Stand by Me

Critics Consensus

Stand By Me is a wise, nostalgic movie with a weird streak that captures both Stephen King's voice and the trials of growing up.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 54

94%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 270,089
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Movie Info

Based on the Stephen King short story The Body, Rob Reiner's easygoing nostalgia piece is set in Castle Rock, OR, over Labor Day weekend, 1959. A quartet of boys, inseparable friends all, set out in search of a dead body that one of the boys overhears his brother talking about. The foursome consists of intellectual Gordie (Wil Wheaton), born leader Chris (River Phoenix), emotionally disturbed Teddy (Corey Feldman), and chubby hanger-on Vern (Jerry O'Connell). The boys' adventures en route to the elusive body are colored by the personal pressures brought to bear on all of them by the adult world. Richard Dreyfuss, playing the grown-up Gordie, narrates the film, while Kiefer Sutherland dominates every scene he's in as a brutish high-school bully. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Cast

Wil Wheaton
as The Writer
River Phoenix
as Chris Chambers
Corey Feldman
as Teddy Duchamp
Jerry O'Connell
as Vern Tessio
Kiefer Sutherland
as Ace Merrill
Richard Dreyfuss
as The Writer
John Cusack
as Denny Lachance
Casey Siemaszko
as Billy Tessio
Gary Riley
as Charlie Hogan
Bradley Gregg
as Eyeball Chambers
Jason Oliver
as Vince Desjardins
Marshall Bell
as Mr. Lachance
Frances Lee McCain
as Dorothy Lachance
Bruce Kirby
as Mr. Quidacioluo
William Bronder
as Milo Pressman
Scott Beach
as Mayor Grundy
Popeye
as Chopper
Geanette Bobst
as Mayor's Wife
Art Burke
as Principal Wiggins
Matt Williams
as Bob Cormier
Andy Lindberg
as David "Lard Ass"
Dick Durock
as Bill Travis
O.B. Babbs
as Lardass Heckler
Charlie Owens
as Lardass Heckler
Ken Hodges
as Donnelley Twin
John Hodges
as Donnelley Twin
Susan Thorpe
as Fat Lady
Rick Elliott
as Jack Mudgett
Kent Lutrell
as Ray Brower
Chance Quinn
as Gordon's Son
Jason Naylor
as His Friend
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News & Interviews for Stand by Me

Critic Reviews for Stand by Me

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for Stand by Me

  • Oct 15, 2016
    Stand By Me is a compelling and touching coming-of-age film by director Rob Reiner. Based on a novella by Stephen King, the story follows four friends who go searching for the body of a missing kid, hoping to claim a reward. Starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O'Connell, the film has an impressive cast that has great chemistry together and gives incredibly good performances. The characters are also exceptionally well-written; feeling especially real and relatable. And, the costumes and set designs have a remarkably authentic 1950s Americana look that has a nostalgic quality to it. Additionally, the soundtrack is extraordinarily well-done; capturing the playful, carefree youth of the characters. A wonderful film about friendship and the loss of innocence, Stand By Me is a timeless classic.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 22, 2015
    First things first, and let's get this out of the way right out of the gate, but 15-year-old River Phoenix, assuming the film was shot in 1985 and then released in 1986, was an absolutely excellent actor. I don't want to say that he was one of the elite actors of all time, but he was better than just about everyone BUT the truly elite by the age of FIFTEEN. Think about that for a second. FIFTEEN fucking years old and he's already better than a lot of people. The film may certainly revolve around Wil Wheaton's character, but I'll be damned if River Phoenix isn't the heart and soul of this particular film. I honestly didn't even find Wil Wheaton's character that interesting. It's not that he doesn't have an interesting character arc, his parents ignored him after the death of his older brother, who was the apple of his parents' eyes and how he, in his own mind, believes that his parents would rather have him die instead of his older brother. But, the fact of the matter is that without River's character for Gordie, Wil's character, to bounce that off from then the film simply wouldn't have worked on a deeper emotional level as it did. It's not that Teddy or Vern, as characters, were useless, it's just that there's not the connection between either of them and Gordie as there is between Gordie and Chris. So I think that, really, the entire film hinges on Chris being there and, ultimately, Gordie is inspired to write this story, as an adult, after hearing that Chris had been stabbed to death. So Chris pretty much drives the narrative forward right from the beginning. And I don't mean to say that Teddy or Vern don't comprise anything to the group. Because, as a whole, these kids seemed like a great group of friends and I think the film definitely benefited from having both Vern and Teddy. Particularly Vern, who added a comedic touch to the film. But, as a whole, the casting is pretty much top-notch all around. I think the film pretty much, perfectly, captures what it is like to be that age and the importance your friends are, particularly at that age, and how those bonds would change and mold you into the person you turn out to be as an adult. Though it is also bittersweet in the sense that, even though it seemed to be like this group would be friends forever, how they eventually just drifted apart after their journey to see the dead body. I think that's an universal theme, honestly. Life takes you in different directions and maybe that means that you don't keep up with your friends quite like you used to in the past. So that's quite poignant. But, again, it also looks at the bonds you forged with these people and how important they truly are. I think the film is incredibly well-written. And the acting is excellent. As mentioned, River Phoenix was just incredible here. Jerry O'Connell and Corey Feldman are also really good here. Honestly, I thought Wil Wheaton was the 'worst' of them all and he was still pretty good. Very little in the way to complain about here, honestly. This is a great movie from top-to-bottom. It's funny and it's heartfelt. The body, honestly, becomes irrelevant, even by the film's own implicit admission. It's all about the journey for these boys and the journey is definitely worth taking, particularly if you haven't seen this film. I've seen parts of it here and there, but yesterday was the first time watching it from beginning to end in one sitting. Kinda ashamed that I waited so long to watch this honestly. Great film.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • May 07, 2013
    "Stand by Me" is nostalgic and relevant and totally undated, and Rob Reiner's easygoing direction as well as the performances from River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Jerry O'Connell and Corey Feldman make it a real joy to watch. Few films are able to capture friendship and the adventures had during childhood quite as well as "Stand by Me" does.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Dec 26, 2012
    Sweet, charming and innocent. Perhaps one of the best, if not really the best, coming-of-age films I've seen so far. Another paragon of beauty in simplicity. River Phoenix, you are still missed.
    Maymay A Super Reviewer

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