St. Elmo’s Fire, filmed in 1985, focuses on the lives of seven friends who have just graduated from the prestigious Georgetown University.

Now they must navigate the reality of adulthood.

Part of the movie is set at Georgetown University, but it was actually filmed mostly at the University of Maryland. During the film, one can see McKeldin Mall, the Chapel and many other locations.

Each of the characters possess differing personality traits that allow them to distinguish what positions and roles they play for both their employers and within their friendship group. New college graduates can relate to the different characters and their career and personal struggles.


Billy Hicks (Rob Lowe)

You’ll have one friend that can’t seem to let go of his party lifestyle, like Billy Hicks. He is still focused on the carefree days, when he could satisfy any appetite he had through the opportunities surrounding him. He may be the musician, fraternity boy or the DJ at the radio station that has always sort of been in his own world. But in the end this friend learns from his mistakes and is able to use them to turn his life around to pursue what he really wants to do.

Leslie Hunter (Ally Sheedy)

While St. Elmo’s Fire has little character development of Leslie Hunter, she shows the greatest combination of all of the personalities of your friend group. She suffers heartbreak, confusion and the fear of being an adult. She, like Billy, wants to pretend that college life hasn’t left her behind yet, and she sees the world as the land of opportunity. Similar to Wendy, she wants all of her friends to get along and enjoy their time together. Leslie is a free spirit and a hopeless romantic like both Kirby and Wendy. She wants parts of her life to remain the same as they were in college, but she also understands that they may change too.

Kirby Keager (Emilio Estevez)

There’s the Kirby Keager of the group, who will always try to rekindle that old college crush. The one that swept him off his feet, made him feel like he had someone to believe in. Kirby works hard for everything he has in life and takes every opportunity he is given very seriously. He may be the one of your friends that wants to further his college education, through a master’s degree, law school or medical school. While this person may be the hopeless romantic of your group, eventually the crush will realize that she should’ve given Kirby a chance, but Kirby discovers he will be better off without her.

Wendy Beamish (Mare Winningham)

Wendy Beamish, despite her quiet demeanor, will be the friend that most of us want to be after college. Her capacity to forgive others easily and her generosity are qualities that make her friends envious She always puts the happiness of others before her own. Wendy may be one of the friends that went on mission trips or studied abroad. The Wendys, though naive, want to find love like the Kirby Keagers. Similarly, the Wendys will understand that love isn’t necessary for their happiness, and will be able to follow their own paths in life that make them truly feel joy.


Through its fascinating script, acting and cinematography, St. Elmo’s Fire accurately conveys the post-college experience. Heartbreak, responsibility, happiness and job success tend to be at the core of what recent college graduates think about. While some may argue that college experiences change from generation to generation, St. Elmo’s Fire illustrates an exception to this opinion. The characters of Kirby, Wendy, Billy and Leslie are similar to many college graduates.They are relatable to both younger generations and older ones. In its entirety, St. Elmo’s Fire allows its viewers to see the importance of friendship no matter what decade or circumstance is thrown at them.

headMelissa Eck is a sophomore English language/literature and broadcast journalism double major and can be reached at meck@terpmail.umd.edu.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s