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on 16 August 2011
A classic tale bought to life by some superb child performances. Stand By Me represents the bond that a group of twelve year olds have when they embark on an adventure that will shape their friendships and indeed their outlook on life. A simple story of a journey 30 miles along a railway track in search of a body of a boy recently declared missing. This is less about the discovery of a body but more about the journey the friends make and stories they tell along the way. Each character is perfectly formed and believable. The relationship between the four of them is cemented from the outset and only grows as the film progresses. With the introduction of the older boys ruling the roost, it would be easy for the story to fall into normal david and goliath territory, however the boys' rise to power feels entirely natural and easily carries the viewer along with them. The film has charm by the bucket load and the actors couldnt have done a better job. The final sentence of Gordie's book perfectly sums up the feelings this film evokes. A story of adolescence, friendship and childhood innocence and adventure sure to tug at the heart strings. A classic by every definition of the word.
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VINE VOICEon 1 May 2004
This is such a classic movie (and an excellent novella by Stephen King too!)
The cast are perfect, from Wil Wheaton's sensitive Gordy, to Jerry O'Connell as the loveable Verne, plus River Phoenix giving us a glimpse of what could have been...Keifer Sutherland also stars as the main antagonist, Ace Merrill.
The story begins with four friends starting off on a journey to find a body, and it gradually evolves into something much more that that, I think the phrase 'coming of age' is appropriate.
Plot wise I wouldn't say anything really happens, but we do get to experience the four boys hopes and dreams and the bond of childhood friendship, the way everything changes as you get older. I think that's why I love this movie so much, it's similar to my experiences (minus the dead body, obviously!) and most people will find some way to relate.
I would advise you to check this movie out; it may surprise you!
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on 14 July 2008
The 80's was the ultimate decade of teen movies such as; 'The Breakfast Club', 'The Lost Boys', 'The Goonies', etc, etc & 'Stand By Me' would easily sit in this catagory of 80's greats.
Put simply the movie is about growing up, friendship & a journey between four twelve year old boys; Chris- the tough guy, Gordie- the quiet & sensitive one, Teddy- the wild angst ridden boy & Vern- the stereotypical fat, wimpy one.
The story is told through the eyes of Gordie as an adult.
The four boys set off on a journey to find the body of a local boy who has been missing for some time. With numerous obstacles in their way.
The characters are easy to relate to & the ending although very good has a highlighted significance because of the tragic premature death of River Phoenix (who plays Chris).
'Stand By Me' does not defy stereotypes,but the performances from the younger cast are so good it doesn't matter that you have probably seen the boys characters in other films (most likely 'The Goonies').
All in all River Phoenix steals the show, without doubt his best work, but be prepared to shed a few tears at the end of the film. I cry at it every time!
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on 14 May 2008
Although I've had this film ages I've never written a decent review for it, and as it's my favourite film I think it's time to.

The story is basically about a group of kids (Will Wheaton, River Phoenix - RIP, Jerry O Connoll and Cory Feldman) who find out about another kid who got killed and they go in search for his body which will take them a few days to get to as it is well out of town.

The story is nothing extraordinary in itself but the way it is told and the events which occur during the adventure in absoltly amazing.

I don't know what kind of genre this film fits into - I would suppose it's a drama, however it's also funny. The acting it top quality and when you have four lead actors of the caliber mentioned earlier with Keifer Sutherland as a supporting actor and minor roles from John Cusack and Richard Dreyfuss who offers a kind of commetry, you know the film has to be something special - which it is.

You really feel like you know the charactors when you watch the film and when the ending comes I can say with 100% certainty that this will be one of the best films you've watched - well if you have any taste!
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This is an all time classic, one of THE greatest movies that will ever be made. It sits third on my Top 5 list, falling only behind Casino and Goodfellas.

There are lot's of reviews for this movie already, so I will keep mine brief.

Buy this film, watch it and fall in love with it like everyone else. It is quite simply a masterpiece that will pull every one of your emotions out of you. This movie shows River Phoenix at his greatest, and untouchable piece of acting that goes far beyond the limits of his script.

