* AdaptationDisplacement: Not a lot of people know the novella the movie is based on.
* HarsherInHindsight: Creator/RiverPhoenix's character in the film dies an untimely death. Phoenix slowly fades into the scenery and vanishes.
** Gordie and Chris' friendship becomes this as Creator/WilWheaton and Creator/RiverPhoenix's real-life friendship fell apart by the early 90s.
* HilariousInHindsight: Meta example. Creator/RobReiner seemed to be fine with the kid gang portrayed smoking mainly because it happened in the book. 17 years later Reiner who is now known as one of the biggest advocates of anti smoking gets parodied in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''.
** During the campfire scene, Gordie says "Wagon Train is a cool show and all, but they never get anywhere. They just keep...[[ShapedLikeItself wagon-training]]." The next year Creator/WilWheaton would, of course, become a cast member on Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration . Franchise/StarTrek was described (and pitched) by Creator/GeneRoddenberry as "Wagon Train to the stars."
* HoYay: Are Chris and Gordie [[HeterosexualLifePartners like brothers]] or a couple?
* JerkassWoobie: Teddy is short-tempered, obnoxious, cruel and nasty but his homelife sounds so horrible you can't help but feel for him.
* MoralEventHorizon: When Ace is about to knife Chris.
* NauseaFuel: The "Lard-Ass" story, and the leeches.
* TheWoobie: Gordie, who by the end of the film has lost the only two people who ever really cared about him, and Chris, who works incredibly hard to make something of himself only to be cut down for a stupid reason by a thug.
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