In 1985, Richard Donner in collaboration with screenwriter Chris Columbus and producer Steven Spielberg gave to the world a group of lovable misfits and their search for hidden pirate gold. They didn’t just give the world some throwaway, brainless kids film, they gave the world The Goonies.
Set in the town of Astoria, Oregon and centring on the lives of a group of young kids, Mickey, his older brother Brandon and their neighbours Data, Mouth & Chunk who live in the towns poor “Goon docks” district. Collectively they refer to themselves as The Goonies although Brand more often than not acts as defacto parent to the group, chastising their shenanigans. When Mickey finds a Spanish map in the attic of his house believed to lead to the treasure of legendary pirate One Eyed Willy, he gathers the group together for one last adventure to save their ailing neighbourhood from property development.
The Goonies was a collaborative effort between 3 huge names in cinema in the mid 80’s, Donner, Columbus & Spielberg combining the strengths of all 3 directors, each renowned for their traits in delivering thrills, witty and humorous dialogue and warm coming of age tales respectively. Featuring early screen appearances from the likes of Josh Brolin, Sean Astin and Corey Feldman, The Goonies was shot in the real life town of Astoria and its surrounding woodland and along the Oregon coastline, many of the locations now becoming places of pilgrimage to fans of the film who flock to Astoria year on year to catch a glimpse of Mikeys house, so much so that the occupiers of the house have had to seek restrictions to people visiting. All interiors, including the pirate caverns were filmed on the Warner Brothers lot in California which also included a full sized mock up of One Eyed Willys pirate ship which was only seen by the cast when they filmed the scene where they find the ship, this was to get as genuine a reaction as possible from the young cast. Severeal scenes were cut from the film’s lengthy shooting script but the most notorious is a sequence that was deleted from the film that featured a giant octopus, the scene is referenced at the end of the film when the gang talk to the police about what has happened in the cut that went to cinemas.
The Goonies is a film that has aged very well thanks to it universal message of friendship & triumph over adversity, it’s a film still viewed by its original audience today with a warm nostalgic glow, ready to be shown to and taken to the hearts of their own children because let’s face it, no matter how old you are, a film that features adventure, booby traps, pirates and hidden treasure speaks to the child in all of us, even those of us the wrong side of 30.