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October Sky (1999)

Jake Gyllenhaal , Laura Dern , Joe Johnston  |  PG |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (643 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper, Chris Owen, William Lee Scott
  • Directors: Joe Johnston
  • Writers: Lewis Colick
  • Producers: Charles Gordon, Larry Franco
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: July 27, 1999
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (643 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000IQVL
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,531 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "October Sky" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Spotlight on Location
  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Editorial Reviews

    Based on the memoir Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam Jr., October Sky emerged as one of the most delightful sleepers of 1999--a small miracle of good ol' fashioned movie-making in the cynical, often numbingly trendy Hollywood of the late 20th century. Hickam's true story begins in 1957 with Russia's historic launch of the Sputnik satellite, and while Homer (played with smart idealism by Jake Gyllenhaal) sees Sputnik as his cue to pursue a fascination with rocketry, his father (Chris Cooper) epitomizes the admirable yet sternly stubborn working-man's ethic of the West Virginia coal miner, casting fear and disdain on Homer's pursuit of science while urging his "errant" son to carry on the family business--a spirit-killing profession that Homer has no intention of joining.

    As directed by Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer), this wonderful movie is occasionally guilty of overstating its case and sacrificing subtlety for predictable melodrama. But more often the film's tone is just right, and the spirit of adventure and invention is infectiously conveyed through Gyllenhaal and his well-cast fellow rocketeers, whose many failures gradually lead to triumph on their makeshift backwoods launching pad. Capturing time and place with impeccable detail and superbly developed characters (including Laura Dern as an inspiring schoolteacher), October Sky is a family film for the ages, encouraging the highest potential of the human spirit while giving viewers a clear view of a bygone era when "the final frontier" beckoned to the explorer in all of us. --Jeff Shannon

