How To Die In Oregon (educational)

  • Directed and Produced by: Peter D. Richardson

Released: 2011
Running Time: 107 min
Subtitles: English
Subjects: Health, Human Rights, Religious Studies

In 1994, Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. As a result, any individual whom two physicians diagnose as having less than six months to live can lawfully request a fatal dose of barbiturate to end his or her life. In HOW TO DIE IN OREGON, filmmaker Peter Richardson gently enters the lives of the terminally ill as they consider whether – and when – to end their lives by lethal overdose. 

With profound intimacy and unprecedented access to patients, doctors, social workers and historical figures, HOW TO DIE IN OREGON examines one of the foremost medical, ethical, and legal issues of our time. The film offers educators, students and academics invaluable insight into this unique law.


  • Sundance - 2011 - Best Documentary
  • Full Frame Documentary Film Festival - 2011 - Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award
  • Full Frame - 2011 - Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights
  • Ashland Independent Film Festival - 2011 - Best Documentary
  • Portland Intl Film Festival - 2011 - Audience Award

Reviews/ Testimonials:

“'HOW TO DIE IN OREGON will likely be one of the most historically significant documentaries of this decade." – Jeff Shannon, Chicago Sun Times

"Two Thumbs Up" - Ebert Presents at the Movies
"This film is extraordinarily authentic. It very much captures the difficult and personal decision of terminally ill individuals who pursue physician assisted death. My students were very moved by this presentation." – Linda Ganzini, MD, MPH Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine OHSU 

"Whatever your position on physician-assisted suicide, you should see the movie HOW TO DIE IN OREGON ...the movie raises important questions about end-of-life care, physician-assisted suicide, and the way in which we as a society deal with (or refuse to deal with) the inevitability of death and dying." – Sean Philpott, PhD, MSBioethics The Bioethics Program Union Graduate College (Mt. Sinai School of Medicine)

"Whether one supports or opposes the Oregon and Washington assisted suicide law, this film is an excellent springboard for discussing and critiquing the values that support them in this particular culture." – Rev. Dr. Bernard Teo C.Ss.R., S.T.D. Yarra Theological Union Melbourne, Australia

"HOW TO DIE IN OREGON is highly recommended for all public, academic, and high school audiences." – Charles J. Greenberg, Cushing Whitney Medical Library, Yale University

"The film is very powerful and does a great job of sparking class discussion." – Dena S. Davis, J.D., PhD. Bioethicist - Presidential Chair in Health -- Humanities/Social Sciences Lehigh University