|Rob Reiner Director||previously directed The Sure Thing|
A group of four boys set out on an adventure to discover a missing teenager's body. Based on the novella "The Body" by Stephen King.
Richard Dreyfus and Robert Reiner attended the same high school. Reiner brought in Dreyfus to read the narration of the film after many actors had already tried their hand. Dreyfus was eventually chosen to play the part.27 More Trivia
7 More Quotes
Four tails! Oh Jesus man, that's a goocher!
|Bruce A. Evans||screenplay|
|Wil Wheaton||Gordie Lachance|
|River Phoenix||Chris Chambers|
|Corey Feldman||Teddy Duchamp|
|Jerry O'Connell||Vern Tessio|
|Kiefer Sutherland||Ace Merrill|
|Richard Dreyfuss||The Writer|
|Casey Siemaszko||Billy Tessio|
|Gary Riley||Charlie Hogan|
|Bradley Gregg||Eyeball Chambers|
|Jason Oliver||Vince Desjardins|
|See Full Credits|
Stand by Me takes place in the fictional town of Castle Rock during Labor Day weekend of 1959. The film focuses on a group of four friends - Gordie, Chris, Vern, and Teddy. Gordie is a book-smart, sensitive guy who is going through a rough time. Chris is the tough guy who gets a bad rap because of his older brother, hes nothing but loyal to his friends. Vern is the scaredy cat of the group. Teddy is the crazy one of the group, coming from a broken home and an abusive father.
The boys hear about a teenager who went missing and plan on finding him in hopes that they will be seen as heroes in the eyes of the townspeople. The four friends set out on an adventure that all boys dream of - being out in the woods all by themselves, being away from their parents, and trying to uncover a mystery.
Gordie LaChance, played by Will Wheaton, is the brains of the group. He's a quiet and intelligent young boy who enjoys writing. The only two people who ever appreciated his writing were his best friend, Chris Chambers, and his brother Denny, played by John Cusack, who died in a Jeep accident before the film's events take place. Gordie is hit hard by his brother's death, but his parents take it extremely hard and virtually forget about Gordie in the process of grieving over their lost son. Chris Chambers, played by River Phoenix, is the leader of the group. He comes from a broken home, and he is faced with the challenge of living down his brother's bad reputation. Despite his good nature, he is constantly being accused of crimes he didn't commit and forced to deal with the consequences. Vern Tessio, played by Jerry O'Connell, is the shy and timid member of the group. He just goes along with what the rest of his friends say and do, though he always doubts them at first. Teddy Duchamp, played by Corey Feldman, is the crazy one of the group. His dad is abusive, but he constantly sticks up for him and denies the wrong his father has done.
The film starts off by showing Gordie as an adult talking about the best adventure he ever had as a child. The adventure starts off when Vern overhears his older brother and his friend talking about the dead body of Ray Brower, a boy who was hit by a train while in the woods picking blueberries. The two boys had found the body after stealing a car and taking it across town. Vern, having learned this information, heads over to tell his friends. Vern is freaking out about the whole situation, but Gordie and Chris decide that they would be declared heroes if they could discover the body and bring it back to town. Teddy and Vern agree with the two boys and they decide to tell all of their parents that they are sleeping over at each other's houses and then go on an adventure to find the body by following the train tracks that run through the town.
The next morning, Gordie and Chris meet up to walk together to meet their other two friends. While walking, Chris shows Gordie that he brought along a gun on the trip. He gives it to Gordie, who pretends to shoot it. Chris promises Gordie that it isn't loaded. However, it turns out that the gun is loaded and Gordie accidentally shoots it off. The two boys run away from the scene and eventually run into Ace, played by Kiefer Sutherland. Ace takes Gordie's hat and throws Chris to the ground. Gordie and Chris leave the encounter mostly unscathed and meet up with their friends so they can begin their adventure.
The boys begin walking down the train tracks headed towards Harlow, where the dead body is located. After walking a little ways the boys hear a train coming. Three of the boys jump off the track and get out of the way, but Teddy decides that he wants to dodge the train, pretending like he's on the beaches of Normandy, like his dad was during the war. Chris eventually pulls him off the track just before the train comes by. The boys begin yelling at each other, but Chris, being the peacemaker of the group, makes up with Teddy saying he can dodge the train on the way back. The boys pool their money together and decide that when they get to the junkyard that they will buy food at a small grocery store.
When the boys reach the junkyard, they scale the fence and take a break before going to the grocery to get their food. While there, the boys sit around a bucket for awhile and just sit and shoot the breeze. They decide to flip coins to see who has to go and get the food. Gordie loses and goes to the grocery store. Upon his return, he sees his friends jumping back over the fence to leave the junk yard. As soon as he sees this, the owner of the junk yard shows up and screams "Chopper, sick balls!" The dog is something of a legend among the children of the town and is known for "biting the balls" off of anyone who trespasses. Gordie outruns the dog and jumps the fence and then realizes the dog is a harmless golden retriever. The narrator, the adult Gordie telling the story, says this was the first time he realized the difference between myth and reality.
