The Goonies

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The Goonies
The Goonies.jpg
Theatrical release poster by Drew Struzan
Directed by Richard Donner
Produced by
Screenplay by Chris Columbus
Story by Steven Spielberg
Music by Dave Grusin
Cinematography Nick McLean
Edited by Michael Kahn
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • June 7, 1985 (1985-06-07)(United States)
Running time
114 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$19 million
Box office$124 million [2]

The Goonies is a 1985 American adventure comedy film co-produced and directed by Richard Donner from a screenplay by Chris Columbus, based on a story by executive producer Steven Spielberg. In the film, a band of kids who live in the "Goon Docks" neighborhood of Astoria, Oregon, attempt to save their homes from foreclosure and, in doing so, they discover an old treasure map that takes them on an adventure to unearth the long-lost fortune of One-Eyed Willy, a legendary 17th-century pirate. During the adventure, they are chased by a family of criminals who want the treasure for themselves.


Produced by Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, Warner Bros. released the film theatrically on June 7, 1985 in the United States. The film grossed $124 million worldwide on a budget of $19 million and has since become a cult film. [3] [4] In 2017, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". [5] [6]


Facing foreclosure of their homes in the Goon Docks area of Astoria, Oregon, to an expanding country club, a group of children who call themselves "the Goonies" gather for a final weekend together. The Goonies include optimist lead Goonie Mikey Walsh, his older brother Brandon, the inventive Data, the talkative Mouth, and the overweight klutz Chunk.

Rummaging through the Walshes' attic, they come across a 1632 doubloon and an old treasure map purporting to lead to the treasure of legendary pirate “One-Eyed Willy” believed to be located somewhere nearby. Mikey considers “One-Eyed Willy” to be the original "Goonie." The kids evade Brandon and make their way to an abandoned restaurant on the coast that coincides with the map; Brandon soon follows alongside Andy, a cheerleader with a crush on him; and Stef, Andy's friend. The group quickly discovers the derelict restaurant is a hideout of the Fratelli crime family: Francis, Jake, and their mother Mama. The Goonies find a tunnel in the basement and follow it, but Chunk is captured by the Fratellis and imprisoned with their deformed and immensely strong younger brother Sloth. The Fratellis interrogate Chunk until he reveals where the Goonies have gone, and begin pursuit. Chunk is left behind with Sloth but befriends him. After Sloth frees both of them, Chunk calls the police and he and Sloth follow the Fratellis.

The Goonies evade several deadly booby traps along the tunnels while staying ahead of the Fratellis. Finally, they reach the grotto where Willy's pirate ship, the Inferno, is anchored. The group discovers the ship is filled with treasure and they start filling their pockets, but Mikey warns them not to take any on a set of scales in front of Willy, considering that to be their tribute to him. As they leave the ship, the Fratellis appear and strip them of their loot. They make the Goonies walk the plank until Chunk arrives with Sloth and distracts the Fratellis long enough for the Goonies to jump overboard. The Fratellis proceed to grab all the treasure they can, including those on Willy's scales; this triggers another booby trap that causes the grotto to cave in. With Sloth's help, the Goonies and Fratellis barely escape.

The two groups emerge on Astoria's beach, where they reunite with the Goonies' families and the police. The Fratellis are arrested, but Chunk prevents Sloth from also being taken; he invites Sloth to live with him, which he accepts. As the kids describe their adventure to their parents, the Walshes’ housekeeper, Rosalita discovers that Mikey's marble bag is filled with gems he took from the ship and had not been seized by the Fratellis. Mikey's father triumphantly rips up the foreclosure papers, declaring they have enough money to negate the foreclosure. As the Goonies celebrate, they see the Inferno, having broken free of the grotto, sailing off on its own in the distance.


Director Richard Donner makes a cameo appearance as a sheriff's deputy. [7] The film's cinematographer, Nick McLean, also has a cameo as Mouth's father. The part of the dead FBI agent was performed by stuntman Ted Grossman. [8]


The old Clatsop County Jail, where the scene of the Fratelli jailbreak took place. The site is now home to the Oregon Film Museum. Old Clatsop County jail - Astoria Oregon.jpg
The old Clatsop County Jail, where the scene of the Fratelli jailbreak took place. The site is now home to the Oregon Film Museum.
Much of the filming was done on location in Astoria, Oregon, the setting of the film. Astoria-Megler.JPG
Much of the filming was done on location in Astoria, Oregon, the setting of the film.

