Film: St. Elmo's Fire

St. Elmo's Fire is a 1985 film about seven friends who start to drift apart after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Directed by Joel Schumacher, the movie stars Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and Mare Winningham as the main characters. Andie MacDowell, Martin Balsam, Joyce Van Patten and Jenny Wright play supporting roles.

The film's theme song, "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)", performed by John Parr, was a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. The film also contains an instrumental love theme by David Foster.


This film provides examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: At least, Wendy does.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Well, some of it.
  • Credit Card Plot: Played straight: Jules gets in serious trouble for her overspending habits and her liberal usage of several credit cards; she ends up having most of her stuff repossessed.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Leslie doesn't end up with either Alec or Kevin, Kirby doesn't end up with Dale, and despite spending the night together, Billy and Wendy don't end up with one another.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Howie
  • Double Standard: Invoked while Leslie and Alec break up.
    "You fucked Kevin."
    "You fucked many!"
    "Nameless, faceless many."
    "I feel much better now. Thanks."
  • The Eighties: and then some.
  • Gold Digger: How Jules perceives herself at times, especially in light of her sleeping with her boss.
    "So, I bop him for a couple of years, get his job when he gets his hands caught in the vault, do a black mink ad, retire in utter disgrace, then write a best seller and be a fabulous host on my own talk show..."
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: One of Kevin's friends is a hooker.
  • Hypocrite: Alec repeatedly cheats on Lesley for who knows how long during their relationship. When she sleeps with Kevin, he see's no problem with constantly reminding her of it. See Double Standard above.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: A minor example as Mare Winningham was actually pregnant with twins while playing the virgin Wendy.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Jules is a deconstruction.
  • Love Dodecahedron
  • Man Child: Billy
  • Meganekko: Wendy
  • Mistaken for Gay: Kevin, by Jules. He's actually in love with Lesley
  • Room Full of Crazy: Jules, toward the end.
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Happens to Wendy at the very end.
  • Sexy Sax Man: Billy.
  • Six Student Clique: There's seven but it still counts.
    • The Head: Alec and Kevin.
    • The Muscle: Billy
    • The Quirk: The group thinks Kevin is this but it applies to Kirby better.
    • The Pretty One: Leslie
    • The Smart One: Wendy
    • The Wild One: Jules
  • Stalker with a Crush: Kirby, as far as med student Dale is concerned. He starts out seeing himself as a Dogged Nice Guy who just can't get a break. Later on, he, uh, embraces the truth.
    "I'm obsessed, thank you very much."
  • Strawman Political: Alec, who ditches his liberal viewpoint after graduation, becoming a heartless Republican who cheats repeatedly on his girlfriend.
  • Title Drop: "You know what this is? This is St. Elmo's Fire."
  • Troubled, but Cute: Billy
  • Unconfessed Unemployment: Jules, after she's been fired.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: big hair, quintessentially 80s fashions, a couple breaking up arguing over who gets to keep the Pretenders, Police, and Bruce Springsteen records, references to the Cold War, and Jules doing a LOT of cocaine. Most definitely an 80s movie. Oddly, with its portrayal of gay people who aren't scary creeps and characters (particularly Jules and Billy) who Really Get Around, AIDS isn't mentioned at all.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Wendy, according to at least one of the women she tries to help out as a social worker.
  • Your Cheating Heart

Alternative Title(s):

St Elmos Fire