Stand By Me film paired with yummy campfire recipes

Image: Yummly

Image: Yummly

Starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix & Corey Feldman

Rating 9/10


– What? You haven’t seen this film? Well, here’s the plot… Writer, Gordie (Richard Dreyfuss) returns to his childhood town after hearing his old best mate had been murdered.
– We then flashback to when Gordie (now Wheaton) is a boy of about 12-years-old. He’s got three close friends, Chris (Phoenix), Teddy (Feldman) and Vern (Jerry O’Connell).
– Sitting in a pretty cool treehouse, the fellas find out from token fat kid, Vern that his brother had found a missing teenager’s body down river somewhere.
– Catching a whiff of adventure, the boys decide to head out in search for the body.
– But super-bully “Ace” Merrill (Kiefer Sutherland) finds out about the dead kid and starts searching for him too, wanting the glory of the find all to himself.
– The awesome foursome, however, are ahead and having encountered a mental junk yard dog (and owner) and spent one scary night in the forest (gun in hand), the boys are focussed and determined to get there first.
– They tell stories by the campfire, share their deepest fears and hurts (sounds girly but its not) and enjoy the experience of boys becoming men (insert ‘grunt’ here).
– At last they reach the dead boy and he’s dead alright. After being hit by a train the poor bugger was thrown into some bushes. But no sooner do the boys make their gruesome discovery, Ace and his gang turn up, demanding to take the body to town.
– Chris gets threatened and Gordie stands up to Ace (with a gun!) and Ace backs off, as you would.
– The boys then head to town, without the body but call in an anonymous tip. Their friendships have been solidified and they come back to town as new people, strengthened and more positive about their futures.
– Flash-forward to grown-up Gordie who, like Chris predicted, has become a successful writer. You learn the fates of the other boys as well but I shan’t give that away!


I just loved the campfire scene in this movie, so I thought, what would the boys LOVE to eat (although they probably didn’t but dream with me here). And I came up with a deliciously smokey menu starting with Campfire Popcorn Satchels from Real Simple. How good would this taste on a chilly night in the great outdoors?!


Wow, this film rocked. Loved it. I actually dreaded watching it to be honest. I thought it would be a lot sadder, heavier than it was. Yeah, there’s a dead kid, a murder and bullies but it was a lot more uplifting than I had remembered.

For starters the four young actors played their parts incredibly well, especially as it was O’Connell’s first ever movie. Good job young fella. This movie is based on a story by the incredible Stephen King who based it on his own experiences (to some extent) growing up with his mates. And you can see that this has come from a quality writer with a personal story. It was also personal for the director, Rob Reiner who had similar father issues (like Chris) and great friends to help fill in the spaces his dad wasn’t able to satisfy.

The action, the humour, the coming-of-age story combines to make this an unmissable classic. I’m so glad I included it in my Top 100 Movies, because it really is one of the best films of my generation. It’s incredibly poignant at the end (spoiler alert!) (look away now) (ready?) when the boy-version of Chris disappears like a ghost. He was played by River Phoenix who also passed away all too soon. So that scene is so moving for more reasons than one.

Please, please, please if you haven’t seen this movie, check it out! It’s so 80s, so well written and directed. You’ll love it!

Main meal:

When you’re scared, 12-years-old and all alone in the wild, a super-comforting meal would have to be Campfire Chili in a Dutch Oven (from Yummly). Although I doubt they carried a Dutch oven with them, we can nab one from someone and make it, can’t we? Yup!

Image: Yummly

Image: Yummly

Stand By Me trivia:

  • Budget – $8 million! Why, that’s like small change these days!
  • Boy oh boy, I have SO much to tell you (nothing like watching the ‘making of’ bit in special features to give you awesome inside info, so here I go…)
  • The four boys were brought together two weeks before filming to do a kind of acting boot camp but more fun. Reiner wanted to teach them basic acting skills through theatre sports and such and make them all good friends. Which worked!
  • The running away from the train on the bridge scene was hard work! Wheaton and Connelly just didn’t look scared enough and the Dolly grip fellas were tired so Reiner uncharacteristically lost his temper with them and they started crying and he yelled “Roll tape!” (or whatever directors yell when they start filming).
  • Reiner said this film has to be one of his favourites to make because he related so much to the boys and their experiences.
  • Wheaton said they were all scared of Kiefer Sutherland. But that was his plan all along, to intimidate them so their fear was real on screen. Clever, mean but clever.
  • The pond was man made (in a real forest) but many months past before the boys actually used it, so it was pretty disgusting.
  • Cigarettes that the boys smoked weren’t real but made from cabbage leaves.
  • The leach scene really happened to Stephen King when he was a kid.
  • Phoenix went for the part of Gordie but Reiner thought he’d be better as Chris! Good work Robbo!
  • The film was so important to Reiner that he named his production company after the town the film was set in… Castle Rock.
  • The boys hadn’t seen the ‘dead’ kid until shooting of that scene started. That’s why they look genuinely shocked.


Hubby and I did a camping trip through Canada a good ten or so years ago and one of our favourite campfire desserts was Banana Boats (from Cafe Zupas). Gooey banana, chocolate and marshmallow all held together in the charred remains of a banana skin. It was delicious. Give this one a go yourself.

Image: Cafe Zupas

Image: Cafe Zupas

Which film would be on your top 100 movie list?

Want more? Here are some more great film and food matches to try: