The release of the Netflix series Stranger Things tapped into a place many of us had forgotten: the joy of the kid-focused adventure movie. While an excellent TV series on its own, this show felt inspired by some of the classic childhood adventure movies of the past. From Adventures in Babysitting to The NeverEnding Story, we longed for the days of watching children our own age embarking on an adventure far beyond our reach. And, the movie at the heart of such childhood adventures is The Goonies.
Released back in 1985, The Goonies became etched in the hearts of '80s kids everywhere. Although much of the cast has moved on to other careers or even expanded upon their Hollywood resume, you cannot help but get pulled back into The Goonies world whenever you see one of its former stars. Admit it, you still get pumped when you hear that infamous motto “Goonies Never Say Die!”
However, instead of re-living the story of The Goonies, we want to expand on the little-known facts and trivia behind one of the great childhood adventure movies of our generation. Grab your treasure map and your Superman shirt and explore the 16 Things You Never Knew About The Goonies.
16 The Movie Was Steven Spielberg's Idea
Director Steven Spielberg has been the driving force behind some of today’s most cherished movies. Starting his directorial career back in 1968, Spielberg created such classics as Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. However, the 1980s brought about some of the most beloved cult movies that fans still love to watch to this day.
The idea for The Goonies originated with Spielberg, and he hired his protégé, filmmaker Chris Columbus (Gremlins, Home Alone), to write the screenplay. Richard Donner was brought on to direct the film, however, that did not stop Spielberg from participating too.
Though listed as the producer for the movie, Spielberg also got behind the camera to direct a scene or two. However, the majority of the directing of the film was left in the capable hands of Donner.
15 Easter Eggs and References
Directors are notorious for placing hidden jokes, messages, and Easter eggs throughout their projects to connect them to their earlier work. The Goonies is filled with such references provided by both Steven Spielberg and Richard Donner.
When Sloth revealed his Superman shirt with the accompanying theme song, the reference connected directly to Donner’s previous projects as director of Superman and parts of Superman II. The two directors’ love for 007 was included in the personality of the character Data (and displayed on his gadget belt).
Other references include the use of a pipe organ which was also employed in Young Sherlock Holmes. Last but not least, the infamous Indiana Jones fedora was worn by character Jake Fratelli through most of the movie.
14 The Goonies Exists In The Gremlins Universe
Thanks to the combined efforts of Chris Columbus and Steven Spielberg, the world was introduced to the adorable Gizmo and the ever-troublesome Gremlins. The brainchild of Columbus, the original spec was created just to demonstrate his writing abilities. However, Spielberg took an interest in the story and worked as executive producer on the movie.
With both of their connections to The Goonies movie, it’s no wonder that this perfect movie link was included in the film. In a basement scene where Chunk tried to call the police to report a murder, the Sheriff immediately dismissed his call as another one of his outlandish pranks: "Just like that last prank about all those little creatures that multiply when you throw water on them?” Sound familiar?
Either this served as an Easter Egg from Spielberg or the two movies existed in the same universe. Gremlins in Astoria? How awesome would that be?
13 First and Last Movie Appearances for Two of the Actors
Josh Brolin has been making a name for himself in various comic book universes. He has starred in Jonah Hex from the DC Comics world and in Sin City: A Dame to Kill for from Dark Horse Comics. Now, he portrays two characters in the Marvel Comics Universe: as Thanos and Cable. It’s surprising to see how far his career has come since his first big screen debut as Brandon "Brand" Walsh in The Goonies. To this day, Brolin is proud of his portrayal and recently dressed up as his character too.
As Brolin got his Hollywood start with this movie, actor Jeff Cohen (who played Lawrence "Chunk" Cohen) starred in his one and only movie role. After portraying the unforgettable “Truffle Shuffle” master, Cohen starred in a few made-for-TV movies and TV shows, including roles on Family Ties and Wonderful World of Disney. However, Cohen chose to attend college and left his acting career behind. These days, Cohen works as a successful entertainment attorney.
12 Sloth Actor was a Former NFL Football Player
The lovable and misunderstood Sloth easily became one of the audience’s favorite characters in The Goonies. Surprisingly, the actor that portrayed him was also well-known on the football field too.
Sloth actor John Daniel "Tooz" Matuszak was an NFL defensive end and the #1 draft pick in 1973. Though he got his start with the Houston Oilers, he also played for additional teams including the Houston Texans, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Washington Redskins. Matuszak finally finished his career with the Oakland Raiders from 1976 – 1982.
