Goonies Never Say Die: The Enduring Love For The Goonies

The Goonies is over 30 years old, and yet still as cherished by its fans as much now as it was way back when. Released in 1985, from the minds of Chris Columbus (Home Alone), Steven Spielberg (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and director Richard Donner (Superman), the tale of friendship, adventure and coming of age had it all – loveable heroes, dastardly villains, pirates, booby traps and a giant octopus (at least according to Data). On a personal note, The Goonies was *the* film of my childhood, and it holds a place in many a movie fan’s heart still after all these years. So what is it that makes all of us Goonies keep coming back?

The Goonies
The Goonies.

But the worst thing I ever done, I mixed up all this fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theatre, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony, and then, then I made a noise like this. Huagh. Huagh. Huagh. Huaaah! And, and then I dumped it over the side on all the people in the audience. Then, th-then then this was horrible, all the people started getting sick, and throwing up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life.

Jake Fratelli:
(Smiles a bit at Chunk’s twisted sense of humour) Ma, I’m beginning to like this kid, Ma.

Mama Fratelli:
(Tired of this) Hit puree!

Everyone has a favourite. Be it the sincere lead, Sean Astin’s Mikey, his older brother Brand (Josh Brolin), the latter’s love interest Andy (Kerri Green) or her best friend Stef (Martha Plimpton). Or how about the all too cool Mouth (Corey Feldman), boy genius Data (Jonathan Ke Quan) or the loveable klutz Chunk (Jeff Cohen)? Each and every one of the characters were well defined, likeable and – most importantly –  relatable. For many of the actors involved, this was their defining role – whilst some have gone onto bigger successes later in their acting careers (Sean Astin, Josh Brolin), and some have gone down different career paths all together (Jeff Cohen), they will aways be remembered for their adventure together as Goonies, simply because they were all cast to perfection. They were their characters and the characters were the actors. We as an audience found common ground with the characters, with their hopes, dreams, fears and appetite for adventure reflecting our own. Just as the actors were Goonies, so were we as an audience.

The Goonies House
The Goondocks

Look at ’em smilin’.

They can’t wait until tomorrow when they foreclose on all
the…whatever you call it.

Trash the Goondocks.

When they wreck our house I hope they make it a sandtrap.

And never get their balls out!

Their mission was simple: To save their home, the Goondocks from being demolished to make way for a golf course. With shipwrecked pirate One Eyed Willy’s treasure map in hand the heroes set out to find the treasure needed to save their houses from being destroyed, which would in turn have lead them to being separated forever. It’s a tale of friendship, youth and innocence, with the impending foreclosure on the Goondocks symbolising an end to all of these. But The Goonies isn’t a film about the end of childhood bonds, it’s about the strength of them, and the importance of maintaining those bonds – it’s not the adults who save the day, it’s seven kids with the help of Sloth, an adult with the heart of a child.

John Matuszak as Sloth
John Matuszak as Sloth.

“Hey you guys!”

The Goondocks, set and shot on location in Astoria, Oregon provided the perfect back drop for the adventure. Picturesque, vast in its scale and magical in its beauty, it fed into the world of the movie perfectly. Astoria felt like exactly the sort of place where you would find a myriad of booby traps leading to stacks of gold aboard a pirate ship. And it felt like exactly the sort of place you would want to save. The villainous Fratellis were less inclined to be so noble, with their eyes on One Eyed Willy’s “rich stuff”, as they chased the Goonies down. These weren’t your garden variety villains. Yes, there were two bumbling brothers, but together with their no nonsense mother they were a menacing threat to our heroes. Yet, it’s a cat amongst the pigeons that causes the downfall of the Fratellis – Lotney “Sloth” Fratelli – dropped by his mother as a child rebelling against his abusive family, delivering the iconic rallying cry of “Hey you guys” and cementing himself as a Goonie.

At it’s core The Goonies is a film about friendship, and growing together with friends at an age where the world is still full of mystery, where adventures can happen, and where the downtrodden underdog can step out from under boot of the rich. Those of us who have ever been the underdog, we’re all Goonies at heart. Though we may be growing wizened and old, we’ll always have The Goonies to remind us of the heady days of youth – Goonies never say die!


Enjoy some Goonies fan art:

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See The Goonies shooting locations, then and now:

Share your Goonies memories in the comments below!

Every day I'm Truffling.
Every day I’m Truffling.

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