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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(book), (screenplay)
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3,449 ( 307)

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4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »
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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)
David Dwyer ...
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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

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the steam engine scene where the boys are salvaging iron rails from unused rail lines, the Norfolk & Western coal hauling steam locomotive they see is the former Southern Railway engine #4501. This engine is currently in use at the Tennessee Valley Railroad in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The scenes with the locomotive were filmed in upper Tennessee around Harriman, Oliver Springs, and Lake City with engine #4501 pulling a string of coal hopper cars lettered in authentic N&W livery. See more »

Goofs

The lenses of the character's eyeglasses have Anti Reflective Coating (ARC) which wasn't available for general use in the 1950s. See more »

Quotes

Principal Turner: Miss Riley, our job is to give these kids an education.
Miss Riley: Mmm-hmm.
Principal Turner: Not false hopes.
Miss Riley: False hopes? Do you want me to sit quiet, let 'em breathe in coal dust the rest of their life?
Principal Turner: Miss Riley, once in a while... a lucky one... will get out on a football scholarship. The rest of 'em work in the mines.
Miss Riley: How 'bout I believe in the unlucky ones? Hmm? I have to, Mister Turner, I'd go out of my mind.
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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

On Wisconsin
Written by O'dell Willis, William T. Purdy (as W.T. Purdy), Carl D. Beck (as Carl Beck)
Performed by the Central High School Band, Knoxville, Tennessee
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Loved it
24 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

1.) This movie was amazing! I watched it while I was in the town next to the one where he grew up! I went and saw the buildings that the story took place in. Overall, I loved this movie, One of Jake Gyllenhaal's best!! Also- my favorite parts were the science fair, and all the times with his father. They were so sad, it seemed. Homer wanted to follow his dream and his dad didn't seem to care one way or another. That tag line is true. "Sometimes One Dream is bright enough to light up the sky." 2.) The way this movie was shot was impeccable, it was all so believable that it could have been recorded during the 1950's. Dress was accurate and they had their slang down too. Definitely recommend this movie!


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