7.8/10
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October Sky (1999)

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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Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
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3,939 ( 46)

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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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:

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

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

Homer H. Hickam Jr. helped design and build the cannon that is used during the Virginia Tech Hokie football games. See more »

Goofs

During the last launch sequence where John Hickam launches the "Miss Riley" Homer Hickam activates the launch box by flipping a switch on the box with one hand. In the next shot, it is apparent that he used his other hand to flip the switch. 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!
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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

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

 
A film that hits close to home....
7 February 1999 | by (California) – See all my reviews

"October Sky" is a film that will steal your heart, fill your mind with vivid imagery, and lift your spirit. The tale of Homer Hickham and his dream of creating a rocket seem so simple at first, especially when the film is set in a mining town, where the future is as clear cut as the lumps of coal in the mine. But Homer cannot follow in his father's footsteps. With the encouragement of Miss Riley,(a friendly teacher), members of his father's staff, and his friends, Homer attempts to make his dream a reality.

Yet as in any true to life story, there are many stops along the way. Director Joe Johnston lowers us into the coal mines, where we witness the chilling plight of miners stooped beneath a ceiling of rock. With lit helmets and bent posture, they resembled alien insectoids more than humans in the darkness. The hacking coughs of the miners and the blackened faces were a constant reminder of the danger the miners faced in their work.

Contrasting the mine shaft's lugubrious load are the images of Homer and his friend's rocket launches. Underneath the blue bowl of sky, rockets are placed upon a pad and launched into the stratosphere...And nothing can match the scene when Homer sees Sputnik for the first time.

Yet what makes the film so endearing is the relationship between the characters. Homer's father is a classic hardened man...but he has a soft side as well. We see that he does love his son, despite their many arguments. The love and support of Miss Riley is evident as well. Best of all, the film is uncomfortable. It doesn't tie everything up in a nice bow. It tears at you, lifts you up. It keeps an air of reality, which is important in a film like this.

This film can be considered a complete work. At first, I was disappointed that the film did not continue with Homer's life. I didn't want it to end. Then I realized...that's what a good film does to a person. If it has done its job, you won't want it to end. And "October Sky" accomplishes just that.


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