Where was Stand By Me filmed?
Brownsville, Oregon and Burney, California
American, NatureScapes, House, Industrial, Retro
Dated/50's-60's-70's Building, Dilapidated/Neglected, Junkyards
About Stand By Me
From Carrie to The Shawshank Redemption, the list of Stephen King novels that have been adapted into films contains some truly iconic Hollywood titles. But one film adaptation from the king of horror that is often overlooked, but which is nonetheless considered a bona fide classic, is the 1986 film Stand By Me.
Directed by Rob Reiner, this coming-of-age story offers a fascinating blend of the innocence and naivety of youth and the sometimes chilling, darker themes of King’s work. The film focuses on four childhood friends — Gordie (Wil Wheaton), Chris (River Phoenix), Teddy (Corey Feldman) and Vern (Jerry O’Connell) — who decide to set out on a journey to track down the dead body of a missing kid.
But Stand By Me is about much more than a few kids setting out on an exciting (though undeniably morbid) quest. Not only is the adventure a chance for the boys to get a bit of fun and excitement, but it also lets them escape the traumas and troubles of their home lives. From Gordie, whose parents have withdrawn from the world following the recent death of his older brother in a car accident, to the criminal family Chris is desperate to leave behind, each boy’s story of struggle and heartache is revealed as the film progresses.
As they set out along the train line in search of the body, the four friends encounter everything from big bad bullies and junkyard dogs to blood-sucking leeches. Even though adulthood is just around the corner, along the way the boys still retain some of the innocence of kids, whether fantasizing about girls or sharing gross but still hilarious tales on topics like projectile vomiting. But once they complete their quest, the boys’ lives will never be the same again.
Stand By Me was considered a modest success at the box office, but it’s a film that has really stood the test of time in the decades since its release. From the impressive performances by its four young leads to the nostalgia for the simpler days of childhood, this ‘80s classic gets better with every viewing and is a worthy addition to any movie night watchlist.
Stand By Me Locations
The four friends in Stand By Me live in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Oregon. Brownsville, a city found roughly 30 miles north of Eugene, was the setting for Castle Rock in the film, a fact which is celebrated by a handful of signs around town indicating iconic locations in this Rob Reiner classic.
Brownsville is included as part of the Oregon Film Trail, a project that recognizes important filming locations around the state, so it’s a site well worth checking out for any film buff.
Several other key scenes from Stand By Me were filmed in locations in surrounding areas near Brownsville. This includes the rail bridge where the kids first set out on their journey, which is found near Cottage Grove around 40 miles away, and the Calapooia River Bridge closer to Brownsville as the boys return to town near the end of the movie.
But there’s an even more iconic bridge in Stand By Me — the setting for the famous Train Dodge scene that’s sure to raise the heart rate of any first-time viewer. And if you want to lay eyes on this legendary piece of silver-screen scenery, you’ll have to head out of Oregon to northern California.
Let’s take a closer look at where you can find the best Stand By Me filming locations in Oregon and California. We’ll give a spoiler alert, just in case you haven’t watched the film from beginning to end.
Stand By Me was adapted from the Stephen King novella The Body, which was published in 1982.
The train dodge scene in Stand By Me
Eagle Mountain Lane, Burney
There is no other single scene in Stand By Me that’s anywhere near as iconic or instantly recognizable as the so-called Train Dodge scene. Here’s how it plays out.
After a lengthy debate about whether to take a risk and cross a narrow railway bridge or walk an extra 10 miles and go the long way round, the boys decide to choose the fastest route and tackle the bridge.
As Gordie and Vern dawdle across the trestle bridge, with Vern crawling on his hands and knees, the inevitable happens and a train comes roaring round the bend. “TRAIN!” Gordie screams at the top of his lungs, the sound echoing around the valley as the boys begin a frantic dash to the other side of the bridge. Chris and Teddy make it to safety with relative ease, but Gordie has to push a terrified Vern every step of the way, eventually diving off the edge and avoiding being crushed by the narrowest of margins.
As mentioned, this scene wasn’t actually shot in Oregon but at Eagle Mountain Lane in Burney, California — to find it, just search for ‘Bridge from “Stand By Me”’ on Google Maps. It’s over 300 miles from Brownsville to the bridge, and there’s some dirt-road driving involved, but the trek is well worth it for a look at this famous Stand By Me filming location.
The revenge of Lardass Hogan scene in Stand By Me
Brownsville’s Pioneer Park
No list of memorable and funny scenes in Stand By Me would be complete without this story tangent that would seem right at home in any gross-out comedy. Even though it’s in no way central to the plot of Stand By Me, it’s just one of those scenes that sticks in the mind long after the film is over.
