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The Goonies Easter Eggs hidden in Stranger Things

The Netflix series Stranger Things has been building a dedicated fanbase since it first aired on the streaming provider, but the last few weeks have catapulted it into orbit.

Thanks to the Kate Bush song Running Up That Hill, it’s seen a huge crossover into pop culture. The song benefitted from featuring in the show; The Guardian reported it shot to number one in the UK, and as a consequence, a new demographic of viewers heard about the show and got caught up.

Those just arriving will find a show that leans heavily on plenty of other works from the period. The obvious similarities are with The Goonies, a 1985 release about the hunt for One-Eyed Willie’s pirate treasure which has remained popular ever since. After its release, The Goonies featured in video games for the NES and the Famicon, both platform-based games taking in the film’s branding. Today, there is an online slot amongst the jackpot slots from Gala Casino named The Goonies Return that also leans heavily on the characters, music and themes. There’s even a Flash-based game online, released in 2007, and a Goonies Lego Dimensions pack from 2017, but in terms of films, there’s been no Goonies return. The video games prove the Goonies’ popularity over the last 37 years, but we’ve had no film sequel; there’s a planned documentary, The Lost Version of The Goonies, but otherwise, nothing.

That’s where Stranger Things has come in, laded with eighties film references and plenty of connections to The Goonies. Have you spotted them? Or, have you yet to tune into Stranger Things and need convincing as a Goonies fan it’s the right thing to do? Either way, look no further.


In one of the most obvious nods to The Goonies, the lead protagonist in Stranger Things is called Mike, just as he was in the 1985 film. The characters even share the same initials; MW (Mikey Walsh, Mike Wheeler. The two are very similar in the group they lead, and the similarities are perhaps too obvious to ignore.

The Red Bandana

Brand, played by Josh Brolin in The Goonies, was the older brother of the gang, tagging along to help them out and serving as a love interest for the older girls in the show. That certainly has parallels with Jonathan and Steve Harrington in Stronger Things, who both fall for Nancy. Brand was well known for wearing a red bandana in the film, and 37 years later, Lucas pulled on a red bandana when he meant business.

Troy The Bully

One storyline from early in Stranger Things is Mike and his gang being bullied and Eleven using her powers to beat the Bullies. In those scenes, the antagonist is called Troy, and he is the stereotypical bully, turning to his parents when things go wrong for him. In Goonies, Brand was also the victim of a bully, the spoiled son of Astoria Country Club’s owner. The bully’s name? Troy.

Sean Astin

Sean Astin played Mikey Walsh in The Goonies, the gang leader who starts the treasure hunt, which eventually leads to the community being saved. He’s a beloved actor who also appeared in Lord of the Rings and popped up as Winona Ryder’s love interest in the second Stranger Things series. Not all goes well for his character, Bob, but he gets a lovely Goonies reference. When Will drew the underground map of Hawkins, Bob was told to find ‘X’ to which he replied, “Yeah? What’s at the X? Pirate treasure?” a reference to the hunt for pirate treasure in the Goonies.


The Goonies isn’t the only film with hidden Easter eggs in Stranger Things. There are themes from other movies, such as Carrie, Alien, Terminator 2, Halloween and even Ghostbusters. However, there’s no doubt the film that influenced the show the most is the timeless Goonies, leaving fans no longer having to find video games to satisfy a little of their thirst.


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