IMDb > October Sky (1999)
October Sky
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October Sky (1999) More at IMDbPro »

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User Rating:
7.8/10   55,027 votes »
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Up 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Homer H. Hickam Jr. (book)
Lewis Colick (screenplay)
View company contact information for October Sky on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 February 1999 (USA) See more »
Sometimes one dream is enough to light up the whole sky. See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
3 wins & 12 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The first great film of 1999. *** out of ****. See more (329 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jake Gyllenhaal ... Homer Hickam

Chris Cooper ... John Hickam

Laura Dern ... Miss Riley

Chris Owen ... Quentin

William Lee Scott ... Roy Lee

Chad Lindberg ... O'Dell
Natalie Canerday ... Elsie Hickam

Scott Miles ... Jim Hickam
Randy Stripling ... Leon Bolden

Chris Ellis ... Principal Turner

Elya Baskin ... Ike Bykovsky

Courtney Cole-Fendley ... Dorothy Platt (as Courtney Fendley)

David Dwyer ... Jake Mosby

Terry Loughlin ... Mr. Dantzler

Kaili Hollister ... Valentine Carmina
David Copeland ... Coach Gainer

Don Henderson Baker ... Jensen
Tom Kagy ... Lenny
Donald Thorne ... Trooper One
Justin Whitsett ... Kid
Larry Rue ... Neighbor

Neva Howell ... Neighbor
Terry Nienhuis ... Neighbor

Brady Coleman ... Anderson
Rick Forrester ... Roper
Terrence Gibney ... Basil Thorpe

Doug Swander ... Corvette Guy
Keeli Hale Kimbro ... Corvette Girl

Mark Jeffrey Miller ... Vernon
Blaque Fowler ... Reverend
Don Tilley ... Rescue Worker
Rockford Davis ... Chemistry Teacher
John Bennes ... Doctor
Jonathan Fawbush ... Barney
Larry Black ... Fred Smith
Frank Schuler ... Moonshiner

Tommy Smeltzer ... Man at Mine
Charles Lawlor ... Miner
Tom Turbiville ... Miner
Ida Ginn ... Quentin's Mom
Richard Lumpkin ... Judge at Welch
Mark W. Johnson ... Union Official (as Mark Whitman Johnson)
Don Taylor ... Union Official
Don G. Campbell ... Mr. Morris

Liz Byler ... Ivy League Girl (as Elizabeth Byler)
Bradford Ryan Lund ... Ivy League Boy

Frank Hoyt Taylor ... Judge at Indy

Dave Hager ... Head Judge (as David Hager)
Ray Elder ... Tom Webster

Andy Stahl ... Jack Palmer
Joe Digaetano ... Wernher von Braun (as Joey DiGaetano)
Thomas Taylor ... Miner in Elevator
David Ducey ... Man in Crowd
Jenny Patterson ... Nurse
O. Winston Link ... Locomotive Engineer
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Wren Barnes ... Science Fair Student (uncredited)

Ryder Davis ... Man in Crowd (uncredited)
Brian Edward Keith ... Coal Miner (uncredited)
Shawn Lindsay ... Miner (uncredited)

Directed by
Joe Johnston 
Writing credits
Homer H. Hickam Jr. (book "Rocket Boys")

Lewis Colick (screenplay)

