One of the themes in "October Sky" is coming of age. This theme deals with the turning point in the main character's life, when he must choose between following his dreams and his father's advice.
The film "October Sky" is based on the true story of Homer Hickman, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. He is the son of a coal miner who expects him and his brother to follow in his footsteps. After being inspired by viewing Sputnik go into orbit, Homer decides to pursue his dream of being a rocket scientist against his father's wishes. His teacher, played by Laura Dern, strongly encourages him to do so.