The Dave Grusin Archive
Music for the Scree
The Goonies

Stars:  Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green

Director:  Richard Donner
Producer:  Steven Spielberg
Released:  Warner Bros. 1985

Story:  A young group of friends (The Goonies) band together in an effort to save home from rich real estate investors and set off on a treasure hunt.

The music for cult film “The Goonies” is almost as treasured by fans as the daring adventures of its young protagonists.  A mainly orchestral score, it stands out as one of Dave Grusin's longest and most thematic.  In fact, the last third of the film is nearly wall-to-wall music, utilizing full orchestra throughout.  In addition to the rich elements, there is an overall sense of fun in the score, which might be tongue in cheek, but is never camp.  Dave Grusin says that Goonies “turned out to be a clone of the classical film score, with the average 87-piece orchestra,” but was not what he envisioned when he first approached the subject.

If Ludwig van Beethoven had lived 200 years later and found himself in Hollywood, he might well have composed something like the music over the opening titles, the “Fratelli Chase.”  (… Perhaps he did - but had more of a predilection for jazz in this incarnation …)   In any case Dave Grusin's nod to the great master of the symphony gives young filmgoers a superb chance to hear something which is a little more complex than the numbing rock they are otherwise inundated with.

The exhilarating “Fratelli Chase” may well be done in a sense of mirth, but it is a powerful piece of music which is as unforgettable as the picture.  It is not only used to great effect and entertainment in the opening chase scene, but during the comic plumbing havoc raised by the Goonies at the Astoria Country Club as well.

The composer uses a fascinating technique in the earliest scenes of the film which comes across like source music, perhaps rock playing on a radio in the room where the children are.  But it cuts off unexplainably in the middle of scenes, and therefore, acts as a device to demonstrate that this sort of music is simply running through the minds of the young cast, more or less constantly, until they begin their
escapade.  After this, the technique is only associated with those boys who are not Goonies.

But aside from this rock, (and of course, the Cindy Lauper-sung “Goonies 'R' Good Enough” which launches the adventure and also runs over the end titles), the score almost always employs full-blown orchestra.

While Steven Spielberg films conventionally use large orchestras and a symphonic approach, Dave Grusin had the idea of adding electronic elements, “partly because the adventure involved little kids and partly because I didn't want it to be a symphonic score clone.”

The (four plus five note) “Goonies” signature motif -  which has a fantasy quality akin to a swirl of stardust - projects innocence, and is infused into suspense and danger scenes not just to emphasize the vulnerability of the children, but also, their decency.  Dave Grusin elaborates on technicalities, saying that the “little keyboard figure” was “a MIDIed sound using a DX7 Rhodes-based timbre with some sustain.”

Another theme used widely in the motion picture is the dreamy, inspirational music which often underscores Mikey's speeches and impressions.  Referred to as the “Goonies Theme,” it is one of the most beautiful of Dave Grusin compositions.  Richly melodic, with depth and gravity, it unquestionably  fulfils the task of the best cinematic music - to touch the heart and evoke all the right emotions.  It's very adult tone, used in a picture about children, may be a key to the longevity of “The Goonies” in the hearts of its fans  long beyond their own youth.

In addition to a great deal of interesting and  inventive incidental music for the Goonies' exploits, there are a number of notable other themes, such as the invigorating music tracing that slide down the waterfall, a sense of paradise in the piece when they come across the wishing well, and  the swashbuckling `rescue' theme (from Max Steiner's score to "Don Juan").  The chaotic and dangerous happenings of the film require plenty of adventure music, and the dramatic  `discovery' theme, as well as  the `pirate' or `conquest' theme (which fulfils a number of different necessities) are outstanding additions to “The Goonies.”  It is in these sequences, relating to the riskiest moments, where Dave Grusin utilized most of the electronics in the score.

Of special note is the music which accompanies Mikey encountering One Eyed Willie.  As with the main theme (which is also interwoven into the cue along with the Goonies signature), this is an illustration of how music can give a fantasy film the kind of richness, texture and substance which keeps it fascinating  and meaningful for decades beyond its initial run.

While an official soundtrack album was released of the rock music in “The Goonies,”  the attractive Dave Grusin score is rather a problematic thing to come by.     If one searches hard enough, it is obtainable, and worth getting at all costs.  The alternative is  just to savor the 77 minutes of music on the video or DVD of the movie.

