Sometimes real-world Hollywood filming locations are in our own backyards. Watch these five movies, which include locations across Oregon and Idaho, and then set out to explore the sites they feature.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) | Salem, Oregon
This five-time Academy Award-winning film starring Jack Nicholson was based on a novel by Oregon native Ken Kesey and shot almost entirely in the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, with many patients and staff helping with production or featured in the film. The hospital eventually closed, but the oldest building was preserved and today exists as the Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health, a nonprofit museum documenting mental health treatment over the past 150 years and the hospital’s history. For the full One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest experience, drive 70 miles west to the setting of the movie’s fishing scene, Depoe Bay, a small city known as the whale watching capital of the Oregon coast.
Bronco Billy (1980) | Boise, Idaho
The Treasure Valley region is on display in Bronco Billy, a comedy directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. It’s the story of the Wild West Show, a rundown traveling circus of which Bronco Billy (Eastwood) is the star. Both the Smith and Boise rivers appear in the film. Lake Lowell Lower Dam now has an interpretive sign informs about filming locations. Visit Shady Acres café and convenience store, formerly a motel/store/garage featured in the film. It’s located in Eagle and features the original Shady Acres sign and photos from filming. Don’t forget to try a Bronco Billy burger as well! Or head ten miles east to The Hungry Onion, offering its own Bronco Billy burger. Eastwood himself enjoyed it during filming at the restaurant. Stop by the historic Eagle Hotel (now an antique furniture store) or Orville Jackson’s Mercantile (now a bar and music venue) for more Bronco Billy flashbacks.
The Goonies (1985) | Astoria, Oregon
Head to Oregon’s northwest corner to bask in nostalgia from The Goonies, a movie chronicling a group of youth misfits on the hunt for a pirate’s long-lost treasure. One of the most recognizable filming locations is the former Clatsop County Jail. It served as the jailhouse that held character Jake Fratelli in the movie. Today the building has been transformed into the Oregon Film Museum, celebrating the history of filmmaking in the state. Take a self-guided tour to see the cell where some of The Goonies scenes were shot, and keep an eye out for the actual jeep the Fratellis drove, usually parked out front.
Napoleon Dynamite (2004) | Preston, Idaho
This early 2000s oddball comedy might be one of the biggest claims to fame for Preston, Idaho, a city of 5,000 people in the southeast corner of the state. Take a scenic drive past the homes of Napoleon, Pedro, Summer and Trish. Stroll by their alma mater, Preston High School. Then visit Deseret Industries thrift shop to see where Napoleon got his “incredible” prom suit. Most of the wardrobe for most of the film came from here as well!
Wild (2014) | Ashland, Oregon
Based on author Cheryl Strayed’s book about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Wild was shot at many of the same locations Strayed visited, including Oregon’s Crater Lake, Smith Rock State Park, and in the cities of Bend and Ashland. Retrace the path Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) traveled with an afternoon of shopping in the downtown Ashland Plaza. Continue to visit The Breadboard for breakfast or lunch with views of the distant Grizzly Peak. Then head north of Ashland to the Siskiyou Summit to hike a section of the PCT and visit Callahan’s Lodge, where many hikers stop for all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinners, showers and mail pickup.
Plan a road trip to these Oregon and Idaho Filming Locations
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