11 classic movies that inspired Stranger Things

Credit: Stranger Things - Netflix
Credit: Stranger Things - Netflix /
2 of 11

2. The Goonies

Release Year: 1985
Director: Richard Donner
Writer: Steven Spielberg (story), Chris Columbus (screenplay)
Starring: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Jonathan Ke Huy Quan, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton

The Goonies perfectly encapsulates the optimistic mid-80s child-friendly adventure movie. A group of friends rally together to go on a quest for a hidden treasure using a gold doubloon and treasure map that they just happen to find in the family attic. How convenient.

Their misadventures begin when they stumble upon a criminal family who threatens both their lives and the success of their mission, but they are aided by a friendly outcast who possesses the physical strength needed to save the day. Ultimately, the kids escape and make off with enough treasure to save one family’s home from foreclosure.

Related Story: More Stranger Things news

Each character has their own distinct personality and purpose, and the kids in Stranger Things seem to present their counterpart. Mike echoes Sean Astin’s character, Mikey, the wholesome leader. Lucas matches with Corey Feldman’s “Mouth”, the sarcastic second-in-command. Dustin is similar to Jeff Cohen’s “Chunk”, the lovable comic relief, but this kid’s got brains behind his sweet smile.

But these character homages aren’t limited to the main group. Jonathan Byers is a good stand-in for Josh Brolin’s big brother character, “Brand”, the level-headed protector who gets swept up in the kid’s adventures. Nancy Thompson is similar to Kerri Green’s character, Andy, the love interest of the token jock jerk, though she clearly has a stronger connection with the older brother. And obviously, Martha Plimpton’s Stef was a direct inspiration for fan-favorite Barb. Her tell-it-like-it-is best friend attitude and costume design are spiritually identical.