October Sky (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

October Sky1999

October Sky (1999)



Critic Consensus: Rich in sweet sincerity, intelligence, and good old-fashioned inspirational drama, October Sky is a coming-of-age story with a heart to match its Hollywood craftsmanship.

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In Coalwood, West Virginia, all the boys grow up to be coal miners and Homer Hickam has no reason to think he'll be any different. Too small to earn a football scholarship, Homer has no way out of his predetermined life -- until the soviet satellite Sputnik flies over the October sky and changes everything. It's 1957 and Homer's world just got a lot bigger. Though his father is mine superintendent and has no greater wish than to see his sons follow in his footsteps, Homer embarks on a mission to build and launch his own homemade rockets with the help of his loyal band of friends. Though their frequent mistakes nearly get them shut down, their successes inspire the whole town to believe that miracles can happen even in Coalwood, and there's nothing wrong with shooting for the stars.

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Jake Gyllenhaal
as Homer Hickam
Chris Cooper
as John Hickam
Laura Dern
as Miss Riley
Chris Owen
as Quentin
Natalie Canerday
as Elsie Hickam
Scott Miles
as Jim Hickam
Randy Stripling
as Leon Bolden
Chris Ellis
as Principal Turner
Elya Baskin
as Ike Bykovsky
Courtney Fendley
as Dorothy Platt
David Dwyer
as Jake Mosby
Terry Loughlin
as Mr. Dantzler
Kaili Hollister
as Valentine Carmina
David Copeland
as Coach Gainer
Tom Kagy
as Lenny
Donald Thorne
as Trooper One
Larry Rue
as Neighbor
Neva Howell
as Neighbor
Brady Coleman
as Anderson
Terrence Gibney
as Basil Thorpe
Doug Swander
as Corvette Guy
Keeli Hale Kimbro
as Corvette Girl
Blaque Fowler
as Reverend
Don Tilley
as Rescue Worker
Rockford Davis
as Chemistry Teacher
Larry Black
as Fred Smith
Frank Schuler
as Moonshiner
Tommy Smeltzer
as Man at Mine
Ida Ginn
as Quentin's Mom
Richard Lumpkin
as Judge at Welch
Mark W. Johnson
as Union Official
Don Taylor
as Union Official
Don G. Campbell
as Mr. Morris
Elizabeth Byler
as Ivy League Girl
Bradford Ryan Lund
as Ivy League Boy
Frank Hoyt Taylor
as Judge at Indy
David Hager
as Head Judge
Ray Elder
as Tom Webster
Andy Stahl
as Jack Palmer
Joey DiGaetano
as Wernher Von Braun
Thomas Taylor
as Miner in Elevator
David Ducey
as Man in Crowd
O. Winston Link
as Locomotive Engineer
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Critic Reviews for October Sky

All Critics (74) | Top Critics (20)

Inspiring tale for older tweens and up.

December 26, 2010 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

The TV movie subject matter is infused with genuine feeling for the value of learning as a passport to freedom, and an authentic regard for the honest graft of working men.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…

Retreads the soggy ground staked out by Field of Dreams, with sentimental tears and group hugs as the answer to conflicting ideological standpoints.

December 2, 2002 | Full Review…

Immensely entertaining and unabashedly inspirational!

January 1, 2000
Top Critic

As adapted by Lewis Colick, the screenplay shifts busily among the boys' rocket exploits, Homer's family, conditions at the mine and the influence of a dedicated science teacher, but each of these subplots plays out in familiar ways.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Another Universal Pictures paint-by-numbers feel-gooder!

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for October Sky

This is the true story of Homer Hickam, Jr.- a bright teenager obsessed with rockets and science who, much to the befuddlement of his family and neighbors of his small, working class coal mining town, defied the odds to follow his dreams during the space race years of the 50s. It's a very inspiring story that is filled with heart, warmth, humor, and does a good job at dealing with issues of family, working class life, and following one's dreams. That, and it's got a notable cast including a young Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, and Laura Dern. Hickam did eventually become a NASA engineer, but the film primarily focuses on the earliest leg of that journey, and the scenes of him and his friends trying to get into the rocket game for themselves are both funny and charming. This is Joe Johnston making a nice drama and pulling it off pretty well. He's got a spotty record, but this is one of his better efforts, and one I find my self enjoying quite a bit each time I see it. Sure, there are shades of typical tropes like the father wanting the son to follow in his footsteps, and people interested in a subject that doesn't fit in with what everyone else in their locale appreciates, but it's handled decently, and the performances are nice, too.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


Deeply moving with a whole lot of heart. It's something you'll want to believe in because it is something to believe for.

Adriel Lim
Adriel Lim

Super Reviewer

As many have already mentioned, it's just another conventional inspirational story of a boy who doesn't give up his dream, even if he has to fight against his father's will for it. Check it out if you're a fan of inspirational tales; otherwise, nothing extraordinary here. And well, isn't so bad to pass time if you've nothing else to do, and haven't watched it already.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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