7.8/10
80,163
379 user 117 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
2,191 ( 395)
4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

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
Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the 1919 Chicago White Sox come.

Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Stars: Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A coming-of-age story about a shy, young boy sent by his irresponsible mother to spend the summer with his wealthy, eccentric uncles in Texas.

Director: Tim McCanlies
Stars: Haley Joel Osment, Michael Caine, Robert Duvall
Biography | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The story of Sir J.M. Barrie's friendship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan.

Director: Marc Forster
Stars: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie
Holes (2003)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A wrongfully convicted boy is sent to a brutal desert detention camp where he joins the job of digging holes for some mysterious reason.

Director: Andrew Davis
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight
The Sandlot (1993)
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In the summer of 1962, a new kid in town is taken under the wing of a young baseball prodigy and his rowdy team, resulting in many adventures.

Director: David Mickey Evans
Stars: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Art LaFleur
The Rocketeer (1991)
Action | Adventure | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A young pilot stumbles onto a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a high-flying masked hero.

Director: Joe Johnston
Stars: Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry.

Director: Penny Marshall
Stars: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In the 1940s, a young boy named Ralphie attempts to convince his parents, his teacher and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect Christmas gift.

Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin
Family | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote
My Girl (1991)
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young girl, on the threshold of her teen years, finds her life turning upside down, when she is accompanied by an unlikely friend.

Director: Howard Zieff
Stars: Anna Chlumsky, Macaulay Culkin, Dan Aykroyd
Drama | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A young, recently-orphaned girl is sent to England after living in India all of her life. Once there, she begins to explore her new, seemingly-isolated surroundings, and its secrets.

Director: Agnieszka Holland
Stars: Kate Maberly, Maggie Smith, Heydon Prowse
Action | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A boy and his mother move to California for a new job. He struggles to fit in, as a group of karate students starts to bully him for dating a rich girl from their clique. It's up to the Japanese landlord, Miyagi, to teach him karate.

Director: John G. Avildsen
Stars: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

It's true that many Americans were concerned about the Russians launching Sputnik into Earth orbit, mainly because they had beaten them into space, which fueled the Americans' determination to beat them to the Moon. 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: [to John] Dad, I may not be the best, but I come to believe that I got it in me to be somebody in this world. And it's not because I'm so different from you either, it's because I'm the same. I mean, I can be just as hard-headed, and just as tough. I only hope I can be as good a man as you. Sure, Wernher von Braun is a great scientist, but he isn't my hero.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Written by Jerome Kern and Otto A. Harbach (as Otto Harbach)
Performed by The Platters
Courtesy of Mercury Records
By arrangement with PolyGram Film & TV Music
See more »

User Reviews

 
Rocket Boy's Life Soars
22 August 1999 | by NJMoonSee all my reviews

I resisted seeing this movie and I understand why it was not a big hit in theatres. "October Sky" feels and looks oh so familiar. And it is. All plot contrivances and emotions have been explored before in other films -- and possibly even better. But despite it's familiarity and resistance to all formulas Hollywood, this movie is winning and likeable at every turn.

Sputnik is the inspiration for this journey of the heart, mind and soul. Just as the characters from Steven Sondheim's musical MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG stood agape atop their apartment roof hoping it would launch their new generation ("What do you call it? You call it a miracle."), Sputnik has a similar affect on the young rocket boys of this true tale. While jaded townsfolk of their 1950's coal town dismiss the event, Homer Hickham sees Sputnik as his ticket out of a life in the mines.

Masterful direction and casting make the journey of rocket boy Homer and his pals seem fresh and new. Especially affecting are subplots concerning Homer's ailing young school teacher. Remarkable restraint is shown in depicting their delicate relationship. Also remarkable is the father / son supblot that anchors the film. Perfectly played all around. Even Homer's mom gets her moment without cliche or intrusion. Her ultimatum to her husband is both dignified and heatbreaking. "Myrtle Beach" says it all.

A major video chain I despise has a sign next to this film stating that you'll love this film or they'll refund your money. For once, I agree with them. You'll never look at the October sky quite the same again.


47 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 379 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

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 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,905,250, 21 February 1999

Gross USA:

$32,570,685

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$34,698,685
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:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.



Recently Viewed