After retiring from the NFL, he began his full-time acting career and starred in numerous movies and tv shows. However, his role in The Goonies became the standout role of his career. As a special nod to his NFL career, Sloth can be seen wearing an Oakland Raisers shirt in several scenes throughout the movie.
11 Candid Moment: The Pirate Ship Scene
Some of the greatest movie moments have come from candid reactions on film. Although audiences may not be aware of it at the time, learning about an actor’s natural reaction adds more depth and sincerity to a scene. It can also make for interesting behind-the-scenes stories.
In The Goonies, the child actors were not given details about the ship scene (which turned out to be a full-sized mockup ship). Donner did this to ensure he got a genuine reaction from them. However, the response was a bit too real, resulting in many of the children cursing at that sight of the giant pirate ship. The version used in the movie was actually the second take.
Sadly, this was the only appearance of that huge ship. Though the production crew tried to find a buyer for the ship, no one was interested. One-Eyed Willy's ship was ultimately destroyed.
10 The Treasure Map from the Movie Was Thrown Away
The Goonies’ adventure began with the discovery of an old doubloon and One Eyed Willy’s treasure map leading to his hoard. The prop map itself had been created by the Oscar-nominated production designer J. Michael Rivera.
Known for his exceptional work on projects including The Color Purple, A Few Good Men, and The Amazing Spider-Man, Riva put dedicated effort into creating a realistic, weathered map. To give it that old effect, he treated it with coffee and even (reportedly) his own blood. That is true dedication.
So, where is that map today? In the trash! Actor Sean Astin (who played Mikey) was allowed to keep the map. However, several years after the film was released, his mother (legendary actress Patty Duke) thought that it was a scrap of paper and tossed it in the trash! Another piece of Goonies memorabilia that is gone forever.
9 One-Eyed Willy’s Skull Was Real
The Goonies production department went above and beyond when it came to the props for the movie. We have already discussed the full-sized model ship and the authentic blood-soaked treasure map. These detailed touches added to the believability of these essential plot elements. Another added realistic touch? The skull of One-Eyed Willy (whose full name was William B. Pordobell). The skull was made from real human bone.
Good news! This movie keepsake was not disposed of after production. Director Richard Donner has it safely in his hands. He also kept a model of Willy’s ship that was used in the movie (specifically at the end of the film). Also, this particular model also holds an impressive Star Wars connection. There is a mini R2-D2 hidden right on the deck.
8 Child Actors’ Real Parents Used in the Movie
It’s not uncommon for a movie set to employ its own crew to stand in for certain scenes when extras are unavailable. The Mos Eisley scene from Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope is known for having used members of the crew for its reshoots in Los Angeles. In The Goonies, members of the crew also filled in where needed.
According to IMDB, “Some of the crew members played extras in the film. One cameraman played Mouth's father. Another played the dead man in the freezer. And an assistant director plays one of the cops on the AV scooters on the beach at the end.”
Moreover, while some of the crew played the kids’ parents, some of their real parents were used in the beach reunion scene too. For example, you will see actor Jeff Cohen’s real-life mother in the scene.
7 The Cut Octopus Scene and Song
During the end of The Goonies, Data makes an unusual comment in reference to the kids’ adventures. In the movie, he told a news reporter, “The octopus was scary!” Though the line was left in by mistake, it does reference a real scene.
Apparently, a very short octopus scene was cut from the film and never used. During the scene in which the kids find the pirate ship, an octopus kept brushing up against Stef’s legs. Thinking it is Mouth getting fresh with her, she turned around and slapped him. At that point, the octopus revealed itself and grabbed her. After a struggle, Data came to the rescue and shoved his cassette player into its mouth. The octopus then “dances” away.
Yeah, there was a reason this was cut from the movie. Strangely, this scene has aired in the cable TV version of the movie. In addition to the cut scene, the soundtrack song “8 Arms to Hold You" by The Goon Squad was also removed from the film after the track performed poorly.
6 The Cut Goonies Oath and The Kids' Real Names
Goonies fans have always known the quote, “Goonies Never Say Die” as the official motto and can recite it by heart. However, there was actually an official Goonies Oath that was supposed to be in the film but was cut.
The oath goes, "I will never betray my goon dock friends/ We will stick together until the whole world ends/ Through heaven and hell, and nuclear war/ Good pals like us, will stick like tar/ In the city, or the country, or the forest, or the boonies/ I am proudly declared a fellow Goonie." In the years following the film’s release, many companies have created merchandise for The Goonies movie that included this lost oath.
