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The Astronaut Farmer (2006)

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A NASA astronaut (Thornton), forced to retire years earlier so he could save his family farm, has never given up his dream of space travel and looks to build his own rocket, despite the government's threats to stop him.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Munchak
Arnold 'Arnie' Millard
Chopper Miller
Madison Roberts


Texan Charles Farmer left the Air Force as a young man to save the family ranch when his dad died. Like most American ranchers, he owes his bank. Unlike most, he's an astrophysicist with a rocket in his barn - one he's built and wants to take into space. It's his dream. The FBI puts him under surveillance when he tries to buy rocket fuel; the FAA stalls him when he files a flight plan - it's post-9/11, after all. His wife is angry when she finds out their bank is initiating foreclosure. Charlie fears failure and decides, precipitously, to launch. Are twenty-first century American dreams just a sign of insanity? Are those who believe in dreamers only fools? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rocket | bank | fbi | space travel | fuel | See All (159) »


If we don't have our dreams, we have nothing.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material, peril and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

23 February 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Astronaut Farmer  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,454,319 (USA) (23 February 2007)


$10,996,440 (USA) (20 April 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Virginia Madsen and Bruce Dern are alumni from the same high school, New Trier High School, which is noted for several celebrity alumni. See more »


Carnival rides use electric motors connected to huge generators to turn them. When the Farmers have the carnival ride on their property we see a large overhead view of the carnival ride but there is no generator or electrical cord anywhere. The cord is obviously buried and the generator is behind the camera. See more »


Judge Miller: [grabs a paddle] Assume the position.
Will Beacon: You're not really gonna whack me with that thing, are you?
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits, an interview on The Tonight Show is shown between Farmer and Jay Leno. Pictures play during the credits as well. See more »


References The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992) See more »


Stop the World (And Let Me Off)
Written by W.S. Stevenson and Carl Belew
Performed by Dwight Yoakam
Courtesy of Koch Entertainment
By Arrangement with Sugaroo!
See more »

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User Reviews

Slow and corny
23 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"If we don't have our dreams, we have nothing" Charles Farmer

How do you take an inherently interesting story about a former pilot and astronaut drop out, who launches himself into orbit, and make that story slow, dull, and corny? The Polish brothers (director, writers) achieve that state possibly because the modest $13 million budget is still much more than they ever had and their approach is too reverential to the hero, who by any standards pursues a quixotic goal of launching himself at the risk of jettisoning his family and close friends.

Charles Farmer (Billie Bob Thornton) is determined to achieve his goal in the face of losing his too well ordered and clean farm and his loving, dutiful, and way too accepting wife, Audrey (Virginia Madsen). Thornton, underplaying with that fetching drawl and highly-developed outsider persona, does a credible job of dreaming his impossible dream without appearing unstable or psychotic. Madsen, while always attractive, has such a clichéd part as the long-suffering mate that the character could appear to be even more unrealistic than her husband.

The two young daughters mug for the camera or make too much happy to be credible. Only two characters ring true all the time: Farmer's son, Shephard (Max Thierot), who is cool as a teen mission controller; and an uncredited Bruce Willis, who plays an ex-astronaut friend of Farmer trying to talk him out of a potentially disastrous launch. Everyone else is a caricature, as the film itself is almost a parody of the American dream: It relies on the American tradition of individualism, evenat the expense of those closest to the dreamer. That's an American tragedy.

20 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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