Supervising Music Editor:  Else Blangsted
Music Editor:  Jim Flamberg
Music Recorded at:  Record Plant Scoring

Soundtrack Album:  Epic

Running Time:  1 hour 49  minutes
Music Time:  (approx) 77 minutes

Note that there is a campaign for an official release of the background music from The Goonies.  If you want to add your signature to the online petition, go to

More info about the project on the Goonies website

ADDITIONAL MUSIC at end of Music Cues

soundtrack album
(pop songs)

Dave Grusin
Feature Films



(times approximate)

.56 - 2.52

As prison officer is hit by Fratelli, stinger for the blow leads off “Fratelli Chase.”  Titles begin, and chase music accompanies prison breakout and getaway of gang.  Music becomes softer when scene cuts away to children playing, and louder when scene returns to chase.  Music ends before chase does.   (.56)

3.15 - 4.33

When scene returns to chase, “Fratelli Chase” resumes.  Credits continue as scene switches to children, but music changes to a light classical motif with a triumphant undertone indicating heroism to come.  When Chunk witnesses police and gang passing his house, music switches back to “Fratelli Chase.”  Music reduced to a single tone when gang pauses to confer, “Fdratelli Chase” resuming as they drive off.   (1.20)

4.37 - 5.36

Faint rock music as background to domestic scene.  Ends as children tussle.  (see Additional Music.)   (.59)

5.51 - 6.36

Faint background rock resumes.  (see Additional Music.)   (.45)

7.27 - 8.03

As Chunk tells of chase, faint background rock begins as he speaks.  (see Additional Music.)   (.36)

8.05 - 8.27

“James Bond Theme” source music from Data's cassette recorder as he swings across garden, crashing into window on famed end note.   (.22)

9.10 - 10.08

Background faint rock.  (see Additional Music.)   (.58)

10.31 - 10.41

Background faint rock.  (see Additional Music.)   (.10)

11.34 - 12.50

Very faint background rock music, mostly drowned out by children shouting.  (see Additional Music.)   (1.16)

14.35 - 15.11

Suspenseful music as children examine picture, a harbinger of warning on map.  Ends as glass breaks and map is revealed   (.36)

15.14 - 17.11

Spooky music as Mouth translates text from Spanish on treasure map, and they talk about pirates.  When Mikey speaks of treasure, music becomes dreamy, then more dramatic as he talks of adventure.  Music varies with subject of conversation during the cue.   (1.57)

17.52 - 18.33

Suspenseful music touched with inspiration as Goonies read out from clipping about Chester Copperpot.   (.41)

19.32 - 21.24

Sentimental theme reflecting the sadness of having to give up their house, as brothers contemplate leaving their home.  They hug.  After foreclosure papers delivered, music breaks for words “The foreclosure is a definite” and resumes as brothers talk of how treasure could save their home.  Cue ends on sounds of storm.   (1.52)

21.25 - 24.01

Vocal “Goonies 'R' Good Enough” opens with singer, then plays through mock fight, Brand being tied up, and Goonies taking off on bikes.   (2.36)

24.02 - 24.38

Suspenseful music as children debate what to do.   (.36)

24.46 - 25.42

Source music from car radio plays rock, becoming more frantic as tricycle breaks apart and Brandon falls into ravine.  (see Additional Music.)   (.56)

26.05 - 27.07

As children spot restaurant, Goonies motif plays mixed with suspense to fortell coming adventure.  As they pinpoint their location on the map, a high seas cum piracy note added to music.   (1.02)

27.58 - 29.07

Danger music as Goonies proceed towards restaurant.  A touch of 1950s police television in it.  It becomes more suspenseful - speeding up - as they look inside, becoming highly dramatic as Chunk discovers bullet holes in vehicle.  Music ends softly as they are discovered.   (1.09)

31.54 - 32.08

As Mikey goes into cellar with map, spooky music interwoven with Goonies Motif.  Ends as roar of Sloth is heard.   (.14)

32. 18 - 32.32

As he feeds chained brother, gang member sings in Italian.   (.14)

32.53 - 32.57

He begins singing again as he leaves.  Stops when Mikey gets caught in trap.   (.04)

33.05 - 33.52

Spooky music with strings as Sloth rants.  Music becomes intense as he sees Mikey running away, and stops momentarily when Mikey is caught by gang member, ending on mother's disgusted face as Goonies leave restaurant.   (.47)

34.16 - 35.06

Slightly spooky music as Goonies see car drive up and gang remove goods.  Music changes to sentimental as Mikey speaks of their home and this opportunity to save it.  As car drives away, their decision made to go ahead, music takes on an adventurous note.   (.50)

36.49 - 38.54

Long thin note played by strings as Goonies hear snarling.  Music builds slowly along spooky lines as they explore.  Stinger as they see Sloth, and run, with music expressing terror and flight.  It ends on a gentle note with kiss, and starts up with thin strings as they begin once again to explore.   (2.05)

39.16 - 40.47

Suspenseful music overlaid with Goonies Motif moves into inspirational theme as they discover the treasure chest they are looking for at entrance to tunnel.  Trumpets play chirpy music as they examine money.  Triumphant conquest music turns sober as notes are realized to be counterfeit.   (1.31)

