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The Rocketeer
Album Cover Art
1991 Hollywood
2016/2020 Intrada
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Orchestrated by:
John Neufeld
Elliot Kaplan
Conrad Pope
Billy May
Labels Icon
Hollywood Records
(May 26th, 1991)

Intrada Records
(June 23rd, 2016)

Intrada Records
(June 23rd, 2020)
Availability Icon
The 1991 album is a regular U.S. release. Between 1993 and 1996, the album was very difficult to obtain in America, but a reprinting by Hollywood Records in March of 1996 made it widely available once again. The 2016 Intrada set is limited to an unknown number of copies and retailed at soundtrack specialty outlets for an initial price of $30. It was re-issued in 2020 with the same art, contents, and price point. Both Intrada products sold out quickly.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you grew tired of James Horner's later, more seriously weighty dramatic scores and prefer the unrestrained enthusiasm of his early adventure works, among which The Rocketeer is one of the best.

Avoid it... if the overly-consistent innocence of Horner's soaring themes only serves to remind you of a composer rolling shamelessly in a bed of his own favorite musical constructs.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 9/24/96, REVISED 4/16/21
The Rocketeer: (James Horner) There was hope in the ranks of Walt Disney Pictures during the initial production phases of The Rocketeer that a film franchise could be made out of the beloved comic book hero. At a time when superhero films and their franchises based mostly on DC Comics characters were being launched with far darker sensibilities, The Rocketeer represented the innocent, straight-forward days of American fantasy in the late 1930's and early 1940's. In the story, a test pilot is given the opportunity by an old inventor to experiment with a rocket pack and, in the process of astonishing audiences with the new device, becomes a target of Howard Hughes, the Nazis (who want the technology for several reasons), and a few shady mafia characters. Throw in a beautiful girl and table is set for a typical Disney adventure. Unfortunately, the movie bombed, partly because of the exact kind of innocence that the film was trying to convey. The black and white distinctions in the film made it bland, and not even a rousing score by the ever-increasingly popular James Horner could salvage Disney's hopes. While the film slacked off at the box office and has been forgotten, Horner's score continues to soar. The composer commented at the time that despite his love of aviation, a passion that would take his life at 61, he had missing every opportunity to write music about flying, and this assignment thus became a labor of love, a score that remained dear to his heart for years. Indeed one of the composer's truly remarkable efforts, The Rocketeer is a stylistic bridge between his early, brass-heavy fantasy scores and his later trend towards the favoring of broadly melodic string romance and drama themes. It's too serious of a score to be classified along with Horner's long list of great works for animated features, but it also has an undeniable touch of magic that reminds us of the light, comic book origins of the story. It is this light-hearted, tingling feeling of magic which makes The Rocketeer a work that has withstood the test of time. While originality was an issue for the concurrently bright score for An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Horner only references his own standards for The Rocketeer, occasionally taking stylistic inspiration from his previous scores. And when he does, he often improves upon those sounds, adding to The Rocketeer's appeal over time.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.96 Stars
***** 1,097 5 Stars
**** 845 4 Stars
*** 392 3 Stars
** 177 2 Stars
* 151 1 Stars
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Read All Start New Thread Search Comments
New Album from Intrada
paranoiajack - July 5, 2016, at 4:15 p.m.
1 comment  (801 views)
Expanded Album?
Brett - May 7, 2013, at 2:38 p.m.
1 comment  (1390 views)
Some of Brass Section (Hollywood Studio Symphony)
N.R.Q. - April 12, 2007, at 5:21 p.m.
1 comment  (2939 views)
rocketeer sheetmusic   Expand >>
andy - December 10, 2005, at 1:34 p.m.
2 comments  (11142 views)
Newest: June 5, 2006, at 10:17 a.m. by
Mark Busser
They should strap that rocket to James Horner...   Expand >>
Julio Gomez - September 17, 2004, at 3:45 a.m.
3 comments  (5270 views)
Newest: August 10, 2021, at 8:18 p.m. by
One of Horner's Greatest   Expand >>
Geoff - February 13, 2003, at 7:43 a.m.
5 comments  (5425 views)
Newest: November 13, 2008, at 1:35 a.m. by
David Lounsberry

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1991 Hollywood Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 57:16
• 1. Main Title/Takeoff (4:30)
• 2. The Flying Circus (6:30)
• 3. Jenny (5:10)
• 4. Begin the Beguine - performed by Melora Hardin (3:36)
• 5. Neville Sinclair's House (7:20)
• 6. Jenny's Rescue (3:20)
• 7. Rendezvous at Griffith Park Observatory (8:10)
• 8. When Your Lover Has Gone - performed by Melora Hardin (3:25)
• 9. The Zeppelin (7:58)
• 10. Rocketeer to the Rescue/End Titles (6:30)
2016/2020 Intrada Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 138:59

Notes Icon
The insert of the 1991 album contains no information about the score or film and is a poster that is difficult to re-fold into its original form. Those of the 2016 and 2020 Intrada albums include extensive information about the score and film. The 2020 album came with the following note from Intrada: "This slightly re-mastered release contains identical contents to Intrada ISC 357, issued in 2016, but now features 1991 audio levels and EQ as per original scoring mixer Shawn Murphy."
Copyright © 1996-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Rocketeer are Copyright © 1991, 2016, 2020, Hollywood Records, Intrada Records, Intrada Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/24/96 and last updated 4/16/21.
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