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St. Elmo's Fire (film): Wikis


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St. Elmo's Fire

St. Elmo's Fire theatrical poster
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Produced by Lauren Shuler Donner
Written by Joel Schumacher
Carl Kurlander
Starring Emilio Estevez
Rob Lowe
Andrew McCarthy
Demi Moore
Judd Nelson
Ally Sheedy
Mare Winningham
Music by David Foster
Cinematography Stephen H. Burum
Editing by Richard Marks
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) June 28, 1985
Running time 110 min.
Country  United States
Language English

St. Elmo's Fire is a 1985 coming-of-age film directed by Joel Schumacher. The film, starring Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, and Mare Winningham, is a prominent movie of the Brat Pack genre, and revolves around a group of friends that have just graduated from Georgetown University and their adjustment to their post-university lives and the responsibilities of encroaching adulthood. In August 2009, ABC won a bidding war among networks to adapt the Joel Schumacher film into a TV comedy-drama.[1]


Main characters

  • Kirby Keager (Emilio Estevez) - Known to his friends as "Kirbo", he's a waiter at St. Elmo's Bar with hopes of becoming a lawyer and lives with his former college friend Kevin Dolenz. He develops an obsession with a woman he met in college (Andie MacDowell) after a recent encounter with her and is willing to do anything to impress her, including changing his career.
  • Billy Hicks (Rob Lowe) - The "frat boy" of the group, he is unable to keep a job but has a great talent for playing the saxophone. At the beginning of the film he is a reluctant husband and father but rarely goes home to sleep. He misses college days and feels lost in the after-college work life. Along with the problems in his marriage, he's a wild guy and a ladies' man.
  • Kevin Dolenz (Andrew McCarthy) - a writer with a sullen streak who, Leslie says, "just needs to fall in love." His writing job only allows him to write obituaries, but he's searching for the meaning of life and is working hard towards writing an article about it. There is speculation among his friends about whether or not he is gay; however, it is later revealed that he is secretly in love with Leslie, whom he's known for years. He rooms with his pal Kirby Keager. Andrew McCarthy took up smoking for this role and wasn't able to quit the habit until 1995.
  • Julianna "Jules" Van Patten (Demi Moore) - The wild "party girl" of the group, with an extravagant lifestyle and a cocaine habit. Jules used to be Leslie Hunter's roommate and is still her best friend. She has a very fancy, highly decorated apartment and works in banking. She loves a good time, but she's also looking for the love she struggled to find growing up; her father is emotionally distant and he's had many wives. She's also feeling a lot of pressures to take care of a family financial issue (her "stepmonster" as she calls her, who was cruel to her as a child, is terminally ill) and to handle her own finances after a crisis happens in her life.
  • Alec Newbury (Judd Nelson) - a ruthless, ambitious yuppie and young Democrat, pursuing a career in politics. He's desperate to marry Leslie, yet she continues to turn him down, leading to him having an affair with a lingerie model stating "I'll say no when Leslie says yes." Everyone's surprised when he starts working for a Republican senator. At the start of the film, he has just moved in with Leslie and is still fixing their place up.
  • Leslie Hunter (Ally Sheedy) - Alec's yuppie girlfriend who wants to pursue a career as an architect before marrying and having children. She's a romantic, and also seems to be trying to get more of a sense of who she is before sharing her life completely with a man; possibly in order to not lose her sense of self later. She lives with Alec, but is starting to feel doubts about her relationship with him.
  • Wendy Beamish (Mare Winningham) - a girl from a wealthy family, the "innocent" of the group, and a painfully shy virgin who devotes her life to helping others (she works in Social Services). Wendy is trying to break away from her family's overprotectiveness, move out on her own, and assert her independence, particularly from her father (played by Martin Balsam), who is pressuring her to marry the man of his choice. She, however, is in love with Billy Hicks, although she knows her father will never consider him suitable for her. In the end, Wendy gets her own apartment and loses her virginity to Billy. Mare Winningham was pregnant while she played a virgin.

The film also features Andie MacDowell as Dale Biberman, a hospital intern and the object of Kirby's attraction.


The Breakfast Club is another 1985 film starring Estevez, Nelson, and Sheedy. In The Breakfast Club, these actors (then 22, 25 and 22, respectively) play high school students along with Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald (the only other Brat Packers who aren't in this movie), while in the same year they play college graduates in St. Elmo's Fire.

The title and subsequent song came from a quote at the climax of the movie, when Billy is comforting Jules: "It's St. Elmo's Fire. Electric flashes of light that appear in dark skies out of nowhere. Sailors would guide entire journeys by it, but the joke was on them ... there was no fire. There wasn't even a St. Elmo. They made it up. They made it up because they thought they needed it to keep them going when times got tough, just like you're making up all of this. We're all going through this. It's our time at the edge."

Billy's statement is technically incorrect, in that:

The movie was sometimes referred to as "The Little Chill", in reference to 1983's The Big Chill.


The theme song, "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)," was written by Canadian composer David Foster and performed by John Parr. This hit song was written for the Canadian athlete, Rick Hansen, who at the time was going around the world in his wheelchair to raise awareness for spinal cord injuries. His journey was called the "Man in Motion Tour." However, the lyrics do relate to the characters in the movie moving out into a new and exciting, yet a little scary, time in their lives. The analogy of the light or the fire works, in that they are looking for guidance into the unknown, and that a new 'fire' is raging inside of them, of who they're discovering themselves to be. The song does not appear on any John Parr album.

The song "Give Her A Little Drop More," which plays during the movie when the characters enter St. Elmo's Bar & Restaurant, was written by British jazz trumpeter John Chilton.

"St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" hit #1 in the Billboard Music Charts for two weeks in September 1985, and "Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire" (the instrumental theme to the movie by David Foster) reached #15. Another version of the "Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire" titled For Just a Moment was performed by Amy Holland and Donny Gerrard, and was included as the final song on the Soundtrack album.


The fictional St. Elmo's Bar was built on a Hollywood soundstage. St. Elmo's Bar was based on the infamous Georgetown watering hole The Tombs (1226 36th St. NW). However, for the exterior shots, another Georgetown bar called Third Edition (1218 Wisconsin Avenue) was used. The college scenes were filmed at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.


St. Elmo's Fire holds a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with 13 out of 27 reviewers making it a 'rotten' rating[2].

Awards and nominations

Rob Lowe won a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor for this film.

The song "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" was a nominee for the 1986 Academy Award for "Best Original Song," but was deemed ineligible and was disqualified because it wasn't written for the film. The song was written before the movie was, and the title of the movie was inspired by the song, so Joel Schumacher made "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" the main song in the film.

David Foster's instrumental piece ("Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire") was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 1986 for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, but lost to Jan Hammer's "Miami Vice Theme."

TV adaptation

As of August 14, 2009, ABC won a bidding war among networks to adapt the Joel Schumacher film into a comedy-drama, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Schumacher is already onboard as a producer, alongside That '70s Show-grad Topher Grace, Dan Bucatinsky and Jamie Tarses. Bucatinsky is writing the script. Like the film, the show will follow a group of friends who have just graduated from Georgetown University and are adjusting to adulthood. There will be some small tweaks: The series will feature six friends (three guys and three girls) instead of seven and the film's setting, St. Elmo's Bar & Restaurant, will be upgraded to St. Elmo's Bar & Grill.[3]


External links



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