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The Untold Truth Of The Goonies

The Goonies is a classic '80s movie, an enduring favorite from the golden age of films about kids who go on grand and dangerous adventures — without adults, and with only their wits, gadgets, and bikes that allow them to triumph. Just as Elliott and his friends eluded government agents in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, the goofy and geeky Goonies came together to fight off a scary crime family, discover a pirate ship and pirate treasure, and push back the advance of those classic '80s movie villains, land developers who aim to destroy the atmospheric Goon Docks of Astoria, Oregon. The Goonies has become beloved among generations of viewers because it's timeless and relatable. As a kid, most everyone dreamed of spectacular escapades with their friends, many of whom have wry nicknames like "Chunk," "Data," "Mouth," or "Mikey."

It's one of the most fondly remembered and easily rewatchable movies of all time, so tear open a Baby Ruth and never say die as you uncover some things you may not have known about The Goonies.

The kid who played Chunk had a hard time on set

Just before filming was scheduled to begin, Jeff Cohen (Chunk) came down with a nasty case of the chicken pox. But he reported to the set anyway, fully ready to work. He feared that if he delayed the production with his sickness, the director would just recast his role. He kept the pox hidden until he had to lift up his shirt to do the "Truffle Shuffle" for the first time — which revealed the telltale spots. Cohen's health improved, but he still had a hard time on the set. He was self-conscious about his weight, made worse because his character was almost always eating. Cohen particularly lamented the scene in which Chunk says, "I'm so depressed" and shoots whipped cream into his mouth. The actor estimates that he had to do 50 takes of the bit, which meant 50 mouthfuls of cream.

The blood on the treasure map is real

J. Michael Riva served as the production designer on the film. The prop department had lovingly crafted the movie's vitally important pirate treasure map, but Riva thought that it looked too "new." SInce the movie was shooting on location in Oregon, he was limited in terms of the materials he had on hand to age the paper, so he started by dumping coffee on it. That made it look old, but he still thought it wasn't authentic enough. It was missing something that would make it look truly like a pirate's treasure map: blood. The prop squad didn't have a shade of red he liked, so Riva literally took matters into his own hands: He cut his own finger and sprinkled the blood that came out onto the map. "You do these crazy things," Riva later said. "You get so into it."

Sean Astin apologized to Cyndi Lauper

Huge '80s pop star Cyndi Lauper was a music consultant for The Goonies, which meant the movie included a Cyndi Lauper song, "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough." The main child cast of the movie appeared in the video for the song, and it was shot after a long day of filming. The kids, particularly Sean Astin, seem noticeably less than thrilled to be there. In 2007, Sean Astin publicly apologized to Lauper for his and his castmates' "low energy" performances. "We'd all worked a nine hour day... and we were gonna do the music video after work. So all the kids, we were wiped out. We were passing out," Astin recalled. "It seemed to me that Cyndi's feelings were hurt."

Then again, maybe Lauper was just annoyed with the song. "I hated that. It was terrible," she said of "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" in Matthew Rettenmund's Totally Awesome '80s. She was so displeased with it that she dropped it from her setlist in 1987 and didn't include it on her greatest hits album.

There's a deleted scene featuring an octopus attack

Perhaps only one thing could've made The Goonies even better: a scene during which the kids, in the midst of their ocean-adjacent adventures, fight off a giant octopus — and win. When the Goonies reunite with their parents at the end of the movie, Data (Jonathan Ke Quan) excitedly tells his folks about just such an event. That makes zero sense to viewers, and maybe even makes Data come off as a little unhinged, because there was no octopus-fighting sequence in the film. However, Data is telling the truth — there was such a scene, but it wound up on the cutting room floor. While trudging through waist-high water, Stef (Martha Plimpton) thinks Mouth (Corey Feldman) is trying to cop an underwater feel... only for them both to realize that it's a giant tentacle from a giant octopus doing the grabbing. The monster drags Stef underwater, and Data saves the day: He chokes it out by shoving his Walkman into its mouth. His line referring to the incident at the end of The Goonies should've been edited out, but it was mistakenly left in.

