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Firestarter (1984)

Drew Barrymore , David Keith , Mark L. Lester  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

Price: $55.50 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Drew Barrymore, David Keith, Freddie Jones, Heather Locklear, Martin Sheen
  • Directors: Mark L. Lester
  • Writers: Stanley Mann, Stephen King
  • Producers: Frank Capra Jr., Martha De Laurentiis
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: April 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305078157
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,125 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Firestarter" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Stephen King wasn't exactly in peak form when he wrote Firestarter, so this 1984 movie adaptation was at a disadvantage even before the cameras rolled. There were so many King movies being made at the time that this one's weaknesses became even more apparent. In her first film role after her memorable appearance in E.T., Drew Barrymore stars as a little girl whose parents acquired strange mental powers after participating in a secret government experiment. From this genetic background she has developed the mysterious ability to set anything on fire at will, especially when she's angry. That makes her very interesting to government officials seeking to exploit her skill as a secret weapon. Her father seeks to protect her by using his powers of mind-control, and George C. Scott plays an Indian who believes the girl must be destroyed. There's a routine climax involving a lot of impressive pyrotechnics, but none of this is grounded in a dramatically solid foundation, and none of the characters are developed enough for us to care about them. So the movie gradually turns into a laughable thriller with no suspense whatsoever. It's a movie only a pyromaniac could love. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

Drew Barrymore stars as an eight-year-old girl with the amazing ability to start fires with just a glance. Can her power and the love of her father save her from the clandestine government agency, "The Shop," that wants her destroyed? From the Stephen King novel.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent thriller August 11, 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I had first seen this film in bits and pieces when I was four. I thought it was okay. Recently, I rented the film and found that I really, really like it. I just bought the book and was shocked to discover how faithful the movie stays to it.
I love little Drew Barrymore. Watching her in this movie when she was eight years old, I wish that she was my little sister. David Keith is excellent as Charlie McGee's father. I've never seen him in anything else besides this film. George C. Scott portrays John Rainbird very well. He steals every scene he's in with a wonderfully twisted performance, whether it be trying to be friendly with Charlie, or talking to Martin Sheen about disposing of her.
I've heard many comments about laughable dialogue and acting. I'll admit that I have chuckled once or twice at some of the lines, but that's because I like those lines; I don't hate them. I especially chuckled a lot at the scene in which Rainbird fakes that he is afraid of the dark. My most favorite line is spoken by Freddie Jones (Dr. Wanless), which regards Charlie's power and how it could destroy the earth.
After reading comments by people in which they say that the film is silly and laughable (especially Leonard Maltin's review), I cannot understand that these people do not feel any emotion towards Charlie McGee. What I mean is, after all the trouble she's been through, her parents are both dead, you just can't help feeling sorry for her. Every time I watch the film, I am in tears at the end because nothing left in her life. The music during the end credits is what really gets me. It's a beautiful, sad tune that makes you think of Charlie's face.
I wonder exactly how this film was received upon its theatrical release in 1984.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie and book are underated and misunderstood September 27, 2002
By Natalie
Format:DVD
What I think people don't understand about this story is that in
the year 1984, alot of the "Big Brother" theories were coming to life, meaning there were alot more authors writing stories about the secret factions of the United States Government. The Shop is the faction that Stephen King created, and the novel Firestarter takes you on the complete ride of what it feels like to have nowhere to hide. The movie is terrific, but in some parts I do feel like it may have been quickly knocked together, so they left out some important parts in the script. In the novel, Andy and Vicki McGee naively take part in a government experiment in college, but have no idea what they've gotten themselves into. The Shop is portrayed as diabolical, cold, and heartless. 'Either you be brainwashed, or you'll be exterminated. It's your choice.'
And THAT was what made it scary. Charlie and her power was not meant to be the frightening part at all (even though it is at times (: ) The frightening part is that a little girl is born into a situation in which there is no way out. So that's why I think that the movie and the book are underated by most critics.
But Firestarter is my all time favorite King book next to The Shining.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's A Personal Thing September 6, 2012
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
I actually had a little script part in this movie and got to know most of the cast. This was the first Stephen King film to be made out of the Wilmington, North Carolina studio and started something wonderful.

It's fun to see Drew Barrymore as a child again. She was fascinated with all the rings I wore back then. David Keith was very gracious and Martin Sheen was just a good guy all the way around. Not George C. Scott. He had nothing to do with anyone. Guess it takes all of his thoughts, all of the time to play a part.

The producers,directors and whole crew were so professional and helpful. It was amazing to watch them put this 'Firey' story together and the special effects won awards and got a lot of notice in the industry back in the eighties.

