It was directed by horror legend John Carpenter of Halloween and Escape from New York, who also composed the score. Despite mixed reviews from critics upon its release, it has developed a cult following, and is generally regarded by fans as one of the better adaptations of King's novels.
The film was released to theaters on December 9, 1983. On the same day as the release of "Scarface".
PlotThe film begins in 1958, on a Plymoth automobile assembly line at a plant in Detroit, Michigan. One car, a Red Plymoth Fury, is being inspected by a man when its hood falls on his hand, crushing it. A man goes inside the car to inspect it, but is killed somehow when an ash from his cigar falls on the seat. Twenty years later in 1978, a high school dork named Arnie Cunningham purchases the same car for $250 from Roland LeBay, who calls her "Christine". The car is cheap, wrecked, and is in need of serious repair. Dennis, Arnie's Jock friend, does not like Christine, and advises him against purchasing it for a first car. But Arnie buys it anyway, much to the dismay of his parents, and they get into a heated debate. Arnie stores it at Darnell's, a do-it-yourself garage and junkyard located outside of town. The ill-tempered owner Will Darnell, distrusts both Arnie and Dennis, and is mean to them. Arnie fixes up Christine over time, and the car becomes his obsession. He starts driving it everywhere, and even gets Leigh Cabot to be his girlfriend, much to the dismay of Dennis. Arnie becomes humorless and arrogant, but also assertive and cruel. Christine is destroyed by Buddy Repperton and his gang, who want revenge for Buddy being expelled because Arnie told a teacher that Buddy threatened him with a switchblade. After Christine's destruction, Arnie angrily blames Leigh for it, and fights verbally and even physically with his parents. Arnie frantically attempts to fix the car again, but the car rebuilds itself in front of him, in a manner similar to a striptease. Christine goes after Repperton's gang, killing them all one by one, all the while playing ironic oldies music. Each time Christine commits a murder, she restores herself so there is no evidence of what she has done. At the end, Repperton himself is killed when Christine smashes through a gas station and blows it up. Christine chases Buddy while on fire and drives over him, leaving his flaming body in the middle of the country road. Christine pulls into Darnell's, and Darnell is suspicious. He grabs a gun and goes inside Christine. Christine crushes him with the seat. Finally, Dennis carves Darnell's Tonight into her hood and waits at Darnell's that night inside a bulldozer. Christine chases Leigh around the garage while Dennis attempts to start the bulldozer. Arnie is thrown from the car when Christine crashes, with a large glass shard sticking out of his stomach. Arnie dies, and Christine goes after them with a vengeance. He gets the machine running and destroys Christine before she can rebuild herself. She is fed into a car crusher, which compacts Christine into a cube. At the end, Dennis and Leigh look over the destroyed wreckage of Christine, as they hear that oldies' music playing. However, it is not Christine, only a boombox. As Leigh is saying that she hates rock and roll, a piece of Christine's fender slowly begins to bend into a mock smile, implying that Christine's consciousness is still intact. Christine is still alive to some degree.
- Keith Gordon as Arnold "Arnie" Cunningham
- John Stockwell as Dennis Guilder
- Alexandra Paul as Leigh Cabot
- Robert Prosky as Will Darnell
- Harry Dean Stanton as Detective Rudolph "Rudy" Junkins
- Christine Belford as Regina Cunningham
- Roberts Blossom as George LeBay
- Kelly Preston as Roseanne (character)
- William Ostrander as Clarence "Buddy" Repperton
- Malcolm Danare as Peter "Moochie" Welch
- Steven Tash as Richard "Richie" Trelawney
- Stuart Charno as Donald "Don" Vandenberg
- David Spielberg as Mr. Casey
ProductionThere were 14 Red Plymouth Furies used to portray Christine in the film. The film had a very extensive budget of $9,700,000, and is notorious for destroying so many cars during production, by fire, or by hand.
John Carpenter also composed the musical score for the film. The film was too light to be rated R, so at the time of its release, it would have been rated PG. (The PG-13 rating didn't exist yet) So, the producers added the word 'fuck' multiple times so more people would see the film.
Christine's liscense plate is yellow and says CQB, which means Close Quarters Battle, where it is a duel between two people, and one is obviously overpowered, with little chance of escape.
In the scene where Buddy and his gang trash Christine before denting the engine Buddy grabs the bonnet and throws it up with such force that he throws the bonnet off and away. But when Christine shows her regenerative powers to Arnie her bonnet miraciously comes back.
There is no engine under Buddy's camaro when Christine crashes into it.
1958 plymouth furies did not have door lock buttons as depicted in the film.
When Leigh visits Arnie's hair is slightly wet. But later on it is instantly drenched.
There are casters under another car in the garage.
Differences from the novel
- In the book after the fight it is Arnie Cunningham who helps Dennis up but in the film it is Mr. Casey
- The dialogue before and after the fight is much longer in the novel
- In the novel Arnie says that Buddy snatches his lunchbag and steps on it which starts the fight but in the film it is started when Buddy takes a switchblade, pierces the bag and spills the contents on the floor.
- In the film the fight is very short
- In the book it is said that Buddy Repperton likes to do things "three on two." But in the film it is said he likes to do things "three on one"
- Buddy kicks away the Switchblade in the book but in the film he leaves after swearing revenge on Arnie
- In the book Don Vandenberg is the last member of Buddy's gang to die but in the film Buddy is the last to die
- Moochie is killed in the novel after Christine runs over him about 20 times but in the film he dies after being crushed
- Richie Trelawney and Don Vandenberg both die at the same time and die in the same way although Richie gets crushed but his body is destroyed in the explosion that kills Don.
- Arnie Cunningham dies in a car accident in the novel but in the film he dies after being impaled on a broken windscreen shard.
- In the novel, Christine is a four-door (despite the 1958 model year wasn't made as a four-door). In the film, Christine is a two door.
- In the novel, Detective Rudy Junkins is killed by Christine. In the film, he is alive and with Leigh and Dennis staring at the cube that is Christine.
- In the novel, Dennis has a 1975 Plymouth Duster. In the film, Dennis has a 1968 Dodge Charger