(1952) .....Alfred Hitchcock-directed thriller about a priest who hears
a confession to a murder in Quebec City. The Canadian movie, "Le Confessional",
made allusions to this film. Thanks to an e-mailer for this one...and merci
to another e-mailer who corrected my mistake when I said it was set in
Montreal (as opposed to Quebec City).
I Walked with a Zombie (USA)
(1943) Frances Dee.....Surprisingly well-regarded low-budget chiller about
a Canadian nurse who comes to a Caribbean island and becomes caught up
in voodoo mysticism. Supposedly loosely inspired by Jane Eyre. Thanks to
someone who signed my Guestbook for this one.
The Immortal Sergeant (USA)
(1943) Henry Fonda.....WW II story involving a Canadian in the the British army in Africa. Thanks to Will Thomas for mentioning this one.
In Pursuit of Honor (USA)
(1995) Don Johnson, James B. Sikking.....Depression-era drama about U.S. cavalry officers who rebel against an order to slaughter the horses in their charge and, instead, attempt to herd them toward sanctuary in Canada...with their superiors in hot pursuit. Supposedly based on a true incident (though others have disputed this).
Indian Summer (USA)
(1996) Alan Arkin, Matt Craven, Christine Lahti, Kevin Pollock.....Comedy-drama
about a group of adults who reunite years later at the summer camp in Canada
that they all attended as kids. Written and directed by Mike Binder (later
of "The Mind of the Married Man" fame) and apparently based on his experiences
attending a Canadian camp as a kid. Matt Craven is Canadian.
(1994) Richard Gere, Sharon Stone, Lolita Davidovich.....Romantic triangle
melodrama set in Vancouver, Canada. Davidovich is Canadian. Thanks to an
e-mailer for pointing out this one.
Iron Curtain (USA)
(1948) Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney.....Drama based on the infamous defection
of Soviet embassy worker Igor Gouzenko (played by Andrews) to Canada, whose
revelations of KGB spying efforts helped ignite the Cold War. Years later,
I believe CBC TV did a TV movie based on the same incident. Thanks to an
e-mailer for pointing out this one.
(1937).....Mazo de la Roche's epic, multi-novel saga of the Whiteoak family
got an early film treatment in this Holywood movie.
Cinema's most enduring franchise (based on the series of novels, of course)
has had only a very few, and very minor, Canadian references over the years.
In GoldenEye the bad guys kill a Canadian general so they can steal his
place at a NATO meeting, and there are a couple of brief Canadian references
in From Russia With Love and Thunderball. Probably the biggest "Canadianism" in any of the movies came in 2008's Quantum of Solace in which Canadian-born actress Stana Katic has a small part (in one scene) as a Canadian secret agent.
I'm including these references just because
I wanted to include a James Bond movie. Although, maybe this actually undermines
the point of this page (which is to show that Canadian characters and locations
are used by non-Canadian filmmakers) since these are the only time a James
Bond movie has had any sort of Canadian content. A score or more of movies of globe hopping,
international intrigue, and Bond's never been to Canada, never teamed up
with Canadian agents or bedded nubile Canadian damsels...this despite the
fact that in the original stories by Ian Fleming, he did at least once
stop over in Canada (in the story "For Your Eyes Only"). Behind the scenes,
the story's a bit different: Lois Maxwell, the original Moneypenny, was
Canadian, and the early Bond movies were co-produced by a Canadian (which
makes the on-screen Canadian snub more telling). Other Canadian actors
who've appeared in Bond movies include Joseph Wiseman as the very first
cinematic Bond villain, "Dr. No", and Cec Linder played C.I.A. agent Felix
Leighter in "Goldfinger". As well, some reports claim that Fleming had
some connection to Camp X, the somewhat legendary real life World War II
spy school set up in Canada (thanks to an e-mailer for reminding me about
that little bit of trivia).
Johnny Belinda (USA)
(1948) Jane Wyman, Lew Ayres.....Well-regarded drama about a deaf-mute
girl and the doctor who helps her. According to a fellow who signed my
Guestbook it was set in maritime Canada. It was based on a play and also
remade years later as a TV movie with Richard Thomas -- either of those
still set in Canada, or just the 1948 version? Dunno.
(2001).....Inspired by a true story, this is about a modernized, Afghan-Canadian
woman who travels covertly back to oppressive, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan
to try and bring her sister out. A movie that became particularly relevant
in wake of the conflicts in Afghanistan and the rest of the world's sudden
interest in conditions in that country.
(2006) Laura Prepon, Patrick Bauchau.....Movie about the real life Canadian
convicted serial killer couple, Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, focusing,
as the title implies, on her (played by Prepon). Very controversial in
Canada (it was slatted to play at a film festival, then dropped due to
complaints). The filmmaker justified his movie on artistic grounds, poo-pooing
detractors...but one might wonder, if he felt that way, why he didn't just
do it about some American serial killer (I think they've got a few of those
down there)? Or did he think it might be in questionable taste to do it
about an American crime?
The Key to Rebecca (USA)
(1985) Cliff Robertson, David Soul.....Made for TV mini-series about World
War II espionage set in North Africa and based on the Ken Follett novel.
According to a guy who signed the Guestbook, star Robertson plays a Canadian
(he also played a Canadian in The Devil's Brigade -- see above).
I saw it years ago, but I don't remember too much about it, except that
some scenes seemed surprisingly racy for a network television production.
Knocked Up (USA)
(2007) Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl.....Raunchy relationship comedy about a slacker (Rogen) and a career woman (Heigl) who find their one-night-stand has led to a pregnancy. Canadian actor Rogen...actually plays a Canadian in this US-set box office hit.
