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Firestarter (1984)

 -  Action | Horror | Sci-Fi  -  11 May 1984 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 20,118 users  
Reviews: 89 user | 38 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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A young girl tries to understand how she mysteriously gained the power to set things on fire with her mind.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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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

Some movie posters for the film featured a long text preamble that read: "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 cannot 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...control her or destroy her. Charlie McGee is Stephen King's FIRESTARTER. Will she have the power...to survive?". See more »

Goofs

When Cap Hollister is first in the room with Charlie, the door behind him is open over his left shoulder after he had closed it. Then when the camera shot changes again the door is closed. 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

Followed by Firestarter 2: Rekindled (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Turkey in the Straw
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An Awkward Adaptation
26 October 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See 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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