The Stand By Me Scene Stephen King Wishes He Had Written

Rob Reiner's 1986 film "Stand By Me" still stands as one of the best coming-of-age films of all time. An adaptation of acclaimed horror author Stephen King's "The Body," the film follows a group of friends who go on a hike to find the dead body of a missing boy. The compelling, deeply-moving film stars actors Will Wheaton (Gordie Lachance), River Phoenix (Chris Chambers), Corey Feldman (Teddy Duchamp), and Jerry O'Connell (Vern Tessio).

The movie is highly regarded for its performances, its authentic take on pre-teens and is a small-scale masterpiece. Aside from critical acclaim, "Stand By Me" earned an Oscar nomination for "Best Adapted Screenplay," but its most significant victory was that author Stephen King approved of it. In fact, the King of Horror yearned to have written a scene the way the film's creators conceptualized it.

The film focused on Gordie's journey

It's challenging to replicate the charm of "Stand By Me" because of how Rob Reiner and screenwriters Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans genuinely captured the details of childhood. They didn't treat their child characters as children — they were adults, making their own decisions and acting upon them. Both "Stand By Me" and its source inspiration mainly featured the overall journey of one character, Gordie, as a writer narrating a fond memory from when he was 12.

While "Stand By Me" is a pretty faithful adaptation of "The Body," there's one scene toward the end of the film that the team changed to fit the narrative better. In the book, when the boys finally discover the corpse of the boy who was run over by a train, they face off with a gang of older boys who also want to take the body back. As per King's novella, Chris picks up a gun and threatens the others to leave, but in the film, Gordie picks up the gun instead. The story has always been about Gordie's journey, and that's what the director wanted every moment in the film to reflect.

'I thought, why didn't I have that?'

In 2016, the film celebrated its 30th anniversary, and Rob Reiner revealed the moment they screened the movie for Stephen King in an interview with Variety. The modification was conceived by producer Andrew Scheinman as an effort to improve the story, and Stephen King loved the idea. The author was surprised he hadn't considered it first.

"In the book, when they have the face-off at the end and they stare down the gang of older boys who want to take back the body, it was Chris Chambers who picks up the gun. As we were going through, Andy Scheinman said 'What if Gordie picks up the gun?' Keeping with the whole idea that it's Gordie's journey. When we screened it for Stephen King, he says, 'When you had Gordie pick up that gun, I thought, why didn't I have that?'"

Richard Dreyfuss, who portrayed an older version of Gordie, chimed in, stating that Reiner worked to enhance the story in every way he could. In the novella, the death of a particular character is given away in the beginning, but Reiner made sure it remained a secret until the film's end. "I think it's one of the ways that Rob improved on the story. You don't know that until the end and it breaks your heart," the actor revealed.

"Stand By Me" has influenced other coming-of-age films since its release over 30 years ago. It is evocative and far more resonant than it may seem — it's about adventure and enduring love, but most of all, it's about the friendship you can only have when you're 12, and how it rarely ceases to impact you for the rest of your life.