It was the summer of 1989, and my freshman orientation tour of the University of Maryland, College Park had led us to the campus chapel, rising high above Route 1 on a hill. Our guide pointed across the road to a horseshoe of identical stately brick buildings set around an expansive green lawn.

“To your left,” she said, in a bored monotone that let us know she’d done this bit a lot, “is Fraternity Row, which you may recognize from the football scene in ‘St. Elmo’s Fire,’ featuring Rob Lowe.”

Now that’s a tour highlight! The 1985 movie, starring Lowe, Demi Moore, Andrew McCarthy and other members of the so-called “Brat Pack” as recent Georgetown University graduates, was an obsession of mine because of its glamorous representation of adulthood. Nearly 40 years later, that manicured lawn is featured prominently in the trailer for “BRATS,” McCarthy’s documentary about being part of that much admired and maligned pop culture phenomenon.

The trailer was an instant nostalgia bomb for me and other ‘80s-era College Park students, for whom the movie and its filming were a core memory. “St. Elmo’s Fire” was arguably the most famous movie in the “Brat Pack” oeuvre, named for David Blum’s infamous New York magazine story lumping Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson and other young and scene-prowling actors as a more shallow, callow version of Sinatra’s “Rat Pack.”

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“I call it ‘my Maryland movie,’” said Lauri Getlan-Watson, originally from Pikesville but now living in Bethesda. She saw “St. Elmo’s Fire” at the campus’s Hoff Theater with the core group of friends she met the day she moved into her dorm. “I grew up in a bubble, and this was my first time navigating life and figuring out what I wanted to do,” she said.

How a movie set in Georgetown came to film at a different campus is part of its history and allure. The legend is that the Jesuits, the Catholic order that run the Washington, D.C. university, “wouldn’t let them film there because of the premarital sex, drugs, etc., but Maryland was like, ‘Come on down,’” remembered Steven Abrams, who at the time lived in New Leonardtown, a set of campus apartments located right behind Fraternity Row.

“They were filming as I was coming back from class, and I stopped and watched for a while,” he said. “There were a lot of women around because everyone wanted to see Rob Lowe.”

Kelly Kenneally, who grew up in Anne Arundel County and now lives in Alexandria, Virginia, was one of those women. She’d been hanging out at College Park’s classic dive bar the Rendezvous Inn, commonly known as the Vous, when “I heard all the buzz that there was a movie being filmed, and Demi Moore and Rob Lowe were going to be in it. We walked along Route 1 to see it, but we couldn’t get super close to it. It was such a big deal.”

Robin Belsky of Pikesville didn’t start at College Park until 1985, but she happened to be visiting a friend on campus during the shoot. “I remember them filming a scene of everything in their graduation robes,” she said. “In the years after that, there was always a reenactment by the students where everyone would get into their robes and go on the fraternity steps. I remember doing that!”

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Howard Schacter was one of the lucky students who was not only close to the 1984 filming, but inside it. As a member of Phi Sigma Delta and the secretary of the Interfraternity Council, he helped negotiate having one member of each of the houses on the Row cast as extras in the one big scene shot on campus.

The action follows Lowe’s character, bad boy married sax player Billy, playing football on the lawn with his fraternity brothers. During the scene, Schacter, who was walking by Lowe as he spoke, had the inspiration to “pat him on the head,” which was apparently not in the script.

“Somebody with a megaphone yelled, ‘We can’t use that! Don’t ever touch him again, extra number whatever I was!’”

Andy Rosenthal, who lives in Nottingham and was also in the football scene, recalled that the young actors “were pretty much our contemporaries. I feel if we had talked to them and invited them back to the fraternity house at night, they would have come.”

They didn’t, but Rosenthal did have a moment with one of the stars in the catering tent when a friend was in line right behind Moore, who played Jules. “Remember those Ocean Spray cranberry juice gallon glass jugs? She couldn’t open it up, and I said to my friend, ‘Open that for her,’ and she smiled at me. I was like ‘Dude! Pour her a glass!’ and she mouthed out the words, ‘Thank you,’” he said. “That was my brush with fame.”

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A still of Andy Rosenthal, seen at right in blue sweatpants and a black sweatshirt with red stripes, was an extra in a scene from “St. Elmo’s Fire” on the University of Maryland, College Park campus. (Courtesy of Andy Rosenthal/Columbia Pictures)

Even decades later, I get a little tinge of jealousy hearing those stories. I was obsessed with “St. Elmo’s Fire,” which was released the summer before my freshman year in high school. The movie’s rousing theme song by John Parr has graced every running mix I’ve ever made, and 25 years after its release, my bridesmaids walked down the aisle to David Foster’s saxophone-laden “Love Theme from St. Elmo’s Fire.” Like I said, obsessed.

The life the film presented was aspirational, glossy and certainly whiter and more affluent than mine in Baltimore — like most classic Gen X movies. But what I was drawn to was the idea of connection. “We could all totally relate to it, as far as your love life and the great friends you make in college, lifelong friends. It’s totally our generation,” Belsky said. “Even the difficulties that the characters went through were appropriate to the time. We’ve all gone through this.”

It was funny watching the film again last week. I hadn’t seen it in about a decade, but I found it maybe more relevant now that its characters are no longer cool older kids but people the same age as my goddaughters. It’s certainly frozen in the ‘80s in many ways: Jules tries to freeze herself to death in an empty apartment with a Billy Idol mural painted on the wall, and Billy leaves on a bus to try to make it in New York as a saxophone player. But with updated slang and hair, the gang’s struggles to adjust to post-college life and grappling with the reality of who they thought they’d be would feel very current.

For those who were there, the film also still looms large and nostalgic. “Every four or five years, something about it comes up on some Maryland alumni page,” said Schacter, who lives in the Boston area. “It sort of never goes away.”

Getlan-Watson said she’s looking forward to seeing “BRATS” as many times as she’s seen “St. Elmo’s Fire. “I’ve watched the trailer like 100 times,” she said. “I can’t wait to sit down by myself and watch it, and rewind it and watch it, and then rewind it again.”