Stand By Me

Viewed – 11 June 2011  Blu-ray

25th Anniversary Edition

This was a movie that whilst I was growing up, meant a great deal to me.  Something about the tale of four young boys going on a journey together, hit home, and ever since has remained a firm favourite.  Rob Reiner’s adaptation of the little known Stephen King short story (itself part of the Different Seasons anthology that spawned The Shawshank Redemption) offers a sentimental but believable coming-of-age tale of a group of friends setting out to find a dead body.  Following in their footsteps is a group of older youths, headed by a very young looking Kiefer Sutherland, and what starts out as a simple journey soon becomes fraught with peril and self-discovery.

Starring the late River Pheonix in arguably his most famous role as leader of the young boy’s gang alongside Corey Feldman, Wil Wheaton and an unrecognisable Jerry O’Connell, each young actor deliver’s a mesmerizing performance, at times funny and other times very emotional.  Okay, with more mature eyes some of the more sentimental moments look a bit forced, but with nearly all character’s having such a fully fleshed out personality and back stories, what they go through and what they confess to each other still hits home.  Add to this a memorable sixties soundtrack (most notably Ben E. King’s classic title track) and some priceless dialogue (suck my fat one you cheap dime store hood?) much of the charm and appeal I discovered as a teenager remains intact … and incredibly effective.

The Blu-ray is very pleasing, with a quality picture full of colour and depth, that although seems a touch soft focus in places, has enough detail and ‘pop’ to easily outclasses lesser catalogue releases.  Extras are plentiful for this edition with a picture-in-picture retrospective with director Rob Reiner and actors Corey Feldman and Wil Wheaton, as well as a separate audio-only commentary by Reiner himself.  Add to this the documentary ‘The Summer Of Stand By Me’ and a music video, and any fan of this one should be more than satisfied.

Verdict:  5 /5

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