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October Sky (1999)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 52,666 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 326 user | 104 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.

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Title: October Sky (1999)

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Cast

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Natalie Canerday ...
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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 | sputnik | coal | science | teacher | See more »

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

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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Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The author wished the movie to be called "Rocket Boys," like the book it's based on, but the studio believed that title would not sell well. The compromise title "October Sky" works on two levels: it's the month when the hero is first inspired by Sputnik flying overhead, and it is an anagram of "Rocket Boys"! See more »

Goofs

Early on and elsewhere in the movie, there are references to layoffs at the mine, so it is very doubtful Homer could have easily gotten a job ahead of mine workers with greater seniority in the Union. See more »

Quotes

John: [to Leon, about helping Homer] Don't you have some work to do?
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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 My Big Break (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Ain't That a Shame
Written by Fats Domino (as Antoine), David Bartholomew (as Dave Bartholomew)
Performed by Fats Domino
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Rocket Boy's Life Soars
22 August 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I resisted seeing this movie and I understand why it was not a big hit in theatres. "October Sky" feels and looks oh so familiar. And it is. All plot contrivances and emotions have been explored before in other films -- and possibly even better. But despite it's familiarity and resistance to all formulas Hollywood, this movie is winning and likeable at every turn.

Sputnik is the inspiration for this journey of the heart, mind and soul. Just as the characters from Steven Sondheim's musical MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG stood agape atop their apartment roof hoping it would launch their new generation ("What do you call it? You call it a miracle."), Sputnik has a similar affect on the young rocket boys of this true tale. While jaded townsfolk of their 1950's coal town dismiss the event, Homer Hickham sees Sputnik as his ticket out of a life in the mines.

Masterful direction and casting make the journey of rocket boy Homer and his pals seem fresh and new. Especially affecting are subplots concerning Homer's ailing young school teacher. Remarkable restraint is shown in depicting their delicate relationship. Also remarkable is the father / son supblot that anchors the film. Perfectly played all around. Even Homer's mom gets her moment without cliche or intrusion. Her ultimatum to her husband is both dignified and heatbreaking. "Myrtle Beach" says it all.

A major video chain I despise has a sign next to this film stating that you'll love this film or they'll refund your money. For once, I agree with them. You'll never look at the October sky quite the same again.




34 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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