41.26 - 42.01

In freezer room, tense, anticipatory music cut by stinger and scream when Chunk encounters body.  Screeching strings a la `Psycho' as Goonies run, followed by single long string note creating suspense as gang walks overhead.   (.35)

43.00 - 45.48

Low strings interwoven with Goonies Motif  evoke danger as they look for escape route. Anticipatory music continues to play over Fratellis arguing.  It becomes light-hearted as Chunk manages to get out of fridge room, returning to suspenseful - (interwoven with Goonies Motif) as children seek a way out.  As Chunk blurts out his story, Fratelli sings.   (2.48)

46.58 - 47.23

Fratelli sings as he stuffs Chunk into car.   (.25)

47.57 - 49.13

“Fratelli Chase” plays when Goonies tug on water pipes, causing havoc at the country club.   (1.15)

50.25 - 51.13

Suspenseful music created by strings becomes scary, and use of  stingers reminiscent of `Psycho' punctuate discovery of skeleton.  Music cut off by return to scene of Chunk confessing.   (.48)

51.25 - 55.31

Suspenseful music interwoven with Goonies Motif as children discuss how to escape.  As skeleton's head falls off, stinger brings a more scary note to music.  It grows even tenser as booby traps start to go off, and becomes still more violent when Goonies realize someone is below.  Shimmering strings and suspense theme open up as more traps go off.  Ends again with cut to `confession' scene.   (4.06)

56.15 - 56.47

When Chunk's hand is put in blender, high seas/pirate music dramatizes his calling to Mikey below as `explosion' blows objects throughout the room.   (31)

57.08 - 59.06

Shimmering harps as Goonies discover underground waterfall.  Warm feeling from the music blended with a crystal sound for the water gives a sense of paradise.  Hint of Goonies Motif as they admire waterfall.  Music plays against actual mood of scene with children arguing. (Man turning heaven back into earth syndrome)  Music becomes even sweeter as they talk about coins from the wishing well, then moves to suspenseful, and on to solemn as Mouth dives in water after coins.  Scene ends with Goonies Motif as Mikey calls out to One Eyed Willie.   (1.58)

1.00.06 - 1.01.41

Faint rock music (see Additional Music below) as scene of boys above ground recognizing  Andy's voice from the well cuts to source music from pirate scene on television in cell of Chunk and Sloth.   (1.35)

1.02.06 - 1.04.10

Goonies Motif with  solemn, inspirational music as Mikey tries to persuade others to pursue treasure instead of escaping in well bucket.  `Our Time' theme as he urges Andy to stay.  Music fades into faint rock (see Additional Music below) as boys at well bring up a bucket containing only Andy's coat.   (2.04)

1.05.18 - 1.05.46

Adventure music with a light pulse as gang searches for treasure in tunnel.   (.28)

1.06.38 - 1.07.37

Goonies Motif blended with dreamy, inspirational theme as they follow trail successfully with excitement, ending as door magically opens to them.   (.59)

1.07.39 - 1.08.39

Percussion and strings create a manic sound cut by stinger as cannonball comes rolling down towards Goonies, inducing havoc and nearly killing Data.  Cascading strings accompany his fall, but rubber-band sound from guitar takes tension from situation.  Light motif indicates he has survived though friends think him dead.  Adventure music ends in shimmering strings.   (1.00)

1.09.34 - 1.10.08

Sentimental, gentle theme with hint of Goonies Motif  indicates Andy's romantic mood as discussion over `rest room facilities' takes place.   (34)

1.10.45 - 1.12.02 - 1.19.09

Sentimental theme as Mikey Kisses Andy with her eyes closed.  (1.12.02)

Music changes to humorous stepping tempo as gang searches tunnel, but as low strings take over, becomes more serious then spooky.  When gang approaches Goonies, it breaks into full-blown chase music as children run.  Ultra dramatic `high seas' music is reduced to single low tone as they cross precipitous `bridge.'  Dramatic music continues, but becomes slightly humorous as gang confronts the children - reducing tension slightly, but then goes into a terrifying mode as Fratellis pursue Goonies with guns.  Similar low tone used when gang is also forced to cross `bridge.'  When Goonies come to dead end in their flight, sounding of gong announces discovery of  skeleton bones on wall with music ending in long string note, emphasizing Goonies' amazement.  Return to adventure music as gang continues attempt to cross `bridge' and water inundates them from above.  

