Stand By Me

Stand By Me

Certificate: PG

Starring: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Jerry O’Connell, Corey Feldman

Release date: 1986

5 out of 5


Stephen King’s short story The Body – a non-horror ode to boyhood friendships – was beautifully adapted for the screen by director Rob Reiner and is a must-see not just for teens but for anyone who remembers the pain and joy of growing up.

Quiet Gordie (Wheaton), the group’s leader Chris (Phoenix), Teddy (Feldman) and pudgy Vern (O’Connell) are the four boys who are spending the summer of 1959 doing nothing much more than hanging out at their treehouse, until the day Vern announces that he knows where they can find a dead body. Intrigued to see what a corpse looks like, the friends set off on a long walk to find it.

A tale of friendships – related by a grown-up Gordie (an uncredited Richard Dreyfuss) – set against the beautiful Oregon scenery (standing in for the novel’s Maine location), Stand By Me expertly depicts the fears, games, catchphrases, debates (‘Mickey is a mouse, Donald is a duck, Pluto is a dog. So what’s Goofy?’) and secrets shared by young boys, while Kiefer Sutherland’s older, meaner Ace gives a taste of what could be round the next corner in their lives. Beautifully played by the young cast, and lyrically directed by Reiner.

Is Stand By Me suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

The scene on the railway bridge when they have to get out of the way of the train is tense.

Some viewers will be upset by the boys’ quest to find a dead body.

Ace and his gang are quite scary.

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