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October Sky (1999)

PG  |   |  Biography, Drama, Family  |  19 February 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 60,247 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 332 user | 106 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

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 <kchishol@execulink.com>

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?


This film was released in the United States on February 19, 1999, which was also the 56th birthday of the real-life Homer H. Hickam Jr.. See more »


When Homer and Quentin estimate the range of the Auk XIII, it's presumably done with a 50-foot rope, since they measured off 126 rope lengths to get to 6,300 feet. However, in scenes that show the full rope length, the rope is no longer than 30 feet, about five times Jake Gyllenhaal's height of 6 feet. See more »


Roy Lee: That's a good idea. Four unidentifiable high school students lost their lives early this morning when their toy rocket exploded.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


References Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) See more »


It's All in the Game
Written by Carl Sigman, Charles Dawes (as Charles G. Dawes)
Performed by Tommy Edwards
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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