Thirty years ago yesterday, moviegoers got their first look at what was either a) LIKE THE GREATEST MOVIE OF THE ‘80S, PERIOD, or b) two hours of preteens running around and screaming. But however you line up on it, there’s no question that The Goonies was an iconic summer adventure movie that retains quite a bit of cultural capital. This far on, the most interesting element of the film may well be its cast — a fascinating assemblage of young actors (many of them the offspring of actor parents) who have gone on to become everything from superstars to footnotes. So where are your Goonies now?
Sean Astin (Mikey)
Though Goonies is an ensemble piece, if anyone was the lead, it was Astin (son of Patty Duke and Adams Family star John Astin), who gave the character of awkward dreamer Mikey a real shot of charm and charisma. It took him a while to capitalize on the film, however, with roles in almost-hits like Memphis Belle and Toy Soldiers; he finally found his movie-star footing in the title role of the beloved Rudy. He spent the next few years doing higher-profile secondary roles, before landing the major gig of Sam in the original Lord of the Rings trilogy. He’s kept quite busy in the years since, with an assortment of television, voice, and film roles; he currently voices Raphael on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (And Corey Feldman used to voice Donatello! It’s all connected!)
Josh Brolin (Brand)
The biggest success story to come out of the Goon Docks is that of Mr. Brolin (son of ‘80s heartthrob James Brolin), though his was also a bit of a slow start. Goonies was his film debut; he followed it up with a few low-profile film and TV roles before making a big impression in a key supporting role in David O. Russell’s wonderful 1996 comedy/drama Flirting With Disaster. More supporting work followed (Mimic, Hollow Man, Melinda and Melinda) before he broke through as a leading man in the Coen Brothers’ 2007 Oscar winner No Country for Old Men. He was nominated for an Oscar in 2009 for his performance as Dan White in Milk; he continues to keep busy in leads and secondary roles, and was last seen in Inherent Vice and (uncredited) Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Martha Plimpton (Stef)
Like Brolin, Plimpton is child of Hollywood (her parents are actors Keith Carradine and Shelley Plimpon) who used The Goonies as a launching pad for a very busy career. She followed it up with such acclaimed pictures as The Mosquito Coast, Running on Empty, Parenthood, and Woody Allen’s Another Woman; she was also a ubiquitous presence in the ‘90s indie movie scene, via roles in I Shot Andy Warhol, Beautiful Girls, Pecker, and many more. She mostly works in TV these days, appearing as a regular on Raising Hope and in recurring roles on The Good Wife and How to Make It in America. She’ll next star on the Dan Savage-produced sitcom The Real O’Neals.
Corey Feldman (Mouth)
Unlike Astin and Brolin, Feldman was already a very busy child actor when Goonies hit, with years of TV credits and Gremlins behind him, and a key role in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning earlier that year. Over the next few years, he would remain in the spotlight, via films like Stand By Me, The ‘Burbs, Rock ‘N Roll High School Forever, and (with his buddy Corey Haim) The Lost Boys, License to Drive, and Dream a Little Dream. Alas, when Feldman aged out of his teen-heartthrob period, he had trouble lining up quality roles — but he’s certainly kept working, with a steady stream of B- and C-movies, voice and television roles, and reality TV appearances. Recent highlights include Zombex, The Zombie King, Zero Dark Dirty, and this birthday party.
Jeff Cohen (Chunk)
As a kid (and, full disclosure, a not terribly thin one) Chunk was my favorite Goonie, and the one I most wanted to see in more stuff. I was disappointed. Cohen did a handful of TV appearances following The Goonies’ 1985 release — including Family Ties, She’s the Sheriff, and Goonies executive producer Steven Spielberg’s anthology series Amazing Stories — but never made another theatrical film, and his last acting role was in the 1991 TV movie Perfect Harmony. It seems to have been one of the cases of a child actor’s career ending once puberty hit, but Cohen bounced right back; he studied business at UC Berkeley and law at UCLA, and became a very successful entertainment lawyer.
