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Stand by Me Reviews

Page 1 of 679
Mark W

Super Reviewer

August 28, 2010
Predominantly known for his horror stories, writer Stephen King released a book in 1982 called "Different Seasons". It contained four novellas, three of which, went on to become successful Hollywood movies which were very far from most other adaptations of his work. One was Bryan Singer's "Apt Pupil" another was Frank Darabont's "The Shawshank Redemption" and the third - originally entitled "The Body" - became Rob Reiner's "Stand By Me".

Four young friends, Gordie (Wil Wheaton), Chris (River Phoenix), Vern (Jerry O'Connell) and Teddy (Corey Feldman) go on an adventure together to find the dead body of a local boy who was supposedly hit by a train. By following the tracks, the friends' journey becomes more about them and their personal struggles and soon, the boyish adventure becomes about their experiences of entering adulthood.

Delivered with a wonderfully nostalgic narration by Richard Dreyfuss and a good feel for 1950's Americana, this inviting and honest, coming-of-age, tale captures the spirit of youth like very few others. Reiner's feel for the time and the material is pitched so perfectly that you are completely transported back to this era. It's imbued with a sublimely evocative soundtrack of classic 1950's songs, ranging from; Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire" through Buddy Holly's "Everyday", The Chordettes' "Lollipop" and, of course, Ben E. King's "Stand By Me". It's this very attention to detail that truly brings this affectionate and sentimental film to life, while completely involving you in the trials and tribulations of the four, endearing, youths at it's centre. The four youths in question are embodied with charm and nuance by Wheaton, Feldman, O'Connell and, especially, Phoenix. They are so natural in their deliveries that the failed careers they would go on to have didn't merit the performances delivered here. Phoenix was the only one of the four who would receive critical praise, but sadly his life was cut short at the tender age of 23, making his performance all the more poignant.
Rarely has a film captured the innocence and growing pains of young boys on the road to manhood and rarely do you ever get such a rich and heartfelt delivery. It doesn't matter if you didn't experience the 1950's; stepped foot on an Americana front porch or played mailbox baseball. What matters, is that you identify with the characters' rite of passage and that it still perpetuates it's relevance.

A wonderfully rustic and nostalgic gem, that's still as inviting and honest as it was on it's release. This is one of those timeless cult-classic's that will always find an audience to resonate with.

Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

November 28, 2008
For some, it's the last real taste of innocence, and the first real taste of life. But for everyone, it's the time that memories are made of.

Very good movie and story! Stand By Me is a story of how one event can unexpectedly change lives. It seems to be a story about friends and how important they are, but this possible theme is clearly dispelled in a line from the narration spoken at the end of the film - `As time went on, we saw less and less of Teddy and Vern, until eventually they became just two more faces in the halls. It happens sometimes, friends come in and out of your life like busboys at a restaurant.' Instead, the film is about learning from a life changing experience and actually making changes or modifying your life in some way because of it, and this is heavily emphasized at the end of the film. What Stand By Me does is brings you back to a time when friendship was more pure and innocent and meant more. You can't help but get caught up in the nostalgia. Perhaps this film means more to me for personal reasons but it is a wonderful film and it should be enjoyed by everyone.

Based on Stephen King's Short story "The Body", "Stand By Me" tells the tale of Gordie Lachance, a writer who looks back on his preteen days when he and three close friends went on their own adventure to find the body of a kid their age who had gone missing and presumed dead. The stakes are upped when the bad kids in town are closely tailing and it becomes a race to see who'll be able to recover the body first.

Super Reviewer

December 5, 2008
"I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"

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

The premise of "Stand By Me" is a rather simple one. A group of four tightly-knit friends living in a small Oregon town, circa 1959, set out on foot to find a dead body. What could easily have been a routine Stephen King horror show is instead an often touching and nostalgic story about the purity and innocence of friendship before the teenage years and adulthood sets in and sours the deal. Director Rob Reiner's best film by far, the subject matter will hit close to home to anyone who has ever had close friendships that crumbled before their time, regardless of what you went through together.

