Released originally in 1996 this film was a surprise hit. Based on a Stephen King novella (The Body), it is a non-horror from the king of horror. Coming out of nowhere it went on to be a huge success for director Rob Reiner (Rumour Has It…, The Bucket List) and his young cast. For the young cast, which included River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, and Kiefer Sutherland, this was a jumping off film for bigger and better things. It has that wonderful nostalgic, coming of age feeling about it.
Told as a flashback, an adult Gordie (Richard Dreyfuss – American Graffiti, Piranha 3D) tells the story of a special summer when he was younger. Four friends, Gordie (Wil Wheaton – Toy Soldiers, Flubber), Chris (River Phoenix – My Own Private Idaho, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), Teddy (Corey Feldman – The Goonies, Gremlins), and Vern (Jerry O’Connell – Jerry Maguire, Piranha – 2010), all between the ages of 12 and 13 live in a town in Oregon. When a boy from their town goes missing for days (the rumour is that he was hit by a train) the friends decide to take an overnight hike through the woods to try and find him.
Through the hike they come up against a junkyard dog, a lake full of leeches and a dangerous jump off a train trestle. What the hike really becomes about is their friendships and learning about themselves. I’m sure everyone and especially men can remember a summer like this and the friends we had at the time. We can all put ourselves in their places and understand their likes, fears and wishes.
The young cast members really meshed well, so well that you truly believe that they are friends. Also blink and you might miss a little cameo role by a young John Cusack as the deceased brother of Gordie.
A realistic portrayal of pre teen male friendship and also a nostalgic look at the 1950s. Family and the building of self-esteem are also big themes in the film. Really takes you back in time and gets you caught up in the whole yearning for a more innocent time.
-Never-Before-Seen Deleted & Alternate Scenes
- Picture-in-Picture Video Commentary with Director Rob Reiner and Actors Wil Wheaton & Corey Feldman
- “Walking the Tracks: The Summer of Stand By Me”
- Audio Commentary with Director Rob Reiner