October Sky

October Sky is a 1999 film based on the memoir Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam, Jr. about growing up in a mining town and pursuing an interest in amateur rocketry.

Directed by Joe Johnston. Screenplay by Lewis Colick based on the book by Homer Hickam, Jr.


  • [When his father tells him that he can work the night shift in the mine] No. Coal mining may be your life, but it's not mine. I'm never going down there again. I wanna go into space.
  • [to John] Dad, I may not be the best, but I come to believe that I got it in me to be somebody in this world. And it's not because I'm so different from you either, it's because I'm the same. I mean, I can be just as hard-headed, and just as tough. I only hope I can be as good a man as you. Sure, Wernher von Braun is a great scientist, but he isn't my hero.
  • [after Homer sees the tiny shack that Quentin lives in with his family] Quentin, I wouldn't care if you lived in the Governor's mansion. I'd still think you're weird!
  • [Telling the story of how O'Dell's father died in the mine] Piece of slate caught him right in the neck... and it cut his head clear off.
  • [To his father before a rocket launch] You know, it, uh, won't fly unless somebody pushes the button. It's yours, if you want it.
  • [He gets upset and yells at his father] Listen, I'm sorry about what's going on here but it isn't my fault! If I win at Indianapolis, maybe I can go to Collage, maybe even get a job at Cape Carninal! There's nothing here for me! Miss Rilly is dying, the town is dying, even the mine is dying...EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT BUT YOU! Ok, i'm outta here and I don't need to waste my time here. I'll go now and i'll be gone forever! I WON'T EVEN LOOK BACK!! (Then he storms out and slams the door)


  • [Confronting Vernon, who was attacking Roy Lee] Now you listen to me you drunken son of a bitch. If that boy's father were still alive, he'd kick your ass. So I'm gonna have to do it for him. If I see him with a bruise... you get a scar. If I see him with a limp... you get [violently shakes him] crutches! Do you hear me? Do you hear me?
  • (He tells Homer after paying the bail) 'Homer, i'm very disapointed in you, I've been mad as hell at ya, but...It's the first time of your life I been ashamed
  • "....(in the mine with Homer) I was born for this and I guess you were too.... "


  • Elsie Hickam: [After one of Homer's rockets blows up and destroys part of the fence] Didn't I tell you not to blow yourself up?!
  • Jake Mosby: Buck up, Homer. You're a Coalwood boy! You get down there, get that shovel in your hands, coaldust on your neck, feel just as natural as a tick on a dog.
  • Leon Bolden: [After one of the rockets almost hits him] Homer, I flew with the Red Tails in World War II. And seein' that rocket come at me... it almost took me back there.
  • Roy Lee: That thing had better fly, or you can kiss your chances of losing your virginity goodbye.
  • O'Dell: That's a good idea.... Four unidentifiable high school students lost their lives early this morning when their toy rocket exploded.


John: Elsie, I don't have the power to settle this strike.
Elsie: The bosses listen to you. They'll do what you tell them.
John: I'm not gonna crawl on my belly infront of those miserable union rats.
Elsie: Is that what this is about? Is this about your pride?
John: It's about what's best for Coalwood. If this mine doesn't produce, then the town dies. Think the union gives a damn about that? They're nothin' but a bunch of greedy sons of bitches...
Elsie: Shut up. Just shut up. [John is silent] Homer once said you love the mine more than your own family. I stuck up for you because I didn't want to believe it. Homer has gotten a lot of help from the people in this town. They've helped him build his rockets. They've watched him fly 'em. But not you. You never showed up, not even once. I'm not asking you to believe in it, but he's your son, for God's sake. And I am asking you to help him. If you don't, I'll leave you. I'll do whatever it takes to get away from here. I will work, if that's what it takes. I'll live in a tree to get away from you. Don't think I won't.
John: Where would you go?
Elsie: [a beat] Myrtle Beach.
[she leaves]

Principal Turner and Miss Riley talking Principal Turner:" our job is to give these kids an education. " Miss Riley:" Mmm-hmm. " Principal Turner:" Not false hopes. " Miss Riley:" False hopes? Do you want me to sit quiet, let 'em breathe in coal dust the rest of their life? Principal Turner: Miss Riley, once in a while... a lucky one... will get out on a football scholarship. The rest of 'em work in the mines." Miss Riley:" How 'bout I believe in the unlucky ones? Hmm? I have to, Mister Turner, I'd go out of my mind!"

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