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.

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Cast

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

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 (142) »

Taglines:

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:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 February 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rocket Boys  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In actuality, Homer H. Hickam Jr. and the other Rocket Boys did not steal the railroad lines to finance their rockets. See more »

Goofs

In the auditorium scene near the end of the movie, the U.S. flags are hung incorrectly. The blue field or union should always be displayed in the upper left corner no matter if hung vertically or horizontally. See more »

Quotes

O'Dell: Besides, didn't your dad say no more rockets?
Homer: No, he said no more rockets on company property.
O'Dell: Do you realize how far we'd have to go to be off company property?
Homer: Yeah, we'd have to go to Snakeroot.
Quentin: Snakeroot? That's eight miles!
Homer: It's not *that* far. I mean we could walk if we had to...
O'Dell: Hey, walk! Heh! That's a great idea!
Homer: Come on let's go!
Roy Lee: Wait the hell up, will you Homer? Now I got about as much chance of winning that science fair as you do winning a football scholarship. I know I'm gonna be a...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Why Do Fools Fall in Love
Written by Frankie Lymon, Morris Levy
Performed by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Takes One Back To A Childhood In The '50s
10 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a fine drama and a nice change of pace from today's more hectic and loud films. It is another solid based-on-a-true store, which still means much of it could be made up for dramatic purposes. Frankly, I don't know but I liked the story.

The story is about a young man back in the Fifties who gets interested in rocketry and wants to enter that field instead of working in the coal mines as everyone else, including his father, does in this West Virginia town. The big problem is the conflict it causes between the boy and his father, which I think was overdone. I would like to have a little less tension between the two.

The young man, still a boy, is played by Jake Gyllenhaal, one of his first staring assignments, I think. He's likable, as are his school buddies in here. It's nice to see nice kids in a modern-day film. The two other key actors in the movie are Chris Cooper (the dad) and Laura Dern (the kid's teacher who encourages him all the time.)

The cinematography is decent the 1950s soundtrack is fun to hear. Once again: I wish there more of these kind of films made today.


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