Christine (1983 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Carpenter
Produced by Richard Kobritz
Larry J. Franco
Screenplay by Bill Phillips
Based on Christine by Stephen King
Music by John Carpenter
Alan Howarth
Cinematography Donald M. Morgan
Edited by Marion Rothman
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • December 9, 1983 (1983-12-09)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $9.7 million
Box office $21 million[1]

Christine is a 1983 American action psychological horror thriller film directed by John Carpenter and starring Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul and Harry Dean Stanton. It was written by Bill Phillips and based on the novel by Stephen King, published in 1983. The story, set in 1978, follows a sentient and violent automobile named "Christine", and its effects on Christine's teenaged owner.


Arnold Cunningham (Keith Gordon) is a nerdy teen with only one friend, Dennis Guilder (John Stockwell). Arnie's life begins to change when he buys a used red-and-white 1958 Plymouth Fury, nicknamed "Christine", in need of extensive repairs. Arnie begins to restore Christine, but as he spends more of his time repairing her, he begins to change. Formerly shy, Arnie develops a cocky arrogance. Dennis and Arnie's new girlfriend, Leigh Cabot (Alexandra Paul), discover the car's previous owner, Roland LeBay, became obsessed with Christine and later died in it from carbon monoxide poisoning.

A group of bullies at school—angry with Arnie after a shop class confrontation results in Buddy Repperton (William Ostrander) getting expelled—vandalize Christine, leaving her ruined. Arnie is left devastated and determined to fix Christine again. As he looks the wreck over and hears the creaking of metal, he sees the engine is now fully restored. Arnie tells the car "show me", and Christine restores herself to showroom quality and then seeks out the members of the gang who attempted to destroy her; she targets Moochie Welch (Malcolm Danare) first, whom she crushes to death when he gets cornered in an alley. Buddy, Richie Trelawney (Steven Tash) and Don Vandenberg (Stuart Charno) are then killed, the latter two caught in a gas station explosion (which sets Christine on fire), and Buddy getting run over and imolated. Later killing Darnell in the garage crushing him using the seat adjuster.

On New Year's Eve, Dennis and Leigh reason that the only way to stop Christine and save Arnie is to destroy the car. Dennis scratches "Darnell's Tonight"—referencing the name of a local junkyard—into Christine's hood, then makes his way there with Leigh. Dennis waits in a bulldozer while Leigh heads to the office so that she can shut the door after Christine arrives, trapping the car. Christine, who has been lying in wait the entire time, shines the headlights from under a pile of garbage and the car charges after Leigh. Christine crashes into Darnell's office in an attempt to kill Leigh, and Arnie is thrown through Christine's windshield. He is impaled on a shard of glass and survives just long enough to admire Christine one last time. Christine continues to attack Dennis and Leigh, sustaining damage and regenerating. Dennis pulls Leigh into the cab of the bulldozer; the two then crush Christine with the bulldozer, compacting her into a cube.

Dennis and Leigh survive and leave behind the remains of the car. The closing shot of the film is of the crushed cube that was Christine while a piece of the grill slowly begins to unbend.



California Christine

King's novel, the source material for Carpenter's film, made it clear that the car was possessed by the evil spirit of its previous owner Roland D. LeBay, whereas the film version of the story shows that the evil spirit surrounding the car was present on the day it was built.

Although the car in the film is identified as a 1958 Plymouth Fury—and in 1983 radio ads promoting the film, voiceover artists announced, "she's a '57 Fury"—two other Plymouth models, the Belvedere and the Savoy, were also used to portray the malevolent automobile onscreen. Total production for the 1958 Plymouth Fury was only 5,303, and they were difficult to find and expensive to buy at the time. In addition, the real-life Furys only came in one color, "Buckskin Beige", seen on the other Furies on the assembly line during the initial scenes of the movie. Several vehicles were destroyed during filming, but most of the cars were Savoy and Belvedere models dressed to look like the Fury. Of the twenty cars used in the film, only two still exist; One is a stunt vehicle with a manual transmission and now resides in the hands of a private California collector [2] and the other vehicle was rescued from a junkyard and restored by collector Bill Gibson of Pensacola, Florida. [3]


Christine was released in North America on December 9, 1983 to 1,045 theaters.

Box office[edit]

In its opening weekend Christine brought in $3,408,904 landing at #4. The film dropped 39.6% in its second weekend, grossing $2,058,517 slipping from fourth to eighth place. In its third weekend, it grossed $1,851,909 dropping to #9. The film remained at #9 its fourth weekend, grossing $2,736,782. In its fifth weekend, it returned to #8, grossing $2,015,922. Bringing in $1,316,835 it its sixth weekend, the film dropped out of the box office top ten to twelfth place. In its seventh and final weekend, the film brought in $819,972 landing at #14, bringing the total gross for Christine to $21,017,849.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Based on 23 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Christine has an overall 65% approval rating from critics, with an average score of 5.7 out of 10.[4] Roger Ebert gave the movie three out of four stars.

