The screenplay was written by Chris Columbus from a story by executive producer Steven Spielberg. A band of kids who live in the "Goon Docks" neighborhood of Astoria, Oregon, attempt to save their homes from demolition, and, in doing so, discover an old Spanish map that leads them on an adventure to unearth the long-lost fortune of One-Eyed Willy, a legendary 17th-century pirate. During the entire adventure, they are chased by a family of criminals, who also want the treasure for themselves.
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 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 famous pirate "One-Eyed" Willy's hoard located nearby, whom Mikey considers to be the original "Goonie". The kids elude Brandon and make their way to a derelict restaurant on the coast that coincides with the map; Brandon soon follows, along with of Andy, a cheerleader with a crush on him, and Stef, Andy's friend. The group quickly discovers the defunct restaurant is being used as a hideout by the criminal Fratelli family: Francis, Jake, and "Mama." The Goonies find an underground tunnel described on the map and follow it, but Chunk is captured by the family and tied up with their deformed, immensely strong younger brother, Sloth. The Fratellis torture Chunk until he reveals where the Goonies plan, and begin pursuit. Chunk is left behind with Sloth, but befriends him. Sloth frees them, and Chunk calls the police. They both then follow the Fratellis.
The Goonies evade several deadly 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 kids discover the ship is filled with treasure and start filling their pockets; Mikey warns them not to take any on a set of scales in front of Willy, considering that to be Willy's treasure and their tribute to him. As they leave the ship, the Fratellis appear and demand they drop all the treasure before they plan to kill them. Chunk arrives with Sloth and distract the Fratellis long enough for the Goonies to jump overboard. Sloth holds open a cave opening so they can escape the grotto, but has to stay behind. With the children gone, the Fratellis proceed to grab all the treasure they can, including those on Willy's scales. This triggers another trap causing the grotto to collapse, and the Fratellis barely make it out in time.
On shore, the Goonies see their families and the police arrive, capturing the Fratellis when they get to shore, but Chunk prevents Sloth from being arrested. As the kids eagerly describe their adventure to their parents, Mikey discovers that his marble bag had not been taken by the Fratellis and is filled with gems he took from the ship. Mikey's father rips up the foreclosure papers, declaring they have enough money to buy their homes back. Chunk offers Sloth to live with him. As the Goonies celebrate, they see the Inferno, having broken free of the grotto, sailing off on its own in the distance.
Principal photography on The Goonies began on October 22, 1984 and lasted five months. There was an additional six weeks of audio dubbing recording. The shooting script was lengthy, at more than 120 pages, and 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 Making of The Goonies, director Richard Donner notes the difficulties and pleasures of working with so many child actors. Donner praises them for their energy and excitement, but says that they were unruly when brought together. The documentary frequently shows him coaching the young actors and reveals some techniques he used to get realistic performances. One of these tricks involved One-Eyed Willy's ship, which was actually a full-sized mock-up of a pirate ship created under the direction of production designer J. Michael Riva. Donner restricted the child 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 thus also the actors' first view of it, bringing about a more realistic performance. However, that particular scene in the movie is actually the second take, as the cast was 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.
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.) 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. 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 America. The final scene was shot at Goat Rock State Beach in Sonoma County, California.
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.
Soundtrack label Varèse Sarabande released the score in March 2010 in a limited edition of 5000 copies.
Warner Bros. released the film in cinemas in the United States on June 7, 1985. The Goonies grossed US$9 million in its opening weekend in the US, second on the charts behind Rambo: First Blood Part II. It grossed more than US$61 million that year, placing it among the top ten highest-grossing films of 1985 in the US.
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. 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.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 70% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 46 reviews; the average rating is 6.1/10. The critical consensus: "An energetic, sometimes noisy mix of Spielbergian sentiment and funhouse tricks that will appeal to kids and nostalgic adults alike." At Metacritic it has a rating score of 60, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Several reviewers noted that the film appeared to be enjoyable for children and teens, but not so much for adults.
Ramsey won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role. 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.
The city of Astoria has hosted special anniversary events for the film, with around 10,000 to 15,000 visitors coming to the city to celebrate the film during these events. The home used for the Walsh family had become a tourist attraction, receiving between 1,200 and 1,500 visitors a day during the summer of the 30th anniversary, and in August 2015 the residents and owners of the home, their neighbors, and the city of Astoria have taken steps to limit public access to the home due to this.
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. 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.
In February 2007, Chrysler's Jeep division sponsored The Goonies: Return to Astoria, a Flash-based 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.
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.
The possibility of a film sequel has been confirmed and denied many times in recent 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. 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." Donner has expressed doubt that the sequel will ever happen, as many of the actors had not shown interest in returning for a sequel. 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." However, on the July 2010 release of The Making of a Cult Classic: The Unauthorized Story of The Goonies DVD, 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." On April 5, 2014, Richard Donner revealed a sequel is in the works, and he hopes to bring back the entire cast.
Rumors of adaptations and sequels in other media took off in 2007, including a comic book miniseries, an animated television series, and a musical adaptation of the film. Corey Feldman said he was asked to reprise the role of Mouth in a cartoon series that would feature the original Goonies characters as adults and focus on the adventures of a new set of kids. Apparently this project was briefly in the works for Cartoon Network before being shelved. 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. 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." 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.
Q: Do you think it could ever happen? DONNER: We tried. No, I don't think so. We tried really hard. Steven and I, we pitched a couple of things to them and, quite honestly, they weren't right. And we put it aside. If I could ever find a really good handle on a screenplay for it, I'd go pitch it again.
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