Stand By Me

Movie: Directed by Rob Reiner.

Inciting Event: Vern brings word to Gordie and his other friends that he overheard the whereabouts of a missing boy’s dead body, somewhere in the woods about 30 miles away. This is the beginning of their adventure (up to this moment there is no adventure at all). They immediately decide to lie to their parents and spend the next few days hiking and camping in search of the body.

First Plot Point: The boys all join up and leave town.

Even though it happens a little early in the timeline, this is clearly the First Plot Point—a departure from the Normal World and an entry into the Adventure World.

First Pinch Point: After the junkyard manager’s dog Chopper chases the boys out of their resting place, the manager himself works one of the boys, Teddy, into hysteria with his cruel comments about Teddy’s mentally unstable father. The boys drag Teddy away and continue on their trip, but the moment affects them all. Gordie experiences his own pinch when his best friend Chris forces him to face the truth that his father cared more about his dead older brother. Chris’s pinch is much more understated in his cavalier despair over his poor chances for improving his life through education.

Midpoint: The boys camp out overnight, which provides a nice delineation between the first day of the movie’s first half and the second day of the second half. The campfire reflections and confessions also provide a number of nice Moments of Truth for all the characters, most notably Chris (who reveals his pain over people’s willingness to believe him the “bad kid”) and Gordie (who wakes from a nightmare about his dead brother).

Second Pinch Point: Halfway through the woods, the boys find themselves covered in leeches after falling in a slough. The experience is traumatic, but the true force of the pinch comes within Gordie and his increasing, almost obsessive, need to see the dead body.

We also, see the exterior antagonist—the wise guy Ace and his gang learning about the body and coming for it, setting up the climactic confrontation.

Third Plot Point: The boys find the body. Although not, in itself, a low moment for the boys, this is, of course, a moment dripping with the symbolic power of death, as Gordie finally has to face his grief for his dead brother.

Climax: Ace and his gang show up. When Chris refuses to let them take credit for finding the body, Ace threatens to knife Chris. Gordie intervenes, determined to shoot Ace if necessary.

Climactic Moment: Gordie makes the call to leave the body and call in an anonymous tip about its whereabouts, instead of trying to take credit for finding it.

Resolution: The boys return home and contemplate their futures and their friendships. The present-day narrator recounts their fates and finishes writing the story of their adventures.

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