It helps that the actors who portray the foursome - Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell and the later River Phoenix - are about as natural as they come and have seemingly strong chemistry with one another. Watching the story pan out, you truly believe these friendships are real, and for such young actors, they manage to handle the tender and emotional moments of this 90 minute film quite well. The most notorious performance is that of Phoenix, whose budding career was tragically cut short when his life met an end eight years later at the hands of a drug overdose. While Phoenix manages to steal the show away from the lead, Wil Wheaton, it must be noted that the ensemble as a whole did an outstanding job. The film focuses strictly on these four, with minor characters popping in and out of the past and present, and if the cast wasn't so strong, the movie would have easily fallen apart at the seams.

With such a small running time, you'd think that the film is rather shallow, but such is not the case. Although more could have been expanded on (possibly this film's only true flaw), the story flows naturally as you share the ups and the downs with its characters. "Stand By Me" is a true classic in every sense of the word. It's got a significant amount of nostalgia, and it also has a bittersweet edge, both for its downbeat but true to life ending and for anyone who has lost similar bonds in their lives. The last lines of the writer in the film rings truest and sums up the film nicely: "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"
Eric A

Super Reviewer

December 1, 2011
A real genius film (especially the storyline), that truly captures the real essence of a childhood. This film carries pretty much every emotion there is: from happiness to sadness, and from disappointment to satisfaction. It is a classic that every person young to old should definitely watch.

Super Reviewer

July 24, 2011
Stand by Me is such a genius film, I loved it. Everybody had a friend when they were 12, a group of friends maybe you hung out with, and you never truly forget them. The plot is about four boys who travel along a railroad track in search of a dead body, but learn much about eachother on the way, and become closer friends on their travel. The young actors are great and truly are a representation of the mixture of humour and drama. The plot was slow at times but overall brings us to a conclusion that makes us think about our own lives. the movie overall was great, a really classic adaption of the novel, Shawshank Redemption still is the greatest adaption of Stephen King in my book.

Super Reviewer

July 20, 2011
I finally got around to seeing Stand By Me, and I was quite surprised at what I saw. I enjoyed the film very much, and I thought that the acting choices were wonderful. However I thought it was slightly overhyped. I'm not saying that the film is bad, far from it, but the hype surrounding it kinda killed the mystic of the film for me. Every review I've read about the film has been praising how epic and grand the film was. In a way, it was and in other ways it wasn't. The story is solid and so is the acting, but there's just something about the film that didn't really work for me. A really good film, but nothing to be considered an American Classic. Rob Reiner has adapted Stephen King's story, The Body to the screen with goods results. What you have here with Stand By Me is a film filled drama, and adventure; one that people can relate to. However, to call it a masterpiece feels out of place. I enjoyed this film, but I feel that it was a good film, nothing more. There's some impressive talent on screen and they all make the story very appealing. Stand By Me is definitely a film worth watching, but it's not as as grand as people have claimed it to be. Stand By Me is, for what it is, a film with a good story and good acting. However, I don't view this film as a classic of film, but this is one of the best films by director Rob Reiner. A worthy film to watch, though nothing really great.

Super Reviewer

September 12, 2010
Stand by me is about a dead body. Teenaged gang killed a boy and then spilled the beans without even knowing to one teenaged gang member's younger brother. Then the next 4 12-year-old boys go on am mission to find the dead body and to get the older gang in to trouble. Along the way the journry was hard with a lot of hard times that they have to figure out how to solve. Will they find the dead body or not?
Good acting and plot
Really shows what friendship is all about.
Really moving film.
One of best 80's coming to age films

Super Reviewer

September 6, 2010
An excellent adventure/drama/thriller movie, which strangely enough was written by Stephen King. This is a very interesting movie, it stars a very young cast, yet it isn't a kids movie. It's more nostalgia than anything. I highly recommend it.
Sajin P

Super Reviewer

January 9, 2011
A great movie about friendship and Phoenix was a real class act. He had real potential to be a great actor of our times. RIP Phoenix.

