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October Sky (1999)

PG  |   |  Biography, Drama, Family  |  19 February 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 60,063 users   Metascore: 71/100
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The true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father's wishes.



(book), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Natalie Canerday ...
Scott Thomas ...
Jim Hickam (as Scott Miles)
Randy Stripling ...
Dorothy Platt (as Courtney Fendley)


In a 1950's mining town called Coalwood, Homer Hickam is a kid with only one future in sight, to work in the local coal mine like his father. However in October 1957, everything changes when the first artificial satellite, Sputnik goes into orbit. With that event, Homer becomes inspired to learn how to build rockets. With his friends and the local nerd, Homer sets to do just that by trial and a lot of error. Unfortunately, most of the town and especially Homer's father thinks that they are wasting their time. Only one teacher in the high school understands their efforts and lets them know that they could become contenders in the national science fair with college scholarships being the prize. Now the gang must learn to perfect their craft and overcome the many problems facing them as they shoot for the stars. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rocket | coal | sputnik | mining | mine | See All (140) »


Based On An Extraordinary True Story See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language, brief teen sensuality and alcohol use, and for some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 February 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rocket Boys  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,905,250 (USA) (19 February 1999)


$32,481,825 (USA) (23 July 1999)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In real life and in the novel "Rocket Boys," Quentin Wilson was a traditionally handsome looking boy, whereas Homer Hickam looked like the stereotypical "nerd" that the film's Quentin is made to look like. Their physical appearances were switched due to the casting of then-teen heartthrob Jake Gyllenhaal. See more »


When Homer writes his letter to Wernher Von Braun, he incorrectly sends his condolences for Von Braun's failed attempt to launch the Vanguard Rocket. In actuality, the Vanguard project was spearheaded by the Navy, much to Von Braun's disliking. Von Braun's rocket was a Redstone 2 and was the first American Rocket to reach orbit. See more »


John: Vernon!
[slams Vernon against the wall]
Vernon: We ain't at the mine now Hickham! This ain't your business!
John: [to Roy Lee] You wait in the car with Homer, son.
[to Vernon]
John: Now you listen to me you drunken son of a bitch. If that boy's father were still alive, he'd kick your ass. So I'm gonna have to do it for him. If I see him with a bruise... you get a scar. If I see him with a limp... you get *crutches*! Do you hear me? Do you hear me?
[lets Vernon go]
Vernon: I'm reportin' you to the union!
John: Screw you and your ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The real life people portrayed in the movie are shown during the end credits. See more »


Featured in Spotlight on Location: October Sky (1999) See more »


On Wisconsin
Written by O'dell Willis, William T. Purdy (as W.T. Purdy), Carl D. Beck (as Carl Beck)
Performed by the Central High School Band, Knoxville, Tennessee
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Loved it
24 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

1.) This movie was amazing! I watched it while I was in the town next to the one where he grew up! I went and saw the buildings that the story took place in. Overall, I loved this movie, One of Jake Gyllenhaal's best!! Also- my favorite parts were the science fair, and all the times with his father. They were so sad, it seemed. Homer wanted to follow his dream and his dad didn't seem to care one way or another. That tag line is true. "Sometimes One Dream is bright enough to light up the sky." 2.) The way this movie was shot was impeccable, it was all so believable that it could have been recorded during the 1950's. Dress was accurate and they had their slang down too. Definitely recommend this movie!

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