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on 16 January 2007
Adapted from the Steven King novella, The Body, Stand by me is set in 1950s Maine( well, it is Steven King) and follows four young freinds as they they set out on a hike in search of the dead body of a child of their own age, killed by a train. The film opens with Richard Dreyfuss seated in his car, the the grown up version of his character, Gordon Lachance, now a proffesional writer. The elder Lachance acts as narrator for the story, reminicing on the events of that trip , his relationship with his freinds, paticularly Chris, played by River Pheonix, and how the search for a dead body became more than just a trip out of morbid fascination but a search for themselves, their own personal hopes and dreams, pains and sorrows and their escape into each other. The movie differs from the book in certain areas, as it must, paticularly in the relationship between Gordy and his deceased older brother( John Cusack ), and the ending is slightly less sombre. The magic of this film is the exploration of childhood that everyone can relate to, and sets this film apart from many a sickly hollywood coming of age drama. Boasting an irresistible soundtrack of old rock an roll classics, this film is responsible for bringing the Ben E. King song of the title back to life. Nostalgic but not sickly, funny and sad, this film lures your childhood memories out of their hiding place and plays them before your eyes. Compellingly acted by its child stars, this film is made all the more powerful when watched now, knowing the real life fate River Pheonix. A must see.
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on 3 December 2013
When plump Vern Tessio (Jerry O'Connell) enters the tree house, he is bursting to tell his friends a secret. Chris Chambers (River Phoenix) whose father beats him makes a joke of it and starts to sing. Gordie LaChance (Wil Wheaton), Chris' best friend from a middle-class but dysfunctional family, joins in the laughter, together with bespectacled Teddy Duchamp whose 'crazy' father almost burned Teddy's ear off in a drunken rage. The singing and laughter stops though when Vern asks them if they want to see a dead body. Vern overhead two youths secretly discussing the discovery of the body of a missing boy somewhere along a railway line outside of town. The gang of four decide to set out and rediscover the body and take the credit for themselves.

Stand By Me (1986) is a coming-of-age-movie that is full of amusing (and revolting - they are young boys, after all) moments and, at once, it's rather sad. The story is narrated throughout by young Gordon 'Gordie' LaChance. Vern is fat and bullied. Chris knows that he will be like is his father and never amount to anything. Trevor cannot bear that his father is mentally unbalanced, and Gordie has been almost invisible to his parents since their beloved elder son (John Cusack) died. While the young actors give outstanding performances, their performances are equalled by the movie's amazing soundtrack.

The Blu-ray of Stand By Me is an excellent transfer with great HD and audio (5.1 various languages), which is surprising consider the movie is pushing 30 years old. I've seen worse Blu-rays of recent movies. You can get more from the disk if your Blu-ray player is connected to the internet (mine isn't). Nice extras including a music video of the song Stand By Me featuring Wil Wheaton and River Phoenix; Audio commentary; and '25 Years Later' with the director Rob Reiner talking to Wil Wheaton and Corey Feldman. (Note that the little plump boy (Jerry O'Connell) grew up to be a successful actor and marry Rebecca Rimijn: Mystique in the X-Men movies).
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on 2 January 2001
I've been a huge fan of this film since it first came out. It currently holds my personal record for the film I've seen more times than any other, and in the week since I bought the DVD, I've added another 3 viewings.
This isn't the kind of film people will buy if they don't know what it's about, so I won't go into a synopsis of the film or a review of it. What I'd like to write about are the extras on the DVD. The extended "making of" feature answers all the questions we ever asked, with present-day interviews with Reiner, Wheaton, Feldman, Connell and Sutherland. None of them got *too* maudlin about River Phoenix... Also present is Stephen King, who hails SBM as the first movie adaptation of any of his books with which he was pleased, especially as the film cahnges the focus from the Chris Chambers character to Gordie.
Anyone who knows the film well should absolutely hear Rob Reiner's running commentary to the film. This is my one criticism of Columbia - it wasn't easy to find: the option on the menu page didn't work and it had to be called up by selecting Audio Soundtrack 7. Explaining both the technical ins and outs of how some of the shots were achieved (don't miss the train dodge!) and the impact of filming some of the scenes put a new perspective on the movie for me.
I was also glad to discover that I'm not the only one who thought that Will Wheaton's and the young doe's facial features looked remarkably similar... :)
All in all, if you've worn out your copy of the VHS, invest in the DVD - it's worth it! Not to mention that Rob Reiner knows how to use a panoramic cinema screen and the widescreen version just looks so much better than the P&S versions available on VHS!
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on 6 August 2011
Based on a novella entitled "The Body" from Stephen King's anthology Different Seasons, this adaptation loses none of its power and charm on Blu-ray.

In the summer of 1959, four teenagers set off on an expedition. Their objective is to locate the corpse of a missing boy and thereby gain some degree of local fame. What none of them realises is that by the end of their two-day trek, they will have done a lot of growing up.

Director Rob Reiner struck cinematic gold when he cast the four leads. Rarely has such a relatively young cast combined to exactly the right effect. Wil Wheaton's and River Phoenix's characters carry much of the emotional burden: both lacking in confidence but sharing a formidable bond of friendship. By contrast Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell provide the comic relief but each has deeper moments to shine. All of them demonstrate a mature acting ability.

The picture on this Blu-ray is perfectly clean and bright, enhanced by a veneer of grain and some slight soft focus. The original mono soundtrack is accompanied by a subtle DTS-HD 5.1 option with only the music being given a greater spatial feel. This is especially effective in the opening moments when the slower, orchestral arrangement of the title song leads into Richard Dreyfuss' contemplative narration.

