October Sky Parent Guide
This inspiring story show that with enough vision and persistence, your dreams can reach the stars.
Parent Movie Review
It’s 1957 in Coalwood, West Virginia, and all roads point to the local coal mine. Even the high school principal puts more of a priority on picking coal than on getting education. But when the first spacecraft, the Russian Sputnik, flies over Coalwood, high-school student Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal) catches a glimpse of the bigger world and can no longer accept his presumed future.
The only known road out of Coalwood is a football scholarship. Homer doesn’t qualify for that. Instead, he chooses a new path that follows his passion: rocket building. Because this ambitious effort will require some skill in welding, science, and math, he enlists (with a lot of persuasion) the help of his friends, the mine’s machinist and an unpopular student who is a math-whiz.
The townspeople think Homer is crazy, but the greatest opposition comes from his father (Chris Cooper), a supervisor and lifetime employee at the mine. His Dad was already upset with the time and money being spent on building rockets, but when Homer and his friends are accused of setting a forest fire, his father explodes. Despite the opposition, the dream won’t die. With all the determination of a football wannabe, Homer tackles each new obstacle using teamwork and extra-curricular academic training.
Unfortunately, there are concerns for parents in this film. Some scenes of family disputes contain moderate profanities and may be too intense for younger children. Parents may find another reason to squirm during a needless scene when the boys make some sexual remarks about how to feel a girl’s breast during a movie.
But for me, this true story contains good lessons that fly far above the bad. Through persistent effort, these boys show how incredible goals can be reached. Even more noteworthy, this rare film celebrates intellectual effort as opposed to the usual physical talents. Along the way, Homer and his father discover they share a dedication to hard work. Eventually they learn to respect each other’s achievements. The true story on which October Sky is based, provides great motivation to shoot for your dreams.Directed by Joe Johnston. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper. Running time: 108 minutes. Theatrical release February 19, 1999. Updated March 26, 2020
Watch the trailer for October Sky
October Sky Parents' Guide
This true story has a happy ending, with Homer Hickam achieving his dream. Would his efforts still have been worthwhile had he not reached this ultimate goal? Are you ever discouraged from trying new things because you might not realize your ultimate dream? What things still worth the risk?
Homer Hickam grew up to be a real rocket scientist (aka: aerospace engineer)—as well as an author (this movie is based on his book Rocket Boys). He retired in 1998 after over 20 years of service to NASA, but he continues to write.
Loved this movie? Try these books…October Sky is an adaptation of Homer Hickam's autobiography, "The Rocket Boys". "2001: A Space Odyssey", by Arthur C. Clarke, was written in conjunction with the Stanley Kubrick film of the same name, and is a dramatic imagination of where humanity could have been at the turn of the century.
News About "October Sky"
Learn more about the Russian satellite Sputnik.
The most recent home video release of October Sky movie is February 14, 2017. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: October Sky
Release Date:14 February 2017
October Sky releases to home video (Blu-ray) with the following special feaures:
- Aiming High: The Story of the Rocket Boys
- Spotlight on Location
- Theatrical Trailer
- Feature Commentary with Homer Hickam
Related home video titles:
Apollo 11 is a documentary built from original NASA footage of the first moon landing. Another film depicting that first visit to our moon is First Man, which shows Neil Armstrong’s career leading up the historic landing. Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks, tells the shocking true story of the Apollo 13 disaster, and the astronauts who ran into car trouble…halfway to the moon.