I'm looking for a movie about a farmer building a rocket ship in and his barn. The farmer had some issues with the government and it apparently based on the trailer. I think it is certain present day and it came out in like the 2000s.


3 Answers 3


This is The Astronaut Farmer.

Wikipedia synopsis:

Charles Farmer is a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and astronaut-in-training who reluctantly resigned from the space program and was discharged from the military before he could fulfill his dream of becoming a vital part of NASA. He did so in order to take over his family's failing ranch in Texas after his financially strapped father's suicide prior to the ranch being foreclosed on.

Having missed the opportunity to travel into space, he decides to build a working replica of the historic Mercury-Atlas rocket and spacecraft in the barn on his secluded ranch in the fictional town of Story, Texas, using all his assets and facing his own foreclosure of the ranch as a result. But he has done so with the ongoing support of his wife Audrey, his teenage son Shepard, and young daughters Stanley and Sunshine. When he begins making inquiries about purchasing rocket fuel, the FBI and FAA step in to investigate, and the ensuing publicity thrusts Farmer into the spotlight and makes him a media darling.

Farmer's launch is delayed by endless red tape created by U.S. government officials from the FAA, FBI, CIA, NASA and the Department of Defense, who seek to stall him beyond his deadline and force his creditors to foreclose on the farm. Farmer was counting on publicity to help him financially. He is denied the hydrazine fuel he requires, with government officials claiming he is a security risk and that it is too dangerous to allow a private citizen to launch a space vehicle. Facing financial ruin, he panics, climbs aboard, and, using a less-than-optimal substitute fuel, he somehow launches the rocket. However, after only a foot or two of vertical lift, the rocket descends back down, falls over, and horizontally blasts out of the old wooden barn where it was constructed.

Farmer nearly dies from head trauma and other injuries after his capsule is thrown from the rocket. News media, spectators and all their vehicles are nearly crushed in the process. During the months he spends recuperating, public interest in his project wanes, and while he recovers slowly, he is depressed at the failure of the project and of his dream.

Fortunately, an inheritance from her father, Hal, is unexpectedly left to Audrey after his death, which allows them to bring their debts current. Audrey, realizing how much Charles' dream means to the entire family, encourages Charles to construct another rocket, financing it with the rest of her inheritance. He is able to do so in relative privacy.

Using a ruse to distract snooping government officials, Charles succeeds in launching the rocket, while the FAA claims no such thing has occurred. As the rocket rises out of the barn, the locals and law enforcement authorities in the area are amazed to watch it rise into space. After orbiting Earth nine times and suffering a brief period of a communication blackout, Charles returns safely and is given a hero's welcome home, appearing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and as seen in still photos shown during the end credits, while playing Elton John's Rocket Man.

Youtube trailer:

  • Darn, I knew this one off the top of my head. Nice work.
    – BlackThorn
    Nov 17, 2017 at 21:06

The astronaut farmer is also my first choice for best fit but October Sky gets quite close and since there's no accepted answer I'll throw it in the mix.

The main differences being the family were coal miners, not farmers (although they did live on a farm) and it came out in 1999 not early 2000's.

In a 1950's mining town called Coalwood, Homer Hickam is a kid with only one future in sight, to work in the local coal mine like his father. However in October 1957, everything changes when the first artificial satellite, Sputnik goes into orbit. With that event, Homer becomes inspired to learn how to build rockets. With his friends and the local nerd, Homer sets to do just that by trial and a lot of error. Unfortunately, most of the town and especially Homer's father thinks that they are wasting their time. Only one teacher in the high school understands their efforts and lets them know that they could become contenders in the national science fair with college scholarships being the prize. Now the gang must learn to perfect their craft and overcome the many problems facing them as they shoot for the stars.


Sorry, I can't insert a trailer clip, but this description could fit Mercury Project from 2000. This Disney film followed the adventures of a retired astronaut and a group of teenagers who refurbished parts to assemble a complete Mercury/Redstone (including static testing the rocket engine).

They're then approached by NASA, to carry some critical item to an orbiting Space Shuttle on a time table that NASA can't accommodate with any existing manned craft. A Redstone can't put a Mercury capsule in orbit, of course -- but NASA installs a bunch of small solid rocket boosters. Then the astronaut has a heart attack -- so one of the teens winds up launching in the Mercury capsule.

Of course, since it's a Disney film, the boy is successful in docking with the Shuttle, delivers the small package, and returns safely to Earth, having saved the day.

Summary from IMDB for the alternate title Rocket's Red Glare:

A troubled 17-year-old Todd Baker restores a Mercury Redstone rocket as a science project with the help of his ex-astronaut grandfather. When a NASA emergency leaves a space shuttle and its crew in danger, Todd's rocket is the only one ready for immediate launch.

  • @eshier Thanks for the add-on and link. I've only skimmed a Russian-dubbed version on YouTube (linked from a Kerbal Space Program forum because rockets), so didn't have any names or details like the relationship between the boy and the older man, never mind an alternate title.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Nov 17, 2017 at 20:26
  • No problem. Went looking for the trailer and couldn't even find the movie, so had to investigate it a bit. Still never found a trailer, but the whole movie is available on Youtube.
    – eshier
    Nov 17, 2017 at 21:21

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