October Stephen King Blogathon – Day 9 – Stand By Me (1986) – Encore Review 2


This is my 9th of 31 reviews of Stephen King adaptations as part of the joint Blogathon that Darren (of Movie Reviews 101) and I are running this month in honor of the great horror writer.

Stop by every day to read more and more from us and from other guest bloggers.

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stand_by_me“I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being. It happened in the summer of 1959-a long time ago, but only if you measure in terms of years. I was living in a small town in Oregon called Castle Rock. There were only twelve hundred and eighty-one people. But to me, it was the whole world.” – The Writer

Number of Times Seen – Too many to count (1st time was at a video night with friends in ’87, video, cable, DVD, 17 April 2013,  2 Mar 2015 and 7 Oct 2015)

Link to original reviewHere and Here

Brief Synopsis – Four 12 year old boys go on a quest to find the dead body of a teenager gone missing a few days earlier and learn so much more about themselves along the way.

My Take on it – It’s no secret that this is among my very favorite movies and have seen it lots and lots of times.

This movie is an adaptation of the Stephen King novella – The Body and it is probably one of the most faithful adaptations of any of his stories.

I recently read the novella again and was once again amazed at how close the story and dialogue is in both versions.

There are two main differences between the book and movie versions that relate to the older gang of kids led by Ace (Kiefer Sutherland) that I think need to be mentioned.

  1. The entire epilogue of the book dealing with the repercussions of the events of the story was left out, this would have given us a different but more comprehensive kind of closure despite not being “happy”.
  2. The book also tells the whole story solely from the perspective of the main character (played by Wil Wheaton), but the movie goes one step further and tells us parts of the story from both “gangs” which gives the story a movie genuine and continuous flow.

Director Rob Reiner really knew how to handle his young actors and got them all to give their best efforts here.

Of the four young actors in this movie, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell all went on to have great careers after their performances here.  The fourth, River Pheonix was on a great trajectory following this movie and even got an Oscar Nomination two years later for his work in Running on Empty (1988), but unfortunately had his life tragically cut short a few years later from a drug overdose.

The characters are created in such a way that you can understand why they are friends and it’s easy to see how their friendships have lasted up until that point.

This is the kind of friendship that we all have either had when we were younger or dreamed that we could have.

This is a movie that I can watch over and over again and each time I will discover new and exciting things about the characters, their quest or the the strong bonds formed between each of them along the way.

It is also my favorite movie of 1986.

It goes without saying that if you haven’t seen the movie (or read the book), I really think that it’s about time you gave them a try.

Bottom Line – One of the best coming of age movies ever made. Reiner really knew how to get the best out of these four up and coming actors.  This is a movie I can watch over and over and never get tired of it because it is done so well.  It’s so easy to relate to and identify with the characters and their close friendship because we all have felt like them at some point in our lives.  One of the most faithful of King’s adaptations for the screen. Highly Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia –  River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Wil Wheaton and Jerry O’Connell got up to much mischief in the hotel they were staying in during filming. This included throwing all the pool side furniture into the pool, Wheaton fixing video games in the lobby so they could play them for free and Phoenix (spurred on by the other boys) unknowingly covering Kiefer Sutherland’s car in mud; only discovering whose car it was when Sutherland confronted a scared and nervous Phoenix about it later. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (no change from original review)

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16 thoughts on “October Stephen King Blogathon – Day 9 – Stand By Me (1986) – Encore Review 2

  1. Very nicely done, it is wonderful film, it’s surprising how well it holds up. Watching it as an adult offers new perspective we missed when we were kids. It’s really sad watching the film after Phoenix’s passing.
    Great post, adorable pic!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of my fave King movies, and fav movies ever! Great review. I love this story and these characters. The music is good too. When River disappears over the street at then.. wow.. still gives me chills. What an amazing performance from a young actor, ranks up there with ET and the best ever!

    Liked by 1 person

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