October Sky poster

October Sky

Certificate: PG

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, Laura Dern

Release date: 1999

4 out of 5


Based on the memoir Rocket Boys, this old-fashioned movie is a true delight that first introduced audiences to talented young actor Jake Gyllenhaal. It’s the true story of Homer Hickam, who as a teenager in West Virginia in the late 1950s became inspired by the Russian launch of the Sputnik satellite. Against his father’s (Cooper) wishes (dad wants him to follow in his footsteps and work in the local coal mine), Homer and his friends start building their own home-made rocket with the support of their teacher, Miss Riley (Dern).

While it is sentimental in places, this is nonetheless an entertaining film throughout, a testament to one young man’s spirit of adventure and invention and determination not to give up, even when his own father fails to support him.

Gyllenhaal is superb as Homer, and a bit of a cutie too, so while boys will be mesmerised by the exploding rockets, girls can drool over the young leading man (parents, meanwhile, will just be fascinated by Homer’s story). Terrific stuff.

Is October Sky suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...


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