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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?


Billy Bob Thornton and Bruce Willis also shared screen time in Armageddon (1998), where the same topics of space, astronauts and rocket spaceships are highly concentrated on. See more »


For his first launch, Farmer fuels the rocket with kerosene and hydrazine. Either one can be used as a rocket fuel, but both are worthless without an oxidizer. Even combined, he never would have gotten an ignition, let alone a failed 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 HypaSpace: Episode #6.25 (2007) See more »


I Made a Lover's Prayer
Written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
Performed by Gillian Welch
Courtesy of Acony Records
See more »

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User Reviews

It's not a comedy, I swear, but somehow it still works.
30 January 2007 | by (Salt Lake City, Utah) – See all my reviews

When I first heard there was a movie in which my buddy Billy Bob builds a rocket in his barn, I thought for sure it must be a comedy or some sort of spoof or slapstick. Then I saw the trailer, which portrayed the film as serious drama. Given this background, I must say, I had my doubts when I went to an advanced screening in Salt Lake City last night. I need not have worried. The movie was in fact serious (with some great laughs on the aside) and yet it still worked.

Admittedly, the follow-your-dreams-no-matter-what genre has been around since the dawn of time, but Astronaut Farmer manages to stand out nonetheless. The timeless truths are all the more poignant set against the backdrop of such an impossible dream. The problems Charlie Farmer confronts are in many ways similar to problems we all face. Themes of love, sacrifice, and faith make this movie easy to relate to. It is a metaphor of being true to yourself and following your dreams, not just another sappy you-can-do-anything-you-set-your-mind-to knockoff. I recommend it to anyone who has ever wanted something out of life that seemed out of reach or that others scoffed at.

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