If ever a movie deserved 5 stars, this is it.
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From a Stephen King novella "The Body" this 1986 film, short by today's standards at 90 minutes, is set in 1950's America, and tells how four boys in their early teens set out on an overnight camping trip - without provisions, naturally - to find the body of a classmate killed by a train. The four all have "issues" which emerge over the course of their long walk up the train tracks, and they temporarily bond as they encounter adversity. The 50's music sets the scene and there are some (very fresh and young looking) familiar faces: John Cusack as the dead older brother of one of the four boys, River Phoenix, and a brilliantly menacing Kiefer Sutherland as the leader of an older rival gang who challenge the four to claim the honours of finding the body. Of course there are themes of male bonding, dysfunctional families, sharing problems; but what struck me most was what different lives twelve year olds had fifty years ago.
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on 14 August 2001
It's one of those perfect films, that hardly anyone's seen but those who have remember it for all time. I suspect that the people who come to read these reviews have often seen the movie rather than not, so I won't waste time with telling you how good it is - you should really know that for yourself.
However, if you do need convincing; I watched this film when I was about 12, the same age as the boys in the film, and although I'm a girl most of what they were going through I understood. And even coming back to it now at 17, it strikes me everytime how innocent yet wise it really is.
I think the word 'bitter-sweet' pretty well describes it. And of course the song! the song at the end 'Stand by me' - Ben.E.King, which remains one of my favourite songs.
Talking it over with people, I made the common discovery that with the few who had seen it, it was also one of their favourite films.
Words like 'a timeless classic' really do not, do it justice, but the meaning is very true.
Oh, and as a finishing note - I thought it stange and a bit funny that - I know it's rude but I can't remember his name, the plump kid in the film - Jerry O'Connel? is that it? ends up as the hero in the sci-fi tv series Sliders. I thought his character would have been proud of him :o)
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on 17 August 2012
This is a film from my childhood and unlike many films from my childhood, it's still enjoyable as an adult. It's the film than encouraged me to read the novella (The Body, contained within Stephen King' Different Seasons, if you're looking for it).

The cast in this movie is superb. River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Wil Wheaton and Jerry O'Connell all excel in their parts and seem to actually live their character. Apparently, their characters weren't far removed from their own lives, in particular Corey Feldman. Feldman's relationship with his parents was notoriously unstable, and Feldman's character Teddy DuChamp has the same background. Each character is seemingly a typical 12/13 year old lad but underneath the surface, each face their own demons and the growing realisation of their lives as they are, and how they could be.

Teddy is physically abused by his father, an emotionally detached war veteran. Despite his father burning Teddy's ears to a charred mess, Teddy adores him and fantasises a world where his dad is simply a war hero who "stormed the beach at Normandy". The reality of his father's mental illness and alcoholism is opened up to Teddy through the film. Teddy aspires to join the army, and live a life as a hero, like his father.

Chris Chambers (Phoenix) is the group's leader. Chris is a tough guy with a soft heart. Growing up in the bad family of the town, Chris is often typecast as a bad egg. Early on in the film, we see there is more to Chris than his (somewhat unfounded) reputation is a trouble maker. Chris is sensitive, intelligent and of all the lads, by far the most mature. Chris' ultimate ambition is to get out of Castle Rock and break the trend of criminality he's is associated by due to his family name.

Vern Tessio (O'Connell) plays the bumbling side kick and comedy foil. Vern is over weight and often on the receiving end of ridicule from his older brother. Despite this, Vern is a good natured soul who seems to have no real aspirations other than finding a jar of pennies he had hidden the year before under his front porch.

Finally Gordie LaChance (Wheaton) is the creative one of the group, keeping them entertained with his stories during their time together. Gordie puts on a brave face, although we're shown from the start he is "the invisible boy" at home. Despite Gordie's intelligence, he is continually sidelined by his parents in favour of his older brother Denny (John Cusack). Denny is everything Gordie isn't; handsome, athletic, popular. Denny, however, is a loving older brother who continually tries to get his parents to notice Gordie by diverting attention from his upcoming football game, to a story Gordie has written. Gordie harbours dreams of being a writer and despite his skill and imagination, his confidence of achieving this is virtually nil.

And so these four guys sets out to find the body of a missing kid from the neighbouring town who has been hit somewhere on the railtracks. They know where the body is, and they want to get there first to have the glory. Also attempting to locate the body and receive the credit is Ace Merrill (Kiefer Sutherland) and his gang of thugs, featuring Vern and Chris' older brothers.

