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Stand By Me: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Has it already been twenty five  years since the coming of age story Stand By Me hit theaters?  Time flies doesn’t it.  Well, it only took twenty five years for Stand By Me to hit the Blu-ray format, but here it is at long last!  I also have a confession to make.  I’ve never seen Stand By Me before.  Yeah, I know.  I knew of it, and I knew who was in it, but never saw it.  I know that Monster Squad was a horror version of Stand By Me. Does that count?  This will be an adventure for all of us. 

Film

Stand By Me is the tale of a group of friends who have heard about the disappearance of a young boy who is most likely dead and his body is somewhere in the  far outskirts of town.  Gordie (Will Wheaton), Chris (River Phoenix), Teddy (Corey Feldman), and Vern (Jerry O’Connell) are on a journey to find it.  Stand By Me is based off of the Stephen King novel “The Body,” and no, there is no supernatural component to the Stand By Me film. Stand By Me is a piece of American nostalgia.  It takes place in 1959, and is a fly-on-the-wall telling of a what goes on the day to day lives of these young kids.  It’s pretty simple.  The dead body is the catalyst that will bring them together or tear them apart.

Rob Reiner has made some pretty great films in his career, and in the 80’s, in general.  He also directed North, but we shall never mention that again.  I loved Stand By Me. It can now be put in his trilogy of films during the time period.  This Is Spinal Tap, Stand By Me, and The Princess Bride. What’s funny is that Stand By Me isn’t a whimsical tale of fantasy or a mocumentary.  Stand By Me is played straight as a drama from the beginning, but does have hints of dramatized imagination which Reiner has used throughout his career before and after the fact.  The boys are pretty hilarious when they talk to each other.  The dialogue is super smart and witty, and all the kids have classic lines.  Some of these lines are so classic that Stanley Kubrick used them in his masterpiece Full Metal Jacket. Whether they were intentional or not, I know what I heard.  It was pretty cool.  The fact that they’re good little actors also carries Stand By Me above all others that try to convey the same message.

Stand By Me also features John Cusack, Kiefer Sutherland, and Richard Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss plays Gordie as an older man  who tells the story of his boyhood as a voiceover.  Stand By Me is all told in flashback.  I don’t really know why it took me so long to watch the film.  It could be something as trivial as me not liking the theme song to the film.  I never liked it.  It was very grating.  Yeah, I know, that’s a petty reason, but that’s how it is.  I’m so happy that I was given the opportunity to discover and review Stand By Me on Blu-ray. Often parodied, imitated, but never duplicated, Stand By Me is a great film.

Video  

Stand By Me is presented in a widescreen 1080p 1:85.1 format.  I should clarify that Stand By Me has not been given a restoration treatment.  It probably looks as good as its ever going to.  There is a nice healthy layer of grain throughout the whole picture.  It’s very consistent.  What may not be consistent is the contrast.  There are certain scenes that look like they have been boosted somewhat.  Either that or they shot  those scenes at the crack of dawn  just after first light.  Maybe a filter was used.  It’s not distracting, but I noticed it.  Since the boys spend the majority of time walking on the railroad tracks, the scenery and woods do shine on this release. The greens and browns look great. Skin tones look natural for the most part, but the boys do look flushed for most of the film. which I’m sure they were.  It was a very hot summer.  I do appreciate the fact that very minimal, if any, DNR was used.  The grain is in tact.

Audio 

Stand By Me is in 5.1 DTS-HD MA.  Again, this film doesn’t have explosions or a heavy duty soundscape.  It’s a dialogue driven film for the most part.  Dialogue is natural and front directed.  There were no signs of clipping or echoing, and the deep bass rumbling of the cars and trains were adequately handled by the subwoofer.  It’s not a reference track by any means, but it does sound pretty good.

Special Features 

This Blu-ray release of Stand By Me seems to have ported over all of the previous special features from the standard dvd release.  I think that version came out in 2000. All of the features are presented in standard definition which is a big no-no nowadays.  The retrospective featurette included is really cool and greatly thought out, because it has interviews from everybody.  What elevates the rating score in particular is the Blu-ray EXCLUSIVE Picture-In-Picture video commentary with director Rob Reiner and actors Corey Feldman, and Will Wheaton.  I initially groaned, because I thought Feldman was going to try to dominate it, but that didn’t happen.  It’s pretty hysterical and cool.  There’s even a slight introduction to the video commentary itself.  Rob and Corey arrive and Will is already there waiting for them. They exchange pleasantries and proceed to goof and praise Jerry O’Connell for landing Rebecca Romijn.  “Little Vern is all grown up  and he marries Rebecca Romijn.”  It’s pretty funny and worth the price of admission for that special feature alone.

  • Blu-ray Exclusive : Picture-In-Picture Video Commentary with Director Rob Reiner, and Actors Will Wheaton & Corey Feldman
  • Walking the Tracks: The Summer of Stand By Me
  • Audio Commentary with Director Rob Reiner
  • Stand By Me Music Video

Final Thoughts 

Stand By Me is one of the best coming of age films of all time and one of  the better films to come out of the 80’s.  It’s also one of Rob Reiner’s most personal.  Now available for the first time on Blu-ray, if you’re like me, then this will be the best way for you to discover the film.  Do yourself a favor and check out the Picture-In-Picture commentary for some hilarity.  Stand By Me is a must buy!

Pre-Order Stand By Me on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

4 Responses to “Stand By Me: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    I agree! This is a CLASSIC!

  2. Sean Ferguson

    This is indeed a classic.

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    Yup.

  4. Jiminy Critic

    Great flick… These kids were caught on film at exactly the right time…