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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.



2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Taxi Driver
Curtis Credel ...
Keith Colbert ...
Dick Warlock ...
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 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


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


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 May 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie  »

Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)


$15,100,000 (USA)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The sequel Firestarter 2: Rekindled (2002) wasn't made for another eighteen years after this movie was first released. See more »


When Andy grabs Charlie and runs (right after she sets fire to the airport security guard) she yells, "I didn't mean it, Daddy!" but her mouth never moves. See more »


Charlie McGee: [to Andy] If I do something bad, will you still love me?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in Hellboy (2004) See more »


Turkey in the Straw
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Young prodigy starts fires in one of the best Stephen King adaptations!
19 July 2006 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

Despite the fact that the films usually revolve around good and interesting stories, film adaptations of Stephen King's works are often not the best horror movies. Firestarter isn't the best known of his books, and that's slightly odd as this film adaptation is one of the best based on his stories. The film takes obvious influence from Brian De Palma's 'The Fury', as aside from the fact that this one is about a young girl that can start fires, and De Palma's film features a boy with psychic abilities; the way that both plots play out is very similar indeed. The plot has a number of problems, and the characters don't always act logically; but this is offset by the likable nature of the film, and characters that are easy to get along with due to their relatively simplistic nature. The film follows the aftermath of an experiment in which people were given an experimental drug. The ultimate result of this experiment was a child born of Andy and Vicky McGee; a child with a unique ability known as 'pyrokinesis' - the ability to start fires at will.

The film benefits from a range of cult stars. A young Drew Barrymore takes the title role, and although her acting skills hadn't been honed by the time this film was released, and she is more than a little bit wooden; she provides an interesting lead. David Keith and Martin Sheen back her up well in supporting roles, but the main acting plaudits go to the great George C. Scott who is good in what is probably the meatiest role of the piece. The running time is a little long for a film like this, but it's well used and the fact that the story doesn't get caught up with needless elements such as the girl's mother and father falling in love is definitely a good thing. The plot is very relaxed for most of the way through, and director Mark L. Lester seems content to just let things play out. That is until the last fifteen minutes; when the plot reaches its full potential and explodes with a fun and exciting finale. The film does feel more than a little bit like a TV movie at times; and the dumbed down techno soundtrack doesn't help this. Overall, the film definitely isn't perfect; but it's an enjoyable watch and King films have definitely been a lot worse!

22 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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IF a remake ever does happen.... marieheather10
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