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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.


Michael Polish





Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Bob Thornton ... Charles Farmer
Virginia Madsen ... Audrey 'Audie' Farmer
Max Thieriot ... Shepard Farmer
Jasper Polish ... Stanley Farmer
Logan Polish ... Sunshine Farmer
Bruce Dern ... Hal
Mark Polish ... FBI Agent Mathis
Jon Gries ... FBI Agent Killbourne
Tim Blake Nelson ... Kevin Munchak
Sal Lopez ... Pepe Garcia
J.K. Simmons ... Jacobson
Kiersten Warren ... Phyllis
Rick Overton ... Arnold 'Arnie' Millard
Richard Edson ... Chopper Miller
Elise Eberle ... 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 (160) »


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:

View content advisory »





English | Spanish

Release Date:

23 February 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Astronaut Farmer See more »

Filming Locations:

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA See more »


Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,454,319, 25 February 2007, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$10,996,440, 22 April 2007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The premise is similar to Salvage 1, which was a short-lived TV series (starring Andy Griffith) in 1979 in which a small company builds a small commercial rocket for outer-space salvage of space hardware. Just like in that series, both rockets use Hydrazine for fuel. See more »


During the flight, Farmer's capsule comes very close to what apparently is a communications satellite. Typically communications satellites are in geosynchronous orbit 22,236 miles above the surface of the earth. Since Farmer's orbit was planned for 100 statute miles perigee (and presumably an apogee around 175 statute miles, typical for Project Mercury), there is no way he would ever come within sight of a communications satellite. See more »


Judge Miller: [grabs a paddle] Assume the position.
Will Beacon: You're not really gonna whack me with that thing, are you?
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 »


References The Right Stuff (1983) See more »


The Imperial March
Written and Performed by John Williams (as John T. Williams)
Courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

Can't quite lift off
3 February 2007 | by KingMFreakSee all my reviews

I received free passes to an advance screening of Astronaut Farmer and figured, "what the hell, free movie in advance. I'll take it." I proceeded to the theater, which was packed with children and adults of all ages. I settled into my seat and let the magic begin.

Astronaut Farmer is the story of Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thorton), a man who used to work for the military, but was forced to retire to save his family farm. He dreams about going into the inky blackness of space, a place he has aspired to reach for a long time. So he sets out building a rocket in his backyard, which soon draws the attention of NASA, FAA, FBI, CIA, and the press.

When you go into Astronaut Farmer, be prepared to throw the laws of physics and logic out the window, as this one tries to be real, but suffers from a few flaws. First, the rocket is built in Billy's garage, which is made of timber. Timber would incinerate immediately on take off. Good idea? NO! The movie also pulls out the cliché handbook and takes an example from every chapter. The looming bad guys, the goofy sidekicks, the bank's foreclosures, the family tension, failing now and succeeding later, and poor jokes. The movie is entertaining enough, but there's something wrong with a movie that's 100 minutes and feels like 2+ hours.

Would I have purchased tickets to see this? No, but I probably would rent it on DVD. It is a good film for the family though, so on that level I'd say see it (the movie is rated PG). Or just wait until it comes to DVD and rent it for the family then. Fun movie, but only worthwhile in a family environment.

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