The Astronaut Farmer

February 23rd, 2007


The Astronaut Farmer

No valid json found

Michael Polish in The Astronaut FarmerStill of Virginia Madsen and Bruce Dern in The Astronaut FarmerBruce Willis at event of The Astronaut FarmerM. David Mullen, Mark Polish and Michael Polish in The Astronaut FarmerStill of Billy Bob Thornton in The Astronaut FarmerStill of Virginia Madsen, Billy Bob Thornton and Max Thieriot in The Astronaut Farmer

A NASA astronaut (Thornton), forced to retire years earlier so he could save his family farm, has never give up his dream of space travel and looks to build his own rocket, despite the government's threats to stop him.

Release Year: 2006

Rating: 6.4/10 (12,632 voted)

Critic's Score: 55/100

Director: Michael Polish

Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Virginia Madsen, Bruce Dern

Texan Charles Farmer left the Air Force as a young man to save the family ranch when his dad died. Like most American ranchers, he owes his bank. Unlike most, he's an astrophysicist with a rocket in his barn - one he's built and wants to take into space. It's his dream. The FBI puts him under surveillance when he tries to buy rocket fuel; the FAA stalls him when he files a flight plan - it's post-9/11, after all. His wife is angry when she finds out their bank is initiating foreclosure. Charlie fears failure and decides, precipitously, to launch. Are twenty-first century American dreams just a sign of insanity? Are those who believe in dreamers only fools?

Writers: Mark Polish, Michael Polish

Billy Bob Thornton - Charles Farmer
Virginia Madsen - Audrey 'Audie' Farmer
Max Thieriot - Shepard Farmer
Jasper Polish - Stanley Farmer
Logan Polish - Sunshine Farmer
Bruce Dern - Hal
Mark Polish - FBI Agent Mathis
Jon Gries - FBI Agent Killbourne
Tim Blake Nelson - Kevin Munchak
Sal Lopez - Pepe Garcia
J.K. Simmons - Jacobson
Kiersten Warren - Phyllis
Rick Overton - Arnold 'Arnie' Millard
Richard Edson - Chopper Miller
Elise Eberle - Madison Roberts

Taglines: If we don't have our dreams, we have nothing.


Official Website: Official site [Japan] | Warner Bros. Pictures [United States] |

Release Date: 23 February 2007

Filming Locations: Dunkin' Donuts - 1085 S. Saint Francis Drive, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $4,454,319 (USA) (25 February 2007) (2155 Screens)

Gross: $10,996,440 (USA) (22 April 2007)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

FBI Agent Mathis is played by Mark Polish, who wrote the screenplay.

Factual errors: The doctor examining Farmer's eye is looking through an otoscope - an instrument for examining the ear canal. He should be using an ophthalmoscope to look into the eyes.

Charles Farmer: So, what do you wanna be when you get out of here?
Child #2: I don't know.
Charles Farmer: What do you mean, you don't know?
Child #2: I don't know.
Charles Farmer: Well, let me tell you something, you better know what you wanna do before somebody knows it for you. Trust me.

User Review

A Great Rocket Ride

Rating: 9/10

This is a wonderful movie. Simple and elegantly made. There are many layers to this movie that haven't been written about on this site. More like frustration and negativity seem to fuel these message boards. Cynicism is alive and well. The knit-pickers can make a nice lint blindfold if they choose not to see this movie for what it is: entertainment. Like Spielberg, Capra and many others the Polish brothers have arrived with a classic piece of storytelling.

The Polish Brothers have depth and while it seems it's their glossy turn to make a Hollywood movie they continue with their wit and edge, try and spot "The Last Supper" scene. Look for the homage to "The Right Stuff", "Apollo 13" and "Armageddon". The son is named Shepard after the astronaut. And I assume that the daughter is named Stanley after Stanley Kubrick since the Grandpa is named HAL ( 2001 : Space Odyssey). There's definitely an undertone for the hardcore Polish brothers fans. The dialogue alone is worth the price admission. Of course you'll need to suspend your disbelief for a story that seems so far fetched, a man launching himself into space, although I have read of 2 rocket men who have attempted this same idea-- but every time you walk into a movie theater you have to surrender some logic. Just the fact it's called a "movie" should tell you something before you purchase the ticket.

It's unfortunate that most reviewers feel like victims and have a need to share their boredom. I can imagine this movie not doing good with men who have lost their inspiration or desire. My brother in fact didn't like this movie because he said it wasn't possible. I don't remember him having this much trouble with "E.T." or "Forest Gump". My brother gave up his dream of being a writer, he now teaches high school drama. I debated with him over the fact this movie is also metaphorical and it's about everyones dream. That is why the rocket is named "The Dreamer" because everyone is dreamer, or has a dream they're building. This movie really shook up my brother and his dislike of this movie should motivate him.

I enjoyed this movie so much. I was able to bring my dad, kids and husband and that in itself is a triumph and the filmmakers should be awarded for that.

9 out of 10 stars, only because I am keeping one star for my dream.


Comments are closed.