When Hollywood transports us to faraway places like Paris, the moon, or deep under the sea, the filming locations may not actually be so distant. Many movies are shot right here in the United States even if the story takes place in other parts of the world. From iconic classics to modern hits, here are eight movies that were filmed in or near Central Oregon.
“Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” (1993) – This heartwarming story features two dogs and a cat as they journey through the Sierra Nevada Mountains in a quest to return home to their owners. Four of Oregon’s national forests were used in filming: Deschutes, Willamette, Wallowa-Whitman, and Mount Hood. The scene where Sassy falls into the river was shot at Benham Falls between La Pine and Bend. And the waterfall she went over? That was Sahalie Falls in Sisters. Also, the trio crosses La Pine’s Paulina Creek in one scene, and the first scene with the mountain lion was shot in Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne.
“Apple Dumpling Gang” (1975) – One of Disney’s greatest hits of the 1970s follows three children who must recover a large gold nugget before two bumbling outlaws take it for good. Several scenes from this feel-good comedy were shot in Bend and other picturesque locations in Deschutes County.
“Rooster Cogburn” (1975) – Showcasing the best of John Wayne’s and Katharine Hepburn’s talent, Rooster Cogburn is a classic American western story. Although the area must have looked much different than it does today, the movie was filmed almost entirely in Central Oregon. The ambush scene was filmed near Fall River, and other scenes were shot at Benham Falls, the Rogue River, and Smith Rock State Park. In fact, the Rockhard building at the entrance to Smith Rock was built as a movie set.
“The Postman” (1997) – This film, set in 2013, 16 years into the future, picks up after a second civil war has left the country in shambles. Although critics consider the movie a flop, Smith Rock State Park’s rock formations and beautiful landscape provided an excellent background for the end-of-the-world scenes. Also, the rope bridge scene was filmed at Ranch at the Canyons over the Crooked River.
“Into the Wild” (2007) – After graduating college as a top student, Christopher McCandless empties his bank account to a charity and adventures into the Alaskan wilderness with little food or equipment. Based on a true story, this movie touches on the desire to find something more, something real. The film was shot in 54 different locations in the United States, but several scenes highlight Oregon’s beautiful landscape, including that of Sisters.
“Management” (2008) – Although the film is set in Arizona, Maryland, and Washington, this romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Steve Zahn was shot entirely in Oregon. Sonny’s Motel in Madras doubled as the Kingman Motor Inn in the movie, and Portland acted as Baltimore. Other scenes were shot in and around Portland. The restaurant scenes, for example, were filmed at Aloha Mall west of Portland.
“Wild” (2014) – Based on the true story of Cheryl Strayed, who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail for more than 1,000 miles, this film stars Reese Witherspoon, and all but seven scenes were shot in Oregon. One scene features Smith Rock State Park. In another, La Pine’s Paulina Lake Lodge doubles as California’s Kennedy Meadows. Also, Oregon’s Badlands act as the Mojave Desert where Cheryl camps for the first night. Oregon’s Badlands also stand in for the Modoc Plateau where Cheryl runs out of water.
“Swordfish” (2001) – This crime thriller starring John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, and Halle Berry involves international terrorism, government hacking, and $9.5 billion in dirty money. Oregon’s scenery provided the backdrop for several important moments in the movie, including the death of a character, which was shot at Ranch at the Canyons.
By Hannah Drewieck, TDS Communications Intern