6.1/10
27,705
116 user 77 critic

Firestarter (1984)

Trailer
2:03 | Trailer
A couple who participated in a potent medical experiment gain telekinetic ability and then have a child who is pyrokinetic.

Director:

Mark L. Lester

Writers:

Stephen King (novel), Stanley Mann
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Keith ... Andrew 'Andy' McGee
Drew Barrymore ... Charlene 'Charlie' McGee
Freddie Jones ... Doctor Joseph Wanless
Heather Locklear ... Victoria 'Vicky' Tomlinson McGee
Martin Sheen ... Captain Hollister
George C. Scott ... John Rainbird
Art Carney ... Irv Manders
Louise Fletcher ... Norma Manders
Moses Gunn ... Doctor Pynchot
Antonio Fargas ... Taxi Driver
Drew Snyder ... Orville Jamieson
Curtis Credel Curtis Credel ... Bates
Keith Colbert Keith Colbert ... Mayo
Dick Warlock ... Knowles (as Richard Warlock)
Jeff Ramsey ... Steinowitz
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Storyline

Andrew and Vicky McGee met while earning money as guinea pigs for an experiment at college. The experiment was shrouded in suspicion and mystery, and seemed to be related to psychic abilities. The two were married and had a daughter, Charlie, who has the ability to start fires by merely thinking about it, also known as pyrokinesis. Naturally, the government takes a great interest in Charlie, and operatives from the secret department known as "The Shop" want to quarantine and study her. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She has the power . . . an evil destructive force. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 May 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Firestarter See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,726,660, 13 May 1984

Gross USA:

$17,080,167

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$17,080,167
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a 2010 interview, Director Mark L. Lester confirmed that this was the most difficult film that he ever made. See more »

Goofs

When Charlie is destroying The Shop's mansion you can clearly see where the set was cut so it could destroyed easily. Right after Charlie sends the second fire ball into the house the shot pans up to the balcony where a man is burning. In that shot you can see where the balcony has been set to be destroyed. You can also see the detcord explosives wrapped around the pillars to cause them to break off at predetermined places. See more »

Quotes

Security Guard: [at doorway of ladies' washroom] All right, buddy, come out of there!
Young Serviceman: [standing in toilet] Mind waiting until I put my feet out?
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the credits, "Special Effects" is misspelled as "Speical Effects". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Turkey in the Straw
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
One of the more accessible King adaptations, but best if you enjoyed the book
21 May 2007 | by mstomasoSee all my reviews

Firestarter is the story of Charlie (Drew Barrymore at age 8) and Andy, her dad (David Keith), and the people who are trying to imprison, control and/or kill them (Martin Sheen, George C. Scott, Moses Gunn, and others). Charlie is a mutant. Her father and mother were part of an experiment on mutagenic substances performed on college students in the 1960s by The Shop. The experiment gave Andy the ability to control others minds, but the mutation, apparently dormant in his wife, was passed on through the sex chromosome to his daughter. Charlie, quite plainly, can combust virtually anything with her mind.

Though all the acting in this film is good, Barrymore and Scott are truly awesome. Scott plays a brilliant sociopath, and can go from a kindly old Viet Nam vet to a ruthless killer with one quick change of facial expression. And Barrymore (at the age of 8, if you didn't pick up on that the first time I said it) gives her character a fully believable person-hood with great depth.

Like the novel, this is more of a horror-thriller than classic King ghost stories - like The Shining. It is also less classic King horror - like Carrie. And its also not a great drama like Dolores Claiborne, Misery and Stand By Me. Though it fits into roughly the same category as Hearts in Atlantis, it is not a literary as this much later King work and the characters are not as well developed. Although the book could be said to be one of King's earlier experiments with what would become a formula for his lesser works, King's writing is so lucid, and his characters are so interesting, believable and nicely examined, that his 'B fiction' is still somewhat above the average best-seller. The film follows the book very closely, and, like the book, is sort of a prototype for the more formulaic films in the King portfolio.

The directing is very good, the cinematography (especially the effects) is excellent, and the film is, as a whole entertaining. But, for those who have not read the book, the film will likely come off as 'no big deal.' As with many of the more formulaic King-derived films, this is best seen as a cathartic summary of the original work (like Dreamcatchers, Running Man, The Stand, Maximum Overdrive, The Mangler and others).


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