There were other songs on the soundtrack

Cyndi Lauper's "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" wasn't supposed to be the only big hit off the Goonies soundtrack, which was assembled with Lauper's input at executive producer Steven Spielberg's request. The Bangles and future Toto singer Joseph Williams were involved, and REO Speedwagon contributed a single called "Wherever You're Goin' (It's Alright)," but it failed to gain much traction. There was also a dance track called "Eight Arms to Hold You," credited to Goon Squad (a studio-only band created just for the song by producer Arthur Baker). It was ultimately only issued as 12-inch vinyl single for dance club play, and a major release and music video were canceled. A possible reason: "Eight Arms to Hold You" was the song playing on Data's Walkman when he shoved it into the octopus's mouth. When the scene was dropped, the song was no longer prominently featured in The Goonies, and so its marketing plans were scrapped.

Ultimately, very few songs are heard in the movie itself. According to Lauper in her 2012 memoir, Spielberg "stripped most of the music from the film," because "he felt like there was too much music, so the soundtrack was manginess."

The pirate ship was a little too impressive

The pirate ship that looms large in The Goonies is called The Inferno. As big as a real seaworthy vessel, it was modeled after the ship in the classic Errol Flynn swashbuckler The Sea Hawk. The Inferno was more than 100 feet long, with sails made up of more than 7,000 square feet of fabric. It took two and a half months to construct The Inferno, so the hype about what it would look like was a feverish discussion topic on set. Director Richard Donner made sure that none of the main cast saw the ship until the exact moment their characters did — he wanted the reactions of excitement and awe he filmed to be genuine. Josh Brolin (Brand) was indeed impressed — when he saw The Inferno for the first time, he broke character and exclaimed his profane appreciation for the spectacle. The take was ruined, and another not-quite-authentic reaction shot was filmed.

The Goonies brought the Coreys together

Before License to Drive, The Lost Boys, Dream a Little Dream, and the reality show The Two Coreys, teen idols Corey Haim and Corey Feldman were just individual Coreys, going about their business as child actors in Hollywood. They were often up for the same roles in the same movies — such as The Goonies. The storied Coreys actually met each other for the first time in the waiting room of Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, the company producing the movie. Both Coreys were up for the part of Mouth. Feldman, of course, got the part, while Haim did not. But at least he made a friend (and landed his breakthrough role in the movie Lucas at about the same time). It also allowed viewers to imagine what could have been with an alternate universe version of The Goonies starring a totally different Corey as Mouth.

Kerri Green didn't want to film the kissing scenes

The Goonies has a little something for everyone — adventure, action, comedy, and even some innocent romantic moments. The script called for a kiss between older teen Andy (Kerri Green) and young Mikey (Sean Astin). In reality, Green was also older than Astin, by a difference of about four years. She dreaded the kiss, not because there was anything wrong with Astin, but because as an 18-year-old adult woman — appearing in her first movie, no less — she felt creepy having to kiss a 13-year-old boy. "The two of us were so scared," she told Seventeen, jokingly likening it to a criminal offense.

It wasn't much easier for Green to film her kissing scene with the more age-appropriate Josh Brolin (Brand) either. "It's the time of your life when you are the most self-conscious anyway," Green later told People. "Then you're being filmed and you have to kiss Josh Brolin — just humiliating!"

A sequel exists

A sequel to The Goonies has been buzzed about for years. At a Q&A during a 2005 Goonies event, Jeff Cohen (Chunk) said that producer Steven Spielberg pitched an idea to Warner Bros., but the studio wasn't interested. Two years later, Sean Astin (Mikey) said a sequel was on the way, adding that the story would focus on second-generation Goonies. Later in 2007, Jonathan Ke Quan (Data) told Empire (via MTV) that Warner asked him to voice his character in an animated Goonies film. That never came to fruition, but by 2014, according to TMZ, director Richard Donner and Spielberg were actively working on a Goonies sequel. A year later, producer Frank Marshall told Collider that the proposed film didn't have a script yet. A promising new take transpired in 2020, when Fox ordered (but ultimately didn't pick up to series) an inspirational drama about a teacher who helps three kids produce a homemade remake of The Goonies.

