6.1/10
28,806
118 user 82 critic

Firestarter (1984)

Trailer
2:03 | Trailer
A couple who participated in a potent medical experiment gain telepathic ability and then have a child who is pyrokinetic.

Director:

Mark L. Lester

Writers:

Stephen King (novel), Stanley Mann
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Keith ... Andrew McGee
Drew Barrymore ... Charlie McGee
Freddie Jones ... Dr. Joseph Wanless
Heather Locklear ... Vicky McGee
Martin Sheen ... Captain Hollister
George C. Scott ... John Rainbird
Art Carney ... Irv Manders
Louise Fletcher ... Norma Manders
Moses Gunn ... Dr. Pynchot
Antonio Fargas ... Taxi Driver
Drew Snyder ... Orville Jamieson
Curtis Credel Curtis Credel ... Bates
Keith Colbert Keith Colbert ... Mayo
Dick Warlock ... Knowles (as Richard Warlock)
Jeff Ramsey ... Steinowitz
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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, 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

Taglines:

She has the power . . . an evil destructive force. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Drew Barrymore was, at this point, best known for her role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) In that film she worked with Henry Thomas; who appeared in Gerald's Game (2017) and Doctor Sleep (2019); Dee Wallace; who appeared in Cujo (1983); and director Steven Spielberg; who produced Under the Dome (2013) and inherited A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) from Stanley Kubrick, director of The Shining (1980). See more »

Goofs

In Charlie's first test, the technician has to use a card key to run out of the room. You see him use it and hear the doors rumble open. A second later, the focus is on Charlie, and we can hear the rumble of the doors closing. Yet, as Rainbird points out, Charlie walks out the doors which have somehow re-opened without the need for a key. See more »

Quotes

Irv Manders: Got a song for you. "Oh, there was an old hen; she had a wooden leg; finest old hen that ever laid an egg; she laid her eggs all over the farm; another little drink won't do us any harm."
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Crazy Credits

[unused disclaimer, written for end titles; ended up on cutting-room floor] FIRESTARTER contains a purely fictional account of a small group of ruthless and corrupt scientific researchers and national-intelligence agents. These characters do not represent the United States government, and it would be erroneous and unfair to suggest that they do. The vast majority of North American intelligence and research personnel have demonstrated the utmost moral sense, regard for civilian welfare, and worthiness of the public trust. See more »

Connections

Featured in Insatiable: Pilot (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Turkey in the Straw
(uncredited)
Traditional
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User Reviews

Great Cast but the Film is a Flop
1 October 2012 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Firestarter (1984)

** (out of 4)

Weak adaptation of the Steven King novel about a young child named Charlie (Drew Barrymore) who has the special power of being able to set things on fire by just using her thought. She's on the run with her father (David Keith) from various government people wanting to exploit her talent as she tries to control her gift. I haven't read the novel that this movie is based on so I can't comment on what this got right or wrong. However, I'm one who never expects a movie to follow the book 100% so with that in mind I can only say that this film is a complete mess. Thankfully this thing offers up an all-star cast including some legends because without them this film would be nearly impossible to get through. Clocking in just under two-hours, the film feels twice as long and I think a lot of the blame has to go to director Mark L. Lester. His direction is all over the place and not for a second did I feel any tension in the story and I also thought the pacing was pretty bad. I will say that not all of this might be his fault because the screenplay itself has a fair number of problems. One such problem is that the entire thing never really seems to know what it wants to do. Is it a horror film? Science fiction? Is it trying to be some sort of hard, negative look at the government and their powers? The film is all over the map in regards to what it's trying to do but sadly it doesn't do any of them very well. The performances are actually pretty good and are the best thing in the film. Barrymore delivers a strong and believable performance as the haunting girl and I've always liked Keith in just about everything he's done. Heather Locklear does a nice job in her scenes as the mother and we get vets like Martin Sheen and George C. Scott offering up fine performances. The highlight of the film deals with a couple farmers played by Art Carney and Louise Fletcher. Yes, FIRESTARTER has three Oscar-winning actors. The special effects are another plus and help give the film some energy. I must admit that the entire story struck me as being silly and especially early on as we see Keith's character getting nosebleeds from doing his psychic powers and Barrymore crying from setting people on fire. These scenes really made me laugh the majority of the time and once we keep seeing the same thing over and over it just gets boring.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 May 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Firestarter See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,726,660, 13 May 1984

Gross USA:

$17,080,167

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$17,080,167
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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