Stephen King is an author who has been long associated with the horror genre (Carrie, The Shining, and Salem’s Lot being but a few examples) but it is arguably his light-hearted short stories that are remembered more fondly. The Shawshank Redemption was a story that told of one man’s struggle to retain his freedom while imprisoned in Shawshank penitentiary, the other, Stand By Me told a tale of four young boys who set off in search of finding the dead body of a boy they knew at school.
25 years after its initial release, Stand By Me has retained its place among cinematic classics. Rarely before (and even rarer since) has there been a film that has captured the essence of youth in such a distinct way. John Hughes’s ‘brat-pack’ of the 1980’s gave the public one representation of youth, but Rob Reiner and Stephen King gave us another. The legacy of Stand By Me still lives on today. Films such as Mean Creek, starring Macaulay Culkin’s younger brother Rory, follows a hugely similar plot and stars an entire cast of young boys out on an outdoor adventure.
The film of course is renowned for being one of the few films that starred teenage actor River Phoenix, whose life was drastically cut short after a drug overdose at the tender age of 23. River was a star in the making. If Stand By Me gave us that impression then further works such as My Own Private Idaho firmly cemented it. Other stars of the film, such as Corey Feldman and Kiefer Sutherland, are now well known faces due to roles in The Lost Boys, The Goonies and the television series 24.