A group of friends go on an adventure to find a dead body,
and are forced to confront their own demons along the way.
Stand by Me (1986)
Directed by Rob Reiner
Written by Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans
Starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman,
Jerry O'Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, Richard Dreyfuss
Based on the novella The Body by Stephen King
Oscar Nominations - Best Adapted Screenplay
In the wide world of Stephen King adaptations, Stand by Me is definitely regarded as one of the best. It doesn't ignore the source material, which is paramount. A lot of films made from his work tend to ignore that. Instead, Stand by Me enriches the novella, adding just enough additional material to fully develop the story of four young boys who found a dead body...and themselves.
This is a film that entirely relied on the talent of child actors. I don't mean to generalize, but child actors are not the most reliable source for talent. However, Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O'Connell all deliver fantastic performances and do justice to King's characters. Kiefer Sutherland is also great as Ace Merrill, the hoodlum villain. Overall, it's the great cast and the well-adapted script that makes this film memorable and enjoyable.
Stand by Me does a great job of capturing a genuine feeling of Castle Rock in 1959. Most of these feelings stem from the music selection, which helps create a 50's atmosphere better than anything. This film lives up to its reputation and remains one of the best films ever adapted from the work of Stephen King.