I always get an extra thrill when I recognize a location in a movie or TV show. That sense of “hey, I’ve been there!” just adds a little buzz of excitement. And when the movie is filmed in Oregon, recognizing landmarks is even more fun. Some of Oregon’s unique “star” turns:
- Most folks will recognize the Haystack Rock cameo in The Goonies, and the Astoria streets are easily recognizable.
- Viewers of The Hunted are treated to Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio del Toro in a chase scene sprawling over several Willamette bridges and on top of a Max train.
- I watched the coming-of-age epic Stand By Me long before I knew it was filmed in and near Eugene.
- After a visit to Vernonia, I instantly recognized the abandoned mill full of full-grown trees that pops up in another coming-of-age flick, Thumbsucker.
- Recent college-aged self-discovery film Blue Like Jazz is set at (and filmed mostly at) Reed College.
- The coffee shop-centric Greg Kinnear rom-com Feast of Love also visits Reed, as well as PGE Park and several pubs and coffee shops around town.
- Most of Gus Van Sant’s movies feature Portland as a backdrop, including Paranoid Park, which takes place largely in the Burnside Skate Park.
- Several movies drop in views of Mt. Hood and other scenic Oregon forests, including kid-favorite animal epic Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, the apocalyptically survivalist The Road, and oddly enough the zany New York-based Steve Guttenberg robot classic Short Circuit.
- One of my personal favorites, the 1937 film Lost Horizon lets the Mt. Hood wilderness stand in as the location of the mythical city of Shangri-La.
- Timberline Lodge itself was used for the exterior of the hotel housing the snowbound family in the horror classic The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson.
- Another Nicholson film, the prison-break mental ward movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was filmed in the Oregon State Mental Hospital in Salem.
- But Into the Wild has to win the award for “most local.” In addition to filming in numerous other spots around the state, one scene was filmed just across the street from the Cedar Mill Library in the Bales Thriftway parking lot.
- And it’s not just limited to movies these days. Three TV shows are currently filming in Portland, and the library has the DVDS: the spooky fairy tale modernization Grimm (1 season), the con-men capers of Leverage (4 seasons), and the quirky sketch comedy Portlandia (2 seasons).
Browse the full list of Oregon-made movies available on DVD and Blu-ray in WCCLS libraries. Why not order a bunch and build your own Oregon film fest.
Want to find out where a particular movie was filmed? Look it up on IMDB.com, scroll down to details, and click on “see more” under Filming Locations.
The Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television offers film buffs a website to find out what movies and TV shows are currently shooting in Oregon and browse a historical list of films made in the state starting in 1908.