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 <email@example.com>
The Japanese title of the movie, directly translated, is "Towards the distant sky". The sub-heading however, is "Rocket Boys", which the author wanted to be the English title (see trivia above). See more »
When Quentin first looks at Homer's calculations for the lost rocket, the sheet already has the equation with all the necessary data to calculate the range written down. About 2/3 down the page, the horizontal range formula appears as d = (v² / g) × sin 2A = (450)² / 32 = 202,500 / 32. Solving this gives 6,328 feet, the answer that Quentin writes down later. (This assumes a launch angle A of 45°, which maximizes the range, so that sin 2A = 1.) See more »
[Insisting John help his son]
If you don't, I'll leave you. I'll find work. I'll do whatever it takes to get away from here. I'll live in a tree to get away from you. Don't you think I won't.
Where would you go?
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The real life people portrayed in the movie are shown during the end credits. See more »
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.
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