6.1/10
29,267
121 user 85 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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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

Some movie posters for the film featured a long text preamble that read: "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 cannot 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...control her or destroy her. Charlie McGee is Stephen King's FIRESTARTER. Will she have the power...to survive?" See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Irv Manders: Come on, Bobbie. Feed bag!
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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

Referenced in Two and a Half Men: Hookers, Hookers, Hookers (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Turkey in the Straw
(uncredited)
Traditional
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User Reviews

 
Young prodigy starts fires in one of the best Stephen King adaptations!
19 July 2006 | by The_VoidSee 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!


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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
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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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