The plot doesn't sound much, and it's nothing complicated. It's a credit to how well the story is written by King, and the film put together, that the brilliance of the film rests upon the characters and not what's actually going on. There are several critical coming-of-age scenes, particularly between Chris and Gordie discussing their future, which are cleverly contrasted with a childish discussion between Vern and Teddy further up the rail track "Do ya think Mighty Mouse could beat up Superman?" is the much quoted line.

By far the standout character in this film is Chris. This isn't only due to Phoenix's brilliant acting, but his character development is both subtle and dramatic. Chris starts off as a 13 year old boy with hints that there's more to him than we see. We're shown that inside he is as mature as any adult, acutely aware of the town's politics and knows how life treats those who waste their talents. Chris adopts the role of a father figure to Gordie, as well as best friend, and offers advice about Gordie's future even if it means he (Chris) is left behind. "You hang with us, you'll just be another wise guy with s*** for brains".

I don't know how I'd describe this film. It's funny, it's moving, it's deep, and it's bittersweet. It's certainly one of the best and more underrated films to come out of the 80s. Brilliant.
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on 21 December 2011
STAND BY ME

Starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry 'O Connell, Keifer Sutherland, Richard Dreyfuss and John Cusack. Perfect cast, brilliant acting, unbelieveably touching, amazingly directed, no film is gonna top this, no matter how hard writers and directors try they aren't gonna get a film better than this. I read the book written by Stephen King, it was surprisingly almost exactly like the film (I accidently watched the film before reading the book)unlike most films that are based on a book, there usually nothing like the book eg. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Stormbreaker etc.

The film is about four kids, Gordie Lachance (Wil Wheaton), Chris Chambers (River Phonix RIP), Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman) and Vern Tessio (Jerry 'O Connell.) One day, Vern hears some older kids talking about a dead body near some train-tracks on Harlow Road. Obviously Vern would want to get this out of himself to the others in secret. They decide to go and find it, lying to their parents.

What they don't know is that the people Vern heard talking about the body are Billy and Charlie Hogan who know the bully to the kids Ace Merril (Keifer Sutherland.) Ace immediately responds and grabs his gang and get out looking for the body, but also expecting to meet the kids on the way, too.

The gangs do eventually meet, but Ace's gang has not really put more effort into the journey as the 12 year olds. I won't tell you what they've done. Anyway, one of the reasons the kids and the viewers are so touched by is that the body of Ray Brower is the same or a similar age to Gordie, Teddy, Vern and Chris.

The book written Stephen King is not called STAND BY ME, it's actually called THE BODY. The book though is almost exactly the same as the film, which I just think is much better. Stephen King is a master story writer, THE BODY is one of his best books.

Overall, it is the best film in the whole world. It's so touching and adventurou, nothing is wrong with this film, it's faultless. As soon as I watched this on a Sunday night the next I was on Amazon and was ordering it! It was a matter of waiting for it to come and about a week later it came. I can't understand why anyone would not like this film, it gets better every time I watch it. Get any film in the world from VOLCANO to THE MATRIX, both great films but nowhere near as good as this...nothing has been or ever will be!
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Stand by Me is directed by Rob Reiner and adapted to screenplay by Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon from the Stephen King novella, The Body. It stars Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell and Kiefer Sutherland. Music is by Jack Nitzsche and cinematography by Thomas Del Ruth.

Four young lads, one journey, one body and friendships never to be forgotten...

There are few films able to marry comedy and poignancy with much success. There are even fewer that can do that whilst also being able to sit on the thin line between sappy and sweet. Stand by Me is one such film; a film that richly deserves its place in the top five of lists concerning the greatest coming of age movies ever made. Never preachy and refreshingly honest in its telling, Stand by Me hits all the right buttons to make it work. The cast are uniformly great, notably young Wheaton and Phoenix, the script pings with aware dialogue for the youngsters and the relationship building on the journey for the youngsters smacks of a profane reality rarely seen in cinema. The soundtrack rocks, literally, with period vitality, and when the comedy darts in and out of the drama, it's big on laugh value: including one vomit based story that will forever take some beating. But it's arguably the third act that cements the film as having timeless appeal, for here it gets taut, touching and poignant. The nostalgia is not mawkish and the finale certainly not twee. A film for anyone who was ever twelve years old and needed friends. 9/10
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