1. Stand By Me (1986)
Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell
"I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12. Jesus, does anyone?" An older man's observations on the virtues of young friendship set the tone for the timeless story (based on Stephen King's "The Body") that follows a ragtag crew of kids on a quest to become local heroes by finding the body of missing boy.
Their coming-of-age story is the kind of adventure you can only have on a summer vacation, when long nights and possibility-filled days create crystallized memories you'll recall in detail for the rest of your life. Four kids who find themselves during the length of a break from school could read as too convenient, that is, if it weren't so remarkably relatable. —SC