7 Movies Like Stand by Me about Friendship and Growth

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movies like stand by me

Quite a few films have focused on teenagers’ growing identity, the pressure to wake up, and the confusion of their time. Stand by Me is a nostalgic coming-of-age classic film: several friends from a tiny Oregon town wander down the rails looking for a body. Fans are moved by the sincere friendship and intriguing adventure. Here is a top list of similar movies like Stand By Me, and we are sure you will find your next favorite.

7 Movies Like Stand by Me about Friendship and Growth

1. Big Time Adolescence

2. The Kings of Summer

3. Holes

4. The Sandlot

5. Now and Then

6. The Goonies

7. The Lost Boys

Big Time Adolescence (2019) – Streaming on Hulu

Movies Like Stand by Me: Big Time Adolescence IMDb Rating 6.9 English 1h 31m

movies like stand by me - Big Time Adolescence - 2019

Director: Jason Orley

Starring: Griffin Gluck, Larry John Meyers, Michael Devine

What it’s about: Mo, a 16-year-old teenager, has the typical strain and stress that come with high school. Mo follows the advice of his closest buddy, Zeke, as he tries to navigate the voyage with a healthy dose of naivete. However, Zeke causes trouble by beginning to teach Mo some unwelcome life lessons about trafficking drugs and, of course, the notion of sex.

Why it’s similar: Big Time Adolescence and Stand by Me have core teenage growth and friendship themes. The two reveal the confusion and self-discovery of growing up by showing the protagonist’s emotional and behavioral changes when experiencing an important turning point in life.

Review: This is a refreshing coming-of-age comedy that vividly depicts a young man’s coming-of-age through a seemingly unreliable adult best friend. The film is a humorous and heartfelt look at friendship, missed opportunities, and the importance of finding your place in the chaos.

The Kings of Summer (2013) – Rent or buy on Amazon Video and Apple TV

Movies Like Stand by Me: The Kings of Summer IMDb Rating 7.1 English 1h 35m

sad movies like stand by me - the kings of summer - 2013

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Starring: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias

What it’s about: Joe Toy, approaching puberty, is increasingly dissatisfied with his single father Frank’s attempts to run his life. He runs to the woods with his closest buddy for freedom. He declares they will construct a home there, free of obligations and parental guidance. The three young guys complete building their improvised home and enjoy themselves controlling their fate in the woods.

Why it’s similar: While exploring the process of growing up in adolescence, both films focus on the protagonists’ adventures away from the adult world to find themselves and freedom. Whether building their own home deep in the forest or traveling across the countryside in search of a missing teenager, the protagonists experience a process of self-exploration, maturation, and facing difficulties.

Review: The film profoundly explores the themes of friendship, family relationships, and growth while showing the joys, sorrows, and joys experienced by the protagonists on the road to pursuing dreams and freedom. It is a work full of warmth and inspiration that has been highly praised and recognized by the industry and beyond.

Holes (2003) – Streaming on Disney+, rent or buy on Amazon Video and Apple TV

Movies Like Stand by Me: Holes IMDb Rating 7.0 English 1h 57m

movies like stand by me on netflix - holes - 2003

Director: Andrew Davis

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight

What it’s about: Stanley is detained in Camp Green Lake, a dry lake bed amid the desert, on suspicion of stealing a set of cleats from a professional baseball player. At Camp Green Lake, each prisoner is required to dig holes daily by the covert and enigmatic Warden to “build character.” Stanley surmises that the guys are seeking something when an artifact from the famous “Kissin’ Kate” Barlow is discovered in a hole, and the Warden makes them work double time. Stanley gradually uncovers his familial curse related to the enigma of Camp Green Lake.

Why it’s similar: Both Holes and Stand by Me explore the courage and perseverance of teenagers in challenging and adventurous situations. Whether it’s Stanley’s challenges in the desert or the boys’ adventures across the countryside, both films showcase the tenacity and bravery of teenagers in the face of hardship.

Review: The film presents an unforgettable story through mysterious treasures in the desert, family mysteries, and the warmth of friendship. Director Andrew Davis_skillfully transformed the mystery and interest of the original novel into a visual miracle while emphasizing the importance of courage, tenacity, and justice through the protagonist’s growth process.