Principal photography on The Goonies began on October 22, 1984, and lasted five months. There were an additional six weeks of audio dubbing recording. [9] The shooting script was lengthy, at more than 120 pages, to which several sequences were eventually cut from the final theatrical version. During the film's dénouement, mention is made of an octopus which refers to a scene that was excised from the final cut.

In the documentary The Making of The Goonies, Richard Donner noted both the difficulties and pleasures of working with so many child actors. He praised them for their energy and excitement, but also said that they were also unruly when brought together. As a result, the documentary frequently showed him coaching the actors and revealing some techniques he used to create realistic performances. One of these tricks involved One-Eyed Willy's pirate ship, which was actually a full-sized replica of a pirate ship created under the direction of production designer J. Michael Riva. Donner restricted the actors from seeing the ship until they filmed the scene wherein it is revealed to their characters; the characters' first glimpse of the ship was also the actors' first view of it, bringing about a more realistic performance. However, that particular scene in the final cut was actually the second take, due to the cast feeling so overwhelmed at first sight that the scene had to be re-shot. It was later noted that the entire set was scrapped after shooting because they could not find anyone who wanted it. [10]

In his book There and Back Again, Sean Astin claimed that Donner and Steven Spielberg were "like co-directors" on the film as he compared and contrasted their styles when directing scenes. [11]

Some of the on-location filming was done in Astoria, Oregon. The interior and exterior of the old Clatsop County Jail features as the holding place of Jake Fratelli at the start of the film. (The building was later converted into the Oregon Film Museum, which opened on the 25th anniversary of The Goonies with memorabilia from this and other local films.) [12] The museum where Mikey's father works is, in reality, the Captain George Flavel House Museum. The Walsh family home is a real home on the eastern end of the town. [12] The road leading to the home was closed to tours in 2015. The scenes along the coast were filmed in Oregon, but they were a considerable distance from Astoria. The Goonies bicycle to Ecola State Park (in reality, over 26 miles south of Astoria) and then find the starting location of the map using Haystack Rock as a guide. Underground scenes were filmed at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California, including the cavernous set where the Goonies find One-Eyed Willy's ship, which was in Stage 16, one of the largest sound stages in the United States. [13] The final scene was shot at Goat Rock State Beach in Sonoma County, California. [14] [15] [16]

The film also marked Wes Takahashi's first major motion picture as an animation supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic. [17]

Music and soundtrack

The Goonies: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features music by Cyndi Lauper, REO Speedwagon, The Bangles, and others. The cast members (except Kerri Green) appeared alongside professional wrestlers "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and "Captain" Lou Albano in the 12 minute "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" music video. Steven Spielberg makes a cameo appearance. Lauper also has a cameo in the film, performing the song on TV, although the song was not completed until after filming.

Dave Grusin's score was unavailable for 25 years. The main theme, "Fratelli Chase," has been used in numerous trailers, such as Innerspace and Guarding Tess , and was re-recorded by Grusin and the London Symphony Orchestra for the album Cinemagic. The score makes liberal use of the Max Steiner-composed theme from Adventures of Don Juan . [18]

Soundtrack label Varèse Sarabande released the score on CD in March 2010 in a limited edition of 5,000 copies. They reissued the score on CD as a wide release in June 2019 but with the previous CD's four bonus tracks omitted. [19]


Warner Bros. released the film in cinemas across the United States on June 7, 1985.

