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Budding writer Wil Wheaton (l.) is haunted by the accidental death of his beloved older brother, John Cusack (r.) in Columbia Pictures' "STAND BY ME." Based on the novella, "The Body," by Stephen King, the film was directed by Rob Reiner from a screenplay by Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans, and produced by Andrew Scheinman, along with Evans and Gideon.
Gordie, sensitive and creative, is haunted by his older brother Denny's (John Cusack) accidental death. With a father who never understood him and who doesn't believe he'll ever fill Denny's all-American, high school-hero shoes, Gordie feels hopelessly inadequate. He is a natural-born writer, but at age 12, the stories he makes up for friends are seen only as a way to escape.
Chris, older than the rest, and with a wisdom that belies his age, takes on the role of group peacekeeper and protector. Chris is smart but has been told he isn't. He worries about the future because, with a juvenile-delinquent brother and an alcoholic father, he is convinced that Castle Rock will never let him rise above his family's reputation.
Burdened with thick glasses and a disfigured ear, Teddy has been abused by a father he mysteriously still admires as a Normandy Beach war hero. Teddy lives in a world of twisted daredeviltry, dodging trucks and trains to gain the respect, friendship and love he's never been given at home.
The group is completed by Vern--sincere, overweight and scared of his own shadow. Desperate not to be considered the chicken of the four, Vern is willing to swallow all his fear to be included.
Despite their individual weaknesses, these boys share within the group a feeling of strength and safety that bonds them together. As they bravely set out along the railroad tracks to find the body of a missing boy their own age, the journey begins innocently with a dream of becoming town heroes, but before it is over, Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern will be tested in ways they had never imagined.
By the time they eventually return to Castle Rock, it is more clear what the future holds for each of these boys.
Teddy and Vern, unchanged by the experience, are likely destined to stay in Castle Rock. As adults, they probably won't be much different from the boys they are in 1959.
Chris, sharing new-found strength with Gordie, is helped by his special friend to believe in his own potential for success. He will go on to college, eventually becoming a lawyer.
Gordie, through Chris' friendship and belief in him, begins to accept himself. Returning home, he will see that nothing in Castle Rock, or anywhere, will be quite the same again. For him, the trip becomes an odyssey of self-discovery, charting a pathway that will lead Gordie to becoming a highly successful popular writer.
Then, years later, he will tell this story.