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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.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Taxi Driver
Orville Jamieson
Curtis Credel ...
Keith Colbert ...
Knowles (as Richard Warlock)


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


If you get on her bad side...YOU'RE TOAST. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 May 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie  »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


No stuntmen were actually hurt during the making of the film. See more »


At the beginning when Andy and Charlie are in New York city at one point you clearly see the Washington monument. See more »


Charlie McGee: Where's my father?
Captain Hollister: He's fine. He's happy, and he sends his love, and he wants you to cooperate with us.
Charlie McGee: You're a liar!
Captain Hollister: Now, what kinda talk is that from a nice little girl like you?
Charlie McGee: GO TO HELL!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in There's Nothing Out There (1991) See more »


Turkey in the Straw
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Thrillling story about a little girl whose parents acquired phenomenal mental powers and who herself can set anything on fire
21 October 2012 | by See all my reviews

Suspenseful and terrifying entertainment that goes beyond its genre , dealing with a girl who has the unwanted and often uncontrollable gift of Pyrokinesis, as a result of a government experiment , lighting fires by mere thought . A couple Victoria 'Vicky' Tomlinson McGee (Heather Locklear of Dynasty) and Andy McGee (David Keith , he was 14th choice) who participated in a potent medical experiment gain telekinetic ability and then have a child named Charlene 'Charlie' McGee (Jennifer Connelly , Taylor Neff were considered and Bridgette Andersen, the star of Savannah Smiles, tested for the role of Charlie, ultimately played by Drew Barrymore) who is pyrokinetic . Charlie McGee (whose character was modeled on King's daughter Naomi) has an extraordinary power (or is that haunted) , sometimes uncontrollable and an evil destructive force . Meanwhile a secret government agency known as "The Shop" led by Captain Hollister (Martin Sheen took over at a late stage from Burt Lancaster who had to withdraw following heart surgery) and send a sniper named John Rainbird (George C Scott) and plot to kidnap the duo for study them and testing their abilities.

This exciting tale packs noisy action , explosions , suspense , thriller , chills , poignant plot and results to be an enjoyable though frightening entertainment , including some silly and embarrassing scenes . The movie delivers the goods with hair-rising thrills as when the little girl executes the astonishing abilities . It stars Drew Barrymore in one of her first roles after E.T. , as the gifted child of the title who has the ability to ignite objects around her . David Keith is good as the daddy who attempts to protect her from the nasties . Secondary cast is frankly excellent as Freddie Jones as Doctor Joseph Wanley , Art Carney as Irv Manders , Louise Fletcher as Norma Manders , Moses Gunn as Doctor Pynchot and Antonio Fargas as a Cabman . The fire special effects , themselves , of course , are the real protagonists , and they're surprising , astounding, and quite convincing . The special effects gave work to a great number of technician people and lots of stunts . This film was originally going to be directed by John Carpenter. According to Carpenter, Universal executives removed him from the project in the wake of the box office and critical drubbing they received for The Thing ,Carpenter had reportedly talked to his Assault on Precinct 13 actor, Darwin Joston about taking on the role of John Rainbird, which was ultimately played by George C. Scott . Strange soundtrack by Tangerine Dream was composed and performed by means of synthesizer ,they never actually saw the film and sent filmmaker some music and told him to choose whatever he liked . It was followed by ¨Firestarter 2 : rekindled¨ (2002) by Robert Iscove with Marguerite Moreau as Charlene "Charlie" McGee , Malcolm McDowell , Dennis Hopper and Danny Nucci and in which Charlie has been in hiding for nearly all her life from a top-secret government fringe group headed by a maniacal who wants to find and use her as the ultimate weapon of war.

The motion picture was well produced by Dino Laurentiis and professionally directed by Mark L. Lester. Director Mark L. Lester confirmed that this is his most difficult film that he ever made . He's a cool director and producer -American World Pictures- of B movies , his greatest success was during the 80s when he directed hits , such as ¨Commando¨, ¨Showdown in Little Tokio¨ and ¨Class of 99¨ and this ¨Firestarter¨.

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