Stand By Me

Posted: September 6, 2011 in homosexuality, Identity, Masculinities
Tags: ,

I loved the film Stand By Me. I think I loved it more than I admitted to myself. And it wasn’t just because it includes a very young, very beautiful River Phoenix. Reading Male Impersonators by Mark Simpson recently, I began to realise what had touched me so much about the film. Simpson discusses it, along with Taps (1981), and Memphis Belle (1986), in his chapter: ‘Don’t Die On Me Buddy’, about homo-erotics and men’s love of each other as expressed in war films.  I won’t try and summarise it because I really couldn’t do it justice. As Paul who reads and comments on both this blog and Mark Simpson’s has said:

‘One [chapter] I keep returning to in my mind is called, I think, “Don’t Die On Me Buddy,” which is stunning. I remember reading that for the first time–as with other essays in that book too–and thinking, “literally no one else is saying this.”’


  1. paul says:

    Thanks so much for transcribing this! I had remembered the core and a number of the phrases, but really nice to have it again. (Really must get another copy of the book.) The essay is so brilliant, surely the best thing written on the war film. And great writing too.

    • It is great. I felt a bit of a lump in my throat transcribing the poem at the end, especially. The love of men for each other, as they go to their deaths, that they can’t express in civilian life is a bit too much for this old dame!

  2. Matthew says:

    Very beautiful. I have written on the same theme of the perverse desire to die as a hero and to be loved as a hero by other men, as if homoeroticism can only be expressed in this way as a willing sacrifice. To die in order to be finally loved be other men. Is this the reality behind the pursuit of masculinity. I know that as an athlete I loved the attention of both men and women in their adoration of me. And the feeling that I could have anyone of them.

    • I think athletes have a ‘soldier’ like quality – eg Chariots of Fire.

      I had this weird daydream about me being in a relay race and I was taking the baton from someone, a man, we were alone on a racetrack, but the baton was a cock, and I took it and I just kept on running…

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