.
* BrokenPedestal: Jenny is a huge fan of Neville Sinclair until she sees he's a creep. [[spoiler:And a Nazi spy.]]
* 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.
* BuzzingTheDeck: Cliff buzzes a road near the beginning which happens to have a shooting chase between mobsters and the police. One of the mobsters sees the plane and shoots at it, damaging its engine and controls.
* CallOfTheWildBlueYonder: Test pilot Cliff Secord has flown some developmental aircraft. When Fate delivers a prototype rocket pack unto him, Cliff becomes a literal flying man. The learning curve is much steeper than with fixed-wing aircraft, but Cliff's enthusiasm steadily raises his airworthiness.
* TheCameo:
** Tiny Ron as one of the men who see Cliff fly by before crashing.
** Cliff and Peevy's bulldog friend from the comics appears in one scene, appropriately outside the Bulldog Cafe.
* CanonForeigner: Jenny was created to replace Betty, Cliff's pinup model girlfriend in the comics, after Disney objected to including a character who was so sexualized and bore such a strong resemblance to a [[Creator/BettiePage real, living person]].
* 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.]]
* ComeAlone: Cliff is summoned to the Griffith Park Observatory and told to come alone.
* 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'', ostensibly touring the U.S. for [[BlatantLies peaceful purposes]].
* 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.
* DeepCoverAgent: [[spoiler:Neville Sinclair, who is secretly working for the Nazis.]]
* 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 fall crashing 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.
* DistinctionWithoutADifference: When Cliff and Peevy first discover the rocket pack, which Peevy thinks they should return to its owner immediately, because the feds are involved, while Cliff wants to use it for the air race:
-->'''Cliff:''' I don't to keep it, I just want to borrow it for a while.\\
'''Peevy:''' Clifford, when you borrow something and you don't tell nobody, they call that stealing, you know.\\
'''Cliff:''' Just a couple of weeks. As soon as we can afford a new plane, we'll give it back, I swear.
* DistressedDamsel: Subverted, as Jenny does participate in her own rescue.
* DontTouchItYouIdiot: As Cliff reaches out to touch the rocket pack for the first time, Peevy tells him, "I wouldn't touch that if I were you!"
* TheDragon: Lothar also plays this to Neville, being his closest accomplice and the one tasked to find the rocket.
* DragonTheirFeet: [[spoiler:Cliff knocks Lothar out in a quick fight atop the zeppelin, and then proceeds to take on Neville. Once he's killed, Lothar is shown to have regained consciousness and prepares to kill Cliff and Jenny before the zeppelin begins blowing up, killing the giant man while our heroes escape.]]
* DumbMuscle:
** Lothar is an aversion. Despite looking the type, he's a competent thug and shown to be even WickedCultured.
** Also averted with Eddie's men. He clearly makes it a point to surround himself with people who are not only loyal, but smart. They're capable of thinking quickly on their feet and dealing with unexpected situations. This is made clear during the confrontation when Cliff accuses Neville of being a Nazi. While Neville is denying it and trying to sweet-talk Eddie, Lothar tries to inconspicuously reach into his pockets for his gun. He stops when one of Eddie's men, acting without even a word from Eddie, shoves the barrel of a Tommy Gun into his ribs. "Relax, Frankenstein. You ain't bulletproof." Like Eddie, each of his men has quickly figured out they're being played for suckers. And like Eddie. ''they don't work for no Nazis.''
* 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.]]
-->'''Neville Sinclair''': [[spoiler:C'mon, Eddie. I'm paying you well. Does it really matter where the money comes from?]]\\
'''Eddie Valentine''': [[spoiler:It matters to me. I may not make an honest buck, but I'm 100% American. I don't work for no two-bit Nazi. Let the girl go!]]
** [[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. Nor was Hitler a favorite of any Jewish mobsters.]]
** 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, I'm TakingYouWithMe. I'm gonna tell them everything.\\
'''Sinclair:''' [[ScrewTheRulesImFamous 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''!
* EvilBrit: Neville Sinclair. [[spoiler:Subverted -- it turns out he's actually German.]]
* 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: After the Rocketeer's first appearance, a scene shows kids selling newspapers in this manner.
* 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.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** At the beginning, when Cliff's plane is shot and he's struggling to keep it flying, he passes above an ad of "Wings of Honor", Neville Sinclair's latest movie.
** The newsreel that's playing as Cliff and Jenny arrive at the cinema for their date takes on significance at the end [[spoiler:when it's revealed the Nazis are behind everything, and the Zeppelin being touted in the reel shows up loaded with Nazi commandos.]]
