How well do you remember the classic coming of age movie, "Stand By Me?"


By: Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: The Movie DB

About This Quiz

This small-town coming-of-age story is one of Stephen King's favorites among the many adaptations of his stories. Let's revisit "Stand By Me" and its four stars-to-be with our quiz!

What is the name of the town Gordie and his friends live in?

Stephen King's fictitious "Castle Rock" is in Maine, like his town of Derry. But for the film, Castle Rock was in Oregon. This is where it was filmed.


What's the reason for the 25-plus mile trip the boys make on foot?

The boys want to see the body of Ray Brower, who has been missing for days. The authorities don't know yet that Ray is dead, so the boys also want to get their pictures in the paper for being the "heroes" who put an end to the mystery.


Who speaks the pivotal line "You guys want to see a dead body?"

Vern gets teased a lot by the other boys, as he is in the opening "treehouse" scene where the boys play cards. But as soon as he says that one line, he has their full attention.


How did Ray Brower die?

Ray had gone to pick blueberries and didn't come home. The boys theorize that he was walking along the tracks and was hit. (How an able-bodied boy with normal sight and hearing gets hit by a train with open space on both sides of the tracks is never made clear).


How did Vern find out where the body was?

Vern's older brother, Billy, is part of Ace Merrill's "gang" (actually, just a group of teenage louts). He and a friend saw Ray Brower's body while they were up to no good in the woods.


Why can't Billy and his friend tell the police about the body?

If they tell the police about Ray Brower, the police will want to know how they got 30 miles from Castle Rock with no car. They discuss the possibility of an anonymous phone call, but decide that the police "trace those calls." (Actually, that's very unlikely: Even today, small-town police departments do not routinely trace incoming calls).


Which of the boys is obsessed with the military?

Teddy's father "stormed the beach at Normandy," a detail which comes up more than once. Teddy wears a dog tag around his neck and yells war-movie rallying cries to his friends.


What does Teddy's father do for a living?

Teddy's father has been committed, something which his son is clearly ashamed of. Did war-related PTSD put Teddy's father in an asylum? Or did he ever serve at all? These questions are never answered.


Who played Gordie's older brother, in flashbacks?

Denny Lachance, played by Cusack, is only seen in flashbacks. He's a football star and his father's favorite, but he's also very decent to Gordie.


What gift did Denny give to Gordie shortly before he died?

This might seem like an odd choice -- a Yankees fan in Oregon? -- but a Seattle Mariners cap would have been a historical error. They didn't join the AL until 1977, about twenty years after the time-frame of "Stand By Me."


Why is Teddy's ear damaged?

Teddy's father was committed to an asylum. Teddy worships him, despite the childhood abuse.


For what does Gordie show a talent?

Wil Wheaton has something of a history playing "Mary Sues" (characters that stand in for an author). Not only was Gordie one of several fictional writers created by Stephen King, but Wheaton played Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Wesley was widely seen as a wish-fulfillment version of Gene Roddenberry.


What kind of baseball do Ace and his friends play?

"Mailbox baseball" involves riding in a car, leaning out the window, and swinging at mailboxes with a bat. Not much of a challenge, if you ask us.


What item does Vern bring on the hiking trip?

Vern thinks this will come in handy if they find the body and get their pictures in the paper. He doesn't bring food -- in fact, no one remembers food.


What item does Chris bring on the trip?

Chris says it's not loaded. Gordie finds out otherwise when he fires it at a dumpster.


What is the name of the dreaded junkyard dog?

Chopper is legendary for his viciousness. But actually, he turns out to be a Golden Retriever mix. Gordie says that Chopper was his first lesson in the difference between myth and reality.


Who plays chicken with a train?

Trains, like older brothers, are very important in "Stand By Me." Not only does Ray Brower get hit by one, but Chris has to push Teddy out of the way of one. And then, a train nearly makes mincemeat out of Vern and Gordie as they're trying to get off a hundred-foot bridge ahead of one.


What happens to the boys when they wade through a pond?

The boys are appalled to find the slimy bloodsuckers on their chests, legs, and back, and hurry to pull them all off. But Gordie has it worst: he finds a leech in a very sensitive place.


