The movie Stand By Me is one of those great throwbacks to a time when movies were just different than they usually are today. In addition, it was a movie that seemed to handle all of the angst that was involved with growing up and attempting to develop one’s own personality while simultaneously trying not to go against one’s own culture or code. Regardless of how old the movie gets, this fact alone means that it is timeless.
For many people, this is a movie that still holds up just as well today as it did when it was made. The question is, why is it still so important after all these years? After all, the movie came out in 1986 so it has been more than thirty years since it was made. Despite that fact, people still want to see it and it isn’t just the people that saw it when it came out in theaters. People that weren’t even born yet have a desire to see this film. There must be something special about the film itself or it wouldn’t hold so much weight.
The truth of the matter is that this movie represents children growing up into adulthood. All of the kids in the film had some type of issue that they had to confront and in one way or another, they all managed to do it during this movie. One picked up a gun and pulled the trigger. One was bullied by someone with a knife that completely scared him to death, as referenced by Kiefer Sutherland’s character. Remember the scene where Corey Feldman and Wil Wheaton are running along the train tracks? Feldman’s character falls and even though the train is literally bearing down on them, Wheaton’s character stops running in order to help his friend up.
In the end, even the strongest character throughout the entire film, portrayed by River Phoenix, discovers that growing up is extremely difficult to do. The person that had always been the leader of the group, the one that always had a solution, eventually falls apart. Perhaps that is really why the movie resonates with so many people. Whether you are the person that always held everyone else together or you’re the one that was cowering in the corner, this movie has someone that represents what it was like for you as an individual while growing up.
Even well into adulthood, people still deal with these types of issues.
There is usually the one person in the family that tends to hold everyone else together, yet that particular individual often feels as though they could fall apart at any minute. The difference between them and everyone else is that they simply don’t show it until they can’t hide it any longer and everything boils over. This is what happened with River Phoenix’s character. Everyone has dealt with bullies and everyone has done something that they regret, just like the scene with the gun.
Stand By Me is still valid because it taps into the emotions of human beings. More importantly, it taps into the relationships that humans have with others. For that reason, it will always be relevant, no matter how old it gets.