Super Reviewer

February 18, 2007
Four youngsters hike across country together to find the body of a missing boy. A right of passage drama based on a novella by Stephen King, Stand By Me is an affectionate snapshot of boyhood and life in fifties America. Much loved by many, I found this film to be rather lightweight in content, being overly reliant on its likable leads and an enjoyable soundtrack of contemporary hits. It does have a nice sense of period and director Rob Reiner shows a sensitive hand with his actors coaxing fairly believable performances from his young charges. The flaws for me were in the writing (surprise surprise); River Phoenix character seems rather too responsible and adult for a twelve year old which also gives his pivotal scenes with Wil Wheaton a rather disturbig Brokeback vibe. King's attempts at insight and depth also felt very clumsy and trite, content with some very superficial pop psychology rather than showing any true depth. It's an inoffensive slice of popular americana, but quite why it is the subject of such adoration I'm not quite sure. One for my "I don't get it" file I suspect.
Spencer S

Super Reviewer

December 13, 2008
There's something to be said about Stephen King's adapted works to film: they rarely disappoint. Based from The Body, this film shows the depth of young friendship, the terror of not knowing, and pride in life.
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

May 14, 2007
I was never a twelve year old boy. However, that did not in any way affect my enjoyment of this moving film, the story of four boys in 1959 on a quest to find the body of another boy hit by a train, with a wraparound story of one of the boys -- now an adult -- reminiscing about that very experience.

Rob Reiner did a wonderful job with this coming-of-age film, getting fabulous performances out of his four young leads, especially River Phoenix. Even at this tender age, his talent was clear. The boys are all tough and ribald -- smoking, cussing and talking sex before any of them really even knew what they were talking about. And even through the ribbing and insults directed at each other, it is obvious that they all care about each other very much.

The film is based on the novella "The Body" by Stephen King -- yeah, THAT Stephen King. I don't know if he wrote the dialogue, but it is a treat to listen to. One scene that stands out for me is two conversations going on simultaneously -- Gordie and Chris are discussing their futures and college, while Vern and Teddy are discussing who would win in a fight between Superman and Mighty Mouse. Another plus to this film has to be the soundtrack. The late 1950s rock n roll does a good job of putting you in the time period. And the title song "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King has to be one of the greatest songs ever.

This film is similar to American Graffiti -- which also had Richard Dreyfuss in a leading role, interestingly - in that nearly everyone with a major role went on to bigger and better things, most notable being John Cusack as the character Gordie's older brother.

Don't be an idiot like me and think that you won't enjoy this film because you can't identify with it. I was so wrong, and should have seen this film years ago. Five stars.

Super Reviewer

January 13, 2010
Great Film! It goes along with Rain Man, when I say it has potential to be one of the best films of it's decade!

Super Reviewer

July 31, 2009
really good film. full review later.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

November 18, 2009
Probably one of the best collections of acting from pre-teen actors. The characters are so emotionally driven and fleshed out, it is impossible to not love this movie. River Phoenix especially gave a performance that was so dead on and realistic. I love the story and message about friendship.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 22, 2009
A great film from the 80's, King's story has become something of a cult classic. It's not dated at all unlike other similar films of the time, the true test of a great film.

Super Reviewer

January 5, 2009
Perhaps more so than any other movie I've ever seen, I can relate to and identify with this film. With just a few minor script changes you'd have a pretty accurate encapsulation of my childhood.

In case you haven't seen it yet, it's the story of four boys who set out on a weekend expedition to see a dead body. Along the way they encounter obstacles (a swamp, a railroad trestle, etc.), battle foes (bullies, leaches, a certain junkyard dog), and ultimately have one of those storied, episodic adventures that only 12 year old boys seem to have. It's a scaled down, Americanized version of Homer's The Odyssey, a metaphoric journey laced with ideological symbolism. Four young knights on a quest, if you will, to locate a grail (the lifeless body of Ray Brower).

