It didn’t earn half as much money as fellow 80s family films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) or E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), but for some reason, it seems anyone who was a kid in 1985 can quote The Goonies by heart.
From its opening sequence, where a police chase introduces the characters with aplomb, to the interplay between the child leads and the scary wish-fulfilment of the booby-trapped hunt for treasure, this is one childhood favourite that stands up to repeat viewings.
The Goonies are a group of teens and pre-teens from a small seaside community. There’s Mikey (Sean Astin), the everykid; Mouth (Corey Feldman), the clown; Data (Jonathan Ke Quan), the James Bond wannabe; Brandon (Josh Brolin), Mikey’s older brother; and Chunk (Jeff Cohen), whose name says it all.
The gang’s existence is threatened by a group of greedy developers planning to turn Mikey’s house into a golf course, so when the kids find a treasure map in Mikey’s attic, they know it’s up to them to save their homes.
Heading out in search of the treasure, the group is joined by Brandon’s would-be girlfriend Andy (Kerri Green) and her smart-mouthed pal, Stef (Martha Plimpton).
The Goonies’ search leads them into dangerous underground caves peppered with hidden tunnels, baffling puzzles and a string of “booty traps”. And as if that weren’t enough danger, the gang is also pursued by criminal matron Mama Fratelli (Anne Ramsey) and her escaped convict sons Jake (Robert Davi) and Francis (Joe Pantoliano).
Luckily for the Goonies, Mama Fratelli has another son, Sloth (John Matuszak), a deformed outcast with a big heart and a strong frame (and a taste for Baby Ruths). Even with Sloth’s help, the Goonies have a hard road ahead if they’re going to escape with the treasure. They’ll be lucky enough to escape with their lives.
The movie had a pedigree ranging from The Little Rascals to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), a thrilling adventure with a healthy dose of pre-teen comedy.
It also had the talents of three future A-list Hollywood directors: Richard (Lethal Weapon) Donner directed, Chris (Home Alone) Columbus wrote the script and Steven (insert mega-hit of your choice here) Spielberg provided the original story.
It may not have been E.T., but The Goonies was still a sizeable success. And if you have any doubt about the movie’s staying power, go ask that 80s child when he or she last watched it. Every generation has its guilty pleasures. They have The Goonies.
We have just one issue. Never EVER call a character in a kid’s movie ‘One-Eyed Willie’. It just isn’t right . . .
Lawrence “Chunk” Cohen
Clarke “Mouth” Devereux
Andrea “Andy” Carmichael
Ricky “Data” Wang
Jonathan Ke Quan
Lotney “Sloth” Fratelli
Mary Ellen Trainor