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Firestarter (1984)

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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:

Charlie McGee is a happy, healthy eight-year-old little girl. Normal in every way but one. She has the power to set objects afire with just one glance. It's a power she does not want. It's a power she can't control. And, each night, Charlie prays to be just like every other child. But there are those who will do everything in their power to find her... or destroy her. 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

When being picked up by Irv Manders (Art Carney), Andy McGee (David Keith) states they are heading to Knoxville, Tennessee. David Keith was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and is an avid Tennessee Volunteers football fan. See more »

Goofs

When she sets the barn on fire you can clearly see a shiny "coating" that has been painted on the horse stalls to "control" the way the stall flames up. See more »

Quotes

Captain Hollister: Welcome back, Rainbird. How was Venice?
John Rainbird: Hm. Sinking.
Captain Hollister: Is our problem there solved?
John Rainbird: Our problem there... is solved. Dr. Wanless is here.
Captain Hollister: [Dr. Wanless enters the room] Oh, Christ. There goes a beautiful day.
[Rainbird chuckles]
Captain Hollister: Ah, the good doctor. What do you want, Joe?
Doctor Joseph Wanless: Have you caught them yet?
Captain Hollister: We'll catch 'em. What do you want?
Doctor Joseph Wanless: What do I always want? Why do I stay alive? To try to persuade you to sanction them both, expunge them, wipe them from the face of the Earth. Andrew McGee and his daughter...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

[unused disclaimer, written for end titles; ended up on cutting-room floor] FIRESTARTER contains a purely fictional account of a small group of ruthless and corrupt scientific researchers and national-intelligence agents. These characters do not represent the United States government, and it would be erroneous and unfair to suggest that they do. The vast majority of North American intelligence and research personnel have demonstrated the utmost moral sense, regard for civilian welfare, and worthiness of the public trust. See more »

Connections

Featured in Trailer Trauma 3: 80s Horrorthon (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Turkey in the Straw
(uncredited)
Traditional
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An Awkward Adaptation
26 October 2004 | by akpiggottSee all my reviews

The main problem with "Firestarter" is it tries to adapt the story of the book faithfully, at the expense of character development. It is impossible to cram a five hundred page book into one two hour movie and make it work favourably. For much of the picture, the pacing feels awkward and rushed, more interested in moving the plot along than developing the characters.

Brian De Palma's "Carrie" followed the story of the book just as closely. But seeing as "Carrie" is less than half the length of "Firestarter", it made for a much more comfortable adaptation.

Stanley Kubrick had the right idea with "the Shining". The book was about the same length as "Firestarter", and as a result the plot was butchered heavily to make it work for the screen. Stephen King (and much of his loyal fanbase) have misgivings about Kubrick's adaptation, a lot of people who love film (and recognise it as the different medium that it is) regard it as a masterpiece.

Mark Lester's "Firestarter" isn't all bad however. George C. Scott's John Rainbird is inspired casting, and probably the best thing this film has going for it. The scene at the Manders' farm, and the conclusion at the Shop's headquarters make for enjoyable viewing and are handled capably.

It's a shame, that as a whole, the film doesn't work too well. I'd definitely like to see this re-adapted into another film or a mini-series. The book isn't exactly King's best, but it has a lot of potential for another screen outing. 5/10


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