How to Die in Oregon

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How to Die in Oregon
Directed byPeter Richardson
Produced byPeter Betty
StarringCody Curtis
Music byMax Richter
Distributed byClearcut Productions
Release date
  • January 23, 2011 (2011-01-23) (Sundance)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited States

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 barbiturates prescribed by their physician to end their own life, referred to as assisted suicide by opponents and medical aid in dying by proponents.

Richardson spent nearly a year with 54-year-old Cody Curtis, an OHSU faculty member with liver cancer, as she grappled with the decision or not to take a lethal dose of a barbiturate.[2]


The film was released in January 2011 at the 27th Sundance Film Festival and began airing on HBO later in the year.[3] 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 10 reviews.[4]

The film won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentaries at the 27th Sundance Film Festival.[5][6]


  1. ^ Barnes, Brook (January 24, 2011). "Unflinching End-of-Life Moments". The New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  2. ^ "Peter D. Richardson". Willamette Week. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  3. ^ Lowe, Justin (January 28, 2011). "HBO documentary probes Oregon's euthanasia law". Reuters. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  4. ^ "How to Die in Oregon". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  5. ^ Levy, Shawn (January 29, 2011). "'How to Die in Oregon' takes top documentary prize at Sundance". The Oregonian. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  6. ^ Fowler, Brandi (January 29, 2011). "Sundance Goes Wild for Like Crazy; How to Die in Oregon Nabs Top Honors". E! Online. Retrieved January 30, 2011.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Sundance Grand Jury Prize: U.S. Documentary
Succeeded by