One of the ‘80s most romantic dramas turns 30 and still no one remembers it
Quick! Name-check some of the best romantic dramas of the ‘80s. Ummmm. When Harry Met Sally. Sure. Can’t Buy Me Love? Okay. Say Anything. Yes! Somewhere in Time? You bet. But what about 1986’s Fire with Fire? It belongs right up here.
Released May 9, 1986, Fire with Fire starred Craig Sheffer as a juvenile delinquent at a work release camp who falls for Catholic boarding school hottie Virginia Madsen. (The following year, Sheffer would make a bigger splash as Hardy Jenns - with two N’s! - in Some Kind of Wonderful. Madsen’s better work was beforehand with 1984’s Electric Dreams and 1985’s Creator.)
In Fire with Fire, the star-crossed lovers find a way to escape their “prisons” and be together … against the rules, the advice of their friends and pretty much all common sense.
But teenaged ‘80s fans and many critics bought it; the movie has an 83 percent fresh rating on Rotten
Don’t count the New York Times among them. Their review said: “What action there is has to do with the young lovers attempting to escape together. A fire breaks out toward the end, but it does not explain the title. The damp script is in no danger of igniting. The question with which viewers may be left is why it took four people to write this thing.”
Actually the entire story was actually based on a true story. In 1978, a Pasadena, Calif., girls convent school invited the boys from a local honor camp to a dance. Did two people fall in love? Nah, that only happens in the movie.
Here are five things you probably didn’t know about Fire with Fire.
1. The photograph that Madsen’s character is recreating in the pond is a 1851 painting by John Everett Millais titled "Ophelia.”
2. When the honor camp boys get a day at the movie theater, the film playing is Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, which was released in 1985. However, Friday the 13th franchise fans will recognize that the scenes shows are out of order.
3. The late Ann Savage appears as one of the sisters at the Catholic boarding school. Fire with Fire was her first movie role in 33 years. Best known for a long string of B-movies in the 140s, her previous role was in 1953’s Woman They Almost Lynched. After Fire with Fire, she appeared on the TV series Saved by the Bell in the very small role of Mrs. Thornhill.
4. This was the theatrical debut of D.B. Sweeney (Eight Men Out, Memphis Belle) and Kari Wuhrer (Remote Control, Sliders).
5. Sheffer and Sweeney would act together again in 1993’s Fire in the Sky.