The Sandlot (1993) – Streaming on Disney+, rent or buy on Amazon Video and Apple TV

Movies Like Stand by Me: The Sandlot IMDb Rating 7.8 English 1h 41m

teen movies like stand by me - The Sandlot - 1993

Director: David Mickey Evans

Starring: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Art LaFleur

What it’s about: With his mother and stepfather, Scotty Smalls moves to a new area and decides he wants to take up baseball. He is taken under the wing by Benny Rodriguez, the neighborhood baseball instructor, and he quickly joins the baseball pals in the area. Baseball, treehouse sleepovers, a seductive lifeguard at the community pool, and a snobby rival Little League team are among the experiences they encounter. In addition, the youngsters have to cope with the renowned ball-eating dog known as the Beast, who threatens them from behind the sandlot gate. Let’s discover more intriguing movies like Stand By Me.

Why it’s similar: The two films feature teenagers who form friendships during summer adventures. Whether it’s the laughter and challenges of baseball teammates on the field in The Sandlot or the growth process of a group of boys on an adventure to find their missing friends in Stand by Me, they all emphasize the importance of friendship growth and self-discovery.

Review: The Sandlot has been widely praised in the industry and is considered a classic full of nostalgia and warmth. It successfully captured the innocence and friendship of growing up, making it an intriguing family entertainment masterpiece that continues to bring joy and excitement to the audience. 

Now and Then (1995) – rent or buy on Amazon Video and Apple TV

Movies Like Stand by Me: Now and Then IMDb Rating 6.8 English 1h 42m

Director: Lesli Linka Glatter

Starring: Christina Ricci, Demi Moore, Rosie O’Donnell

What it’s about: Roberta, Tina, Samantha, and Christina are the four smartest women from Shelby, Indiana. These best friends from infancy breezed through the heady days of truth-or-dare sessions, padded bras, and graveyard seances in the summer of 1970, their 12th birthday. That year, they learned what boys looked like in their underwear and forged a bond of friendship that has endured into adulthood.

Why it’s similar: Both two films show adults’ memories of their adolescence in the form of flashbacks. Whether it’s through the four grown women reminiscing about summer adventures as children in Now and Then or through the grown men reminiscing about the adventures of their youth in Stand by Me, both of them are imbued with a sense of nostalgic emotion.

Review: The director used a delicate technique to interweave adults’ memories of adolescence with real life, presenting the audience with a deeply touching picture. In the market, “Now and Then” has also been well received by audiences, especially among young women and nostalgic movie lovers.

The Goonies (1985) – rent or buy on Amazon Video and Apple TV

Movies Like Stand by Me: The Goonies IMDb Rating 7.7 English 1h 54m

Director: Richard Donner

Starring: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen

What it’s about: To preserve their seaside neighborhood, a group of local boyhood friends known as the Goonies begin a crazy journey. They discover an ancient map that contains hidden clues leading to the rumored riches of renowned pirate One-Eyed Willy.

Why it’s similar: Both movies feature a group of young teenagers as the protagonists, depicting their stories of growing up on adventures. Whether it’s the adventures of a group of kids searching for a treasure cache in The Goonies or the boys’ journey across the countryside searching for a missing friend in Stand by Me, both films are filled with the energy and grit of adolescence.

Review: The Goonies is a classic family adventure movie. The film was praised for its thrills, humor, and touching plot. It brought the adventure story of a group of children to life and attracted a wide audience, especially teenagers and family audiences. Its classic plot and rich character creation make it an immortal adventure classic.

The Lost Boys (1987) – Streaming on Max, rent or buy on Prime Video and Apple TV

Movies Like Stand by Me: The Lost Boys IMDb Rating 7.2 English 1h 37m

Director: Joel Schumacher

Starring: Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Dianne Wiest

What it’s about: After their parent’s divorcee, Mike and Sam are forced to go to Santa Carla, California, to live with their father due to financial difficulties. Biker crime and occasional, unexplained fatalities are a problem in this community. Sam starts to learn about the tales of vampires living in the little town until he becomes friends with two other teenagers who profess to be vampire hunters.

Why it’s similar: The Lost Boys and Stand by Me show the courage and determination of teenagers when facing unknowns and challenges. The protagonists in The Lost Boys face the threat of vampires and demonstrate their determination to fight evil and the power of friendship. The boys in Stand by Me also showed their courageous exploration of the unknown and firm belief in friendship during their adventures to find their missing friends.

Review: The Lost Boys is an iconic thriller movie. The film was praised for its unique vampire theme, exaggerated special effects, and humorous style. Director Joel Schumacher, with his unique perspective and creativity, successfully created a uniquely charming vampire world.

Conclusion: Even after thirty years, Stand by Me still makes you feel nostalgic. Because of its charming portrayal of boyhood, you’ll want to repeat this summertime journey and time. However, there are other fantastic coming-of-age sad movies like Stand by Me. These highly recommended movies will undoubtedly bring back strong nostalgia for you as well.

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