Produced by
Peter Cramer .... executive producer
Larry J. Franco .... producer (as Larry Franco)
Charles Gordon .... producer
Marc Sternberg .... executive producer
Original Music by
Mark Isham 
Cinematography by
Fred Murphy (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Robert Dalva 
Casting by
Nancy Foy 
Production Design by
Barry Robison 
Art Direction by
Tony Fanning 
Set Decoration by
Chris L. Spellman  (as Chris Spellman)
Costume Design by
Betsy Cox 
Makeup Department
Lynn Barber .... makeup supervisor
Gloria Belz .... key makeup artist
Julie Callihan .... makeup artist
Susan Mills .... key hair stylist
Michelle Vanderpool-Kohrs .... hair stylist (as Michealle Vanderpool-Kohrs)
Beka Wilson .... hair stylist
Leigh Ann Yandle .... makeup artist
Jeff Goodwin .... special makeup maker (uncredited)
Rachel Kick .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Zane Weiner .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Betsy Magruder .... first assistant director
Rusty Mahmood .... second second assistant director
Matt Marshall .... additional second assistant director
Jonathan McGarry .... second assistant director
Art Department
Mark Bachman .... graphic artist
Sheila Bartlett .... painter
Joseph F. Beeco .... construction foreman
Matthew Butler .... on-set greens
Craig Byrom .... construction foreman
Michael Calabrese .... lead man
Jimmy L. Carmickle .... construction foreman
William G. Davis .... set designer
Edward G. Fitzgerald .... swing gang (as Ed Fitzgerald)
Ruby Guidara .... buyer
Todd Hatfield .... stand-by painter
Alan Hook .... set designer
Whitney B. Kemp .... prop assistant
Kevin Kropp .... prop assistant
Eric Luling .... on-set dresser (as Eric J. Luling)
Alisa Lumbreras .... scenic foreman (as Alisa B. Lumbperas)
Andrew Menzies .... assistant art director
Swift Moseley .... greensman
John Patterson .... construction foreman
Michael Pisani .... set dresser
James Pyburn .... construction foreman (as Jim Pybrun)
C.J. Pyles .... swing gang
John Rabasca .... swing gang
Spencer H. Register .... swing gang
Philip Schneider .... property master (as Philip G. Schneider)
Fred Schwendel .... swing gang (as Fred W. Schwendel)
Manny Serrano .... swing gang
Brian Stultz .... lead scenic (as Brian Patrick Stultz)
Margaret A. Thigpen .... swing gang
David Weathers .... swing gang
Douglas Womack .... construction coordinator (as Douglas A. Womack)
Susan Zeh .... art department coordinator
Sound Department
Charlie Ajar Jr. .... sound recordist (as Charlie Ajar)
Thom Brennan .... foley editor
Michael C. Casper .... sound re-recording mixer (as Michael Casper)
Mary H. Ellis .... production sound mixer (as Mary Ellis)
Bill Fibben .... boom operator
Stephanie Flack .... dialogue editor
Michael Geisler .... sound designer
Howell Gibbens .... supervising sound editor
Aaron Glascock .... sound effects editor
Hilda Hodges .... foley artist
Alan Holly .... adr mixer
Elizabeth Kenton .... supervising adr editor
Mary Jo Lang .... foley mixer
Daniel J. Leahy .... sound re-recording mixer (as Daniel Leahy)
Greg W. Lowe .... adr recordist (as Greg Lowe)
James Morioka .... assistant sound editor
John Roesch .... foley artist (as John B. Roesch)
Carolyn Tapp .... foley recordist
Mark Zimbicki .... cable person
Special Effects by
Joe Digaetano .... special effects supervisor (as Joey DiGaetano)
Bill Johnson .... special effects makeup
Richard E. Perry .... special effects
Gary Pilkinton .... special effects (as Gary L. Pilkinton)
Dave Rigsby .... special effects (as Dave Rigbsy)
Kathleen Tonkin .... special effects
Robert Vazquez .... special effects foreman
Robert L. Girard .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Joel Aron .... sequence supervisor: ILM
Okan Ataman .... sabre artist: ILM
Brent Bowers .... CG technical support: ILM
Sean M. Casey .... visual effects still photographer: ILM (as Sean Casey)
Theresa Corrao .... visual effects coordinator: ILM
Julie D'Antoni .... visual effects production assistant: ILM
Krystyna Demkowicz .... visual effects producer: Matte World Digital
Pablo Helman .... sabre supervisor: ILM
Kela Hicks .... CG technical support: ILM
Patrick Jarvis .... digital painter: ILM
Michael McGovern .... visual effects editor: ILM (as Mike McGovern)
Fred Meyers .... visual effects principal engineer: ILM
Mark S. Miller .... visual effects producer: ILM
Kristen Millette .... CG technical support: ILM
Jim Mitchell .... visual effects supervisor: ILM
Michelle Motta .... CG technical support: ILM
Bruce Vecchitto .... digital timing supervisor: ILM
Jonathan Wank .... sabre artist: ILM
Craig Barron .... visual effects supervisor: Matte World (uncredited)
Brett Northcutt .... digital matte artist (uncredited)
Paul Rivera .... digital composite supervisor: Mate World Digital (uncredited)
Chris Bennett .... stunts
Cliff Cudney .... stunt coordinator
John Fagan .... stunts
Jeff Galpin .... stunts
Robert Girard .... stunts
David Brian Martin .... stunts
Peter Peterson .... stunts
Chad Rose .... stunts
Mike Smith .... stunts
Russell Towery .... stunts
Robert Vazquez .... stunts
Cliff Cudney .... stunt double: Jake Gyllenhaal (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Terry Arthur .... rigging key grip
Jeff Becker .... rigging gaffer
Khris Bennett .... key rigging grip
Lewis Bowman .... grip
