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St. Elmo's Fire (1985)

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Release Date: Jan 1, 1985 Wide

audience

70

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 54,797

My Rating

Movie Info

Post-collegiate angst, '80s style, is the subject of this coming-of-age ensemble piece, which traces the fortunes of a group of Georgetown grads as they enter the real world and grapple with work, infidelity, and adulthood. The most outwardly upscale member of the gang, Jules (Demi Moore), hides a plethora of emotional baggage behind a chic wardrobe, an expensive apartment, a fashionable drug habit, and lots of meaningless casual sex. Her friend Wendy (Mare Winningham) has the opposite problem;

PG-13,

Drama, Romance

Nov 20, 2001

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (16) | DVD (14)

Soapy 20-something friends saga isn't for kids.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

there's a perceptive, brilliant essay buried somewhere in St. Elmo's Fire on the dangers of deeply, tragically stupid people trying to write the great American novel.

October 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Even teens might have a hard time identifying with the level of melodrama we get here.

August 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Everyone struggles. Everyone triumphs. The music swells. No one cares.

June 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com | Comments (2)
Filmcritic.com

the loud clothes, the pumped-up fake rock of John Parr, the questionable sex appeal of McCarthy and the unctuous Nelson. Turn it on and watch your skin crawl.

October 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

A telling look at the confusions and challenges facing seven friends who have recently graduated from the same college.

August 18, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

The intolerable apotheosis of 80s youth-driven filmmaking.

July 8, 2004

An icon of the 80's.

June 19, 2003
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Soapy brat pack sap.

April 21, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

An unforgettable master-piece. One of the best films for young people ever made. The young cast are splendid.

September 19, 2002
Moviehole

Yearning, burning, boring

August 21, 2002
Zap2it.com

Everything collapses under its own weight.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: DustinPutman.com
DustinPutman.com

Audience Reviews for St. Elmo's Fire

It's really quite enjoyable - the humor, the drama - but it just doesn't make much sense to me. All these friends have such disparate personalities that there's no way they would all hang out and remain friends after college - and that's not even speaking of Wendy's completely baseless infatuation for Billy. My friend pointed out that my own circle of friends have vastly different characters, but we coexist because we've had the benefit of hanging out a lot in real life. The St. Elmo's gang are never shown "just hanging out." They're always doing something, getting into trouble, plotting grand gestures - all these huge moments of which culminates in an overwrought, melodramatic climax that of course brings them all together. The explanation of the title also doesn't hold much water.
September 13, 2012
aliceinpunderland

Super Reviewer

You can always count on your friends. Don't ever let the fire go out.

Very good movie from the 80's! The music from this movie is phenomenal. I think the reason I love this movie despite all its flaws is it makes me put my life in perspective and think about the friends and decisions I have made. Every time I hear the love theme I can't help but feel sentimental. Admire what it wants to say. Take it for what it is. I really enjoyed what this film was about. And it made me feel a bit better about life, after all, we're all going through St. Elmo's Fire. Go see it!

Seven friends - Alec, Billy, Jules, Kevin, Kirby, Leslie and Wendy - are trying to navigate through life and their friendships following college graduation. Alec, who aspires to political life, has just shown his true colors by changing his allegiance from Democrat to Republican, which freaks out girlfriend Leslie, who he wants to marry. Budding architect Leslie, on the other hand, has an independent streak. She believes she has to make a name for herself to find out who she is before she can truly commit to another person in marriage. But Leslie and Alec have decided to live together. Because Leslie refuses to marry Alec, he believes that justifies certain behavior. Kirby, who wants to become a lawyer and who pays for his schooling by working as a waiter at their local hangout called St. Elmo's Bar, and struggling writer Kevin are currently roommates. They are on opposite extremes of the romance spectrum. Kirby has just reconnected with Dale Biberman, a slightly older woman he knew in college who is now a doctor. He is madly in love with her and will do *anything* to impress her. Kevin, on the other hand, doesn't date and states he doesn't believe in love, making his friends speculate that he's a closet homosexual who is secretly in love with Alec. Kevin will eventually open himself up to the one friend who matters the most. Billy, married with a child, is the irresponsible one of the group who would rather sleep around and play the saxophone than face the realities of being an adult with family commitments. He still lives for the memory of his fraternity glory days. Virginal and sheltered Wendy, who comes from a wealthy family, works in a low paying social services job. Her family provides for all her financial needs. She is in love with Billy, who in turn takes advantage of her adoration of him. And most are concerned about Jules, who works in a bank, lives a life of excess in all facets and doesn't have the financial means to live that lifestyle. The question for all seven becomes whether their friendship can survive adult real life.
August 11, 2012
MANUGINO
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

St. Elmo's Fire is an enlightening and coming-of-age ensemble that warms your heart and leaves you feeling all happy inside. The cast is one of the best, being the brat pack, nobody could get enough of them in the 80's and I can see why. It's also a great learning film, that teaches you all about drugs, sex and everyday things that teenagers are influenced by and still are. A great little film and I'd really reccomend it. Definite must see!
October 24, 2011
murphmann93
Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

Movies Like St. Elmo's Fire

    1. Leslie: Men... Can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em.
    – Submitted by Erin D (19 months ago)
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