As the friends sit around a campfire one night during their trek, Gordie relates the story of Lardass Hogan, a kid relentlessly bullied because of his weight. To get revenge on the townsfolk who make his life miserable on a daily basis, Lardass deliberately makes himself violently ill during a pie-eating contest, which sets off a chain reaction of puking, vomiting, and barfing.
In the words of Gordie: “Girlfriends barfed on boyfriends, kids barfed on their parents, a fat lady barfed in her purse, the Donnelly twins barfed on each other, and the women’s auxiliary barfed all over the benevolent order of antelopes. Lardass just sat back and enjoyed what he’d created: a complete and total barf-o-rama.”
This disgusting scene was filmed in Brownsville’s Pioneer Park, just a short two-minute walk from the center of town. There’s a sign in the park celebrating its 15 minutes of fame and also mentioning that nearly 100 Brownsville residents featured as extras in the film.
Gordie fires the gun scene in Stand By Me
Blue Point Diner
Take a wander around downtown Brownsville and chances are you’ll recognize a host of Stand By Me filming locations from the silver screen. One such spot is found just off North Main Street behind what was known in the film as the Blue Point Diner.
It was of course here that Chris shows Gordie the gun he’s stolen from his dad. “Is it loaded?” Gordie asks. “Hell no! What do you think I am?” Chris responds instantly.
Little do the boys know that the gun is actually loaded, so when Gordie pulls the trigger they’re in for a rude surprise. The look of sheer terror on the kids’ faces when the gun goes off is one of our favorite moments in the film.
The treehouse scene in Stand By Me
School Avenue in Brownsville
In the introductory scenes of Stand By Me, we meet three of the film’s four protagonists sitting around in a treehouse. Gordie, Chris, and Teddy are hanging out, smoking, playing cards, sharing stories, and telling jokes when an out-of-breath Vern arrives.
He’s desperate to tell them something, but he struggles to get his friends’ full attention until he utters one immortal line: “You guys wanna go see a dead body?” From that moment on the boys are hooked, and they decide that finding the body of the missing kid will lead to instant fame. Later in the film, Gordie and Chris say goodbye by the same treehouse in a poignant scene.
Sadly, the treehouse that features in the film is no longer there, but you can check out the impressive tree. Located on School Avenue in Brownsville, it’s easily accessible from the nearby Blue Point Diner setting on North Main Street.
The boys begin their journey scene in Stand By Me
14-mile Row River Trail
Having made plans to set out on their quest to find the dead body, the four friends meet up on the train tracks to begin their life-changing journey. They start by crossing a distinctive girder bridge, completely unaware of the dangers, laughs, and adventures that lie ahead.
Today, you can follow in the footsteps of Gordie, Teddy, Chris, and Vern and take a stroll across this iconic piece of real estate. The bridge is located in Cottage Grove, Oregon, some 45 minutes south of Brownsville, and crosses scenic Mosby Creek.
The bridge is now part of the 14-mile Row River Trail, which follows the route of the old Oregon Pacific & Eastern Railroad line, so don’t forget your walking shoes. And while the map below shows you exactly where the bridge is located, it’s worth parking at the trailhead on nearby Jenkins Road before setting out on foot.
The boys return home scene in Stand By Me
Brownsville on Main Street
While the boys’ epic journey starts with them crossing a bridge, it ends with them crossing a different, green one. With their quest over, the boys return to town early on a Sunday morning and somehow seem a lot older than when they departed just a couple of days earlier. As Gordie narrates from the future: “We’d only been gone two days, but somehow the town seemed different; smaller.”
The pretty bridge the boys stand in front of as they prepare to re-enter town and their everyday lives is also found in Brownsville on Main Street. If you’re approaching from the south, it’s one of the first sights you see as you head into town. You’ll definitely want to stop here and snap off a few pics as part of your Stand By Me filming location adventure.
Stand By Me is one of those films that seems to get better with age. It also boasts some of the most memorable scenes from American cinema production over the past few decades, and some impressive performances from the young cast, so there are plenty of good reasons why you should hit the road to check out the locations of some of the best scenes in Stand By Me.
Whether you’re heading out on a nostalgic adventure to rediscover your lost youth, admiring the “Train Dodge” railway bridge, or just checking out some of the film’s iconic locations in small-town Oregon, a Stand By Me tour of Oregon and northern California takes in a host of spectacular sights.
Be sure to take some time to check out the best of them and take plenty of photos along the way.