** "Chewing gum ain't gonna keep you up in the air!" (Yes, it will!)
* GenreThrowback: To the adventure serials of the 1930s.
%%* GiantMook: Lothar.
%%* GlamorousWartimeSinger: At the South Seas Club.
* GoshDarnItToHeck: This being a Disney flick, it was to be expected.
* GrandTheftPrototype: Eddie Valentine's gang stealing the rocketpack kickstarts the film.
%%* 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.
* GunsAkimbo: Lothar's preferred combat choice.
* {{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...
* HindenburgIncendiaryPrinciple: At the end, Jenny fires off a flare gun in the cockpit, and the zeppelin the Nazis intend to escape in goes up in flames.
* 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, right after he smirks "I'll ''miss'' Hollywood..." He then crashes into the last four letters of the sign, obliterating them -- but he ''did'' MISS the Hollywood part of the sign. (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 [[UsefulNotes/TheHindenburg 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.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard:
** [[spoiler:Neville Sinclair is killed when the jetpack he's been trying to get the whole movie malfunctions and explodes.]]
** [[spoiler:Lothar dies when the same harness he'd strapped himself in to avoid falling off the zeppelin prevents him from escaping when said zeppelin finally blows up.]]
* HowDoIShotWeb: In his first flight, Cliff has trouble with the rocketpack.
* IHaveYourWife: The bad guys kidnap Cliff's girlfriend as leverage to get him to give them the rocket pack.
* 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.
* 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: During Cliff's first flight, he encounters a plane full of startled people. He even attempts a salute.
* MadeOfIron: Lothar. Cliff hurts himself when he tries to low blow him.
* 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, leader of the Valentine Gang; he and his gang have been hired by Sinclair.
* 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, who is even stated by Cliff to be "able to fix anything". He even out-engineers Howard Hughes himself.
* MsFanservice: Jennifer Connelly at her peak. Well, as much as a 21-year-old can 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.
* NoSell: Sinclair tries to seduce Jenny, but his lines are just dialogue from movies he's acted in. Being a dedicated fan, Jenny quickly realises this.
* {{Newsreel}}: Important exposition is given by the newsreel that Cliff and Jenny watch at the theater.
* 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 stabbed his co-star (not entirely accidentally, it's implied, although he was on-edge by then) when Cliff destroyed the set.
* NiceHat: Lothar wears a snazzy pork pie hat he doesn't like losing.
* 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 rocket pack gets destroyed [[spoiler:when Neville Sinclair crashes and burns into the Hollywoodland sign,]] although Peevy [[spoiler:took very good notes when they dismantled the rocket pack earlier in the movie, and got his notes back from Jenny after she swiped them back from Sinclair...]]
* NoOSHACompliance: The zeppelin does not even have so much as a handrail in front of its rather fragile windows, causing several characters to be pushed into a window and out of the blimp.
* NoPlansNoPrototypeNoBackup: Justified. The rocket pack we see ''is'' the prototype; Howard Hughes ''burns'' the plans ten minutes into the movie, but Peevy draws new ones, with plans to build an improved version. It's also worth noting that the prototype ''didn't'' work before Peevy tweaked the design.
* NotWearingTights: Since he's not actually a superhero, but a pulp hero, Cliff just wears normal pilot gear as the Rocketeer.
* NotWhatISignedOnFor: Valentine, when he learns [[spoiler:that his boss, Sinclair, is a Nazi]].
* OffingTheAnnoyance: The [[spoiler:Gestapo officer]] who spends all of his screen time screaming furiously at Sinclair is just ''begging'' for Sinclair to get fed up and shoot him out of a Zeppelin.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: In-universe: [[spoiler:at the end, after Sinclair has been exposed as a Nazi spy, his natural German accent begins increasingly slipping through his otherwise hitherto impeccable English accent as he gets more frustrated with things, until he ends up just doing a full AccentRelapse.]]
%%* OperaGloves: Jenny.
* PapaWolf: Eddie Valentine is protective of his fellow gangsters.
* ParrotExpowhat: "The Rock-a-''who?''"
* PoliceAreUseless: The police don't really get involved until they show up during the standoff between the Nazis and the mob.
* PragmaticAdaptation: The comic's plot mostly consisted of Cliff trying to evade the government agents searching for the jetpack, until the end where he's the only one who can stop Nazi spies from stealing an experimental aircraft.
