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File:Stand-by-me-poster 8303.jpg
"I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"
The Writer

Stand by Me is a 1986 Coming of Age film directed by Rob Reiner based on the novella The Body by Stephen King. Set in the fictional Castle Rock, Oregon (Maine in the original story) in 1959, the film is told through the recollections of the main character, Gordie Lachance, now a freelance writer.

The twelve-year-old Gordie (played by TV's Wil Wheaton) and his three friends journey into the woods near their home to look at the body of a boy named Ray Brower, who was struck by a train while picking berries. Through the boys' misadventures and conversations, the viewer learns about each character's personality. Each of the boys, for varying reasons, lives in the shadow of their fathers and older brothers. Gordie's talent for storytelling (as illustrated by his improvised short story "The Revenge of Lard-Ass Hogan") pegs him as the most likely of the four to have a promising future.

The film contrasts the four main characters, who are depicted as well-meaning and relatively virtuous, with a gang of bullies called the "Cobras", who are led by local hood "Ace" Merrill (Kiefer Sutherland).

See 1995's Now and Then for basically the girl version.

Tropes used in Stand by Me include:

Gordie: "Suck my fat one, you cheap dime-store hood!"


Vern: Do you think Mighty Mouse could beat up Superman?
Teddy: What are you, cracked?...Mighty Mouse is a cartoon. Superman is a real guy.

  • Space Whale Aesop: The book definitely has this. Don't go looking for dead bodies or you will acquire a death curse. But then, the book The Body was written by Stephen King. The film Stand by Me would cause you to forget that it is based on a book written by the horror master himself.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Vern and Teddy. Vern dies in a house fire in the book, and Teddy kills himself and others by driving drunk.
  • The Storyteller: Gordie.
  • Totally Radical: Averted. Both King and Reiner grew up in the period in which it was set, giving them knowledge of it and they realized that young kids tend to curse like sailors as they do here.
  • Treehouse of Fun: The boys hang out in one of these at the beginning of the film.
  • Troll: Milo when he taunts Teddy about his dad being a "loony".
  • True Companions: A quintessential example.
  • The Unfavorite: Gordie's parents never show much affection to him, preferring Gordie's older brother. In flashbacks, it shows they didn't pay much attention to him, anyways. As it is, Denny (the brother) was the one who paid the most attention to him.
  • Vomit Chain Reaction: The "Lard-Ass" story.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The "Lard-Ass" story.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Gordie desperately wants his father's love and not to feel like His father hates him.
  • We Will Meet Again: Ace says this after Gordie pulls the gun on him.
    • While it's not depicted in the film, King's original story has Ace and his gang giving each of the boys a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown after they return to town.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: While Ace has no problem threatening kids Gordie's age with knives, he thinks Gordie holding him and his friends at gunpoint is taken things too far.

'Ace: We're not gonna forget this, if that's what you're thinking. This is big time, baby.


Chris: How do you know if a Frenchman has been in your back yard?
Teddy: Hey, I'm French, okay?
Chris: Your garbage cans are empty and your dog's pregnant.
*Chris and Gordie laugh*
Teddy: Didn't I just say I was French?

  • Your Mom: Lampshaded by the adult Gordie's narration, in which he comments that "finding new and disgusting ways to insult a friend's mother was always held in high regard." Also played straight:

Chris: Why don't you go home and fuck your mother some more?
Ace: [pulls out a knife] You're dead.

    • Gordie pulls out a nice one to smack a children's rhyme in the face.

Gordie: Shut up.
Chris, Teddy, and Vern, in unison: I don't shut up! I grow up! And when I look at you, I throw up! AACCKK!
Gordie: And then your mother comes and licks it up.