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:

Sometimes one dream is enough to light up the whole sky. 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

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Russian Sergei P. Korolev masterminded the Sputnik launch, the world's first artificial satellite. The launch was also dramatized in The Right Stuff (1983) and The Iron Giant (1999). See more »

Goofs

When Roy Lee's stepfather is beating Roy Lee up, after getting released from the jail, and John Hickam tells Homer to get into the car, Jake Gyllenhaal (Homer Hickam) is not the one getting into the car, it is his body double. See more »

Quotes

Homer: No. Coal mining may be your life, but it's not mine. I'm never going down there again. I wanna go into space.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Battlestar Galactica: Flight of the Phoenix (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Jailhouse Rock
Written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller
Performed by Elvis Presley
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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.




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