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Firestarter (1984)

R  |   |  Action, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  11 May 1984 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 20,966 users  
Reviews: 94 user | 40 critic

A couple who participated in a potent medical experiment gain telekinetic ability and then have a child who is pyrokinetic.

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Title: Firestarter (1984)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Taxi Driver
...
Curtis Credel ...
Keith Colbert ...
Dick Warlock ...
Knowles (as Richard Warlock)
...
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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 Charile, who has the ability to start fires by merely thinking about it. Naturally, the government takes a great interest in Charlie, and operatives from the secret department known as "The Shop" want to quarrantine and study her. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Will she have the power... to survive? See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 May 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie  »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$15,100,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jennifer Connelly and Taylor Neff were considered for the role of nine year old Charlene Charlie McGee. Actress Drew Barrymore won the part and was around eight years old when she played the part. See more »

Goofs

In the scenes where Rainbird plays "John, the friendly orderly" the eye-patch he wears as part of his disguise is in some "John" scenes, but not others. Also, sometimes he wears the patch over his left eye (during the blackout) and sometimes it's over his right eye (when he and Charlie are with the horses). See more »

Quotes

Captain Hollister: [referring to Charlie] When we find out all we need to know from her...
John Rainbird: ...when you give her to me.
Captain Hollister: [after a pause] What are you going to do with her?
John Rainbird: John, the friendly orderly, will come in. He will greet her, talk to her, get her to smile... John, the friendly orderly, will make her happy because he's the only one who can. And when John feels she has reached the moment of her greatest happiness, he will strike her across the bridge of the nose, breaking it explosively and sending bone ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Features Astronut Woody (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Turkey in the Straw
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Not The Greatest Stephen King Adaptation
17 September 2011 | by (Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

A lot of Stephen King's stories have been adapted for the screen. Many of them have actually been pretty good adaptations - some of them excellent. This, unfortunately, is one of the weaker adaptations of a Stephen King story. I suppose the first problem is that it's largely unoriginal. I've noticed that in a lot of Stephen King's work, actually. He tends to repeat the same basic themes and use the same basic structure over and over again. This is very similar to "Carrie" - a young girl who's able to start fires with her mind. Here, the ability stems from some government experiments done on her parents, who pass some of the abilities they developed in those experiments onto their daughter, who in turn takes those abilities one step farther. The story is pushed along by having young Charlie and her father pursued by government agents.

One of the interesting things about this movie is the very strong and high profile supporting cast that backs up the leads - who are the then very young Drew Barrymore who plays Charlie, and the lesser known David Keith who plays her father. That supporting cast features the likes of George C. Scott and Martin Sheen and Art Carney among others. The movie revolved around Keith and Barrymore, though, and their desperate attempts to escape from the agents pursuing them. In all honesty, I didn't find either of them to be particularly convincing. Their performances didn't seem natural; sometimes Barrymore especially seemed rather forced. The supporting cast really didn't have enough to do to compensate for that weakness, although Scott was pretty good in his role.

The movie ended on a rather silly note, to be honest. The final confrontation between Charlie and - well - basically everybody went way overboard. It was pretty exciting for maybe two minutes. Then it became quite uninteresting because it was just so predictable and yet it seems to go on for about ten minutes during which we see little but Charlie starting fires and blowing things up. After that over-excess of excitement, the final scene goes in exactly the opposite direction - it was anti- climactic in the extreme, in a way too jarring an emotional shift after the excessive mayhem. I guess it was intended to make the point that Charlie was about to blow the government's cover.

To be blunt, this is rather a weak story. Stephen King fans might watch this out of curiosity, but there are many better Stephen King adaptations out there. (3/10)


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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