Pirates of the Caribbean’s production was helped by The Goonies

The Goonies: Josh Brolin and Sean Astin star in 1985 trailer

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The Pirates of the Caribbean films have now become a billion-dollar franchise from Disney. But decades before the likes of Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom graced the screens as Captain Jack Sparrow and Will Turner, The Goonies paved the way for the fantasy adventure.

The 1985 movie The Goonies followed a group of plucky young kids looking for hidden treasure in their sleepy coastal town.

In the final few scenes of the movie, the Goonies found The Inferno – a ship owned by the legendary pirate One-Eyed Willy.

The iconic pirate ship scene was not just incredible to watch as a viewer, but it was just as magical for the actors, as well. 

The Goonies’ director, Richard Donner, spent months building the life-size pirate ship in secret. He remembered: “The day we were going to film them first seeing it we backed them all into the water and set the cameras. On ‘action’ they knew what they were going to see, but they didn’t know what it was going to look like.”

And it was quite the spectacle. He based the vessel on the ship from the 1940 movie Errol Flynn – The Sea Hawk. Construction of The Inferno took two and a half months and measured more than 105 feet. The shop’s biggest sail was 30ft by 60ft.

The child stars who saw The Inferno for the first time were absolutely gobsmacked.


Josh Brolin recalled that he wanted to laugh, but in reality, he was so shocked he exclaimed: “Holy s**t!” The footage of him seeing the ship for the first time and swearing couldn’t be used, and they had to reshoot his reaction.

Martha Plimpton reportedly started crying when she saw the majesty of the ship in front of her.

Sean Astin – who would go on to play Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings – later said: “My mouth dropped open. The whole adventure we had gone through had a happy ending – The Ship!”

Unfortunately, The Inferno could not be saved.

Johnny Depp discusses Pirates of the Caribbean in 2017

Despite the fact The Goonies films all of their scenes on The Inferno, when filming came to an end, its destruction was ordered. The ship was offered to anyone in the crew who wanted it – for free – but nobody would take it. Before long, it was deconstructed.

But it wasn’t a complete lost cause.

At the same time, Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean theme park ride was going through a renovation.

Pieces of The Inferno were pulled from the gigantic ship and transported to Disney’s iconic theme park where it was used to create some of the set and pirate ships in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. 

These theme park ships were later used as inspiration for the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, which featured a number of life-size ships. The enormous vessels used in the PotC franchise were filmed on location around Puerto Rico and the islands of Dominica.

And the incredible ships did wonders for the film’s renown.

The Pirates of the Caribbean series has not only earned more than $1.3 billion at the box office, but it has also received a bunch of nominations for its prowess on the big screen.

Over the franchise’s five films, the series has received five Oscar nominations. These included Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Makeup, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects.

The Goonies is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

The Pirates of the Caribbean films are available to watch on Disney Plus.


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