River Phoenix was a prodigy who made a name for himself by giving some of the most adorable and magnificent performances ever seen. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Phoenix’s skill captivated moviegoers. Phoenix has been in films such as Joe Dante’s Explorers. The iconic classic Stand By Me since he was a kid actor. Phoenix’s adult parts, such as the LGBT drama My Own Private Idaho, seemed to test audiences’ assumptions. Also expose the adventurous spectrum of his abilities. However, Phoenix’s meteoric rise in the film industry was cut short when he died tragically early in 1993, at the age of 23.

Phoenix’s memory lives on in the hearts of his family and admirers, and via the films he left behind, audiences can learn more about him. Every film in which Phoenix appeared adds another dimension or tint to his illustrious career. These five films, in particular, showcase River Phoenix at his very finest.

1. Stand By Me (1986)

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Director- Rob Reiner

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Gordie Lachance, now in his late thirties, is shock to learn of the loss of a beloved friend while reading the local newspaper. He recalls how, back in Oregon, in the scorching summer of 1959. He and three close friends, Chris, Teddy, and Vern, embarked on a life-changing expedition. The story of the death of a missing twelve-year-old child piqued their interest. They decided to follow the train lines and become heroes by first finding his body. Unfortunately, Ace Merrill and his gang of bullies, the neighbourhood tough, did as well. Growing up can be difficult at times; but, finding genuine friends can be even more difficult.

2. Running On Empty (1988)

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Director- Sidney Lumet

For years, the Popes have been unable to use their true name. In an attempt to sabotage the government’s Vietnam war campaign, the parents set a weapons lab on fire in the late 1960s. The Popes have been on the run ever since, with the authorities following closely behind. Their oldest son now wants a life of his own, despite the fact that he understands that doing so will either result in his parents being found or him never seeing them again.

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3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

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Director- Steven Spielberg

Indiana Jones, the intrepid, bullwhip-wielding archaeologist, risks life and limb on his search for his lost father, Professor Henry Jones, in 1938, only two years after his meeting with Adolf Hitler’s Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Dr Jones, with the scholar and surrogate father figure Marcus Brody, picks up where his estranged parent left off in his search for the Holy Grail in Venice, Italy, before heading to frigid Austria with the statuesque archaeologist Dr Elsa Schneider.But a perilous run-in with the SS commander, Colonel Ernst Vogel, can only add to the chaos, as the power-crazed lunatic is hell-bent on locating the precious object first.

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4. My Own Private Idaho (1991)

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Director- Gus Van Sant

Mike Waters lives on the streets and befriends Scott Favor, a somewhat older and streetwise character who teaches him how to survive. Waters has narcolepsy, which causes him to fall asleep at any time and in practically any situation. Favor is from a wealthy family and is trying to break free from his past. Waters is driven to discover his biological mother, so they travel extensively and spend time in Italy together. Favor, on the other hand, has assimilated into modern society and has little time for his old pal.

5. The Mosquito Coast (1986)

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Director- Peter Weir

Allie Fox isn’t one to follow the rules. He is a tormented genius with deep moods and a tremendous drive. He is an ardent inventor. Allie relocates his family to the Central American jungles, ostensibly on a whim, informing his children that America is “gone.” Fox’s dedication and mania might carry his family through, or it might drive them apart, as he strives to build a civilization better than the one he has abandoned.