Top 30 Stephen King Movies, Ranked

From haunted hotels to prison-yard blues, 'Carrie' to 'Christine' – the major adaptations of the iconic author's work, from worst to best

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'Stand By Me' (1986)
30
Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix REX4/30

4. 'Stand By Me' (1986)

He's a modern master of horror-lit – and yet two of the strongest big-screen adaptations of the genre's most popular purveyor don't even try to be scary. Just like The Shawshank Redemption, the plot of this coming-of-age classic originated in King's eclectic (and excellent) 1982 collection Different Seasons, and eschews vampires, killer dogs, and haunted hotels in favor of a low-key, personal story about four small-town boys in the late 1950s, played by stars-to-be River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell. As the kids take a dangerous hike to go look at a dead body, they share one last moment of camaraderie and bonding, before they get pulled apart by class differences and teenage angst. Rob Reiner gives it just the right touch of wistfulness and wonder, as well as somehow bringing the story's anecdotal centerpiece – a pie-eating contest that ends in copious vomiting – to the screen with all its technicolor grossness intact. Kudos, sir. NM

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