Stand By Me: Books to Film

Screen shot 2013-06-26 at 9.58.16 PM

I’d venture to guess there aren’t too many titles out there that have a fan base equally passionate about the book and the movie. I caveat that statement with “aren’t too many” because there is at least one I can thinScreen shot 2013-06-26 at 10.00.21 PMk of that is both a brilliant story and a brilliant film: Stand By Me, based on Stephen King’s novella The Body.

I saw Stand By Me when it came out in 1986 and at the time, I wasn’t into (or even much aware of) Stephen King, so I had no idea that the movie was based on his short story. Yes, yes, it was right there in the credits, but I was young and oblivious, ‘kay? It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I discovered The Body and was blown away by this story all over again. Although the movie does take some liberties with the plot – including having a much less tragic end for two of the four friends – overall it’s a faithful adaptation of the reflections of Gordie Lachance and his buddies, Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp and Vern Tessio.

I can still hear the voice of Richard Dreyfuss as the middle-aged Gordie as he recounted the events of that summer, and I sScreen shot 2013-06-26 at 9.58.01 PMtill feel squeamish thinking about that leech-down-the-underwear scene, and I can still remember the shock at the friends’ discovery of Ray Brower’s dead body next to the train tracks. Just as the boys had to, I was forced to face the utter finality of it. A boy was dead. It wasn’t a lark, or some grand adventure where the friends get to go home heroes after finding the body. It was tragic and sad and a part of life and death.

That moment, and so many others throughout the emotionally charged story, stayed with me long after I saw the movie, and again long after I read the novella.

Do you have any books or movies that continue to resonate with you years later?

2 Responses

  1. The movie and the book The Color Purple has stayed with me all these years. They were both beautiful and touching. I feel nostalgic when I think of the pain and beauty of reading it for the first time.

    1. Good one! I think that is another one in which the movie came before the book for me, but yes, completely agree – both were moving and memorable.

Share your thoughts! Unless you're a spambot.