Stand By Me: 10 Best Quotes About Youth & Friendship

Rob Reiner’s classic Stephen King adaptation Stand By Me captures the feeling of youth and friendship better than nearly any movie ever made.

One of the most iconic movies of the 80s, Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me is a staple of its genre. The coming-of-age adventure follows a group of four young boys on their quest to find a dead body, just as they did in Stephen King’s novella, The Body. Along the way, they bond in new and unexpected ways, giving a whole new meaning to childhood friendship.

The film is narrated by Gordie, the main character, as he looks back on the film’s events years later as an adult. This gives the story a lens of retrospection, reflection, and nostalgia. Youth begins to take on more meaning because the audience is constantly aware of its fleetingness. Older Gordie also comments a lot on his changed perspective on friendship from childhood.

10. "You’re Gonna Be A Great Writer Someday, Gordie. You Might Even Write About Us …”

Gordie has dreamed of being a writer and making it out of his small hometown, his unhappy home life, and his lack of wealth and prosperity since childhood. However, over the course of the film, he begins to think his dream is “stupid.” Chris tries to reassure him that’s not true, and that it’s his dad talking. Gordie often talks about his father despite his claims that he doesn’t care about him, and this leads to a lot of insecurity and self-doubt.

During the boys’ adventure, Chris makes a point of encouraging Gordie to pursue his dream because it’s a worthy one and could actually lead to a better life. He jokes that he might write about them if he’s running out of ideas, but of course, it’s one of the most important experiences of their lives, so of course, Gordie writes about it and spends his entire life thinking about it.

9. "It’s What They Think Of Me. I’m Just One Of Those Low-Life Chambers Kids.”

Like Gordie, Chris also feels that he’s under pressure to live up to his family’s name. Gordie tells him that they might go to college together in the future, but Chris says they’d never accept him because of his reputation.

Even while he tells Gordie that he doesn’t have to listen to his dad, Chris feels weighed down by his own father. All four boys have a different connection with their respective fathers, but it’s a central relationship for all of them and shapes their characters.

8. "You Guys Wanna Go See A Dead Body?”

The adventure begins when Vern asks his friends if they’d like to see a dead body. The body is Ray Brower’s, a missing local boy who was found by Vern’s older brother and his friend. Vern overhears them talking about it early in the film, but the older boys are afraid to report it because they recently stole a car.

Vern decides to start a search of his own, hoping that he and his friends will become local heroes. The very bravery required to set out alone, without adults or proper supplies, speaks to the recklessness and fearlessness of youth, which is the driving force of the entire story.

7. "We’d Only Been Gone For Two Days But Somehow The Town Seemed Different, Smaller.”

The boys spend the Labor Day weekend of 1959 looking for Ray Brower, but to them, it feels like an eternity. Gordie’s narration alludes to his own self-importance at the age of twelve, which is a universal experience for many children and teens.

Gordie, Vern, Chris, and Teddy felt like they had changed the world after their little quest, but in reality, they were the ones who had changed.

6. "This Is My Age. I’m In The Prime Of My Youth And I’ll Only Be Young Once.”

Teddy, like the others, has a tendency to over-exaggerate and dramatize every situation. However, in this instance, he sums up one of the film’s key themes even as he’s joking.

When Chris tells him to act his age as they plod through the swamp, Teddy retorts that he is acting his age. At times, the boys forget how young they are, as many children often do, especially because of the grimness of the circumstances that have brought them together on this journey, which at times sees these children having fun.

5. "Although I Hadn’t Seen Him In More Than Ten Years, I Know I’ll Miss Him Forever.”

The film begins with Gordie, as an adult, reading about Chris’s death in a newspaper. Of course, the boys had long since drifted apart at this point, but their shared experiences will always link them.

This is reflective of real life; at the age of twelve, most friendships feel like they’ll be eternal, but this is rarely the reality. But even though Gordie hasn’t seen Chris in a long time, he still loves him, and their connection will always be important to him — it shaped Gordie’s personality.

4. "We Knew Exactly Who We Were And Where We Were Going. It Was Grand.”

In addition to the boys’ inflated sense of self-importance, they’re also incredibly sure of who they are — of course, this sense of self will soon unravel, given their age. During the film, the boys are still too young to doubt themselves; they’re naive, ambitious, outspoken, and they have big dreams for their futures.

Gordie reminisces on the sense of certainty he used to have. “It was grand” implies that he no longer feels this way and probably never has since that Labor Day weekend.

3. "He Doesn’t Know You.”

Children and adolescents often behave differently around their friends than they do around their parents, and the same is true of Gordie and his friends. When Gordie breaks down in front of Chris, wishing that he’d died in his brother’s place, Chris is quick to reassure him.

“I’m no good,” Gordie says. “My dad said it — I’m no good.” But Chris tells Gordie that his dad doesn’t really know him. This seems like a funny thing to say because parents often know a lot more than children think they do, but on the other hand, Gordie’s dad probably doesn’t know the side of Gordie that Chris has seen during the film’s events.

2. "Everybody’s Weird.”

Gordie feels insecure about who he is sometimes, which sets him apart from his peers in some ways, and contradicts his earlier comment on being sure of who he was in his youth. He asks Chris if he’s weird, and Chris responds in the affirmative.

However, his answer is also reassuring for Gordie: “Everybody’s weird.” In youth, everyone feels like an outsider, but children are the quickest to judge their peers and call them something like “weird”. This is a strange paradox and something that can make growing up in a social setting even more confusing.

1. "I Never Had Any Friends Later On Like The Ones I Had When I Was Twelve. Jesus, Does Anyone?”

Something Gordie keeps coming back to in his narration is how things have never been the same since that Labor Day weekend in 1959. In the moment, he doesn’t have any hindsight to reflect on the events, but as an adult, he’s able to see everything more clearly.

He also understands that what he experienced was special and that the devoted friendship he shared with Chris, Vern, and Teddy was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Of course, none of the boys could be aware of this in their youth, and it’s only many years later — and after Chris’s death — that Gordie can see the importance of those childhood friendships. Had the boys been older when Ray Brower’s body was found, they might not have embarked on this quest out of fear, doubt, and practicality.

[Originally shared with ScreenRant.]



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Svetlana Sterlin

Svetlana Sterlin

Svetlana Sterlin lives and writes in Brisbane, Australia, where she completed a BFA. Her work appears in several online and print publications.