10 Movie Milestones

Before it became a TV production hub, Oregon played host to a slew of important films

The General (1926): For his Civil War-themed film, Buster Keaton staged a costly train crash — likely the silent era’s most expensive scene ever filmed — in the tiny bucolic town of Cottage Grove.

Paint Your Wagon (1969): Clint Eastwood crooned gold rush tunes in the Eagle Cap Wilderness in Joshua Logan’s campy musical.

Sometimes A Great Notion (1970) Paul Newman directed and starred in this adaptation of Ken Kesey’s rain-soaked novel, shot on Oregon’s central coast. It was plagued by a rare problem: a too-sunny summer.

Animal House (1978) The U. of Oregon cafeteria in Eugene where John Belushi yelled, “Food fight!” looks the same today — only clean. Eugene is also where Belushi first aped the act of local singer Curtis Salgado and invented the Blues Brothers.

The Goonies (1985) A young Josh Brolin co-starred in the Steven Spielberg-produced coastal adventure whose 25th anniversary saw 3,000 fans descend upon Astoria.

Stand By Me (1986) In Rob Reiner’s coming-of-age film, native Oregonian River Phoenix walked the same train tracks Keaton had used in 1926. The town of Brownsville stages an annual pie-eating contest inspired by the one in the film.

Drugstore Cowboy (1989) Many of the seediest Portland locations in Gus Van Sant’s gritty classic are now gentrified beyond recognition.

Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995) Richard Dreyfuss played a music teacher in this drama, filmed at Portland’s photogenic Grant High School.

Into the Wild (2007) Director Sean Penn filmed the drama’s graduation scene — meant to take place at Atlanta’s Emory University — at Portland’s Reed College.

Twilight (2008) The 1924-built View Point Inn overlooking the Columbia River Gorge lent the first smash film of the Twilight franchise many of its romantic Northwest-atmosphere moments. The inn now hosts about a wedding a week.


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