7.8/10
75,338
355 user 113 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
2,368 ( 356)

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ON DISC
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:

Based on an extraordinary true story. 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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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, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$32,481,825, 25 July 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The author wished the movie to be called "Rocket Boys," like the book it's based on, but the studio believed that title would not sell well. The compromise title "October Sky" works on two levels: it's the month when the hero is first inspired by Sputnik flying overhead, and it is an anagram of "Rocket Boys". See more »

Goofs

When Homer's dad introduces the football recruiter, he refers to him as from the University of West Virginia. That is incorrect, the school is West Virginia University. John (Homer's dad) does not have a formal education and knows little of colleges/universities, so him making this mistake is not out of character. See more »

Quotes

Homer: [Reading the newspaper aloud] "The silvery cylinder burst forth in a fiery column of smoke and flame, racing the very wind as it soared into the sky, a messenger of these Rocket Boys of Big Creek.
[Chuckling]
Homer: These boys use their brains, not brawn, who play not football, but with Apollo's fire."
O'Dell: [Chuckles]
Dorothy Platt: [Walks up to Homer, elated] Hi Homer.
Homer: [Quietly] Hi Dorothy.
Dorothy Platt: Would you please sign my newspaper?
Homer: Sure.
Dorothy Platt: I just know you're going to be really famous someday.
Homer: [Stares at Dorothy, mesmerized]
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The real life people portrayed in the movie are shown during the end credits. See more »


Soundtracks

Searchin'
Written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller
Performed by The Coasters
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Inspirational
31 July 2004 | by seagornSee all my reviews

I loved this movie. It is one of the few movies that I have consistently recommended to friends to rent and have had all of them thank me for the referral. The film has some powerful themes that are beautifully scripted. The acting is superb all around (Chris Cooper has never turned in a bad acting role in my opinion!) The message of this film is so well delivered, so powerful, that it moved me to tears the first time I saw it. Not sad tears, which are easily solicited by cinema formula, but tears of joy--a rare thing.

Although I did not grow up in the 1950's, I believe this film honestly portrays the mood and setting of the time. Given today's harsh world with all its complications, watching this film is a welcome escape to a time of innocence, wonder, and discovery. Highly recommended!


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