Lights, Camera, Action! Movies Filmed in Oregon
Oregon has long been a filming destination for Hollywood movies, from classics like The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop (both filmed at the Oregon coast) to not-yet-released films starring the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Dakota Fanning, and Woody Harrelson. Even scenes from Sean Penn’s Into the Wild were shot in Astoria, Mt. Hood and the Portland area.
Read on to hear about our staff’s favorite Oregon films and vote for your favorite Oregon move!. Warning: reading these recommendations may convince you to run to the video store immediately…
“The River Wild is my favorite. The scenery is gorgeous. I have done the mail boat tour twice and it stops at the spot where you have to take rafts so now I find the movie even more interesting. And who can resist Kevin Bacon (even when he’s a bad guy) and Meryl Streep.”
~Submitted by Noreen W.
“I loved Stand By Me, but mostly for the music.
My all time favorite for an Oregon movie would have to be Rooster Cogburn, with John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn. It’s a classic, and it was filmed in Deschutes County, just outside of Bend.”
Ratings: Stand by Me- R, Rooster Cogburn- PG
~Submitted by Lisa R.
“One of my favorite movies filmed in Oregon was the 2003 coming of age movie, Mean Creek. Directed by Jacob Aaron Estes and starring a very young cast including Rory Culkin and Ryan Kelley, the movie was filmed on location in Estacada, Troutdale and the Lewis River in Washington. The movie is set in a rural town in Oregon and captures the day in the life of six teens and explores the theme’s secrets, bullying, revenge, and its life consequences. The cinematography is sublime; there are some really amazing river scenes weaved together with wide open shots of pristine meadows and the familiar green landscape of the Northwest. In fact, it’s one of those movies that make you say to your partner ‘I want to go there!’ No sooner had I said that, I saw the majestic outline of Mt. Hood and realized that the movie was shot here in Oregon.”
~Submitted by Mo S.
“Animal House. I was a sophomore or junior at University of Oregon when the movie was filmed. Having the production crew on campus made the wild college days of the late 70′s even more raucous. As I was walking from my apartment to class one evening, the door of one of the crew trailers flew open and John Belushi landed at my feet. John and I walked together for a few blocks until he left me at the location shoot. Later that same week I attended a Jerry Jeff Walker/John Prine concert at Mac Court only to have Belushi show up on stage channeling Joe Cocker. Very late that evening Jerry Jeff was arrested for driving 95 mph northbound in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5. Pretty memorable time and a damn funny film; I had several friends that were extras. I am still haunted by the kiln explosion that killed Fawn Liebowitz.”
~Submitted by Scott W.
“Goonies is not only my favorite Oregon movie, its one of my favorite movies of all time! Why? How can one forget the pudgy Chunk standing on the fence post and doing the ‘Truffle Shuffle’? Or when Sloth Fratelli screams out in the caves through his speech impediment, ‘I LOVE YOU CHUNK!!!’ I have to admit, I had HUGE crushes on both Sean Astin (Mikey) and Corey Feldman (Mouth) at the time, even though I was only 7 years old when the movie came out. I think that’s why I wanted to watch the movie over and over again because didn’t they both have great kissing scenes in the movie? My favorite and most memorable image from the movie is at the end when the tall masted pirate ship is set free and sails out from behind the rocks on the Oregon coast into bright aquamarine waters and the mist enshrouded sun. Oh, it was the perfect imagery…Sometimes when I’m out surfing at the Oregon coast and the mist and angle of the sun is just right, I scan the rocky coastline and I watch for pirate ships….”
~Submitted by Kristin D.
“It’s a tough choice, but I’d have to say my favorite Oregon filmed movie would be Short Circuit – I haven’t seen it since I was about 10 or 11, but I remember how funny I thought it was – Number 5 is alive! As a close second choice, I’d say The River Wild… I know, not all of that movie was shot in Oregon, but there were those scenes along the Rogue River and when you were a high school student in Southern Oregon in the early 90′s and heard that Kevin Bacon was coming to town, you got pretty excited! Plus, Meryl Streep is a bad-ass in the end of the movie!”
Rating: Short Circuit- PG
~Submitted by Michelle W.
Ratings: Kindergarten Cop- PG-13, The Postman- R
~Submitted by Ronnie E.
“Being a University of Oregon grad, I definitely loved Animal House. I think every college student (and college grad) can relate to it. And let’s be honest, it really does make you want to throw a toga party. TOGA, TOGA! I also thoroughly enjoyed One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest, which was filmed in Salem’s Oregon State Mental Hospital. I drive by that building all the time, and it is just as eerie as it appeared to be in the movie.”
Rating: One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest- R
~Submitted by Ashley M.
“Free Willy (10th Anniversary Edition) – This film sparked one of the largest and most expensive efforts in history to save a single whale. Located, once again, in Astoria, you can check out the Astoria Column, the Astoria bridge, and Jason James Richter’s home. The film also sports shots of Cannon Beach and Oak’s Park in Portland, Oregon. And, of course, who could forget the “thrilling” climax, shot at Hammond Mooring Basin.
The Hunted (Widescreen Edition) – The chase sequence through downtown Portland is very fun to watch and I love how they made the bridge crossing the Willamette appear to be several thousand meters longer than it actually is. THE HUNTED also sports scenes of beautiful Silver Falls in Silverton and assorted street scenes around Portland, including the Burnside tunnel.
Bandits – This is a bit of a cheat, since the film also features Northern California a great deal. But BANDITS was shot all over the place in Oregon as well: Crown Point State Park in Corbett, Billy Bob Thornton runs out of gas on the Broadway Bridge, the residential neighborhoods of Lake Oswego and Oregon City, the Oregon State Penitentiary, the bank robbery in Silverton, and Cate Blanchett’s beautiful home above the Willamette River in West Linn.”
~Submitted by Dylan B.
While many of these Oregon films are classics, don’t forget about the upcoming films, such as Untraceable, in theaters soon!
For more information on movies filmed in Oregon, please visit www.oregonfilm.org/history. If you are planning on visiting Astoria during your next vacation, be sure to check out www.oldoregon.com for information on movie tours.
Have a favorite Oregon film? Submit a comment and share your ideas…or vote on our poll!
The Staff at Travel Oregon