Last Updated: February 7, 2022

Famous Movies Filmed In Oregon

Oregon is one of the most beautiful states in the United States and being home to such a different array of landscapes, it’s the perfect place to film movies. Between the moody but dramatic Oregon coast to the desert landscapes of central Oregon and the hills of eastern Oregon, directors have a wide choice of amazing Oregon locations to film. 

Join me as we take a look at all the famous movies filmed in Oregon and their locations so you can make a road trip out of them on your next visit. 

Animal House, 1978

animal house

One of the most famous movies filmed in Oregon has to be National Lampoon’s animal house. This classic movie filmed in 1978 used the campus of the University of Oregon campus and the surrounding area as its filming locations. 

The cast and crew of the film almost took over the campus as they filmed this classic about a gang of friends at a college frat-house. The film was a huge hit as it brought to life the comedy of college through toga parties, food fights, and it was the movie that really put John Belushi on the scene. 

If you meet anyone who lived in the city of Eugene or nearby at the time of filming in 1978, they will have quite a story to tell you as it’s been said that the cast and crew left quite a mark. 

Stand By Me, 1986

Stand By Me

An amazing movie filmed in Oregon that everyone should see is Stand By Me. It’s an awesome coming-of-age film and one of the movies I was addicted to as a child. 

The movie is based on a novella called “The Body” by Stephen King called the body and it follows a young group of boys as they head out on an adventure to uncover a body in the woods. The movie was filmed at numerous locations around Oregon, one of which is Brownsville which still holds a Stand by Me day every year in July. 

Other locations included in the filming of Stephen King’s novel King  Row River Trail which follows the route of the train line featured in the story, the now-abandoned Oregon Pacific & Eastern Railroad line. You can then head to Cottage Grove which is the location where the bridge scene was filmed. 

Other locations used to film this movie also include Eugene and Veneta.

Free Willy, 1993

Free Willy

Of all the movies filmed in Oregon, I’m sure this one is one we have all seen, Free Willy. Free Willy is a touching story about a young boy called Jesse who makes friends with an orca whale called Willy. Jesse then finds out that the marine park owner is going to kill Willy and collect the insurance money, so Jesse decides to stop it and set Willy free. 

This movie was filmed around many a location in Oregon the most famous of which is the Hammond Marina on the Pacific North West in Oregon’s north coast. This is where the scene when Willy jumps over the sea wall was filmed, an iconic moment in the movie. 

Other filming spots include Oaks Amusement Park, Cannon Beach, Burnside Skatepark, Astoria and lots of clips were filmed in Portland too. 

Into the Wild, 2007

Into The Wild

A stunning film about a young man who leaves all his money and possessions behind and searches to find a great connection with nature and a simpler way of life. If you haven’t seen Into The Wild, you should watch it, and if you have, I bet it had you questioning your life and wanting to go camping in Oregon, or anywhere! 

The film was adapted by director Shaun Penn from a true story from the book Into The Wild by Oregonian Jon Krakauer. The movie was filmed in Oregon around the Pacific North West and a lot of scenes were filmed in Portland. 

Locations included Reed College, McCormick’s Fish House in Beaverton, as well as in parts of Mount Hood, Astoria, the city of Sisters, and at George Fox University in Newberg.

Twilight, 2008

twilight

Another movie that hit the big screen in a big way and was filmed in Oregon too is Twilight. Twilight is based on the series of vampire novels by Stephenie Meyer and was originally set in the town of Forks in Washington State’s Pacific Northwest but most of the filming occurred in the Oregon city of Portland. 

Other locations in Oregon featured in the film included the Carver Cafe in Damascus, Oregon as well as the Hoke residence, a 4,800 square foot private home. The Hoke Residence sits on the border of Portland’s forest park and was designed by Skylab Architects and Lucy Metcalf was the landscaper and interior designer. 

While the streets of Portland feature more than other locations, the film was also shot in parts of Washington and California. 

The Goonies, 1985

The Goonies

The Goonies is a classic film from the 1980s that everyone has seen. Filmed and directed by Steven Spielberg, the Goonies is an adventure comedy that was shot around Oregon. It’s a fun film about modern-day pirates as they look for hidden treasure. 

The Goonies Oregon film locations include Cannon Beach, the town of Astoria, and even the Clatsop County Jail. The Clatsop County Jail is the scene where the famous jailbreak in the Goonies was filmed as it is also where you’ll find the Oregon Film Museum today. 

Every year in Astoria on the 7th of June it’s “Goonies Day” and day they celebrate the film and people who love Oregon and the movies flock to the town to celebrate see all the parts of the town where the movie was filmed. 

Once you have seen all the filming locations around Astoria, you should take a trip to the coast and the Ecola State Park so see all the beaches where the famous scenes were filmed. 

Pay It Forward, 2000

Pay It Forward

A heart-warming film everyone should watch with an awesome cast including Helen Hunt, Kevin Spacey, and Haley Joel Osment one of the best child actors ever. Pay It Forward was filmed mostly in a studio in Los Angeles as well as on location in Las Vegas, so most of it wasn’t filmed in Oregon. 

But, one of the most famous scenes in Pay It Forward, the bridge scene, was filmed in Portland. The bridge used was the St. John’s Bridge on Highway 30 and when you stop next to the bridge, it’s very easy to imagine the bridge scene happening in front of your eyes. 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,1975

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One of the most famous films filmed in Oregon is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Another film based on a timeless novel by Ken Kesey.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s stars Jack Nicholson in what is regarded as one of his best roles ever. It was filmed at the Oregon State Mental Hospital where Jack Nicholson plays a man called McMurphy who just arrived from prison after he pleads insanity to escape working in a normal prison. 

While the movie is a little bit of a rollercoaster as it deals with mental illness it’s also very heartwarming and rather funny in moments. One of the best moments is when Jack Nicholson breaks out a gang of patients and takes them out fishing on the sea off Oregon. 

The filming took place in the town of Salem and at the Oregon State Hospital mental-health facility as well as parts of Oregon’s coast. The hospital is now a museum that is dedicated to the movie.

Drugstore Cowboy, 1989

Drugstore Cowboy

This movie was filmed by a director from Portland called Gus Van Sant who not only filmed this movie in Oregon but others too including “My Own Private Idaho,” “Elephant” and “Paranoid Park.”. 

Regarded as his best movie, Drugstore Cowboy follows a tale about a drug addict who runs around the state robbing drug stores to get a fix but then tries to clean up his act. The movie features Matt Dillon and Kelly Lynch and was filmed mostly around Portland, Oregon. 

The first drugstore scene was shot at the Nob Hill Pharmacy on NW Glisan Street. While other shooting spots included the Pearl District that used to be a railyard, with a viaduct going over it.

Wild, 2014

Wild

One of the most recent movies shot in Oregon was Wild in 2014 and the tale follows a young woman who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, one of the longest hikes around. The movie was based on a book which was written by Cheryl Strayed, a Portland resident, and is a true account of her solo journey along the 1700 km trail.

Cheryl is played by Reese Witherspoon and it was shot over a huge amount of locations in Oregon, showcasing some of the most beautiful parts of the state. 

Parts of Oregon used in the film include Mount Hood Ski Bowl and Crater Lake in Klamath County, the Papaya Boutique in Ashland was the shop “Moon Rising” in the film, and other notable areas include the stunning Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks, Smith Rock State Park, and Portland. 

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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