How to Die in Oregon

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How to Die in Oregon
How to Die in Oregon FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Peter Richardson
Produced by Peter Richardson
Starring Cody Curtis
Music by Max Richter
Distributed by Clearcut Productions
Release dates
  • January 23, 2011 (2011-01-23) (Sundance)
Running time
107 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $750,000[1]

How to Die in Oregon is a 2011 American documentary film produced and directed by Peter Richardson. It is set in the U.S. state of Oregon and covers the state's Death with Dignity Act that allows terminally ill patients to self-administer medication prescribed by their physician to end their own life (a form of Aid in Dying).


Through a 1994 ballot measure (Measure 16) named the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, Oregon became the first U.S. state and one of the first jurisdictions in the world to allow physician-assisted suicide. How to Die in Oregon covers the background of the Oregon law and the life of a few patients who have chosen to take their life under it. It also features some information about the neighboring state of Washington's attempt to legalize physician-assisted suicide in 2008 through a law (Washington Death with Dignity Act) modeled after Oregon's.


The film was released in January 2011 at the 27th Sundance Film Festival and began airing on HBO later in the year.[2] Peter Richardson, a native Oregonian, got the idea to produce the film as the state's law was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in the 2006 case Gonzales v. Oregon.

Critical reception[edit]

How to Die in Oregon was well received by critics, currently holding a 100% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 8 reviews.[3]

The film won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentaries at the 27th Sundance Film Festival.[4][5]


  1. ^ Barnes, Brook (2011-01-24). "Unflinching End-of-Life Moments". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  2. ^ Lowe, Justin (2011-01-28). "HBO documentary probes Oregon's euthanasia law". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  3. ^ "How to Die in Oregon". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  4. ^ Levy, Shawn (2011-01-29). "'How to Die in Oregon' takes top documentary prize at Sundance". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  5. ^ Fowler, Brandi (2011-01-29). "Sundance Goes Wild for Like Crazy; How to Die in Oregon Nabs Top Honors". E! Online. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Sundance Grand Jury Prize: U.S. Documentary
Succeeded by
The House I Live In