A Documentary About the Sunken Treasure That Inspired “The Goonies” Is Coming to Theaters

Doug Kenck-Crispin, who covered the story for WW, is one of the filmmakers behind the movie. Watch the trailer here.

The Goonies. (Oregon Film Museum)

For nearly two decades, the Maritime Archaeology Society has struggled to solve the mystery of the Beeswax Wreck, the elusive vessel that inspired One-Eyed Willy’s treasure ship in The Goonies.

Now, that search is the subject of The True Quest for Fabled Treasure on the Oregon Coast, a new documentary about the treasure hunters seeking the wreck by filmmakers Doug Kenck-Crispin (who covered the story for WW in 2023) and J.B. Fisher.

Part of the series Secrets of the Mysteries Presents, the duo’s feature follows a group of history enthusiasts as they pursue the legend of a downed Spanish ship and its silver, gold and jewels (which were allegedly hidden on Neahkahnie Mountain).

While Ancient Mariner Pictures will release The True Quest for Fabled Treasure online this October, there will be plenty of chances to see it on the big screen. On Friday, Oct. 13, the film will play at Astoria’s Columbian Theater, and on Sunday, Oct. 15, it will have a matinee showing in Portland at the Hollywood Theatre.

Last summer, Maritime Archaeology Society president Scott Williams told WW that while evidence of the missing ship was mounting (in 2013, a commercial fisherman discovered a cave of waterlogged timbers that supported its existence), much remained unknown.

“Now that we know what ship was wrecked, what really interests me is the effect the tsunami of 1700 had on the wreckage: Is part of the ship still offshore, or is it all on land?” Williams said. “If the tsunami picked it up and deposited it on land, what is the offshore source of the porcelain and wood that continues to wash ashore?”

More recently, Williams told WW that the Maritime Archaeology Society is not affiliated with the film (and does not condone treasure hunting; the “treasure” ship, Williams points out, is not the Beeswax Wreck, the treasure story having been spread by American settlers).

Hopefully, The True Quest for Fabled Treasure of the Oregon Coast will provide some answers. Here’s the trailer:

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