Top 365 Films – #030 – Stand By Me (1986)


Top 365 Films - Stand By MeDIRECTED BY: Rob Reiner

STARRING: Will Wheaton, Richard Dreyfuss, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, Casey Siemaszko, John Cusack, Marshall Bell, Frances Lee McCain, Gary Riley, Bradley Gregg, Jason Oliver, Bruce Kirby, William Bronder, Scott Beach and Andy Lindberg

BUDGET: $8m

EARNED (Worldwide): $52.3m

AWARDS: None (Oscar Nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and 2 Golden Globe Nominations for Best Picture Drama and Best Director)

 

SYNOPSIS

After the death of a friend, a writer recounts a boyhood journey to find the body of a missing boy.

 

Stand By Me takes us back to the summer of 1959 in Castlerock, Oregon, where we follow four friends – Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern – learning the whereabouts of a body of a local boy who has been missing for several days and they set off into the woods to find him.

 

Stand By Me is filed under the film viewing blueprint of the coming of age film genre and still on multiple viewings has heaps of nostalgia and genuine authenticity in regards to this story of friendship. Based on the Stephen King story ‘The Body’, the film has a writer who narrates his account of what he and a few friends got up to in the summer of 1959, where they learn that a body is at a certain location in the woods and believed to be that of a local boy who has been missing for a few days named Ray Brower. The film ideally works so well is due to the casting choices for the four young boys. Will Wheaton is great as Gordie, a quiet kid who is suffering as his older brother Denny passed away a few months ago and feels like he’s hated by his father due to this fact. Wheaton shares great chemistry with River Phoenix who plays Chris, a kid that comes from a troublesome family and yet acts like the father figure of the group and has one great scene he shares with Wheaton in the campfire scene. Corey Feldman is also great as Teddy, a kid that has scars from his abusive father and is kind of the wildcard member of the group and then there’s Jerry O’Connell as Vern, the clown of the group that seems to be the butt of every joke yet O’Connell brings a great amount of charm and comedic timing to the role. Kiefer Sutherland has a great presence as the antagonist Ace who terrorises the kids. The small scenes such as the campfire scene, to the train scene and crossing the pond scene add memorable elements to the film as Gordie ends up becoming obsessed in finding the body and Reiner does a terrific job in telling the story and the soundtrack strengthens the film also.

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: Films final moments about where everyone ended up later in life to we see The Writer now typing up probably the best quote from the film never said out loud ‘I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?’.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of our lives, like busboys in a restaurant.’ – The Writer

DID YOU KNOW?: The pond the boys fall into was a man made pool because the crew wanted them to be “safe and secure” and didn’t want to put them in a real pond because they didn’t know what would be in it. But Corey Feldman stated in a interview that the joke of the whole thing was that they built and filled it with water in the beginning of June and by time they got to film the scene it was in the end of August. So it been out in the woods for 3 months and they didn’t know what was in it anyway. After Rob Reiner screened the movie for Stephen King, Reiner noticed that King was visibly shaking and wasn’t speaking. King left the room and upon his return, he told Reiner that the movie was the best adaptation of his work he had ever seen. In the campfire scene in which Chris breaks down, Reiner was sure River Phoenix could do better. He asked him to think of a time in his own life when an adult had let him down and use it in the scene, which Phoenix did. Upset and crying, he had to be comforted by the director afterwards. The result of Phoenix’s exercise is the scene that ended up in the final cut.

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