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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 21,374 users  
Reviews: 92 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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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:

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

One of six filmed adaptations of a Stephen King story produced in some capacity by Dino De Laurentiis. The movies include Firestarter (1984), Cat's Eye (1985), Silver Bullet (1985), Maximum Overdrive (1986), The Dead Zone (1983) and Sometimes They Come Back (1991). See more »

Goofs

Obvious stunt woman standing on the little bridge, during the fireballs scene. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Remade as Firestarter 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)


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