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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 21,470 users  
Reviews: 93 user | 41 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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Taxi Driver
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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:

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:

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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

The film was made and released about four years after its source novel of the same name by Stephen King had been first published in 1980. See more »

Goofs

When the spigot goes flying across the barn, it hits the wall next to a stall belonging to a horse named Champ. The shot is reversed, the name and letters on the stall door are backward, as if the scene was shot through a mirror. See more »

Quotes

Irv Manders: Come on, Bobbie. Feed bag!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Turkey in the Straw
(uncredited)
Traditional
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of the more accessible King adaptations, but best if you enjoyed the book
21 May 2007 | by (Vulcan) – See 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).


21 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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