#86. Stand By Me (1986)
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Written by: Bruce A. Evans, Raynold Gideon (based on The Body by Stephen King)
Starring: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, Richard Dreyfuss
Adaptations of Stephen King novels have proven to be something of a mixed bag in Hollywood – some end up being regarded as classics, and many others are best left forgotten. Stand By Me, based on King novella The Body, is one of those regarded as a classic. Its subject matter certainly sounds like something out of a standard King novel, but the story is much more of a coming-of-age tale rather than a traditional horror story. Stand By Me sees a group of young boys travelling to the middle of nowhere to catch a glimpse of the body of a young boy recently killed by a train, and a band of older, more mischievous boys up to no good and trying to beat them to the prize. Stand By Me isn’t just a cheesy, cliched coming-of-age film however, it’s so much more than that. Director Rob Reiner turns the story in a hilarious, mysterious, and insightful romp about the joys, hardships, and the wonder of adolescence in the late 1950’s. The chemistry between the four lead characters is incredible, especially for a group of young and relatively inexperienced actors. This chemistry makes Stand By Me’s heavier moments really stand out, and makes the themes of loss of innocence resonate that much more. It’s funny, thrilling, touching, and memorable in the best way – everything a coming-of-age movie should aim to be.