What kind of food would Vern want to eat the rest of his life?

The boys discuss "important" things around the campfire, like which food they'd choose, if they could only have one food for the rest of their lives.


What other question do they hash out around the campfire?

The kissing question doesn't come up. As Gordie says, they are discussing the kinds of things that "seem important until you discover girls." Instead, they try to figure out what Walt Disney's Goofy is.


What happened when Chris tried to give back the milk money he stole?

"Mrs. Simons" took the milk money from Chris, but didn't give it back to the school. Instead, she showed up the next day wearing a very fine new skirt. Chris tells this story to Gordie in the middle of the night, as they "keep watch."


What kind of shoes did Ray Brower wear?

This is relevant because, as Gordie says, the impact from the train knocked Ray right out of his Keds. They can be seen lodged in a nearby bush.


Who pulls a gun on Ace Merrill?

Teddy is obsessed with being a soldier, and Chris brought the gun, but it's Gordie who holds off the knife-wielding Ace. Ace and his buddies want to take the body and get the credit for finding it.


How do the boys get Ray's body back to town?

In the end, Gordie says, they decided to make an anonymous phone call. Which is what Vern's older brother and his friend really should have done in the first place.


How does Castle Rock seem, according to Gordie, when they return?

Gordie implies that they've grown as a result of the journey, and Castle Rock seems smaller to their more adult eyes. Which of them will get out of Castle Rock is an important topic in the movie, and it seems like their trajectory away -- for those who will leave -- starts now.


What does Vern find in the street, the last time we see him?

This takes the movie full circle: Vern was looking for his hidden stash of pennies when he overheard his brother reveal the location of Ray Brower's body. Vern was also teased for only having seven pennies on him when the boys were kicking in money for food. So, the repeated motif of pennies reflects the smallness of Vern's mind and future life. (Deep, eh?)


What happened to Chris, that the adult Gordie was thinking about him?

Chris was stabbed while trying to break up a fight. Gordie reflects that the young Chris "always made the best peace," even though he was from a violent family and brought a gun on their hiking trip.


Which "Stand By Me" star died at age 23?

Phoenix died of a drug overdose outside Johnny Depp's L.A. nightclub, The Viper Room. His critically-acclaimed turn in "My Own Private Idaho" made it clear that Hollywood had lost an actor with significant contributions to make.


What happened to Vern as an adult?

Gordie says that Vern "married out of high school," had four kids, and operated a forklift for a town lumber yard. Vern represents the most predictable trajectory for a Castle Rock boy -- the path the other three didn't take.


What happened to Teddy as an adult?

Teddy tried several times to enlist, Gordie says, but his bad eyesight and damaged ear prevented him from doing so. After doing time (for unspecified reasons), Teddy was back doing odd jobs in Castle Rock.


Before his stabbing death, what did Chris do in adulthood?

Chris had the "boy from the wrong side of the tracks makes good" storyline. He went to college and became an attorney. Gordie says that though he hasn't seen Chris in ten years, "I know I'll miss him forever."


Who played teenage hood Ace Merrill?

Things don't always turn out like you'd expect. Nasty Ace Merrill became righteous Jack Bauer at midlife, fat kid Vern grew up to be the 6'2" titanium-cheekboned Jerry O'Connell, and River Phoenix, sadly, barely grew up at all.


Which song is NOT heard in "Stand By Me"?

This would have been a historical slip-up. Neil Diamond released "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" in 1967, after the events of the film. The song *can* be heard in Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction."


Which of the movie's four stars was born in Oregon?

Phoenix had unconventional, nomadic parents, and he was born in a log cabin in rural Madras. Fun fact: Little Madras, Oregon is having its day in the sun in 2017. Or rather, in the shadow. Madras is in the path of totality of the first full solar eclipse in north America in four decades, and people will be coming from all over the Pacific Northwest to view it.


Who directed "Stand By Me"?

Reiner also directed "Misery," which gave Kathy Bates her big break. King, who has often been dissatisfied with Hollywood's treatment of his work, has praised both "Stand By Me' and "Misery."


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