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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?


In the movie Armageddon, Thornton's character plays a character that never got to go into outer space. See more »


When the rocket launches, incredibly, the wooden barn remains unburned. In a scene during the second launch, exhaust smoke can be seen coming out the bottom of the barn walls, so it's safe to assume Farmer has designed his barn to overcome the explosive nature of the launch. See more »


Charles Farmer: What makes you think your dad would wear a pink turtleneck?
Audrey 'Audie' Farmer: The color is salmon.
Charles Farmer: That's the color on the inside of a salmon. I don't think a fish would wear that color on the outside.
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 »


Referenced in Sicko (2007) See more »


Before the Next Teardrop Falls
Written by Ben Peters and Vivian Keith
Performed by Freddy Fender
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

Field of Dreams meets October Sky
1 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this wonderfully charming family movie tonight at a free preview in Washington, DC.

The Polish brothers and the Warner Brothers, taking a cue from Walden Media, have hit the family movie sweet spot with this fun, engaging film. I'm giving it an 8 on the basis of pure solid family entertainment value.

(If this movie were a car it would probably be a Toyota Camry)

At the start of the screening, Billy Bob Thorton proudly (and accurately, IMHO) characterized this film as a feel-good Frank Capraesque popcorn flick - the sort of film that would have been on the "A" side of a double bill back in the days of his youth.

Billy Bob and Virginia Madsen do terrific jobs with their characters. I think the timelessly beautiful Ms. Madsen is particularly effective as Farmer's patient, loving, and somewhat exasperated wife.

(and if I were Stephen Colbert interviewing Billy Bob Thorton, I would probably ask this question - "Virginia Madsen: hot co-star, or *the hottest* co-star?").

The story and the arc of the film bring strong elements of "Field of Dreams" and "October Sky" to mind; but absent the mysticism of the former and the somewhat dysfunctional family dynamics of the latter. As a large, tasty helping of pure western Americana I don't doubt for a minute that this film will be a huge hit in Japan.

This movie pays light homage to films like "The Right Stuff" and "Apollo 13." Space fanatics, rocket scientists, and other members of the pocket-protector crowd might experience a few "oh please, you've got to be kidding" moments, but because of its charm, likable characters, and strong acting, this movie requires a lot less disbelief suspension than a film like, oh I don't know, let's say "Armageddon," for example.

Speaking of baby-boomer asteroid wranglers, I was also pleasantly surprised to see Bruce Willis in a small, but key supporting role. I think it's really great when skilled, immensely watchable actors lend their talents to bright young film makers. At the Q&A after the film it was revealed that Bruce took the role as a favor to the Polish brothers and that he essentially worked for free. It was nice of him to do that.

All of the other members of the well-casted supporting ensemble (including some young members of the Polish tribe) delivered solid performances as well.

I won't give you a synopsis of the film here (others are better than me at that sort of thing); but I will tell you that I plan to take my wife and 4, 7, and 12 year old kids to see this film for the pure joy of watching a fun, happy, and slightly quirky movie together as a family.

60 of 86 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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