Home media

The Goonies was first released on VHS and Betamax video in the United States in March 1986 and the LaserDisc and CED versions also debuted that year. Warner Home Video released a theatrical widescreen laserdisc on January 29, 1992. Warner Home Video released The Goonies in widescreen on Region 1 DVD on August 21, 2001. [20] [21] Warner Home Video released The Goonies on Blu-ray Disc in October 2008 in Europe and November 2010 in North America. The video is in 1080p high definition VC-1 and accompanied by a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Warner released the film on Ultra HD Blu-ray in September 2020 in North America. [22]


Critical response

Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four and called the film "a smooth mixture of the usual ingredients from Steven Spielberg action movies, made special because of the high-energy performances of the kids who have the adventures." [23] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune also awarded three stars out of four and wrote that after a dull start "some kind of minor movie miracle takes place, and 'The Goonies' gets its act together as the kids stop trading wisecracks and get closer to finding their long-lost pirate treasure, thereby to help save their parents' homes. Only then do we accept 'The Goonies' for what it is—a funny juvenile windup toy about kids in perilous, comic book situations." [24] Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that the film "has a kind of breakneck pacing that keeps it fast, funny, ingenious, entertaining, and — only a small point while the movie is in progress — almost entirely without staying power." [25] Variety called it "a dangerous Disneyland sort of a film stamped with the Steven Spielberg style of high fun. Like other Spielberg summer extravaganzas, pic is a roller coaster ride best enjoyed as it's speeding along. Once it stops to consider the sacred state of adolescence, it becomes painfully syrupy." [26] Michael Wilmington of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film "resembles nothing so much as a wildly exaggerated fun-fair ride, one that keeps comically exposing you to dangers, comically pulling you away, then, finally, with a shivering plop, deposits you on dry land, in the bosom of your family." [27] Paul Attanasio of The Washington Post called it "an artfully crafted movie, thrumming with energy and sometimes wit, and utterly uninvolving for anyone over the age of 12." [28]

Colin Greenland reviewed The Goonies for White Dwarf #73, and stated that "The Goonies I was unable to enjoy because of a bunch of kids yelling and screaming all the way through. Not the audience, the actors." [29]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 76% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 58 reviews and 91% of the audience giving it a positive review; the average rating is 6.32/10. The critical consensus: "The Goonies is an energetic, sometimes noisy mix of Spielbergian sentiment and fun-house tricks that will appeal to kids and nostalgic adults alike." [30] At Metacritic it has a rating score of 62 based on 13 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [31]

Box office

The Goonies grossed $9 million in its opening weekend in the U.S., second on the charts behind Rambo: First Blood Part II . [32] It grossed $63.4 million in the United States and Canada, placing it among the top ten highest-grossing films of 1985 [33] and $60.6 million overseas for a worldwide gross of $124 million. [2]


Ramsey won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as "Mama" Fratelli. [34] At the 7th Youth in Film Awards (now known as Young Artist Awards), Astin's portrayal of Mikey won the award for Best Starring Performance By a Young Actor in a Motion Picture. Cohen, Feldman, and Plimpton were also nominated for awards for their performances in The Goonies. The film itself was nominated for best adventure motion picture. [35]


Special anniversary events for the film, hosted by the city of Astoria, have drawn about 10,000 to 15,000 visitors. [36] The home used for the Walsh family has become a tourist attraction, receiving between 1,200 and 1,500 visitors a day during the summer of the 30th anniversary. As a result, in August 2015 the residents and owners of the home, their neighbors, and the city of Astoria took steps to limit public access to the home. [37]


On April 27, 2020, through his YouTube channel, Josh Gad aired a virtual cast reunion via Zoom as the first episode of Gad's "Reunited Apart", a charity fundraising effort during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Goonies reunion supporting the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. All of the living primary cast participated, with the event dedicated to the cast members who have since died. In addition to the cast, director Richard Donner, producer Steven Spielberg, and writer Chris Columbus were also present, and even Cyndi Lauper made an appearance. [38] [39]

On December 5, 2020, the cast had another virtual reunion, this time for a live reading of the full movie script that was broadcast on multiple social media outlets. The characters whose original actors had died were played by other actors including Josh Gad as Sloth, Jean Smart as Mama Fratelli and Kristen Bell as Irene Walsh. Cary Elwes served as the narrator. The event earned over $130,000 in donations for the charity No Kid Hungry. [40] [41]

Video games

Datasoft produced a Goonies video game for Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit family and Apple II in 1985, which was later ported to the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC by U.S. Gold. [42] [43] This game features eight screens in which a player had to use two members of the Goonies group to solve puzzles and reach an exit to advance to the next stage. The screens were largely inspired by actual sets and puzzles seen in the film. A reference to the aforementioned "octopus scene" is included, as the seventh level.

