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October Sky (1999)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 72
Fresh: 65 | Rotten: 7

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.


Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 2

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.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 64,525

My Rating

Movie Info

NASA engineer Homer H. Hickam, Jr.'s autobiography provided the basis for this drama about a teenager coming of age at the dawn of the space race. In 1957, Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a high school student in Coalwood, West Virginia when the Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the first man-made satellite. While most of his friends and neighbors react with fear or distrust, Homer is instantly fascinated and begins studying everything he can find on jet and rocket design. While many of Homer's



Lewis Colick

Jul 29, 1999

Universal - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (74) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (65) | Rotten (7) | DVD (26)

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 Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is a film that treats its teen-aged hero and his pals as distinctive, sentient human beings.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop 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 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comments (4)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the best in recent years!

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

October Sky will go straight to the heart of any man who recalls looking up at the night sky as a boy and getting stars in his eyes.

January 1, 2000
Mr. Showbiz
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This movie has deep values.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

uplifting family film with great values

February 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

Inspiring tale for older tweens and up.

December 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

...plays like a TV movie made for everyone who subscribes to Reader's Digest. Still, its manipulations are sincere rather than cynical...

April 7, 2006 Full Review Source:

Director Joe Johnston has crafted a feel good film that doesn't pander to cheap emotions.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

October Sky is a movie you want to believe in.

January 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Any film that celebrates a teenager's ability to think instead of throw a ball ought to be cheered.

September 23, 2003 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Though shot in Tennessee, Johnston's October Sky successfully evokes the stifling atmosphere of a blackened 1950s town in the southern West Virginia mountains.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

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 Source: Sight and Sound | Comment (1)
Sight and Sound

An enthralling and warm-hearted story about four high school students who taught themselves to build and fly real rockets.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

A sweet yet sincere coming-of-age story about fathers and sons, communities pulling together and, above all, heroes.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

This small, well-crafted coming-of-age docudrama is a real-life Revenge of the Nerds by way of Stand By Me.

March 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

It will lift your spirit and make you feel good about all those who pursue their dreams in the face of large obstacles.

February 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice full of spirit and letter-perfect filmmaking that I defy anyone to watch this movie without getting a tingle in his or her heart.

October 25, 2001 Full Review Source: SPLICEDWire

The 'follow your dream' theme works, even though the son versus father sub-plot struggles at times.

March 12, 2001 Full Review
Norman Transcript

October Sky doesn't seem like much on paper, but it is an entertaining, smart movie that is calculated to satisfy the all-American notion that anyone can do anything as long as he tries hard enough and never stops believing.

February 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

It is about four kids who build rockets, but it is a lot more than that. It is about having the guts to go for your dreams and not worrying about what other people think.

January 1, 2001 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

A truly uplifting, heartwarming motion picture!

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Blather
Film Blather

A compulsively watchable, well-crafted feature...

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

It's good for inspiring, good to make you all misty-eyed and it's commendable for making trigonometry more enticing than football.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

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.
January 11, 2012
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.
November 5, 2011
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.
April 1, 2011

Super Reviewer

October Sky ins the best feel good movie ever made. One of the things thats great about the film is the film doesn't go over board in it's sentimentality. Never does it feel overly sentimental, corny or embarrassing. This is the type of film that you will definitely feel good right after watching it. You really sympathize with the characters because they are brilliantly played by the cast. I can't recall the number of times I've seen this film, but it's at least over a dozen times. Unlike other family films that try to be overly sentimental just for the sake of being family friendly and to appeal to a bigger audience. October Sky has something that separates it from other feel good films, and thats a very good story, and I mean good. October Sky is the true story of Homer Hickam a teenager who spots the Sputnik satellite and who decides to built his own rocket and enter the science fair. His dad is highly against it, and wants him to work in the mine. Homer has other ideas. October Sky is really a story about accomplishing your dreams, and achieving the impossible. This is simply an incredible story about perseverance and determination and unlike other feel good films, this is a true story, and the way it's told on film is beautiful. The film is brilliantly directed by Joe Johnson, director of Jumanji, and he crafts yet another great film. October Sky is a well acted film, the actors here are incredible and this was one of Jake Gyllenhaal's first staring roles, and is just the right person for this role. Also a performance that is equally great is Chjris Cooper as Homer's father who opposes Homer's dreams. Both actors electrifying as they butt heads on screen as we see their conflicting ideas unfold. Chris Cooper is fine and underrated actor, and this is the first film that I've seen that exposed me to his work. October Sky is a solid feel good film and like I said, this is one of the best too. A fine cast upholds this film, and Johnson has got a fine script at hand. and because of that, the film works very well. The beauty part about this film is that this is the type of film that will stay with you long after you've seen it, and everyone can take something positive away from it. A fine film that in one word can be summarized as beautiful.
October 24, 2010
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

    1. Homer Hickam: They wouldn't care if you lived in a governor's mansion. They'd still think you're weird.
    – Submitted by Sam M (4 months ago)
    1. John Hickam: If steel fails, this country fails.
    – Submitted by Frances H (13 months ago)
    1. Miss Riley: Sometimes you really can't listen to what anybody else says. You just gotta listen inside.
    – Submitted by Nusfish K (2 years ago)
    1. Homer Hickam: You know, it won't fly unless somebody pushes the button.
    – Submitted by Nusfish K (2 years ago)
    1. Roy Lee: Science fairs are for geeks.
    – Submitted by Nicholas B (2 years ago)
    1. Homer Hickam: I wouldn't care if you lived in the Governor's mansion, I'd still think you are weird.
    – Submitted by Jeff J (2 years ago)
View all quotes (6)

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