Soundtrack (original score) [edit]

Christine: Music from the Motion Picture
Film score by John Carpenter
and Alan Howarth
Released June 1, 1990
Genre Soundtrack
Length 33:14
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer John Carpenter and Alan Howarth

Two soundtracks were released, one consisting purely of the music written and composed by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth, the other consisting of the contemporary pop songs used in the film.[5]

Christine: Music from the Motion Picture (by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth)
No. Title Length
1. "Arnie's Love Theme"   1:15
2. "Obsessed with the Car"   2:07
3. "Football Run/Kill Your Kids"   2:42
4. "The Rape"   1:10
5. "The Discovery"   1:30
6. "Show Me"   2:36
7. "Moochie's Death"   2:25
8. "Junkins"   3:33
9. "Buddy's Death"   1:27
10. "Nobody's Home/Restored"   1:44
11. "Car Obsession Reprise"   1:53
12. "Christine Attacks (Plymouth Fury)"   2:30
13. "Talk on the Couch"   1:23
14. "Regeneration"   1:25
15. "Darnell's Tonight"   0:13
16. "Arnie"   1:01
17. "Undented"   1:54
18. "Moochie Mix Four"   2:26

Soundtrack (songs used in the film)[edit]

The soundtrack album containing songs used in the film was entitled Christine: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and was released on LP and cassette on Motown Records.[6] It contained 10 (of the 15) songs listed in the film's credits, plus one track from John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's own score. The track listing was as follows:

  1. George Thorogood and the Destroyers - Bad to the Bone
  2. Buddy Holly & the Crickets - Not Fade Away
  3. Johnny Ace - Pledging My Love
  4. Robert & Johnny - We Belong Together
  5. Little Richard - Keep A-Knockin'
  6. Dion and The Belmonts - I Wonder Why
  7. The Viscounts - Harlem Nocturne
  8. Thurston Harris - Little Bitty Pretty One
  9. Danny & The Juniors - Rock n' Roll is Here to Stay
  10. John Carpenter & Alan Howarth - Christine Attacks (Plymouth Fury)
  11. Larry Williams - Bony Moronie

The following tracks were not included on this LP release, but were used in the film and listed in the film's credits:

See also[edit]

  • Two Black Cadillacs, a music video by Carrie Underwood, in which two cheated women team up to murder their loved one with the help of a car with a mind of its own.
  • "A Thing about Machines", a 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone
  • "You Drive", a 1964 episode of The Twilight Zone in which the car of a hit-and-run driver hounds him to confession
  • My Mother the Car, a 1965 television sit-com series
  • The Love Bug, a 1968 comedy film about an anthropomorphic 1963 Volkswagen Beetle racecar
  • Killdozer!, a 1974 made-for-TV horror movie based on a short story of the same name by Theodore Sturgeon
  • The Car, a 1977 film about an anthropomorphic customized 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III
  • The Hearse, a 1980 horror movie about a possessed hearse
  • Knight Rider, a franchise—begun in 1982—featuring an artificially intelligent third generation Pontiac Firebird Trans Am named KITT (Knight Industries Two-Thousand)
  • Nightmares, a 1983 movie consisting of four separate story segments; the third segment, "The Benediction", features a traveling priest (played by Lance Henriksen) attacked on the highway by a demonic pickup truck
  • Maximum Overdrive, a 1986 horror movie; and Trucks, a 1997 made-for-TV remake film; both based on the short story Trucks by Stephen King
  • The Wraith, a 1986 film starring Charlie Sheen, who plays a man murdered by a gang of car thieves who gets revenge upon his killers by returning as a phantom car and driver set out to eliminate them
  • "The Honking", a 2000 Futurama episode in which the robot character, Bender, is possessed by a were-virus, transforming him into a murderous car every night at midnight. The curse could only be lifted by destroying the originator of the virus, a project-Satan car located at the "Anti-Chrysler" building. The car that hits Bender is actually a 1958 Plymouth, just like the one in Christine.
  • "Route 666", a 2006 Supernatural episode about a driverless black Dodge utiline truck in Cape Girardeau, Missouri killing everyone related to its owner's past.
  • Road Kill, a 2010 Australian supernatural thriller about a group of teenagers menaced by a driver-less road-train in the harsh Australian outback.
  • Super Hybrid, a 2011 Science Fiction Horror thriller film about a malicious shape shifting sentient car that devours its victims by tricking them into its cab.
  • "Christrina", a Grojband episode where Kin's dream catching camera messed up and released Trina's soul from her body and into her car, bringing her car to life. Trina became angry about this and went around on a rampage destroying everything in her car body.
  • "Alice", an episode of Star Trek: Voyager featuring an sentient alien shuttle with a similar effect on Tom Paris that Christine had on Arnie Cunningham. The title shuttle tried to kill B'Elanna Torres in a similar manner as Christine tried with Leigh Cabot.


  1. ^ a b "Overall Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 22, 2010. 
  2. ^ [1], Christopher Rutkowski, theAFICIONAUTO, autoblog, Living Christine
  3. ^ 30th Anniversary of Stephen King's "Christine", WEAR-TV, 16 February 2013
  4. ^ "Christine Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved October 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Christine – Production Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved October 22, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Christine (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Retrieved 31 May 2015. 

External links[edit]