** In the comic, the jetpack was invented by classic pulp hero Franchise/DocSavage, and he and his crew show up in person searching for it, [[LawyerFriendlyCameo but they're left unnamed.]] Peevy mistakes them for eccentric tycoon Howard Hughes and ''his'' associates. The movie simplifies things by making Howard Hughes the actual inventor.
** For obvious reasons, Dave Stevens's fanservice drawings of women in skimpy clothing didn't quite make the cut.
** Cliff's love interest is made into less of a transparent {{expy}} of Bettie Page, so she becomes an aspiring actress instead of a model.
* ProtagonistTitle: The Rocketeer himself.
* PunchClockVillain: Eddie Valentine, kind of -- he is a professional gangster, but he's only interested in the rocket because he's getting paid to get it by Sinclair and clearly doesn't particularly like him very much. [[spoiler:Even before he discovers Sinclair's a Nazi.]]
* 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]].
* ScrewTheRulesImFamous: Neville Sinclair gloats about this when his gangster henchman threatens to squeal.
* 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 returns Peevy's reverse-engineered rocketpack schematics. "[[HereWeGoAgain Oh, no,]]" groans Peevy.
* ShoutOut: Cliff never flies without some Beeman's Gum, just like Chuck Yeager in ''Film/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 ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' cartoon short "High Diving Hare." An anachronism, as "High Diving Hare" came out in 1949 and ''The Rocketeer'' is set eleven years earlier.
* SickbedSlaying: Lothar literally folds one of Valentine's men in half to prevent him from talking to the FBI after he already beat the location of the rocket out of him.
* SilentAntagonist: Lothar only says four things in the whole film [[note]] "Yes?", "Where is it?", "The rocket" and "Palm Terrace (Cliff's street)" [[/note]]. The only other times he's not quiet are when he's grunting, growling or [[EvilLaugh laughing]].
* 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.
* StealthPun: "I'll MISS Hollywood..."[[note]]He did, instead crashing into and blowing up the 'LAND' letters of the sign.[[/note]]
%%* StockingFiller: Jenny's first scene.
* StupidJetpackHitler: Preventing this is the story's main plot.
* TapOnTheHead: ''Many'' times; played with in that the victims sometimes recover faster than their assailants were planning.
* TeethClenchedTeamwork: A villainous example. Valentine may be working for Neville Sinclair, but it's clear that he doesn't hold him in high regard. [[spoiler:Finding out Sinclair is a Nazi doesn't improve his opinion of him, either.]]
* TheTheTitle
* 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.
* 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: The film takes place in 1938.
* ThoseTwoGuys: FBI agents Fitch and Wooly.
* ThoseWackyNazis: [[spoiler:The real bad guys of the film. This is [[{{Foreshadowing}} foreshadowed]] at the beginning of the film, when Cliff and Jenny go to the cinema]].
* 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. To such a degree that watching this movie may make you want to go out and sock a Nazi right in his no-good kisser.
* 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 (and not having to fake it anymore):
-->'''Jenny:''' Oh, god, Neville Sinclair's a...
-->'''Sinclair:''' A what? A spy? Saboteur? Fascist? All of the above.
** 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]]!
* VillainousFriendship: Neville and Lothar seem to have this. Neville sounds distressed when seeing [[spoiler:Lothar's unconscious body on the zeppelin.]]
* WagTheDirector: In-universe, 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 jetpack, 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. In the climax, all the gangsters and G-men use Thompson sub-machine guns with rounded drums because, well, [[TwoFistedTales it's a pastiche of 1930s pulp adventure comics and movies.]]
* WickedCultured: Neville Sinclair. Lothar, too, as he's introduced listening to opera, drinking tea from a dainty floral-patterned cup and enjoying sandwiches with the crusts cut off when Sinclair calls him.
* WouldHitAGirl: Neville, [[spoiler:especially when he's no longer hiding the fact he's a Nazi.]]
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: ''Everyone'' in the movie keeps calling it a "rocket" (even Howard Hughes who ''built'' the damn thing) despite 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. And the reason NASA has the ''Jet'' Propulsion Lab is because the word was actually used to refer to rockets as well.
* YouMustBeCold: Jenny is given a jacket to wear over her evening gown when she is taken aboard the airship.
* ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld: Since it's only a ''slightly'' alternate version of TheThirties, the Germans use a zeppelin to visit 1938 Los Angeles (when in fact airship travel ended in 1937 with the ''Hindenburg'').

!!The sequel provides examples of:
* AffirmativeActionLegacy: Cliff Secord's successor is black and female.
%%* TheForties
%%* PassingTheTorch