3. The Goonies (1985)
One of the most iconic adventure movies of the 1980s, The Goonies filled an entire generation with hope that fantastical adventures can be found in even the most mundane of places. With its group of unforgettable characters, The Goonies is a modern classic, and is almost universally beloved. This status is helped by its ending, which concludes the film on a distinctly upbeat note.
After finding the treasure of One-Eyed Willy, the titular gang are able to salvage enough of the pirates’ lost loot to supposedly reclaim their homes, which had been recently foreclosed upon. Not only do the children find themselves vindicated by having uncovered the lost treasure, but they’re able to use their discovery to leverage their homes back. It’s a triumphant ending to one of the most thrilling family adventures ever committed to film.
However, the part that makes The Goonies‘ ending not so happy is actually a boring piece of real-life legislation. Introduced in 1979, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) protects “any material of archaeological interest” from being recovered by someone without the proper permits. This means that shortly after The Goonies‘ ending, the treasure of One-Eyed Willy would have been confiscated and the children (and their families) would have faced hefty fines and possible jail time for having removed them. Not only would the treasure not be eligible to buy back their homes, but it would also have landed them in significant legal troubles, too.