Stand By Me (1986): A Film Review
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Stand By Me (1986): A Film Review

Stand By Me was a 1986 film directed by Rob Reiner based on a Stephen King 1982 novella "The Body" and stars River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Jerry O'Connell, Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, Richard Dreyfuss and John Cusack. A gripping film about childhood adventures and dangers, it explores the gift of companionship gained from friendship among four boys and how one misadventure in their childhood helped them to be better men in the end.

Directed by Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally), this classic film about boys coming into age to dare into things to fully discover themselves was in a class of its own and featured the song with the same title sang by Ben E. King released in 1961. The film was originally based on a Stephen King novella published in 1982 titled “The Body” which tells about the plight of a boy and his three friends trekking to the outdoors to find the body of another boy who was reported missing from a nearby town. Typical of some Stephen King stories which explores the writing style of feasting upon the reader’s curiosity drawn from the title itself (and the inherent drive everyone would take against a dead unidentified human body) which had been reiterated on “The Colorado Kid”, everyone would be amazed as to the detail of the course of the story which will touch little about the title in the long run.

This film also notably featured River Phoenix one of the most promising child actors in the late 80s before his death (7 years later after this film) and famous actors of today in their younger years like John Cusack, Jerry O’Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, Wil Wheaton and Corey Feldman. Stephen King’s ability to kindle every childhood memories we have in ourselves while growing with our peers will be put to test watching this film (which make this film never out of time) unless one has a solitary childhood with little or no friends at all where this film will have no significance.

The film starts by showing Gordie Lachance as a grown up (played by Richard Dreyfuss) parking on the side of a road at the outskirts of town while just reading a newspaper bearing the news of Christopher Chambers’ death after being stabbed while trying to pacify an argument in a local diner. At that point his memory sent him recalling his childhood growing up with Chambers as a childhood friend and how he came to see a dead body first time in his life. The childhood memories take over and Gordie (Wil Wheaton) was shown as a young boy having just bought a newspaper and bringing it to the gang’s hang out on a tree house. With the secret knock, Gordie was allowed inside the tree house while Chris Chambers (River Phoenix) and Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman) were playing cards as they smoke. A narration still follows with older Gordie’s voice (Dreyfuss) telling that Chambers is the leader of their gang and how with the tip from Vern Tesio (Jerry O’Connell) who joined them later at the tree house as the 4th member of the gang took them to a trip at the woods to give way to their curiosity of seeing a dead body. The body that turned up to be that of a young boy who went missing had been found by the gang after a treacherous journey that nearly got Vern and Gordie ran over by a train while crossing the rail tracks, then the confrontation with another gang with Vern’s older brother in it that nearly got Chris Chambers stabbed while the gang’s leader (Sutherland) intervened on who shall have the right to take the body. Gordie happened to carry his father’s cal .45 pistol and gained the edge for the gang to claim the right to the body and wrapping it aside to be found by the police through an anonymous tip from the phone.

The gang found their way home and Gordie was shown having last words with Chris Chambers before they parted ways. The film ends as Gordie in his old self (Dreyfuss) finishes the closing sentence to his recollection on his desktop computer missing Chambers owing to his demise while being reminded by his son that they were waiting long enough for him so they could leave and go swimming.

This film got an 8.1 rating from Imdb and grossed more than six times its production budget thereby making it well on the box office, definitely a must see film for everyone who misses or wish to recall things they forgot about their childhood.


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Comments (1)

One of my all time favourite films, thanks for this wonderful article :)