It's hard to pick what could ostensibly be writer/director Rob Reiner's best film, but for one fan during a recent AMA with Reiner, the choice was Stand By Me. The film meant a lot to said fan, as they had shared it as a favorite with their recently deceased brother. Not only was the director moved to tears because of this family memory, but Reiner also considers it his career-favorite movie. Reiner told the fan:
Just hearing what you had to say makes me cry. The film also means a lot to me. It's my favorite film of all the films I've made. And I'm so glad that you have these feelings about it as well.
Our of a career that gave the world such films as This Is Spinal Tap, Misery, and even The Princess Bride, it's a bit of a surprise that Stand By Me would be the movie that Rob Reiner would choose to be his favorite. At least, that's how it looks from where I'm standing. It's not that the first of two Stephen King adaptations that Reiner would eventually direct isn't a good film. In fact, it's still a certified classic among fans of both Rob Reiner and Stephen King, as well as film fans in general.
But, if anyone would know his cinematic creation, it'd be Rob Reiner himself. The third film in his career, Stand By Me was a particularly difficult movie to make, as he was the second director hired on the project and it was almost canceled at the last minute. At that point, This Is Spinal Tap wasn't the cult classic that it eventually would become, which made this project his first critical and box office hit. Better still, Stand By Me went on to become a contender in that year's awards circuit, officially putting Rob Reiner on the A-list of directorial powers-that-be. He truly has had this particular movie to thank for allowing a lot of his future career to happen.
While some of his films may be more readily remembered for their mass appeal, Stand By Me is truly a labor of love that jump-started a career that eventually gave Rob Reiner the chance to make the other notable films in his filmography. Without the success of Stand By Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, or Misery may not exist in their current forms, if at all. So much like Rob Reiner, and all others who have a special fondness for Stand By Me, we come away from this experience with a greater understanding for just what made that coming-of-age classic so special.