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)
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 strip club 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

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the movie Homer Hickem is enamored with Wernher Von Braun a former Nazi scientist. In real life Wernher von Braun and Jake Gyllenhaal (who plays Homer) in the movie are actually distant cousins. They are both descendants of William the Conqueror. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Roy Lee: That's a good idea. Four unidentifiable high school students lost their lives early this morning when their toy rocket exploded.
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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

Only You (And You Alone)
Written by Buck Ram (as Andy Rand), Buck Ram
Performed by The Platters
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Takes One Back To A Childhood In The '50s
10 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a fine drama and a nice change of pace from today's more hectic and loud films. It is another solid based-on-a-true store, which still means much of it could be made up for dramatic purposes. Frankly, I don't know but I liked the story.

The story is about a young man back in the Fifties who gets interested in rocketry and wants to enter that field instead of working in the coal mines as everyone else, including his father, does in this West Virginia town. The big problem is the conflict it causes between the boy and his father, which I think was overdone. I would like to have a little less tension between the two.

The young man, still a boy, is played by Jake Gyllenhaal, one of his first staring assignments, I think. He's likable, as are his school buddies in here. It's nice to see nice kids in a modern-day film. The two other key actors in the movie are Chris Cooper (the dad) and Laura Dern (the kid's teacher who encourages him all the time.)

The cinematography is decent the 1950s soundtrack is fun to hear. Once again: I wish there more of these kind of films made today.


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