‘Stand By Me’ Stands the Test of Time

Editor's Picks, Movies
on March 25, 2011

A coming-of-age classic arrives on Blu-ray with several new bonus features to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

The stars aligned back in 1986 for Stand By Me. Fledgling Director Rob Reiner was spreading his behind-the-camera wings after his groundbreaking “mock-u-mentary” This Is Spinal Tap, and in just another year he’d begin a run of hits that included The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally and Throw Mama From The Train.

Reiner’s source material for Stand By Me was a novella by the era’s hottest horror writer, Stephen King. But King’s story, titled The Body, wasn’t his typical, terrifying fare. It was a boyhood adventure, set in the 1950s, about a group of four friends who set off on a two-day trek to find the body of a missing teenager. They hope to be applauded as local heroes for their eventual discovery.

The outstanding, mostly green young cast included Corey Feldman, River Phoenix, Jerry O’Connell and Wil Wheaton. Richard Dreyfuss provided the narration and appeared on-camera in the final scenes as the now-adult version of one of the boys.

And the nostalgic soundtrack, grounded by the centerpiece title tune, also used such ’50s gems as “Great Balls of Fire,” “Lolipop,” “Get a Job” and “Let The Good Times Roll” to set the movie’s mood of time and place in pop culture.

During their odyssey, the four young adventurers learn a lot about each other, life, and how to stand together to face down a menacing bully (Kiefer Sutherland). Even today, a quarter century later, Stand By Me continues to resonate with timeless themes of friendship, loyalty and the powerful imprint of childhood experiences that shape our adult lives.