Tom Clark .... electrician
Fred Cooper .... dolly grip
Dan Cornwall .... electrician
Stephen Crowley .... best boy electric
David J. Duren .... electrician (as David Duren)
Brant S. Fagan .... Steadicam operator
David Galbraith .... first assistant camera
Jeffry Gordon .... electrician
Brian Gunter .... gaffer
Robert Hill Jr. .... grip (as Robert Hill)
Morgan Michael Lewis .... key grip (as Mike Lewis)
Lee McLemore .... grip
Bobby McMahan .... second assistant camera (as Robert A. McMahan)
Greg Morse .... 24 frame video operator
Deana Newcomb .... still photographer
Dee Nichols .... grip
Van Redin .... still photographer
Chris Rodriquez .... grip
John 'Bones' Rogers .... electrician
Paul Varrieur .... camera operator
Jerome Williams .... camera loader
Darryl Wilson .... best boy grip
Dan Cornwall .... gaffer: second unit (uncredited)
Douglas C. Hart .... first assistant camera: "b" camera (uncredited)
Casting Department
Jo Doster .... location casting
Diana Jaher .... casting associate
Kim Petrosky .... extras casting
Owen J. Rice .... extras casting assistant
Kim McCray .... extras casting assistant (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Stephen Brown .... costumer
Fumie H. Carrera .... seamstress
Stephen K. Randolph .... key set costumer
Kelly Anne Ross .... set costumer (as Kelly Ross-Wilson)
Marciann Shapiro .... costume supervisor
Editorial Department
Steve Ansell .... second assistant editor
Andi Kasen Bergman .... assistant editor (as Andi Kasen)
Gary Burritt .... negative cutter
Todd Busch .... first assistant editor
Anthony J. Camaioni .... assistant editor (as Anthony Joseph Camaioni)
Eric Rigney .... avid technician
Mike Stanwick .... color timer
Robb Sullivan .... assistant editor
Dale Jones .... avid technician (uncredited)
Music Department
Thomas A. Carlson .... music editor (as Tom Carlson)
Sandy DeCrescent .... orchestra contractor
Peter Doell .... assistant score recordist (as Pete Doell)
Janice Hayen .... music preparation
Stephen Krause .... score mixer
Stephen Krause .... score recordist
Ken Kugler .... conductor
Ken Kugler .... orchestrator
Frank Macchia .... music preparation
Sid Page .... musician: solo violin
Joe E. Rand .... music editor
Chris Ridenhour .... assistant music preparation
Tom Boyd .... musician: oboe soloist (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Cindy Parker .... transportation coordinator
J.L. Parker .... transportation coordinator
Mike Robinson .... special driver
Other crew
Charles Thomas Baxter .... location manager (as Charley Baxter)
Gerald Bean .... craft service
Michael Beaudin .... assistant accountant
Emily S. Buckberry .... dialogue consultant
Janet Campolito .... assistant production coordinator
Misty Cooper .... assistant: Mr. Gordon
C.J. Drews .... production assistant
David Fulton .... unit publicist (as Dave Fulton)
John Griffin .... production assistant
John Guss .... production assistant
Rhonda Guthrie .... production secretary (as Rhonda J. Guthrie)
Alan Jacques .... projectionist (as Al Jacques)
Diane Johnson .... craft service
Dana Kullerd .... set production assistant
Eric Lasagna .... first aid
Barrett J. Leigh .... production assistant
Arthur J. Miller Jr. .... railroad coordinator
John Polyhar .... production assistant (as John Ployhar)
Molly Proctor .... payroll
Mike Revell .... production accountant
Paul Schmitz .... production assistant
Jeff Talman .... assistant location manager
Thomas Taylor .... advisor: mining (as Tom Taylor)
Cheryl A. Tkach .... assistant: Mr. Franco and Mr. Johnston
Michael Tomlinson .... location scout
Katie Willard Troebs .... production coordinator
Brenda K. Wachel .... script supervisor (as Brenda Wachel)
Rennie Cowan .... assistant avid technician (uncredited)
John Marston .... location projectionist: substitute (uncredited)
John J. Duncan Jr. .... special thanks: U.S. Representative
Anne B. Pope .... special thanks: Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission, Executive Director (as Anne Pope)
Don Sundquist .... special thanks: Tennessee Governor
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG for language, brief teen sensuality and alcohol use, and for some thematic elements
108 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Canada:14A | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Finland:K-3 (2004) | Finland:K-10 (2000) | France:U | Germany:6 | Hong Kong:II | Iceland:L | Mexico:A | New Zealand:PG | Norway:7 | Portugal:M/12 (video premiere) | Singapore:PG | South Korea:12 | Sweden:Btl (original rating) | Sweden:7 (re-rating) | Switzerland:7 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:7 (canton of Vaud) | UK:PG | USA:PG
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Elsie claims that she'll move to Myrtle Beach after she leaves John. This was where the real Elsie moved after Homer Hickam Sr. (John) died of Black Lung Disease, and still currently resides.See more »
Audio/visual unsynchronized: The shop phone is buzzing, but when Homer's mother throws it out on the ground, brass bells can be seen inside.See more »
Jake Mosby:Buck up, Homer. You're a Coalwood boy! You get down there, get that shovel in your hands, coaldust on your neck, feel just as natural as a tick on a dog.See more »
Movie Connections:
On WisconsinSee more »


