Portland has attracted many filmmakers over the years, from small-budget indie projects to Oscar-nominated blockbusters. Easy access to pristine natural areas, rural farmland + big city atmosphere has been a recipe for many Hollywood success stories. And world-class dining options in between takes is undoubtedly a cherry on top for hungry film crews.
We rounded up some notable movies filmed in the City of Roses. See one you love? Check out our map to see where it was shot.
🎬 “Kansas City Bomber” (1972)
Billed as a “Portland cult classic” by The Oregonian, this film starring Raquel Welch shined a spotlight on roller derby — and the Rose City. The production house behind the movie picked Portland, citing its “natural beauty,” and was reportedly surprised when hundreds of local residents attended casting calls for small parts. Thousands of Portlanders even stood in as (unpaid) extras, and then-Gov. Tom McCall paid the set a visit. It was shot in North Portland, including Kenton, Jantzen Beach, and the Multnomah County Exposition Center.
🐋 “Free Willy” (1993)
Play the first few chords from Michael Jackson’s “Will You Be There” and every ‘90s kid will picture an orca leaping over a jetty to freedom. While most of the film was shot in Astoria, many Portlanders will recognize “Northwest Adventure Park” as Oaks Amusement Park, as well as scenes featuring the Hawthorne + Morrison bridges, Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and the Oregon Convention Center.
🐶 “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” (1993)
The furry stars of this beloved family classic trekked across much of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, but also made some stops closer to home. The crew filmed a scene at Wahclella Falls, while The Metropolitan Learning Center served as the childrens’ school. A house in Southeast Portland near Reed College stood in as the fictional family’s home — and the heroes’ long sought-after destination.
📺 “The Ring” (2002)
The Columbia River Gorge may not seem like a no-brainer setting for a creepy tale about a videotape that leads to multiple deaths, but it was — at least, for a couple of scenes. Bridal Veil Falls made it into the film, along with Shepperd’s Dell State Natural Area.
🚌 “Into the Wild” (2007)
Sean Penn directed this sweeping cinematic take on the real story of Christopher McCandless’ adventures (and tragic ending). The Emory graduation scene was filmed on the Reed College campus in Southeast Portland.
🌙 “Twilight” (2008)
The first installment in a series of movies based on Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance saga definitely didn’t suck at the box office, grossing well over $408 million worldwide. That means lots of people got a glimpse of the film’s various PNW locations, including The View Point Inn in Corbett and Skylab Architecture’s M1 Residence in Forest Park. The former was where human-with-the-tasty-blood Bella + vamp heartthrob Edward made googly eyes at each other at prom, while the latter was the Cullen family’s exclusive home base.
🩺 “Extraordinary Measures” (2010)
The Portland metro area put the “extra” in this based-on-a-true-story movie starring Harrison Ford + Brendan Fraser. A fan could spend an entire day visiting the numerous film locations, including the Hawthorne Bridge, Fox Tower, Oaks Amusement Park, Laurelhurst Park, Pioneer Courthouse Square, OHSU, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Vancouver City Hall. Oh, and the Stanford Theater on the Nike campus.
🥾 “Wild” (2014)
Portland-based author Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail provided the storyline for this film starring Reese Witherspoon. In the movie, Cherly meets a date at Mississippi Studios, tells her friend she’s pregnant at Kasbah Moroccan Cafe, rendezvous with a guy at the Driftwood Room, and readies for her adventure at The Courtesy Inn Motel.
🌲 “Captain Fantastic” (2016)
Viggo Mortensen plays a father, devoted to raising his six kids off the grid, who is forced to enter society. The family travels across many bridges, including the Interstate Bridge connecting Portland + Vancouver, and the Fremont Bridge (with glimpses of the city skyline in the background).
🐷 “Pig” (2021)
If you spotted a disheveled Nicolas Cage wandering around Portland a couple of years ago, it was likely during his time filming this story about a reclusive truffle hunter + former chef looking for his kidnapped foraging pig. If Rotten Tomatoes’ 97% rating isn’t enough to convince you to watch it, then check it out for the many local set locations: the Broadway Bridge, Saucebox (now closed), River View Cemetery, and NoPoBoys are among them.