Oktober Sky opens with a grand homage to O Winston Link. A Norfolk and Western steam locomotive (driven by Link himself) thunders through coal mining towns as citizens listen to the news of Sputnik. Inspired by Sputnik Homer H. Hickam Jr. becomes obsessed with rocketry as a way to leave Coalwood, WV and the fate a miner. The film rides the edge of Rockwellesque sentimentality, but finds success in the strong performances and the authentic plot.
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