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9 Facts You Didn’t Know About ‘Stand by Me’

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Two for Flinching!

No summer is complete until I watch Rob Reiner’s coming-of-age classic Stand by Me.

Hands down one of my favorite movies of all time, Stand by Me has the ability to transport us all back to our younger and more carefree days, back when summer seemed to last forever and adventure waited around every corner.

From its charming soundtrack—crowned by Ben E. King’s eponymous song—and meandering plot marked by memorable incidents featuring junk yard dogs, leeches, and oncoming trains, Stand by Me, while it catered towards men, is easy to watch and meaningful for all viewers, starting quietly but leaving audiences powerfully moved afterwards.

Narrated by Richard Dreyfus and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell, not to mention familiar faces like John Cusack and Kiefer Sutherland, the comical, eccentric cast adds an air of lightness to a movie which, at its heart, is about death and self-discovery.

August 8 marks 30 years since the film was first released in theaters in 1986, and the movie still remains an icon of coming-of-age Americana. In fact, fans of Netflix’s new miniseries Stranger Things were treated to a myriad of references and allusions from the film, even ones as obvious as the four main characters walking down railroad tracks.

Is it one of your favorites as well? Chances are you’ll still be stunned to learn some of these insightful fun facts about Stand by Me!

stand by me cast picture

Credit: Columbia Pictures/Photofest

Enjoy Stand by Me like the first time with these facts!

A Sexy Title

Stephen King

Credit: Thos Robinson/Getty Images

Many fans already know that the movie is but the film adaptation of the Stephen King novella The Body (published in Different Seasons, the same collection that houses Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption and Apt Pupil). What they may not know, however, is that the movie was originally set to be called The Body as well. That was the working title until the studio felt it was misleading and even too sexual. According to screenwriter Raynold Gideon, Reiner suggested Stand by Me, which was the least unpopular option.

Leeches and Tigers and Bears

stand by me leech scene

Credit: Columbia Pictures

The leech scene was filmed in a man-made pool, which the production team made so as to protect the boys from the unknown and potentially dangerous factors of a natural pond. Corey Feldman would later say, however, that the pool was built in the woods months before filming, so by the time they filmed the scene, they didn’t know what was inside the water anyway. The leeches were real.

According to Stephen King, the leech scene is based on a real-life experience from his childhood.