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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.

Director:

Mark L. Lester

Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Keith ... Andrew 'Andy' McGee
Drew Barrymore ... Charlene 'Charlie' McGee
Freddie Jones ... Doctor Joseph Wanless
Heather Locklear ... Victoria 'Vicky' Tomlinson McGee
Martin Sheen ... Captain Hollister
George C. Scott ... John Rainbird
Art Carney ... Irv Manders
Louise Fletcher ... Norma Manders
Moses Gunn ... Doctor 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:

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 can't 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... or destroy her. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 May 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ojos de fuego See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$15,100,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (none)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Stanley Mann and Director Mark L. Lester, both worked on the screenplay of the film which was alot more closer to the book than John Carpenter's script that was discarded. Their adaptation of it was originally 300 pages long which had to be condensed down to a 120 page shooting script. 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

[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

References Fahrenheit 451 (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Turkey in the Straw
(uncredited)
Traditional
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the more accessible King adaptations, but best if you enjoyed the book
21 May 2007 | by mstomasoSee all my reviews

Firestarter is the story of Charlie (Drew Barrymore at age 8) and Andy, her dad (David Keith), and the people who are trying to imprison, control and/or kill them (Martin Sheen, George C. Scott, Moses Gunn, and others). Charlie is a mutant. Her father and mother were part of an experiment on mutagenic substances performed on college students in the 1960s by The Shop. The experiment gave Andy the ability to control others minds, but the mutation, apparently dormant in his wife, was passed on through the sex chromosome to his daughter. Charlie, quite plainly, can combust virtually anything with her mind.

Though all the acting in this film is good, Barrymore and Scott are truly awesome. Scott plays a brilliant sociopath, and can go from a kindly old Viet Nam vet to a ruthless killer with one quick change of facial expression. And Barrymore (at the age of 8, if you didn't pick up on that the first time I said it) gives her character a fully believable person-hood with great depth.

Like the novel, this is more of a horror-thriller than classic King ghost stories - like The Shining. It is also less classic King horror - like Carrie. And its also not a great drama like Dolores Claiborne, Misery and Stand By Me. Though it fits into roughly the same category as Hearts in Atlantis, it is not a literary as this much later King work and the characters are not as well developed. Although the book could be said to be one of King's earlier experiments with what would become a formula for his lesser works, King's writing is so lucid, and his characters are so interesting, believable and nicely examined, that his 'B fiction' is still somewhat above the average best-seller. The film follows the book very closely, and, like the book, is sort of a prototype for the more formulaic films in the King portfolio.

The directing is very good, the cinematography (especially the effects) is excellent, and the film is, as a whole entertaining. But, for those who have not read the book, the film will likely come off as 'no big deal.' As with many of the more formulaic King-derived films, this is best seen as a cathartic summary of the original work (like Dreamcatchers, Running Man, The Stand, Maximum Overdrive, The Mangler and others).


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