Bonus features include Reiner's audio commentary and the documentary from the 2000 DVD release together with an engrossing new picture-in-picture retrospective from Reiner, Wheaton and Feldman.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, this is a film that hasn't dated one bit. It effortlessly captures the camaraderie, joie de vivre, pain and loss of innocence that are encompassed by childhood. You can never relive it but if you ever feel the need to revisit it, Stand by Me will awaken those memories in an instant.
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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 29 August 2015
First of all, the dvd is not bad, although I was looking for the blu ray (not yet released then).
The film is a little classic, that many young people liked in those years (80/90ies). It is like a Goonies set in the past, without much play but with more introspection and true feelings. ANd although being a simple film, it is well written and directed, with a bunch of kids that would partially become stars, plus Richard Dreyfus (in a quite emotional and sweet role). It is King's most mature screenplay and Reiner's most unexpected film: he is the guy who brought you Harry met Sally, A few good men, The American President, Misery, and so on: a versatile director that usually makes comedies or thrillers, but this one is a mix of drama and light comedy basically meant to talk about growing up, during that suspended and somehow magical age that is early adolescence. A film that is all filtered by memories of an apparently golden age (and in that unique moment of the year for kids, that is summer) when you are not supposed to face reality. Instead here reality gradually pops out and change these kids, who realize that drama and death are part of life. All approached with a perfect balance and gentle touch. Apparently not a big movie, but actually a very good one.
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on 23 March 2007
its a shame that none of us have friends like the ones we had when we were young!

this is my favourite film of all time. and no matter how many times i watch it i have never grew bored of it.

a group of four boys go in hunt of a missing boys body, thats pretty much the whole story line. but on the way unravels a whole appreciation for each of the characters. the film deals with family death, bullying, obesity... everything, in its own little way. which helps the film to connect to the audience as everytone can connect with one of the characters.

rivers pheonix was my favourite throughout. what a shame he died so young. what an amazing actor. even at souch a young age.

anyways more to the point of the film. i cannt reccoment it enough. its been my favourite film for abdsolutley years now and if you havent already seen it. why the hell not?
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on 4 December 2006
Stand by Me, was the second film, directed by Rob Reiner, son of Carl Reiner, known best for his television work in the US and for launching the career of one Steve Martin.

Reiner was faithful to what Stephen King wanted, he was familiar with the material that could work and wouldn't. He made subsquent trimmings on the novel, so that the most important things for example, outlying the real friendship between Chris and Gordie being dominant, the way they communicate and approach their troubles in white-collar broken families with hard drinking fathers, which they refer to as "their old men". The film does not detact from Gordie's nostalgic narration as an adult, it is in some ways, tighter and easy to follow than the novel in this case.

A good tip, i will offer is, it is better to read the short story, The Body upon what the material is based on. There you will understand deeper the character of Chris Chambers; his father's binges; why his brother was known as "Eyeball" Chambers; his discontent for School; also indulge in Will's ambitious writing talent and their continuing friendship long after this episode which is very benefital as important. You will really enjoy it more, honest, i have.

Stand for Me, follows in particular, a young boy known as Gordon "Gordy" Lacha, who after losing his brother to a tragic accident, goes on an adventure with his best friend, Chris and the two pals they hang around with, Teddy and Vern, to retrieve the body of Ray Brower, a missing boy out for a raspberry picking.

This is effectively a character driven piece, with a great stunt piece, the runaway train sequence, the confronations between the friends, trying to abine and then drift apart as friends do, when they feel they have nothing left to prove and the jokes shared and the mere messing around.

This is Phoenix's shining performance, that makes this one. He plays Chris Chambers, who knows he is "able" to make a difference, when Gordie's anxiety with his parents wears him down, he is more than eager to show him, that if he doesn't listen to what is right, then he could lose his most valved dream of all. Chambers on the other hand, knows he has to help, but doesn't know how to do it properly, he is frightened he could hurt Gordie and that was point, he was making.

Stand by Me is also a film, where youngsters have to face up for their future, in a world of uncertainy, dreams broken and lies discussed, people who have to grow up on their own with or without their friends.

Stand by Me was a sleeper hit, it did manage to reach number tweleve on the top box office receipts of 1986 in the US, but in recent years, since Phoenix's passing, the film has become a reminder of how sad life can be and so unfortunate to so many people, it has hence become more powerful, it's popularity has continued to flourish on it's dedicated cult base and will continue to do so, as long as people have a dream for desire.

Reiner, himself went onto bigger projects including the romantic comedy, ....when Harry met Sally and the US Naval melodrama, A Few good men. Sadly his career has gone down since directing, North, the box office disaster in 1994, but it may be resurrected by his new forthcoming project, The Bucker List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.
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on 16 November 2011
Arguably one of the most absorbing films ever made. From start to finish it mixes melancholy with humour and genuine pathos. Superbly acted, written, directed and structured, as well as well located and shot, nary a foot is put wrong. From the opening line (that apes that of the novella) to the heart-warming coda of the narrator finishing his memoirs, this rare feature fits in an entire childhood of 4 troubled boys in 1950s America through the eyes of one, focussing on one eventful camping trip along a railway line to find the dead body of a child.

There is very little here that is not perfect. It is emotional without being saccharine; it is funny without overstretching; the performances are all perfectly nuanced; and the story engages throughout. Most of Stephen King's best yarns come from his shorter fiction. Different Seasons (from where this is taken) also has the equally formidable 'Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption' which became one of the other few similar films that can be said to equal this, 'The Shawshank Redemption'. Everyone seemed to be on top of their game. Reiner, King, Wheaton, Phoenix, Feldman. And Jerry O'Connell has never been better.

If you have yet to see this I recommend it passionately - it will become one of your very favourite films.
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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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