While it might not be your first guess if asked where the beer capital of the US is, with over 70 breweries, Portland ranks pretty high. And the state isn’t too shabby when it comes to grapes either; there are more than 900 wineries. It also has more strips clubs and ghost towns than any other state.
Other things that Oregon does big? Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the US. And what about cheese? Tillamook Cheese Factory is the biggest factory of its kind in the world. And at 8000 feet deep, Hells Canyon is the biggest river gorge on the continent. Then of course, there’s the population. At over four million people, the state ranks 27th.
And then there are the small things that the 33rd state to enter the union can brag about. Mill Ends Park in Portland is only 452 square inches, the smallest park in the world. And while huge now, back in 1971 when Carolyn Davidson designed the “swoosh” for Nike at Portland State University, she was only paid $35 for it.
The Beaver State has also had many firsts as well. One-way streets were first built and used in the US in Eugene in 1941. The state was the first to decriminalize marijuana way back in 1973 and then in 2014, one of the first to allow recreational use. And in 2021, they decriminalized small amounts of all drugs.
With 30 million acres of forest within its 85,997 square miles, there are also 254 state parks as well as the over 13,000-acre Crater Lake National Park.
And it’s good a thing they have so much open space because Oregon is also frequently used for filming some of the most popular (and not as popular) movies of our time. Check out the below list of some of the most interesting:
Movies filmed in Oregon
Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)
This drama movie starred Richard Dreyfuss as a high school music teacher, who over a 30-year span brings forth and instills passion in his students. Other members of the cast included Glenne Headly, Olympia Dukakis, and William H. Macy. The film was set in Oregon with locations done in Portland, Gresham, and Marylhurst.
2 h 22 min | PG
Stand by Me (1986)
This coming-of-age film was director Rob Reiner’s third and was based upon a 1982 Stephen King novella. It starred River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell as friends who head out on an adventure to find a dead body in Oregon. Some filming was done in Cottage Grove, Brownsville, Eugene, Franklin, and Junction City.
1 h 28 min | R
This romcom starred Kurt Russell as a widowed contractor and Goldie Hawn as an extremely wealthy snob that due to a fall from her ship, develops amnesia and becomes Russell’s wife and mother to his sons. The movie was remade in 2018 with the roles switched. The film was set in a fictional town in Oregon with filming done in Newport.
1 h 52 min | PG
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993)
This movie was director Gus Van Sant’s fourth and starred Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves, and Lorraine Bracco, among others. It was based on a 1976 novel by Tom Robbins. Thurman plays Sissy Hankshaw, a woman with unusually large thumbs who models feminine products. Filming was done in Terrebonne, Sisters, Bend, and Portland.
1h 46m | NR
This Disney movie was the first of four and starred Judith Hoag, Debbie Reynolds, and Kimberly J. Brown. For reasons unknown to them, the Piper children are not allowed out on Halloween, no matter the age or occasion. But things change when their grandmother shows up for a visit. Some filming was done in Scappoose, St. Helens, and Beaverton.
1 h 24 min | G
Point Break (1991)
This crime film revolved around a gang of bank robbers, led by Patrick Swayze’s Bodhi, who surf in their spare time. Keanu Reeves plays Johnny Utah, an FBI agent who infiltrates the gang in order to try and take them down. Other members of the cast included Gary Busey and Lori Petty. Some filming was done in Wheeler.
2 h 1 min | R
The Shining (1980)
Another movie based on a Stephen King book (1977), this one was directed by Stanley Kubrick. Jack Nicholson, Shelley Winters and Danny Lloyd star as the Torrances, a family who moves into a remote Colorado hotel in order to work as winter caretakers. The iconic exterior of the fictional Overlook Hotel was Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood.
2 h 23 min | R
Fire in the Sky (1993)
This sci-fi biopic was based upon a 1978 book by Travis Walton. The film starred D.B. Sweeney, Robert Patrick, James Garner, and Craig Sheffer, and deals with Sweeney’s character’s alien abduction that occurred in Arizona. Walton goes missing for five days. Some filming was done in Oakland, Roseburg, Sutherline, and Idleyld Park.
1 h 49 min | PG-13
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Based upon Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, this dramedy starred Jack Nicholson, Will Sampson, Danny DeVito, and Louise Fletcher. The film was set at a mental institution that Nicholson’s Randle McMurphy has just arrived at. Filming was done in Salem at Oregon State Hospital as well as in Depoe Bay. It won the five major categories at the Oscars.
2 h 13 min | R
The Goonies (1985)
This adventure movie was both based in Astoria as well as shot there. It tells the story of a group of kids who in an attempt to save their parents’ homes seek One-Eyed Willy’s fortune. But there are a few things/people standing in the way. Cast members included Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Joe Pantoliano, and a host of others.
1 h 53 min | PG
Kindergarten Cop (1990)
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays John Kimble, a cop assigned as a kindergarten teacher in order to try and keep a dangerous drug dealer’s ex-wife and son safe from retribution. Other cast members included Penelope Ann Miller and Richard Tyson. The film was set in Astoria, with some filming done there as well as in Cannon Beach and Seaside.
1 h 51 min | PG-13
Animal House (1978)
The first in the iconic National Lampoon series, this one was directed by John Landis. Main stars included John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Thomas Hulce, and Stephen Furst. Belushi and his fellow housemates are part of the Delta Tau Chi fraternity, known mostly for making trouble at the college. Filming was done in Eugene and Cottage Grove.
1 h 48 min | R
Short Circuit (1986)
This sci-fi comedy starred Steve Guttenberg, Ally Sheedy, and Fisher Stevens. After a military robot is struck by lightning, it comes alive as Number 5 and runs off from the facility. The movie is set in Astoria with filming done there as well as in Cascade Locks, Crown Point, Portland, and Beaverton.
1 h 38 min | PG
Dr. Giggles (1992)
This slasher movie was about a doctor and son who terrorized a town in the 1950s by killing patients instead of helping them. Although the father was killed then, the son escapes from a mental asylum decades later. The movie starred Larry Drake, Holly Marie Combs, Cliff DeYoung and Glenn Quinn. The film was done entirely in Portland.
1 h 34 min | R
Batman Forever (1995)
The third movie in this Batman series had Val Kilmer in the starring role alongside many others, including Chris O’Donnell, Nicole Kidman and Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey as the movie’s villains. The final installment in this series, Batman and Robin, was released in 1997, with George Clooney leading. Some filming was done in Portland.
2 h 1 min | PG-13
Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
Director Gus Van Sant’s second movie, this crime film was based on James Fogle’s autobiography. It starred Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, William S. Burroughs, and Heather Graham. The film detailed the story of a group of drug users who rob medical facilities and stores to get their fixes. Filming was done in Portland and Beacon Rock.
1 h 41 min | R
Permanent Record (1988)
This drama starred Alan Boyce as a young man who seems to have it all. But when he commits suicide, it is revealed that many of his friends and family barely knew him. Other costars included Keanu Reeves (in his sixth movie role) and Jennifer Rubin. Filming was done in Portland and Cannon Beach.
1 h 31 min | PG-13
This is just a short list of movies filmed in the tenth largest state. Although it’s not Hollywood or New York, it has had (and will continue to have) its fair share of film crews stop in for its scenery.