Kerri Green (Andy)
And, like many of the young men who watched the movie (and re-watched — it was on HBO a lot), your film editor had a bit of a thing for Kerri Green, who played the adorable Andy, Mickey’s (accidental) first kiss. Goonies was also her feature film debut; she followed it up with roles in Summer Rental, Three for the Road, and Lucas (opposite Charlie Sheen and Feldman’s future BFF Corey Haim). By the mid-‘90s, she decided to take a break from acting, and studied art at Vassar. She returned to the industry a few years later, with guest appearances on ER and Law & Order: SVU; she also co-wrote, co-produced, and directed the 1999 independent film Bellyfruit. She then took another hiatus from the screen before reappearing in the 2012 indie Complacent.
Jonathan Ke Quan (Data)
Like Feldman, Quan (credited as Ke Huy Quan) came to Goonies after a big movie the previous summer — in his case, Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. But he only did a bit more acting afterwards (a season on Head of the Class, a season on the Dee Wallace sitcom Together We Stand, a supporting role in Encino Man), though he worked as translator for action director/fight choreographer Cory Yeun on the first X-Men and the 2001 Jet Li movie The One. He’s also tried his hand at editing, producing, cinematography, stunts, and sound.
Joe Pantoliano (Francis)
The role of Fratelli brother Francis was one of many distinctive ‘80s character turns for the actor who we come to know and love as “Joey Pants”; it followed Eddie and the Cruisers and Risky Business, and preceded Running Scared and Midnight Run. He’d continue to work in that vein throughout the ‘90s, before his key role in The Matrix increased his visibility, leading to his memorable turn on The Sopranos. He most recently re-teamed with his Matrix directors the Wachowskis for their Netflix series Sense8.
Robert Davi (Jake)
One of the more prolific members of the Goonies cast (which is saying something), David had been working steadily in television since the late ‘70s before making an impression as the gruffer and nastier of the Fratelli brothers. In the latter half of the ‘80s, he became a go-to actor for supporting villain and cop roles (his credits include Raw Deal, Action Jackson, Die Hard, and License to Kill); in the following decade, he kept busy with a combination of comic variations (including Showgirls) and a very steady stream of direct-to-home-video and made-for-TV movies of questionable quality. He’s keeping just as busy today; IMDb has him in ten upcoming movies in various stages of production, and he was recently seen in The Expendables 3, an episode of CSI, and The Bronx Bull, that weird Jake LaMotta movie that wasn’t a sequel to Raging Bull but really wanted you to think it was.
Anne Ramsey (Mama Fratelli)
Ramsey had been popping up on film and television since the early ‘70s, but The Goonies and the following year’s Deadly Friend were what finally establisher her distinctive, um, persona. In 1987, she made her most memorable film appearance, as Danny DeVito’s terrifying mother in the pitch-black comedy Throw Momma From the Train; sadly, she died the following year.
John Matuszak (Sloth)
And the year after that, the man who played her Fratelli son shuffled off this mortal coil. Matuszak wasn’t an actor by trade — he was a football player whose nine years in the league (six of them with the Raiders) resulted in two Super Bowl championship rings. It was that experience that got him his first movie role, in the 1979 football comedy/drama North Dallas Forty, which led to a variety of TV and movie appearances before and after The Goonies. The notorious partier was only 38 when he died of an accidental propoxyphene overdose in 1989.
Richard Donner (Director)
When he made The Goonies, Donner was best known as the director of Superman (and much of Superman II, but that’s a whole other story). But he followed it up with the first entry in the franchise that would define him: 1987’s Lethal Weapon. Over the ensuing years, he alternated between Weapon movies, other action pictures, and comedies like Maverick and Scrooged (one of Ramsey’s final film appearances). His last feature was the vastly underrated 2006 cop movie 16 Blocks; in recent years, he’s focused more on producing, with his Donners’ Company responsible for much of the X-Men franchise.
Chris Columbus (Screenwriter)
Columbus was still an up-and-coming scribe when he penned The Goonies as the follow-up to Gremlins; he re-teamed with producer Spielberg for another 1985 release, Young Sherlock Holmes. He then turned to directing; his credits include Adventures in Babysitting, Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, Nine Months, Bicentennial Man, the first two Harry Potter movies, and Rent.
Steven Spielberg (Executive Producer)
Well, you know.