    Product Description

    In Coalwood, West Virginia, 1957, coal mining is king and no one can escape life underground. But when high schooler Homer Hickam, Jr. (Jake Gyllenhaal) sees the Soviet satellite Sputnik streak overhead, he aims for the stars and a new destiny in this incredible true story of hope, determination and triumph. With the help of his teacher (Laura Dern) and three buddies, Homer sets out to build his own rocket. How Homer overcomes seemingly impossible obstacles - poor education, a disapproving father (Chris Cooper) and a series of misfires that threaten to flatten his dreams and the town - and fulfills his vision is the launching pad for one of the most timeless, inspirational stories ever brought to the screen. "You'll laugh with it, cry with it, and go away absolutely loving it," says Robert Butler (Knight Ridder News Service) of October Sky, a universally-acclaimed achievement filled with humor, superb performances and classic rock 'n' roll.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    150 of 156 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Tell your friends about this movie February 29, 2000
    Format:VHS Tape
    I'd seen the October Sky DVD at the local video store, but avoided it--I imagine because I didn't know much about it and because I'd read it was just a "family" movie and figured it wouldn't be very interesting. Well, I finally rented it, and now I see why so many of the reviewers here have raved about it. I won't go into the story--others here have. I'll just say that October Sky is simply a wonderful story, and it's very well told in this movie--script, direction, and cast are all first rate, the photography is beautiful, and the score evocative. It even captured our thirteen year old son's attention--not a small feat for a movie with a PG rating. My guess is you'll be thinking about Coalwood, West Virgina, and its people for a while after seeing this movie. (I should add I ended up buying both the DVD and Rocket Boys (also published as October Sky), the book on which the movie is based. The book is great, too.)
    Was this review helpful to you?
    59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars My inspiration January 1, 2000
    Do you feel constrained in your job? Are you an unhappy student? Then this movie is for you. I first watched the rental and I was deeply touched and inspired by it. I right away decided that this movie is worth owning, so I bought myself a copy. I don't regret it. Every time I watch it, it makes me re-evaluate my life and inspires me to go after what I value most. It makes me realize that I, too, can do what most people will tell me is impossible. It inspires me to keep trying and keep dreaming. You must own this movie so it touches and inspires everyone who visits your home.
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    90 of 94 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars An undiscovered jewel of a film. July 30, 2002
    Format:VHS Tape
    Not everybody will like this film. Three people out of the one hundred and seventy five reviewers here didn't like it. And fifteen more out of the remaining one hundred and seventy two gave it three or four stars, leaving one hundred and fifty seven who thought this an absolutely great movie against eighteen who didn't.
    So I think I'm safe enough to say you'll like this movie even if reading about it doesn't make it sound that exciting. The bottom line is that this movie is so very human. The boys who are obsessed with rockets are normal, every day boys sparked with enthusiasm about what can be done. They are following their own stars, their own sense of what is right for them, against the opposition of those who don't understand.
    And so, there is a story for each and every one here, a very real story about following your own star, not somebody else's. Yes, it's a feel good movie, but it achieves this through the power of the true story, not out of viewer manipulation.
    Very highly recommended.
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    31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars the best family movie of the 90's December 2, 1999
    Format:VHS Tape
    There isn't a better family movie than October Sky. It was enjoyed by all three of my sons who range fron 10-18. My sons have asked to read the book. What better recommendation is there than that. The movie captures the Sputnik moment and helps kids of the 90's to understand their parents' generation better. But even more importantly, it lets kids understand that anyone can make a success of himself if he is focused and will try hard. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie the first, second, and third time I saw it, and so did my kids.
    The characers are terrific. The four heroes, the Rocket Boys, led by Homer Hickham spend weeks developing their rockets, scrounging material, and testing their science by trial and error. The movie provides some subplot relief with typical teenage problems including girls, parents, and being made fun of at school, but the movie, like the Rocket Boys, stays focused on the main event, launching a successful rocket and competing in the national science fair.
    Even though you feel you know the ending before the movie finishes, it keeps your attention because the characters are human and you can identify with them. If you are looking for a movie for you and your kids or parents to enjoy together, this is it. It may be one of the 10 best family movies of all time not just 90's.
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    22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars coal miner reviews February 3, 2000
    Format:VHS Tape
    I am a coal miner and have been for many years. I grew up during the same time period as the movie and lived and worked in the coal camps portrayed . I am also an avid movie watcher and "OCTOBER SKY" is by far one of the best movies of all time. It is probably one of my top five favorites and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a heartwarming, true to life movie. The characters, language, scenery and incidents are impeccable. Would'nt change a thing. The movie didn't play in my area so I drove about 75 miles to Charleston just to see it and I wasn't disappointed. TWO THUMBS UP!
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    18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars October Sky January 5, 2003
    By A Customer
    Format:VHS Tape
    This movie is definitely, withut a doubt, the best movie of 1999 in my opinion. Here's why: The acting is great, the music is well done and fits the era perfectly, and the story is uplifting and inspiring. This movie, however, is not a feel-good movie with a cliched story line and needless melodrama. This movie is about a boy who lives in the coal moning town of verginia, who on one fatefull night, watches Russia's satelitte, the Sputnik race across the October Sky. This inspires him to build rockets againt all odds, be it his father, a hardened coal miner, who refuses to let Homer build rockets on campany property, forcing them to walk 7 miles to snake root, or the fact that there wasn't very much information on rockets in coalwood. However, with the help of his freinds, this story became one of success despite great odds. I beleive that music is very important in a film or game, and this might just be the first review to note the music, witch is very very very well done by Mark Isham. Even four years after it's realise, the final credits still bring a tear to my eyes.
    "This one's gonna go for miles, Homer!" ~Quinten
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    A very sensitive and moving telling of the Rocket Boys story. A superb cast and well crafted screen play.
    Published 1 day ago by Steven R Kuntz
    4.0 out of 5 stars A very good family movie
    A moving story about four young men who made a dream come true and in the process broke an honorable, but pre-destined life pattern.

    A very good family movie. Read more
    Published 3 days ago by John R.
    5.0 out of 5 stars and this is a great movie to show right before science fair
    I teach science, and this is a great movie to show right before science fair. Great acting, and based on a true story
    Published 5 days ago by Donna Fox
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Just a very lighthearted movie good for all ages. Give it a try. You will be glad you did.
    Published 6 days ago by Jana R. Poston
    5.0 out of 5 stars Movie compliments the book October Sky
    I enjoyed the author's commentary and seeing some of the real people that Homer Hickam wrote about. I was impressed that the movie followed the read story very closely. Read more
    Published 9 days ago by Chris Lasley
    4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless (almost) classic
    I lived in West Virginia for five years and the context-- setting of the movie, the characters, and scenery-- is amazingly accurate. Read more
    Published 10 days ago by Duane Brown, Ph. D.
    5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Family FIlm, Based on a True Story
    An excellent movie. Quite moving and inspirational, and appropriate for the whole family. Every actor in here gives an amazingly perfect performance, and the script is... Read more
    Published 12 days ago by PiperLady3
    5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story!
    Excellent story. We love it! Arrived in perfect condition.
    Published 12 days ago by Julesybugs
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Excellent Inspirational movie. The best thing about it - it's based on a true story.
    Published 13 days ago by Cuzilla47
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Awesome movie
    Published 15 days ago by Isaac Edmiston
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