Free Willy (1993)

The 1993 film “Free Willy” was largely filmed in Oregon, with additional scenes filmed in Washington and Mexico City. Jesse, played by Jason James Richter, is a troubled boy who stays with his foster parents, played by Michael Madsen and Jayne Atkinson, at this home, located in Astoria, Oregon. Astoria is well known for many iconic filming locations, such as “The Goonies,” “Kindergarten Cop,” “Short Circuit” and more.

LOCATION: 3392 Harrison Ave, Astoria, OR 97103

Jesse is assigned to work at a park and clean up graffiti as part of his probation. He goes to Northwest Adventure Park, which is actually Oaks Amusement Park in Portland. There he meets Willy the whale. This building was used as the exterior to where Willy is kept. In the film, on the other side is a water tank and sloped seating arena. At the real location, it’s just a parking lot on the other side. This building is the Oaks Park Roller Skating Rink. The water tank scenes were filmed at the former Reino Aventura Park in Mexico City, which is now a Six Flags (Six Flags México, Blvd. Picacho-Ajusco Km 1.5, Jardines del Ajusco, Tlalpan, 14200 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico).

LOCATION: 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR 97202

Just across from the Oaks Park Roller Skating Rink is the house of Randolph, who becomes a mentor and friend to Jesse. While the house is private, it is easily visible from the park, which is completely open to the public and does not require any admission fee. While it’s on the same park grounds, we’ve provided the exact GPS coordinates below.

LOCATION: GPS coordinates: 45.473363, -122.663271 (on the grounds of Oaks Amusement Park)

Near the end of the film, the park owners hatch a plan to kill Willy and collect the insurance money. Jesse organizes a rescue for Willy and takes him to Dawsons Marina, which is actually Hammond Marina in Hammond, Oregon. Hammond is located just a short distance from Astoria. There’s a sign there identifying it as the filming location. We always love when places honor their film history in this way.

LOCATION: 1080 Iredale St, Hammond, OR 97121

Here’s a closer look at the sign.

Here is where Glen smashes through the gate with his truck.

Here is the boat ramp where they release Willy into the water.

Here is where Dial and Wade approach and try to stop Jesse, with a fight ensuing.

Willy is finally released and has an opening to freedom, but some boats approach and block the opening.

Jesse then runs out onto the jetty and signals Willy to jump over it. In the film, it is made to appear Jesse runs directly along the jetty, but this would be impossible. The crew added a wooden pathway just behind the foremost rocks, to allow a smooth running platform.

Willy jumps over Jesse to freedom, reuniting with his family on the other side.

Point Break (1991)

The 1991 action film “Point Break,” directed by Kathryn Bigelow, was filmed mostly around Southern California, with a few late scenes filmed in Oregon and Hawaii.

Early in the film, the FBI agent Pappas, played by Gary Busey encourages his new partner Johnny Utah, played by Keanu Reeves, to learn to surf.  Believing the bank robbers they are pursuing to be surfers, they discuss the need to infiltrate the tight-knit surfer community in order to gain leads as to the thieves’ identities.  These scenes were filmed at the Manhattan Beach Pier.

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LOCATION: 2 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

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While surfing, Johnny meets Tyler, played by Lori Petty and the two strike up a romance.  Johnny visits her at her work, which was filmed at Neptune’s Net in Malibu.  A famous biker and surfer restaurant, the same place was also seen in “The Fast And The Furious.”

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LOCATION: 42505 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Utah begins frequenting a variety of beaches, in hopes of identifying the robbers, who call themselves the Ex-Presidents.  One of the beaches he checks out is Dockweiler Beach in Playa Del Rey.  Utah can be seen near the El Segundo Power Plant, just past W Grand Ave.

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LOCATION: 12001 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293

Johnny is washing off after surfing, when another crew approaches and attacks him.  Bodhi, played by Patrick Swayze, intervenes as the two fight off the rival crew.  These scenes were filmed at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu.

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LOCATION: 35000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Later in the film, Utah is ordering sandwiches when the Ex-Presidents pull up right behind him and proceed to rob a a bank.  This was filmed in Culver City, with the Culver Hotel seen in the distance (where the opening of “Last Action Hero” was filmed).

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LOCATION: Main St, Culver City, CA 90232 (facing toward Culver Blvd)

The building where the bank was located has been remodeled and is now separated into several business spaces.

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LOCATION: 3849 Main St, Culver City, CA 90232

After the robbery, Utah and Pappas pursue the Ex-Presidents in a car chase.  The chase continues into the Westfield Shopping Plaza in Culver City, as the cars enter from Slauson Ave towards what is now a Macy’s department store.

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LOCATION: 6200 Slauson Ave, Culver City, CA 90230

They hook a left in the parking lot and drive past what is now a Trader Joe’s.

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LOCATION: 6150 Slauson Ave, Culver City, CA 90230

The cars race up and down the aisles of the parking lot, which is located beneath the Marina Fwy (CA-90).

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LOCATION: 6000 S Hannum Ave, Culver City, CA 90230

The cars then drive down Westfield Dr and head towards S Hannum Ave, where Pappas crashes into a security gate, stalling out the car.  Utah exits the car and continues on foot.

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LOCATION: Westfield Dr / S Hannum Ave, Culver City, CA 90230

The thieves blow out a tire as they turn right onto S Hannum Ave.

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While made to look only a short distance away, the Ex-Presidents pull off into a gas station, which was actually located in Redondo Beach.  Bodhi torches the car by lighting a gas pump and using it as a flame thrower.  Now on foot, Utah catches up and tackles him.   The gas station is no longer there, replaced by a surf shop on N Catalina Ave.  This can be slightly confusing, as the same surf shop uses a multiple buildings along the block, including across the street on N Broadway.  The correct location of the former gas station is at the intersection of Beryl St and N Catalina Ave.

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LOCATION: 600 N Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Most of the buildings seen in the background of the gas station, such as the Crowne Plaza, are still there and match up with the film.

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LOCATION: Beryl St / N Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Bodhi runs from Utah and the foot chase begins as the two race across N Broadway, located behind the former gas station.  This triangular rooftop building can be seen in the background, which is another property of the surf shop.  The other side of the street, where the two begin running down the narrow, residential corridors, has been remodeled.

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LOCATION: N Broadway / N Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

The ending of the foot chase, with a conflicted Utah reluctantly passing on the opportunity to shoot at Bodhi, was filmed over at Ballona Creek, a concrete water channel and bike path, which runs through Culver City.