Just fun to watch how special effects were done about 30 years ago.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "If I do something bad, would you still love me?" October 31, 2010
By Rykre
Format:DVD
Playing Charlie is Drew Barrymore's most famous role that she ever played. How often does a 10 year old girl be the main star of a Rated R film?

This movie can drag from time to time, but it plays out very realistically about the sinister side of our American government. The best part of the movie is the very end where Charlie takes her revenge on all the government scumbags that kidnapped her father and herself, and they even killed her father with an intention of wanted to coerce Charlie to use her unfortunate pyro-telekinesis for government power and gain against her will.

If you enjoyed this film, check out Drew Barrymore's trilogy film called "Cat's Eye" which is a great "tongue in cheek" Stephen King film of three great short stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film, not so great DVD. February 12, 2007
By C HAGAN
Format:DVD
Buy the new double collection, it has much better quality. Other than that, this is a great Stephen King adaptation and I would recomend it to King movie fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fire On High February 6, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Though not exactly a masterpiece, FIRESTARTER is a far better thriller than the critics led people to believe when it was first released in 1984.
Based on Stephen King's 1980 novel, this film stars Drew Barrymore (fresh off her role in Spielberg's 1982 masterpiece E.T.) as Charlie McGee, a very young girl whose parents (David Keith, Heather Locklear) were part of a government-sponsored scientific experiment that gave the participants various types of psi powers. Barrymore's power is unique and, to put it mildly, incendiary. Just by thinking about it, she can start fires--pyrokinesis. And she is most apt to do that when she is under stress or angry.
Given the fact that agents from a secret government agency known as the Shop have been after her, one can see why she'd use them, even though she doesn't want to. But the top two men (Martin Sheen, George C. Scott) in the Shop want her powers to be harnessed into the ultimate weapon. The thing they forget, of course, is that they should be careful what they wish for; they may get it. And in the explosive, fiery finale, they do indeed get it.
Though not quite up to the cinematic standards set by CARRIE or THE SHINING, FIRESTARTER does benefit from a very good performance by Barrymore, and Keith isn't too bad either. Sheen (who played a political heavy in another King adaptation, THE DEAD ZONE) and Scott (the 1970 Oscar winner for PATTON) make for two very good villains. The special effects work by Mike Wood and Jeff Jarvis, who worked on both E.T. and POLTERGEIST, though not totally unflawed, also works wonders. Like another reviewer, I think FIRESTARTER could easily have passed for a 'PG-13' rating, instead of an 'R'. Unfortunately, such a rating didn't exist yet when the film came out in the winter of 1984.
Combining science fiction with suspense and the supernatural, FIRESTARTER is an effective thriller, well worth watching, even if Stephen King is not your particular cinematic bag.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars finally after 30 Years....thank you guys ?
wowww Finally its coming.....? And in HD Quality shame about the Audio/Mono but hopefully it will be allright with all my 9 Active Surround Speakers...? Read more
Published 7 days ago by Andreas Kulus
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Stephen Kings best
Old school movie shoot - seen it a dozen times and it's still a good flic. If you are young you have likely not seen it - watch this Drew Barrymore version and see her when she was... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Atomkey
2.0 out of 5 stars a shame!
not even a stereo transfer for this release.
forget the wonderful Tangerine Dream soundtrack.
the opening title version is not on the CD, it is a film edit version.
Published 25 days ago by At Close Range
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome
This review is simple. This movie is awesome. Great classic King, classic eighties, not over produced, not under produced. Read more
Published 1 month ago by hawkeye
3.0 out of 5 stars good
this story was fun and Drew is cute. minus the foul mouths its a great movie. I do not enjoy being forced to write a number of words, but being prompted to rate
Published 1 month ago by I'llTryIt
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome
i loved the movie. its word for word the same as the book. so if you read the book you have seen the movie
Published 2 months ago by Kristin Teeter
5.0 out of 5 stars firestarter
I like this movie it were great used it for firday night movies night outstanding movie.everyone love the movies.thank you very much.
Published 2 months ago by ocie burns
5.0 out of 5 stars You just can't wait to see her burn it all down . . .
Firestarter is an excellent film adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name. Drew Barrymore gives an excellent performance, as did George C. Scott and Martin Sheen.
Published 3 months ago by Shawna Thomas
2.0 out of 5 stars I'd love to see The Shop's budget proposal
"Let's create ungodly-dangerous psychics, and then antagonize the crap out of them so that they hate us. No way they'll unleash a psychic holocaust upon us. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Andrew L. House
5.0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC
I'm not normally a big fan of the kind of stories Stephen King writes, but this one is an exception. Read more
Published 5 months ago by rocketfuel
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