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The Astronaut Farmer

3.9 out of 5 stars 189 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Astronaut Farmer (DVD) (FS/WS)

Academy Award® winner Billy Bob Thornton stars as a man who refuses to give up on his dreams in this inspirational family drama filled with heart, humor and a healthy dose of social satire. As a farmer, family man and former astronaut-in-training, Charles Farmer -- played by Thornton (Mr. Woodcock)-- chases his lifelong dream to reach the stars by building his very own spacecraft in his barn! With the support of his family and friends -- played by Virginia Madsen (Smith, Sideways), Bruce Dern (Big Love) and Tim Blake Nelson (Minority Report) -- Farmer bravely faces the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Aviation Administration and financial ruin to overcome every obstacle that stands in the way of his launch and his dreams.

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Special Features

Featurette: Includes two featurettes: How to Build a Rocket: The Making of The Astronaut Farmer and A Conversation with NASA Astronaut David ScottFeaturette: Includes two featurettes: How to Build a Rocket: The Making of The Astronaut Farmer and A Conversation with NASA Astronaut David ScottFeaturette: Includes two featurettes: How to Build a Rocket: The Making of The Astronaut Farmer and A Conversation with NASA Astronaut David ScottFeaturette: Includes two featurettes: How to Build a Rocket: The Making of The Astronaut Farmer and A Conversation with NASA Astronaut David ScottFeaturette: Includes two featurettes: How to Build a Rocket: The Making of The Astronaut Farmer and A Conversation with NASA Astronaut David Scott

Product Details

  • Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Virginia Madsen, Bruce Dern, Tim Blake Nelson, Max Thieriot
  • Directors: Michael Polish
  • Writers: Michael Polish, Mark Polish
  • Producers: Michael Polish, Paula Weinstein, J. Geyer Kosinski, Len Amato, Mark Polish
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JPLE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,834 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Astronaut Farmer" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By thornhillatthemovies.com VINE VOICE on March 7, 2007
Let's take a quick look at a couple of key elements of the new film "The Astronaut Farmer", starring Billy Bob Thornton, Virginia Madsen, Bruce Dern and Tim Blake Nelson.

Charles Farmer (Thornton) and his family live on a farm in a small town called Story, Texas. Farmer has dreamed of traveling into space and now uses the family's large barn to build a spaceship called The Dreamer. He has managed to convince his wife, Audie (Madsen) that he can do this. His son, Shepherd (Max Thierot) helps him build the spaceship and will presumably run mission control. Their two younger daughters are basically the cheering section and provide Farmer with a reason to live the dream.

Okay, so right away, "The Astronaut Farmer" has various telltale signs of a fantasy film or a tall tale. Charles Farmer, a farmer, lives in Story, Texas and builds a spaceship called The Dreamer. Clearly, "The Astronaut Farmer" is not a true story, a story based in reality. It is a fable, a story of dreamers, of hope. And a darned good example of this, a very good film for every one of all ages. Please go and see this film. It needs your support.

Written and directed by the Polish Brothers, Mark and Michael ("Twin Falls, Idaho", "Northfork"), you can see influences from each of their previous films in this new title. "Twin Falls" told the story of conjoined twins, played by the Polish Brothers, who fall in love with the same woman. A strange, but interesting film telling a unique story. "Farmer" has strange, but interesting elements combined into a very personal, almost beautiful story about a family pulling together to fulfill their dreams.

This strange film is surprisingly moving and effective.
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A man wearing a spacesuit rides horseback across the sand dunes of a barren desert. He moves right-to-left, which spells trouble in movies' silent language. There, he finds a calf that has strayed from its mother, lying in the sand. With a firm but gentle hand, he returns the lost beast to the herd.

It's a scene whose incongruous visual elements reminded me of the 1968 sci-fi thriller Planet of the Apes. But this isn't some spaceman marooned in a strange place; it's the movie's earthbound hero, a Texan named Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton). A graduate of the University of Texas aerospace engineering program and one-time member of NASA's astronaut program, Charlie left the space agency decades ago to run the family ranch after his father's untimely death. Yet, through all the years of operating the ranch and raising his own family, he hasn't let go of his dream of defying gravity.

In his barn, Charlie works obsessively, day and night, to build a rocket that may help him realize his dream. He models it after 1950s-era Atlas missiles, using salvage parts he buys on the cheap from rocket graveyards. His supportive wife, Audie (Virginia Madsen, enjoying a rewarding second wind onscreen), and their three kids get caught up in the daily up-and-down drama of his quest; indeed, his first-born, son Shepard (Max Thieriot), was named in honor of the first American in space, Alan Shepard.

However, their neighbors in the farm community regard Charlie as the town oddball, a frustrated man going through a bizarre mid-life crisis. There's even an ongoing bet among the locals as to whether he "will ever go up, or blow up.
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Format: DVD
Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen star in this uplifting film about following your dreams and the importance of family.

Thornton stars as Charlie Farmer, a former aeronautics engineer and current Texas ranch owner. Charlie has a dream about going into space in a home-made rocket ship. Everyone thinks he's crazy, but his wife Audie (Virginia Madsen), along with the rest of his family support him completely. Time passes, and work has progressed on the rocket. However, things aren't going well financially for the Farmers. The bank has threatened to foreclose on the house, Audie's father (Bruce Dern) has come to live with the family, and the FBI and the FAA have staked out Charlie's house after he attempted to purchase 10,000 gallons of rocket fuel online. At a cost of $50,000, Charlie doesn't have the money for the fuel. So, he goes to his local bank, where he's turned down for a loan.

Meanwhile, a former astronaut friend of Charlie's (played by Bruce Willis) shows up at the house to try to dissuade Charlie from trying to launch his rocket. This attempt fails, and Charlie presses on. Later, a meeting is scheduled between Charlie and the FAA, and the FAA refuses to allow Charlie to launch.

Desperate and running out of time before the bank forecloses, Charlie decides to make his own rocket fuel and launch anyway. This turns into a disaster, as the launch goes terribly wrong. Charlie ends up in the hospital with numerous broken bones. Meanwhile, Audie's father has passed away, leaving a sizable sum of inheritance for the family.

After convalescing at home, Charlie decides he's done with space travel. Audie takes the money she inherited from her father to the bank to pay off the family's debts, but she changes her mind.
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