It's hard being separated from our besties at the moment, but we can always take comfort from our favourite films. To celebrate National Make a Friend Day, here are several unforgettable gems that will make you cherish your nearest and dearest.
1. Stand By Me (1986)
Author Stephen King lauds this as being among the best adaptations of his work, and it's not hard to see why. Atypically sensitive and lacking in horror, King's story is about the friendship shared between a group of pre-adolescent friends in 1950s America. Together, they set off to find a dead body by the railway tracks, an adventure that begins on an unassuming note, only to eventually blossom into a rites-of-passage odyssey replete with revelations and recriminations.
Director Rob Reiner elicits a beautiful sense of time and place in his film adaptation, and triumphs with his central casting. River Phoenix, Will Wheaton, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Conell share the kind of palpably realistic chemistry that strikes a universal chord, alternating between antagonism, teasing and genuinely deep-seated affection.
2. Toy Story (1995)
Best Disney-Pixar duo of all time? That's something of a loaded question. However, there's no denying that Woody and Buzz Lightyear were the first. The first-ever feature-length CGI animation was built on the foundations of a timeless friendship, albeit one that started on a decidedly frosty note. But hey, lots of friendships in real life have started in similar ways, correct?
Tom Hanks' drawling cowboy Woody at first cannot abide that Tim Allen's glitzy space-ranger Buzz has become owner Andy's new favourite toy. This squabbling eventually causes the two toys to fall into the hands of neighbourhood bully Sid, by which point they realise they have to work together to escape. The contrasting vocal performances from Hanks and Allen, the difference in physical mannerisms between Woody and Buzz, and the gentle exploration of a deep-seated friendship forged in the fires of competition make this an enduring family classic.
3. The Iron Giant (1999)
Now, here's a brilliant story of friendship that didn't get the attention it deserved back in 1999. Adapted from Ted Hughes' story, The Iron Giant is a pleasingly retro, hand-drawn animation about the bond between a young boy and an outcast giant robot. Their growing connection comes amidst escalating 1950s paranoia, and the Army is closing in attempting to locate the whereabouts of the Iron Giant.
Directed by Brad Bird (who would go on to direct Disney-Pixar's Ratatouille, and others), this is one of the most sincere, affecting friendship movies ever made. It acts as a stirring reminder that friendships can emerge from anywhere, at any time, even if they fly in the face of social convention. Vin Diesel's vocal performance as the title character, boomingly resonant yet endearing, seals the deal.
4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)
The entire Harry Potter franchise is built on the friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione. However, as these are difficult times at the moment, we wanted to divert you towards the happiest, most upbeat chapter in the series, in which the three Hogwarts students meet and bond for the first time.
J.K. Rowling's wizarding world came alive under the direction of Chris Columbus, an eye-popping treat of magical marvels laced with nostalgic British public school tradition. But the real reason why it works is because of the chemistry between the three leads. Inexperienced stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint had to shoulder a significant burden, selling audiences on plausible, likeable relationships in the midst of much fantastical mayhem. They succeeded with aplomb, and it was fascinating seeing how the character dynamics, and acting styles, deepened and darkened as the franchise progressed.
5. Booksmart (2019)
Here's a friendship movie that's decidedly not kid-friendly. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever are riotously funny as the academic bookworms determined to go hog-wild on their final night of high-school before graduation. They want to prove that straight-A students can have just as much fun as everyone else, the resulting nighttime adventure criss-crossing Martin Scorsese's After Hours with the anarchic spirit of Bridesmaids.
From bad drug trips that render the two leads as Barbie dolls to angry recriminations at a long-sought house party, Booksmart hits the highs and lows felt in every friendship around the world. For all its knockabout humour, the movie (directed by Olivia Wilde in her feature film debut) is rooted in something very real, and we have the two excellent leads to thank for it being so convincing.
What's your favourite friendship movie? Tweet us your favourites @Cineworld.