The boys continue their journey and reach a bridge where the train tracks go over a river. They are worried a train may come but decide that it's better to risk it and cross here than to walk along the river and cross elsewhere. Teddy and Chris are the first to walk across the bridge and they make it over the river with little trouble. However, Vern is scared and crawls across the tracks on hands and knees and Gordie decides to wait behind and walk with Vern. Gordie repeatedly grabs the rail of the track to feel for vibrations, a sign that a train is coming. Sure enough, when the boys are about halfway across the bridge a train comes into sight. Gordie starts screaming at Vern to get up and run, and eventually he does. The two boys reach the other side of the bridge and jump off the tracks at the last minute to avoid getting hit by the train. Teddy and Chris run over to see the two boys dirty, but safe.
When nightfall comes, the boys stop for the night in the woods and set up a fire. They begin cooking the dinner that Gordie bought at the grocery earlier and Gordie begins telling the boys one of the stories he has written. The story is about a large boy, named Davey Hogan, or more popularly known as "Lardass" who decides to finally enact his revenge upon the people who constantly heckle him. Davey enters a pie eating contest at a fair and begins tearing up very pie that is put in front of him. Eventually the boy ends up throwing up on one of the other competitors who then throws up on another competitor. Before all is said and done, everyone in attendance starts throwing up on each other while Davey looks on pleased.
The boys eventually fall asleep but are awaken by noises in the woods. They decide that each boy will take a turn standing guard over the camp site with the gun. Chris and Gordie begin talking during their turn to keep watch. Gordie talks about how everything is going to change next year because the boys won't be in the same classes in school. Chris stats telling Gordie a story about how he stole the milk money at school but felt bad about it and returned the money. However, the teacher didn't return the money and instead bought new clothes. She accused Chris of stealing the money. No one believes Chris because of the stigma he carries by being a part of the Chambers family. Chris becomes upset while telling the story and cries because he feels like he's never given a chance in life. Gordie comforts him.
The boys continue on their journey and come to a swampy river they have to cross to get to the body. The boys decide to wade across the water instead of walking around. Once they get to the other side they realize that they are covered in leeches. They begin taking their clothes off to take all of the leeches off of their body. Gordie is terrified to find out that he has a leech inside of his underwear. He reaches in and pulls the leech off and he realizes his hand is covered in blood. Gordie faints at the sight. The boys are able to revive him and begin discussing whether or not they should turn back and go home. Gordie tells them to stop arguing about it and the boys continue on to find the body.
As the group continues along the track, they eventually make it to the dead teen's body. They all head over to look at it and are shocked at what they see. None of them had ever seen a dead body before. Every one of the boys is speechless and they decide to find branches to build a stretcher so that they can carry him back. Gordie sits down on a fallen tree and begins talking about his brother's death with Chris. Gordie says that it should have been him that died instead of Denny. He says that he's no good and that his dad hates him. Chris assures him that it isn't true and that Gordie is going to grow up to be a great writer.
Out of nowhere, Ace and his group of friends come along and tell Gordie and his friends that they are going to let him take the body. He tells them to step aside or they will get beat up. He then pulls out a knife and threatens the boys. Gordie pulls out the gun that Chris brought along and shoots it into the sky. Ace tells Gordie to give him the gun but Gordie refuses. Ace asks if he's going to shoot all of them, and Gordie says that he only intends to shoot him. Ace and his gang leave and the boys decide that an anonymous call to the police would be better than bringing the body back by themselves.
The boys return home and all go their separate ways. The adult Gordie explains what happens to each boy after they walk off. He explains that Vern and Teddy eventually became just two faces in the crowd as the boys grew apart over the years. Vern got married out of high school, has four kids and is a forklift operator. Teddy tried several times to get into the army but couldn't because of his eyes and ears. He eventually ended up in jail and does odd jobs around town. Chris ended up enrolling in the college courses with Gordie and eventually became a lawyer. One day at a fast food joint while trying to break up two men who were fighting in the line ahead of him, Chris was stabbed in the neck and died instantly.
Adult Gordie ends the movie by writing "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"
The original title of the film was suppose to be taken directly from the novella it was based off of, "The Body" by Steven King. The song "Stand by Me" was always intended to be used in the movie and that is actually where the film's final name, Stand by Me, came from.
Many actors had read for the part of the narrator before Richard Dreyfuss was brought in based on Rob Reiner's recommendation and was eventually chosen to be the narrator of the film. John Cusack was chosen for the part of Gordy's brother after becoming close with Reiner while working on "The Sure Thing".
The screenplay for the film was adapted by Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans from King's novella and was nominated for an Academy Award. A great bit of the writing for this film was taken directly from King's novella. In the book, Gordie was more of an observer rather than a main character. However, Rob Reiner decided to make Gordie's character play a more prominent role in the film. He stated that he chose to do this because it was a way for him to act out his own feelings. Reiner says that he was somewhat disconnected from his parents as a child and he found comfort in his friends and their ability to make him realize his good qualities.
Reiner states that a lot of the things like "two for flinching" and the "rank-outs of the mother" were things that he did when he was a child. In the film, Gordie is 12 years old, the same age as Reiner was in 1959.
The production budget for the film is reported to be $8 million. The majority of the film was shot in Oregon, taking place in both Brownsville and Cottage Grove. The film was shot in a 60-day period, though the film only takes place over 2 days. Oregon is known for its large amounts of rain, however it didn't rain a single day during the shooting of the film.
Rob Reiner states that a long lens camera was used in a few scenes to add a nostalgic feel to the film. He specifically mentions that the long lens camera was used in the train dodge scene to make it look like the train was much closer to the boys than it actually was. At no point during the dodge scene were the boys anywhere near the actual train.