Speaking of lost Goonies information, most of the Goonies’ full names go unmentioned during the film since their nicknames were mainly used. In case you were wondering, their names were Michael Walsh - Mikey; Clark Devereaux - Mouth; Richard Wang - Data; Brandon Walsh - Brand; Lawrence Cohen - Chunk; Andrea Theresa Carmichael - Andy; Stephanie Steinbrenner - Stef; and Lotney Fratelli - Sloth.
5 The Epic Cyndi Lauper/ WWF Music Video Collaboration
The Goonies: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack brought together some of the great musicians from throughout musical history. The album included tracks from Luther Vandross, The Bangles, Teena Marie and REO Speedwagon.
However, the most popular song from the soundtrack belonged to 1980s darling Cyndi Lauper who also served as musical director for the album. Her song “The Goonies 'R' Good Enough” made it to the #10 spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was certified Platinum. The accompanying music video included the cast of The Goonies, a rare cameo from Steven Spielberg and plenty of World Wrestling Federation wrestlers.
The extensive list included Captain Lou Albano, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Wendi Richter, The Fabulous Moolah, The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Freddie Blassie, and André the Giant. This video also served as an introduction of the relatively unknown group The Bangles to the music scene.
4 Dedicated Goonies Day and Annual Celebrations
No town is more grateful and proud of The Goonies than Astoria, Oregon. Some of the movie’s filming actually took place in the city and incorporated many building still there today. Goonies fans flock to the city to tour the movie locations each year. The old Clatsop County Jail that was used in the film has been converted into the Oregon Film Museum and opened on the 25th Anniversary of the film.
In honor of the city’s connection to the movie, June 7th was declared by the Mayor of Astoria for the anniversary as well in 2010. Since then, the town holds annual celebrations in honor of the '80s classic. Activities include self-guided tours of the museum, the Walsh family home, and Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach (which served as a guide for the start of the map in the movie). The larger 25th and 30th Anniversary celebrations have even included cast and crew members in attendance.
3 Novelization of the Movie
After the success of the film upon its release in 1985, Warner Bros took steps to continue to monetize on the movie. In that same year, they reached out to writer James Kahn to create the novelization of the film. In the past, Kahn was responsible for the novelized versions of Poltergeist, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. In fact, Spielberg gave him his first novelization project after receiving a copy of one of his novels.
The Goonies novel is mostly told from the perspective of the character Mikey, with Chunk taking over narration briefly. According to Brandedinthe80s.com, “The text is bookended by excerpts from local Astoria newspaper articles, first detailing the escape of Jake Fratelli, and later covering the “rescue” of the kids, the arrests and prosecution of the Fratelli gang…” They also noted that, “The last article is a notice of the Bar Mitzvah for Jason “Sloth” Cohen, the newly adopted son of Mr. & Mrs. Jerry Cohen. So I guess Chunk made good on his promise to have Sloth come live with him…”
Aww! Though it is hard to find the original 1985 editions, you can find digital versions and UK printings of the book.
2 The Goonies Cartoon and Musical Adaptation
The legacy of The Goonies continues to live on to this day with the potential for more stories. Recently, LEGO Dimensions added The Goonies as a Level pack and included all the characters from the movie. Although fans are happy for this small taste of the '80s, they were shortchanged on two potential Goonies projects.
In 2007, they were rumors of a cartoon series coming to Cartoon Network that would continue the story of their adventures in Astoria. However, the project was eventually dropped. The next big adaptation: Broadway!
Entertainment Weekly reported back in 2007 that Donner was excited about the potential adaptations: “Steven and I have discussed it, and it’s something that I’m fairly passionate about right now.” Rumors continued through 2011 that a script was in the works. However, no further updates have been made for this project.
1 The Goonies II: Is It Happening?
Would The Goonies' die-hard fans be open for a sequel? Spielberg seemed to think so and started to brainstorm ideas for The Goonies II. As reported by Moviefone, Donner spoke to TMZ and stated, “"Hopefully we're going to get this done, period," Donner said. "Steven came up with the idea of doing a sequel after 30 years. ... You don't do it without him. We've been trying for a long [time], and he came up with another storyline and he's right on."
However, some cast members have been opposed to bringing The Goonies back. As we reported last year, actor Corey Feldman (also known as Mouth in the movie) dismissed the reports, saying that “Richard Donner is 87 years old. And it’s like, no one really wants to make it without him. He’s the driving force behind it. He says it’s still alive. But as we all know…When you get to that age, things slow down quite a bit. There is a big possibility that he might not want to keep driving it. So, I think without him, it doesn’t happen.”
We will keep you updated if any new updates are released for this project.
What's your favorite thing about The Goonies? Sound off in the comments!