“October Sky” Is a Classic Rendition of a True Story



October Sky was released in theaters on February 19, 1999.

Released in America in 1999, “October Sky” is a biographical drama movie that tells a tale of determination and friendship. It stars Chris Cooper and Chris Owen, who play two of the four Rocket Boys. Some of the other stars in October Sky are Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays the father, Homer Hickam, and Laura Dern who plays the teacher of the Rocket Boys. The movie takes place in Coalwood, West Virginia in 1957.

“October Sky ” was adapted from the book “Rocket Boys,” which was written by Homer Hickam. This book detailed his life as a young man from when he first realized his love for rocketry and throughout his journey in creating rockets. According to IMDb, the name “Rocket Boys’ ‘ wouldn’t attract the female demographic. Thus, the film was named October Sky. The name “Rocket Boys” wasn’t completely discarded, though, as “October Sky” is an anagram of “Rocket Boys.”

While it is not explicitly stated to be an educational film, “October Sky” is a very informative movie. It presents a dying coal town from 1957 whose only source of income was coal. Everyone was expected to become a coal miner. It shows people getting sick from working in the mines and how dangerous the conditions in the mine were; how one mistake could bring the entire mine down on the worker’s heads.

The film also shows how all of the furniture and the house that miners would live in would be owned by a company and not by them. When a coal miner was unable to work in the mines, their family would be evicted from their house and lose everything they owned.

Being based on a popular book, “October Sky” had a lot to live up to. Although the movie had a few differences from the book, with the help of author Homer Hickam, it remained fairly loyal to the source material. The parts that were changed were to create a more exciting story for the audience; this paid off as this movie received an overwhelmingly positive response from old and new viewers alike.

One of these changes to the story would be when the rocket boys are accused of causing a forest fire. The authorities believe that one of the rockets the boys launched started a fire three miles away from their launch site. While I understand that the writers used this accusation to add suspense and drama to the movie, I feel it was a bad plot point. Seeing as the Rocket Boys built this rocket, I feel they should have realized sooner that their rocket didn’t have the force to go three miles away from their launch site.

Despite starting off slow, “October Sky” quickly becomes an entertaining and immersive story. Despite a few plot points being predictable, I would say this was a well-executed and entertaining film. With a run time of 1 hour and 48 minutes, it is a good movie to sit down and relax to.