After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.
It's the summer of 1959 in Castlerock, Oregon and four 12 year-old boys - Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern - are fast friends. After learning of the general location of the body of a local boy who has been missing for several days, they set off into woods to see it. Along the way, they learn about themselves, the meaning of friendship and the need to stand up for what is right.Written by
In the campfire scene in which Chris breaks down, Rob Reiner was sure River Phoenix could do better. He asked him to think of a time in his own life when an adult had let him down and use it in the scene, which Phoenix did. Upset and crying, he had to be comforted by the director afterwards. The result of Phoenix's exercise is the scene that ended up in the final cut. See more »
When Vern is first coming into the tree house and is coming through the trap door he is clearly heard saying "You guys are never gonna believe this...", but his mouth is saying the previous lines "Oh, man, oh, man". See more »
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.
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As the end credits begin, we see Gordie's son and his friend playing on his front yard on their way to a swimming pool. See more »
In the Spanish Castilian version, Gordie's name was changed to "Cornie" because in Spanish "Gordie" sounded like "Gordi" that means "Fatty", and Wil Wheaton's character wasn't. Also in "Gordie's nightmare when his father calls him Gordon, in the dubbing calls him "Cornell". See more »
Great Balls of Fire
by Otis Blackwell (as O. Blackwell) and Jack Hammer (as J. Hammer)
Performed by Jerry Lee Lewis
All rights administered by Chappell & Co., Inc. and Unichappell Music, Inc.
Courtesy of Sun International Corporation See more »
Stand By Me is probably the best film ever to come from a Stephen King story. (The Green Mile sucks, by the way.) The story is told from an adult writer's point of view as he recounts an adventure he shared with his three best friends in the waning moments of the summer before junior high school began. We see the four boys head out into the wilderness to see the dead body of a boy who was apparently hit by a train. The boys encounter bullies, other trains, leeches, vicious dogs, and many other things on their trip. And they have some pretty deep and emotional conversations along the way.
This is a very awkward age in the life of a young man. You can tell by listening to their conversation topics which range from boobs to whether or not Mighty Mouse can beat up Superman. The youngsters are portrayed flawlessly by four terrific young actors. Who would have thunk that Jerry O'Connell would turn out to be the most successful of them? At times they laugh, other times they pick on each other. Sometimes they seem on the verge of fighting, but when challenged by the older gang of bullies, they stick together. Richard Dreyfuss, who plays the adult writer, narrates the action as things move along. Their trip is full of surprises and emotional insight.
Stand By Me is not quite a classic in my book, but it is very memorable. The script is a little too pessimistic for my liking. Right down to when River Phoenix describes an incident where he's caught stealing milk money from school, and his teacher ends up keeping it for herself. There is also a complete lack of positive supporting characters during the scenes set back when they were kids. Only John Cusack, in a cameo role, is shown as a positive older character. No wonder these kids felt so unwanted! All the adults around them were jerks! The script uses more swear words than are actually necessary to convey the anger these kids sometimes feel. And you'd think any dead body that had been hit by a train would be more damaged than the one they find out in the woods. Wouldn't this kid have heard the train coming in time and jumped well out of the way? If he was trying to kill himself, then you'd think he would have stood in the way and been completely pulverized. I know these may seem like petty beefs, but they are enough to knock the review down a star or two.
It seems like the film is trying to portray the dead Brower boy as the death of these kids' innocence or something to that effect. As someone who's been their age, I can understand some of what they were feeling. And I totally agree that some of the people you thought were your best friends eventually just turn out to be faces in the crowd at school a few years later.
Despite it's faults, this is a powerful film you aren't likely to forget. It's one of Reiner's best, and the outstanding cast does some wonderful work themselves.
8 of 10 stars.
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