In 1986, Japanese game developer Konami created two versions of The Goonies for the MSX ( The Goonies ) in Japan and Europe, and Family Computer ( The Goonies ) in Japan. The Goonies II was also released on the Famicom (and its international counterpart, the Nintendo Entertainment System). The Goonies II was released in North America, Europe and Australia, although the original was one of the NES games released as part of the Nintendo VS. System arcade machine in the 1980s. The Goonies II has little to do with the film. In it, the Fratellis have kidnapped all the Goonies (except Mikey, whom the player guides) and have hidden them in cages across a terrain of caverns, mazes and abandoned buildings. As Mikey, the player must rescue them all and ultimately free a mermaid named Annie. Mikey was also a playable character in Konami's 1988 Famicom title Wai Wai World , which included a Goonies-themed level.

In February 2007, Chrysler's Jeep division sponsored The Goonies: Return to Astoria, a Flash-based online game developed by Fuel Industries. The player's goal is to collect map pieces and doubloons, and then race the Fratellis to One-Eyed Willy's treasure. [44] [45]

A Goonies level pack for Lego Dimensions was released on May 9, 2017. The pack includes a Sloth minifigure and constructable Pirate Ship and Skeleton Organ, and unlocks a bonus level that adapts the plot of the film. [46]

Proposed sequels and adaptations

We tried really hard, and Steven (Spielberg) said, 'Let's do it.' We had a lot of young writers submit work, but it just didn't seem to call for it.

—Richard Donner [47]

The possibility of a film sequel has been confirmed and denied many times over the years by the original cast and crew. Donner said that he had a story he liked and Spielberg behind him, but in 2004 several of the actors from the original revealed that Warner Bros., the film's owner, had shown no interest in a sequel. [48] Sean Astin told MTV in October 2007 that Goonies 2 "is an absolute certainty ... The writing's on the wall when they're releasing the DVD in such numbers." [49] Donner has expressed doubt that a sequel will ever happen, as many of the actors had not shown interest in returning for one. [50] Corey Feldman stated in his November 25, 2008 blog post, "NO! There is no Goonies 2! I'm sorry but it's just not gonna happen .... Course now that I've said that, they'll do it." [51] However, on the July 2010 release of The Making of a Cult Classic: The Unauthorized Story of The Goonies DVD, [52] Richard Donner states a sequel to The Goonies is a "definite thing" and will involve as much of the old cast as possible. "It will happen," says Donner. "We've been trying for a number of years." [53] On April 5, 2014, Richard Donner revealed a sequel is in the works, and he hopes to bring back the entire cast. [54] In the 2020 reunion event, Spielberg stated "Chris, Dick and I — and Lauren [Shuler Donner] — have had a lot of conversations about [a sequel]...Every couple of years we come up with an idea but then it doesn't hold water". [39]

Rumors of adaptations and sequels in other media took off in 2007, including a comic book miniseries, [55] an animated television series and a musical adaptation of the film. Corey Feldman said he was asked to reprise the role of Mouth in an animated series that would feature the original Goonies characters as adults and focus on the adventures of a new set of kids. [56] Apparently, this project was briefly in the works for Cartoon Network before being shelved. [57] Entertainment Weekly reported in March 2007 on a potential musical adaptation of the film. "Steven and I have discussed it, and it's something that I'm fairly passionate about right now," Donner says. [58] Variety reported in October 2008 that Donner had met with Broadway entertainment attorney John Breglio, and is "confident things are moving in the right direction." [47] As of May 2011, the musical was still in the beginning stages, but Donner was hopeful that an "irreverent" script would be completed by October. [59]

On February 12, 2020, Fox ordered a pilot for a drama series from Sarah Watson, creator of The Bold Type , about a woman helping film students create a shot-for-shot remake of The Goonies. Greg Mottola is attached as director, and as executive producer along with Richard Donner and his wife, Lauren Shuler Donner. [60]

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