What is the significance of the title "October Sky"?
What are the differences between the book and the movie?
What exactly is Hodgkin's disease?
See more »
36 out of 46 people found the following review useful.
The first great film of 1999. *** out of ****., 24 February 1999
Author: Blake French ( from Mason, Mi

There is an old saying that relates to the rousing new film by Joe Johnston that goes something like this: "The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can't are both right." That is a highly presumptuous statement referring to self motivating and belief in an individual, which, in this movie, stand true even after road blocks and family trouble stand in the way.

"October Sky" is about a young man who believes in himself named Homer Hickam, growing up in a strict, traditional family in the 1950's. Homer loves in a small coal mining town where nearly every man grows up to be a miner. All of his friends, Quentin, Roy, and O'Dell all think that their life after high school will be like everyone else's. Homer is not exited about that future.

One night, while everyone stares at the sky, a Russian space craft called Sputnik passes overhead. This is something new for Homer, and he finds it spectacular and overwhelming. From this point on, his look at life will never be the same.

First, he tells everyone that he wants to work in the rocket scientist area for an occupation. Flabbergasted at what he says, his family passes that idea over their heads and continues with life as usual His friends, however, think that this idea may have some potential. After all, Quentin is a very smart individual when it comes to this kind of thing.

When the four friends start to test model rockets, and blow a white picket fence to smithereens, then what seems to be a forest fire is scared by them, they're forced to end their progresses.

The performances in this movie are absolutely riveting from start to finish. All of the actors give performances as if this is the real mumbo jumbo here. Standing out in all of the glory: Laura Dern as Miss Riley. This very well may be Academy award material if the judges can remember back to the beginning of the year when this film is released.

The characters are also extremely well developed. Not only to the filmmakers give clear, apparent reason why Homer is interested in the subject, but they also explain to the audience how they are succeeding in their studding of rocketry. We clearly understand all of the characters' motives and beliefs, especially the father, who is bent over on everlasting tradition.

The film, unfortunately, loses some of its momentum at mid-point because of a silly, recycled romantic sub-plot involving Homer's love interest and how his brother stole her from him. This type of this is becoming so awfully common in high-school movies, not that this film is aimed at high-schoolers. The actors stare at each other mindlessly, like the are in a trance. I put up with it without complaining in 1997's "Inventing the Abbots," but I have had just about enough this.

But that is just a minor complaint. With an authentic looking time period, cinematography worth an Oscar and clips of the real life Homer and friends at the end, whom all hit it big with their dreams, especially Homer, this is the first great film of 1999.

Was the above review useful to you?
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