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Since its release in 1986, Stand by Me has taught generations of kids some crucial how-to’s: how to swear, how to search for a dead body and how to pull off the perfect Barf-o-Rama. At the same time, Rob Reiner’s coming-of-age classic — based on Stephen King’s 1982 novella — has also taught those same kids some big never-do’s: as in, never walk into leech-infested bogs, never taunt Kiefer Sutherland and never, ever try to cross a train trestle without knowing whether a speeding locomotive is about to bear down on you. That latter sequence is one of the movie’s standout moments, a sudden, scary brush with death that’s a harbinger of grimmer things to come.
With Stand by Me’s arrival on 4K Ultra HD today, Yahoo Entertainment is premiering a deleted scene from the train trestle sequence that provides a hint of the danger that awaits the four young heroes, played by Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell. It’s one of several never-before-seen deleted and alternate scenes making their home entertainment debut for the very first time. (Watch the scene above.)
In the sequence, the four friends have started across the trestle when wild child Teddy (Feldman) dares to venture outside the middle of the tracks to the edge that overlooks the river below. His pal, and the group’s nominal leader, Chris (Phoenix), yells at Teddy to get back in line. “I could do this in my sleep,” Teddy boasts, as Gordie (Wheaton) and Vern (O’Connell) look on nervously. Teddy ultimately moves back to the middle, but just to prove to Chris that he’s still his own man (child), Teddy starts walking backwards.
Of course, that means he can’t see the gap in the train tracks behind him until it’s too late. Teddy promptly plunges downward, grabbing onto one of the railings for dear life. He’s saved from a dip in the river by Chris, who hauls him up from a painful fall. Naturally, the young actors were never in any real danger during that scene, which was filmed along Oregon’s Great Shasta Rail Trail. Reiner himself has said that he used a 600mm lens to make the engine appear closer than it actually was. Meanwhile, the operator of the train revealed in 2016 that four women doubled for Feldman and company for the actual crossing. No matter what movie magic was involved in the making of that sequence, 33 years later, we stand by its awesomeness.
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