June 24, 2024

Fast Facts: The Goonies (1985)

As the ultimate ’80s adventure comedy for kids, Richard Donner’s 1985 hit scored with audiences and critics alike.

The Goonies was mostly shot on location in Oregon.

The Goonies shot almost entirely in sequence in Astoria, Oregon, on a five-month shooting schedule. Other locations, like the tunnels and the cave with One-Eyed Willy’s pirate ship, were shot on massive sound stages in Burbank, California.

The Goonies marked Josh Brolin's movie debut.

Josh Brolin made his feature film debut playing Brand in The Goonies. The actor would later star in films like No Country For Old Men and Milk (for which he earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination) and become a comic book movie staple with the Deadpool and The Avengers movies.

Jeff Cohen, who played Chunk, is still in the movie business—but not as an actor.

Chunk is Jeff Cohen’s only live action feature film role to date. He left acting to pursue a law degree and is now a founding partner at an entertainment law firm.

picture of former actor Josh Brolin

Sean Astin's One-Eyed Willy speech was technically improvised.

To get a more naturalistic performance out of Astin in the scene in which he tells his fellow Goonies about the legend of One-Eyed Willy, Donner had the child actor improvise in an offbeat way. Donner simply told Astin the story moments before they shot and had the actor tell it back to him as best as he could with cameras rolling.

The treasure map was speckled with real blood.

Production designer J. Michael Riva thought the prop treasure map looked too new, so to make it look more than 300 years old, he spent an afternoon aging it. After pouring coffee in the map, he wanted to add blood, but the prop department was out of paint. In a quick bit of improvisation, Riva cut his finger and dripped his own blood along its edges.

Sloth was an actual tough guy.

John Matuszak, who played Sloth, was the first overall pick in the 1973 NFL draft and won two Super Bowls with the Oakland Raiders before turning to acting. As a nod to Matuszak's former team, Sloth can be seen wearing a Raiders T-shirt early in the movie.

movie scene from The Goonies

Sloth’s Superman T-shirt is a nod to Richard Donner.

At the end of the movie, Sloth triumphantly rips his vest and other shirt off to reveal a Superman T-shirt underneath, which works well within the context of the scene but also serves another purpose. It’s an inside joke about director Richard Donner, who rose to fame after directing Superman: The Movie in 1978.

The Goonies takes place in the same universe as Gremlins.

Believing Chunk is pranking him over the phone again, the police officer Chunk talks to recalls one of Chunk’s stories about “little creatures that multiply when you pour water on them,” which is a reference to the movie Gremlins. As it so happens, Steven Spielberg was an executive producer on both films, and screenwriter Chris Columbus wrote both movies as well. Corey Feldman also appeared in both movies.

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