Hollow sound produced by pipes and percussion with trumpet stingers create a voodoo quality as Mouth reads prophetic words on map.  As Andy `plays the bones' organ chord rings out followed by spooky, thin strings, giving a ritualistic feeling as door opens.  Flutes and other instruments join pipes and percussion to increase voodoo feeling, and another organ note sounds as ground breaks away.  Dramatic, terrifying music follows when gang comes up through hole.  Reverting to more `voodoo' music and  organ sounds again when Andy presses
another bone.   All building to a finale as triumphant A flat is sounded by organ and all previous musical effects are combined as total chaos breaks out.

Revelation fanfare combining jungle beat, low strings, `Psycho' stingers and heralding trumpets as draw bridge comes down, providing escape route from Fratellis.  More adventure music as Goonies escape, ending with finale as gun misfires.   (8.26 total)

1.19.15 - 1.20.12

As Goonies escape down sloping waterfall, music becomes lighter in tone - filled with an exhilarating sense of adventure with full orchestra playing at high speed nearly throughout, but ending softly as they find themselves in a lake at the bottom of the falls.   (.57)

1.20.15 - 1.20.49

Horns herald revelation fanfare as Goonies see ship in underground lake, with music extending into following scene of Fratellis going through tunnel to humorous music.   (.34)

1.20.52 - 1.22.00

Horns play inspirational theme mixed with Goonies Motif as they board ship, followed by solo alto sax as they explore.  (Very attractive cue.)   (1.08)

1.23.43 - 1.29.17

High-pitched strings as Mikey explores room with skeletons at table.  Fratelli Chase cut by double stinger.  Sentimental music as he discovers One Eyed Willie.  Touching inspirational music as he speaks to the skeleton with tears in his eyes.  

Triumphant theme (as they collect pieces of treasure) moves into amusing music as they concoct plots to thwart Fratellis, but turns to tone of danger as gang confronts them.  Light pirate motif as Goonies assault gang, but as Fratellis get the upper hand, music opens into Fratelli Theme which ends as Andy falls into water.   (5.34)

1.29.43 - 1.31.34

Fanfare announces arrival of Chunk and Sloth.  Overblown trumpet music becomes comical as he captures his brothers.  Music plays lightly under Fratellis arguing amongst themselves.   (1.51)

1.31.36 - 1.32.08

Pirate music turns sentimental as Andy and Brandon kiss in the water.   (.34)

1.32.10 - 1.32.57

Triumphant fanfare, as Sloth ties up his brothers, becomes sentimental when his mother attempts to appeal to him.   (.47)

1.33.03 - 1.33.38

As mother sings “Rock a Bye Baby,' sentimental music resumes.  When she sings the word `fall,' Sloth changes mood and pirate music takes over as he throws her into the water. Music ends with a Spanish flavor.   (.35)

1.33.55 - 1.34.06

Sentimental music as Brandon urges Mikey to leave the scene while he still can.   (.11)

1.34.07 - 1.37.08

Pirate music as mother frees two sons, and they collect treasure.  It becomes scary as she thanks One Eyed Willie, then turns dramatic as booby traps spring and Goonies attempt to escape.  Adventure music as boulders fall down everywhere from above.  Extended music over many traps going off ends as Goonies escape into the open.   (3.01)

1.37.26 - 1.39.47

Fanfare as Goonies come up the beach.  Music takes on an `FBI” theme as police van arrives with parents, playing through reunion with families.  Segues into lighter music when Data's father takes a photo of him.  Sentimental music as families express feelings for one another and Andy and Brandon kiss. Ends on notes of Goonies Motif.   (2.21)

1.39.52 - 1.40.52

A few notes of Goonies Motif overcome by  `FBI' music as Chunk tries to stop arrest of Sloth, and goes into sentimental theme as Chunk declares Sloth can come to live with him.   (1.00)

1.41.10 - 1.41.30

Sentimental music interwoven with Goonies Motif as Mikey explains how they almost saved the family home.   (.20)

1.41.35 - 1.44.04

Whimsical `FBI' theme builds up strongly to climax as cleaning lady reveals bag of diamonds to grand fanfare.  Continuing triumphal music ending with long string note as stinger, when everyone turns to see treasure boat emerging into the sea from cliffs.  Inspirational theme with a couple notes of Goonies Motif  as Mikey says goodbye to One Eyed Willie.  Final fanfare of victory runs into start of credits.   (2.29)

1.44.06 - 1.46.39 - 1.49.10

“Goonies 'R' Good Enough” runs under closing titles.   Changes to  sentimental theme with second unit credits.  (5.04 total)

 Additional Music (rock)

The Goonies 'R' Good Enough -- Cyndi Lauper
I Got Nothing -- Bangles
Wherever You're Goin' (It's Alright) -- REO Speedwagon
She's So Good To Me -- Luther Vandross
What A Thrill -- Cyndi Lauper
14K -- Teena Marie
Love Is Alive -- Philip Bailey
Save The Night -- Joseph Williams
Eight Arms To Hold You -- Goon Squad

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