I can see aspects of my own adolescent self mirrored in each of the four main characters. Until I was about 14 years old, I was always "the fat kid" (Vern). My father had a violent temper (Teddy). I was forever writing stories for the amusement of my friends (Gordie). And, I aspired to rise above the expectations of those presumptuous arrogants who based their assessment of me solely on the unfavorable aspects of my pedigree (Chris). It's as though Stephen King crawled inside my head and did a character study on all those voices I keep hearing. :)

Stand By Me is really just a simple little film that's deceptively deep and, at least for me, very personal.
Jason O

Super Reviewer

August 15, 2009
To say "Stand By Me" is a classic, is to be modestly talking about the film. In my opinion, it's more than a classic, it's a legend. It tells an unforgettable story of four friends who set off on a journey to find a missing body of a dead teen. Along the way is the real journey of the movie. It's mainly a story of teenage boys hanging out and growing up at the same time. On their way to find the dead body, they will encounter conflict and have even more good times.
"Stand By Me" has more unforgettable sequences than just about any other drama movie. You'll never forget some of them such as the story that Gordie (Wil Wheaton) tells to his friends about a pie eating contest and when they all encounter leeches. And of course, one of my all time favorites from any movie, the scene where Gordie and Vern (Jerry O'Connell) are on a high rise train track when a train is coming from behind them. Kiefer Sutherland puts on a great performance as the boys' main enemy. River Phoenix also puts on one of his best performances before his death a few years ago.

"Stand By Me" is one of my top ten favorite movies of all time and I know a lot of people who feel the same way about the movie. It's a classic in every sense and I recommend it to anybody no matter what kind of movies you like. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000 of this, a perennial all-time favorite of mine. Stephen King's best movie ever, which is saying a lot cause there's tons of them. I also have never had friends like the ones I did when I was about 12, Jesus, does anyone? Everyone goes their separate ways these days, including family.
Cassandra M

Super Reviewer

July 27, 2009
I find it hard to comment on this film without simply repeating what has already been said. It's not that I can't think of anything original, but that others seem to have felt the exact same emotions as I did when watching this film.

I saw this movie when I was about 12, 13, maybe 14 years old. So it didn't have the same nostalgic sense it had for so many. But what it did, was make me ache for those memories. I wanted (in the words of another reviewer) to be 12, and *that* cool. I wished I had been like that, that I had had friends like that, laughed like that, and had adventures like that.

The 'milk-money' scene was probably one of my all-time favourite scenes in movie history. Up until I saw this movie I had never held much regard for River Phoenix, but the poignancy and sincerity which River added to the role of Chris Chambers touched me to the point of tears. I read in yet another review that in this scene, River was asked to think of a time when he had been hurt by an adult, and that even after the cameras stopped rolling, River sat there still, sobbing and hurting. And I felt every tear and heard every word as though I were there with Chris.

This movie made me laugh, cry, rejoice and fear with Chris, Gordie, Teddy and Vern. I loved the campfire scenes, and today I look back on my own childhood, and remember with a laugh the amazingly similar things I used to laugh and wonder about with my friends. I remember dreaming about being a writer and an actress, I remember standing up to bullies, I remember walking or riding with my friends, I remember being afraid, and crying onto a friend's shoulder.

I guess what this movie does for everyone, is take them back in time, even though the situations may have been different, chances are you'll find the similarities, and remember with a smile that yes, your life was once *that* cool. In the words of Vern, "a great time"

I especially loved the ending. That they found out who was strong, and who just talked tough. I loved the last scene with Chris and Gordie, and the closing monologue.

"I never had any friends later on, like the ones I had when I was twelve...Jesus....does anyone?"
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