Although another Goonies adventure has yet to make it to the big screen, there is a sequel out there... sort of. In 1986, Konami released a game for the Nintendo Entertainment System called The Goonies II. The premise of the game is that the Fratelli gang is on the loose and has captured almost all of the kids and trapped them in their hideout (they're also holding a mermaid named Annie captive). The player controls the sole non-kidnapped Goonie, Mikey, as he works to find and free his friends.

There's more story in the novelization

Today, re-experiencing a favorite film is easy. All you have to do is wait a few months, and you can watch the DVD or stream it to your heart's content. Not so for the early VHS era — the mid-'80s, when The Goonies was released. A VHS copy of a movie could be expensive; a novelization of the movie was cheap. The story of the movie told in the form of an easy-to-read storybook, novelizations were once a major part of a movie's promotional arsenal. But to make sure they were on shelves when a movie was in theaters, novelizations were written when the movies were still in production. Novelization writers often wrote from an early version of a screenplay, before scenes are cut out of the finished movie entirely. In the novelization of The Goonies, there are some big extras that didn't quite make it to the screen, particularly a lengthy epilogue. Only in the book is it revealed that Chunk's family adopts Sloth. They even throw him a bar mitzvah.

Is The Goonies a Gremlins movie?

Sure, there was never an official, big-screen sequel to The Goonies, but the film is part of a broader cinematic universe. There's no GCU or anything like that, but a quick comic scene in the movie connects The Goonies to the Gremlins franchise. When Chunk is trapped by himself (with Sloth) in the Fratellis' hideaway, he finds a way to call the police. These authorities are of little help to poor Chunk. The officer who answers the phone disregards his pleas because he remembers the time the kid phoned in about the "little creatures that multiply when you pour water on them." Those critters are of course the mogwai from Gremlins, which turn into nasty monsters if they get wet. Gremlins, like The Goonies, was a Steven Spielberg production, and Chris Columbus wrote the screenplays for both movies. Complicating matters is how Corey Feldman appeared in Gremlins and The Goonies. Before portraying a Goonie named Mouth, he was Pete Fountaine, the first person who spilled water on a mogwai in Gremlins.

The Goonies vs. Richard Donner

The production of most any movie is hectic, chaotic, and nerve-wracking — let alone a movie with multiple complicated action sequences, a pirate ship, and, most specifically, a cast made up almost entirely of teens, tweens, and kids. "Everyone we cast was high energy," The Goonies producer Steven Spielberg euphemistically said during a 2020 cast-and-crew reunion on Josh Gad's Reunited Apart video series (via The Hollywood Reporter). "And after a while, it kind of started working on Dick," he added, referring to director Richard Donner, who about ready to crack by the time production ended. During the last two weeks, he kept talking about how much he was looking forward to some rest and relaxation at his home in Hawaii. Spielberg had other plans: Immediately after filming finished, he put the whole cast on a plane and sent them to Hawaii, straight to Donner's house. "So before Dick ever landed, they all showed up in his living room," Spielberg said. Cast member Martha Plimpton (Stef) recalled Donner's reaction. "He dropped to his knees. He went white as a sheet. We thought we'd given him a coronary."

Do not visit the Goonies house

The foreclosure plot of The Goonies focuses on the lovely white house occupied by the Walsh family, including main characters Mikey (Sean Astin) and Brand (Josh Brolin). The movie was filmed on location, and the Walsh home is a real structure in the Uppertown area of Astoria, Oregon. A local point of interest for tourists after The Goonies was released in 1985, the home was purchased by Sandi Preston in 2001, and she allowed gracious fans to take pictures and hang out, even letting them come inside once in a while. In 2015, a few weeks after a local Goonies 30th anniversary celebration attracted huge numbers of fans, Preston was done. According to The Daily Astorian, around 1,200 to 1,500 Goonies fans approached the house each day by the summer of 2015. First, she placed tarps over much of the house, masking its identity and diminishing the desire for photographs. Preston's neighbors asked the Astoria City Council for help, leading to a ban on public parking near the Goonies house and posting a sign that reads, "Access closed to Goonies house."