7.8/10
83,280
390 user 116 critic

October Sky (1999)

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.

Director:

Joe Johnston

Writers:

Homer H. Hickam Jr. (book), Lewis Colick (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
3,416 ( 753)
4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Thomas ... Jim Hickam (as Scott Miles)
Randy Stripling 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
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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 coal mine 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

Taglines:

Sometimes one dream is enough to light up the whole sky. 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many of the actors in the movie would go on to appear in Spider-Man films. Jake Gyllenhaal played Mysterio in Spider-Man Far From Home (2019), Chris Cooper played the ailing Norman Osborne in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Elya Baskin played landlord Mr. Ditkovitch in Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007). See more »

Goofs

Homer approaches Quentin in the library within a few months of the launch of Sputnik (October 1957), but the song "Yakety-Yak" (playing in the background during that scene) was released in April 1958. See more »

Quotes

Elsie: Your father always has to be the big hero. I swear if he dies I won't shed a tear.
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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 My Big Break (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

My Prayer
Written by Georges Boulanger and Jimmy Kennedy
Performed by The Platters
Courtesy of Mercury Records
By arrangement with PolyGram Film & TV Music
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User Reviews

 
A real piece of Americana, not for cynics!
17 December 2004 | by mrkabreeSee all my reviews

This is a gem, a real piece of Americana for all that this implies. If you are self programed to resist "life-afirming" stories, just stay away and leave the pleasure to the rest of us who still believe. And what makes the frosting on the cake truly delectable is that it is fact based on a real rags to riches story, no need to nit-pick what details were changed to make a compact story. Chris Cooper is one of the greatest living actors, and the complex, self-conflicted, bottom-line good at the core father he portrayed could only be pulled off successfully by someone with his skill and insight. The simple minded comments, refusing to accept a father who tries to lay down the law all the while sensing that he may possibly be off-track, expose the limitation of the commentator, not the writers or the acting. This is not for the cynical, or the simple minded.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 February 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rocket Boys See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,905,250, 21 February 1999

Gross USA:

$32,570,685

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$34,698,753
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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