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.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
3,446 ( 308)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
3 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A coming-of-age story about a shy, young boy sent by his irresponsible mother to spend the summer with his wealthy, eccentric uncles in Texas.

Director: Tim McCanlies
Stars: Haley Joel Osment, Michael Caine, Robert Duvall
Holes (2003)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A wrongfully convicted boy is sent to a brutal desert detention camp where he joins the job of digging holes for some mysterious reason.

Director: Andrew Davis
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight
The Rookie (2002)
Drama | Family | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A Texas baseball coach makes the major league after agreeing to try out if his high school team made the playoffs.

Director: John Lee Hancock
Stars: Dennis Quaid, J.D. Evermore, Rachel Griffiths
Drama | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the Chicago White Sox come.

Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Stars: Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta
Jumanji (1995)
Adventure | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped for decades in it and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game.

Director: Joe Johnston
Stars: Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt
Biography | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of J.M. Barrie's friendship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan.

Director: Marc Forster
Stars: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie
Animation | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A young boy befriends a giant robot from outer space that a paranoid government agent wants to destroy.

Director: Brad Bird
Stars: Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Aniston
Family | Fantasy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Charlie receives a golden ticket to a factory, his sweet tooth wants going into the lushing candy, it turns out there's an adventure in everything.

Director: Mel Stuart
Stars: Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A grumpy hermit hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville.

Directors: Chuck Jones, Ben Washam
Stars: Boris Karloff, Thurl Ravenscroft, June Foray
Family | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home-world.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote
Soul Surfer (2011)
Biography | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton overcomes the odds and her own fears of returning to the water after losing her left arm in a shark attack.

Director: Sean McNamara
Stars: AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt
Home Alone (1990)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An 8-year old troublemaker must protect his home from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation.

Director: Chris Columbus
Stars: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern
Edit

Cast

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

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 February 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rocket Boys  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$32,481,825 (USA) (23 July 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Homer H. Hickam Jr. never actually met Wernher von Braun. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie when they show the space shuttle launch, the first shot shows a launch stack with a white painted external tank. The second shot shows a later, unpainted rust colored tank. See more »

Quotes

Homer: Listen, I'm sorry about what's going on around here, but it isn't my fault! What do you want from me anyway?
John: You better watch yourself, Homer.
Homer: If I go on to win at Indianapolis, I can go to college, maybe even get a job at Cape Canaveral. There's nothing here for me. The town is dying! The mine is dying! Everybody here knows that but you!
John: You want to get out so bad, then go. Go!
Homer: Yeah, I'll go! Yeah, I'll go!
John: GO! GO!
Homer: And I'll be gone forever! I won't even look back!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

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




38 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Did You Think Laura Dern Overacted? glasshull
who else cried at this movie? mattiemurphy76
5 movies avalanche1994
Why is this movie not in IMDB TOP 250 ?? askrahul
A time when U.S. kids could learn chemistry and rocketry on their own schear
does anyone think nasa might not be as squeeky clean as mayanlongcount
Discuss October Sky (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page