Stand By Me was an American coming-of-age film that hit theaters on August 22, 1986. It was directed by young Rob Reiners, who combined adventure, nostalgia, and youth into a great story built upon child characters’ growth.
The script was based on Stephen King’s 1982 novel, The Body, and was written by Bruce Evans and Raynold Gideon. Bruce sent a copy of the book to his future co-writer’s wife, Karen Gideon, as a gift, and not long after, they became highly interested in the book and sought King’s agent.
After some back and forth, Kings accepted a deal of $50,000 and a small share of the gross profits. After about eight weeks of writing, Evans and Gideon had produced the masterpiece.
The title is derived from a song of the same name by the legendary Ben E. King. Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell star as four boys who find the dead body of a missing boy while out on a hike in 1959.
After learning that a stranger had been accidentally killed, the four boys decide they want to see the body, which leads them on an adventure.
As they travel, Geordie Lachance (Will Wheaton), Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman), Chris Chambers (River Phoenix), and Vern Tessio (Jerry O’Connell) come across multiple dangers, such as a mean junkyard man, as well as a marsh full of leeches.
The boys come to build a strong connection with one another as they learn about each other’s lives and their very different home settings. While initially seemed like a simple adventure, by the end, it turned into a defining moment in the young boys’ lives.
The movie ends in the present day with Gordie, the character with the most prominence in the film, writing a memoir of their journey.
Although Vern and Teddy drifted away, Chris and Gordie stayed closer due to college, yet, they also drifted apart a few years before Chris was stabbed to death. Despite not seeing Chris in a decade, Gordie adds that he will forever miss him as a friend.
Geordie ends the memoir with: I’ never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve.” A fitting tribute to the portrayal of the bond made between the kids at such a young age.
The nostalgic and gripping drama gives an understanding of the boy’s situation and portrays to them how unkind the world can be, and sets the tone for future coming-of-age movies to shine.
These factors contributed to the film’s nomination for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and two Golden Globe awards for Best Director and Best Motion Picture Drama.
The film grossed an impressive $52 Million when it was initially released. It has aged into a staple of youthful nostalgia in Western culture thanks to its story of four kids beginning their journey into adulthood through world experience.
The film has remained one of the greatest coming-of-age movies of all time and has led the way for future productions to follow in its footsteps, such as the recent Stranger Things series.