20 Fun Facts About ‘The Goonies’

As the ultimate ’80s adventure comedy for kids, Richard Donner’s 1985 hit scored with audiences and critics alike.
Jeff Cohen, Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, and Ke Huy Quan in "The Goonies" (1985).
Jeff Cohen, Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, and Ke Huy Quan in "The Goonies" (1985). /

by Sean Hutchinson

Hey, you guys! Here’s everything you need to know about The Goonies, Richard Donner’s adventure classic from 1985, which served up a who’s who of Hollywood up-and-comers—including Sean Astin and Josh Brolin—in their earliest starring roles.

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.

In one scene, Sean Astin accidentally calls Josh Brolin by his real name.

In a small goof, Sean Astin (who plays Mikey) calls Brolin by his actual name, not by his character’s name, in the scene after Chunk breaks the water cooler in the basement of the abandoned restaurant.

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

Jeff Cohen of The Goonies.
Fun fact: 'Goonies' director Richard Donner wrote him a recommendation for his application to the University of California, Berkeley. / Getty Images

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.

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.

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

Sloth love Superman.
Sloth love Superman. / Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

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.

It took a long time for John Matuszak to become Sloth.

Makeup artists needed five hours every morning to transform the football star into Sloth.

Sloth also loves Errol Flynn.

The pirate movie Sloth watches while chained in the basement is the 1935 Errol Flynn adventure Captain Blood.

The Fratellis appreciate opera.

The song that Jake Fratelli first sings to Sloth and then to Chunk before he’s captured is from Giacomo Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly.”

Chester Copperpot may or may not have been a veteran actor.

Though it’s uncredited in the movie, the photo of Chester Copperpot is alleged to be of American actor Keenan Wynn. Wynn was originally cast as Perry White in Donner’s Superman movie before dropping out due to exhaustion.

The bats in the underground caves were created using some movie trickery.

The “bats” were actually just bow ties and wads of black papier-mâché blown out of air cannons.

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.

Steven Spielberg directed a few scenes in The Goonies.

In addition to serving as executive producer and receiving a “Story by” credit, Spielberg also secretly directed the scene in which the Goonies bang on the underground pipes as well as the wishing well scene.

The slide at the end of The Goonies was real.

The slide the Goonies ride to get to the cave with One-Eyed Willy’s ship was a fully functioning waterslide (the end credits thank the Langford Surf Coaster Corporation for building it). Donner and the crew would allegedly sneak in after filming wrapped for the day to ride the slide.

The Goonies's reaction to One-Eyed Willy's ship is genuine.

Pirate ship scene from 1985's "The Goonies."
The kids were seeing it for the very first time, too. / Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Donner denied the child actors access to the massive soundstage where a full pirate ship was built. The scene in the final movie features their genuine reactions to seeing it for the first time. The ship took two months to build, and was supposed to resemble Errol Flynn’s ship from the film The Sea Hawk.

Corey Feldman’s character was called Mouth for a reason.

Not only was Corey Feldman’s character appropriately named because he talked a lot, but the name fit for another reason. The scene where Mama Fratelli pulls the jewels out of Mouth’s mouth was shot in one take with Feldman managing to fit all of the jewels in his mouth at once.

Data mentions a scene that was cut from the movie.

Sharp-eared viewers will notice that Data mentions that “the octopus was very scary” to the reporters at the end of the movie. No scenes involving an octopus are in the final cut of the movie. The line refers to a deleted scene that involved Stef and Mouth getting attacked by an octopus after they flee One-Eyed Willy’s ship.

June 7 is Goonies Day.

The mayor of Astoria, Oregon, named June 7 “Goonies Day” in honor of the movie, and the town hosts an annual celebration. In 2015, in honor of the film’s 30th anniversary, festivities included tours of the film’s locations, movie quote-alongs, a cast reunion, and an attempt at breaking the record for largest Truffle Shuffle of all time.

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A version of this story was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for 2024.