A League of Their Own (USA)
(1992) Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Tom Hanks.....Hit comedy-drama about the
World War II era professional women's baseball league. One of the team
is identified as being from Saskatchewan. Thanks to an e-mailer for suggesting
The List of Adrian Messenger (USA)
(1963) George C. Scott, Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis....Light-hearted murder
mystery (set in the U.K.) with someone going around killing people on the
eponymous list. An embracing attitude toward the notorious English fox
hunt has probably dated it somewhat. One of the central characters is supposed
to be Canadian (thanks to an e-mailer for reminding me about this one).
Directed by John Huston.
The Mosquito Squadron (UK)
(1969) David McCallum, Suzanne Neve, David Buck....War yarn with McCallum
as a Canadian-born British pilot on a mission behind enemy lines. Thanks
to Will Thomas for suggesting this one.
The Mud Monster (USA)
(1978) Granville Van Dusen.....Back in the day, it was not uncommon to test the waters for possible TV series by first presenting a stand alone movie pilot -- or two or three. In this case, this was the second of two short supernatural-themed movies (each about an hour long, the first called The World of Darkness) featuring Van Dusen as an American sports reporter who, after a near death experience, finds himself sensitive to warnings from the other side. In this one, he and a few others (JoBeth Williams and Barnard Hughes) end up on an isolated island being pursued by a murderous Golem. Although it never became a series...most people who saw it seem to remember it fondly to this day (particularly a spooky scene where the Golem's disenfranchised hand comes to life!) It's a simple plot but, no doubt helped by the short running time, it's a well acted, and surprisingly well produced little thriller (at the time I'm writing this, it's posted on youtube under its original title: The World Beyond). A number of references to it describe it being set on a Canadian island -- and it was certainly filmed in Canada (Canadian actor Richard Fitzpatrick has a small part as the apparition that first alerts Van Dusen's character)...but I'll admit, I'm not entirely sure it was supposed to be set in Canada (at the time, it wasn't as common to film American movies in Canada, so maybe people just assumed if it was filmed there, it was deliberately supposed to be set there). But, I'm not sure it necessarily says it isn't set in Canada -- so what the heck, I'll include it, just 'cause it was so freakin' cool back in the day. Thanks to Will Thomas for mentioning this one (and ending my decades-long search to remember what it was called!) a.k.a. The World Beyond.
Mulholland Drive (USA)
(2001) Naomi Watts.....Surrealistic mystery-thriller from David Lynch set
in and around Hollywood. It got rave reviews and is more emotionally effective
than many of his films, but not for all tastes with a twist that can be
as annoying as it is interesting. The heroine is a small town Canadian
girl looking for stardom in Hollywood, but becomes embroiled in an amnesiac
woman's search for her identity. Supposedly the reason for the heroine's
nationality was simply that Lynch was looking through an atlas for the
name of a small town to use and was struck by the name Deep River, Ontario
(apparently he had used that name for an institution in his TV series "Twin
Peaks", unaware there was such a place, and the coincidence was too much
My Side of the Mountain (USA)
(1972) .....Based on a popular young person's novel about a boy who (inspired
by Thoreau!) runs away from home to live off the land in the wilderness.
The movie is set in Quebec, though I'm not sure if the American source
Narrow Margin (USA)
(1992) Gene Hackman, Anne Archer....Thriller about skulduggery pursuing a mob witness on a train in the B.C. mountains.
Never Cry Wolf (USA)
(1983) Charles Martin Smith.....Movie version of author Farley Mowat's
(semi-)personal account of his time studying wolves in the Arctic. Trivia
note: American actor Smith may have moved to Canada -- most of the
thing's he's been associated with in recent years, as an actor, as well
as a director and producer, have either been Canadian, or filmed in Canada.
Never Take Candy from a Stranger (U.K.)
(1960) Gwen Watford, Patrick Allen.....Surprisingly early attempt to do a cautionary thriller about child molestation -- apparently with sincere intent (despite being produced by Britain's legendary Hammer Films -- better known for monster and vampire movies). And prescient -- the plot involving the villain being highly placed and so the authorities reluctant to investigate. Apparently set in Canada...thanks to someone signing my Guestbook for suggesting this one. a.k.a. Never Take Sweets from a Stranger.
(1953) Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotton.....Crime melodrama about a wife plotting
to murder her husband while vacationing in Niagara Falls. Thanks to someone
who signed the Guestbook for reminding me about this one.
Niagara, Niagara (USA)
(1998) Rachel Tunney, Henry Thomas.....Story of a loner and a girl with
Tourette's Syndrome who take a road trip/minor crime spree through Canada.
(1990) Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, Charles Haid.....Horror
film (though it's more fantasy than straight horror -- just very gory,
if you understand the difference). I'll admit, it's been sufficiently long
since I saw it that I'm a bit vague on the details. It concerns a subterranean
society of demons and/or mutants living in rural Alberta. Haid plays a
redneck Mountie, Canadian Cronenberg is a psychiatrist/serial killer, the
demons (mutants?) aren't all bad, and these various threads come together.
More ambitious than good. It was made by Clive Barker (from his story,
the Cabal) and, though set in Canada (supposedly because he was travelling
through Alberta once and thought the landscape eerie) I think it was filmed
No Highway (British) a.k.a. No Highway in the Sky
(1951) James Stewart, Glynis Johns, Marlene Dietrich.....Stewart (in an
atypical performance) plays an eccentric engineer in England, convinced
a new aircraft isn't safe...and is sent to Newfoundland to check out an
earlier crash. While on route, he discovers the plane he's on is the very
kind he's investigating. Off-beat, oddly structured (that synopsis doesn't
quite summarize it) but interesting little suspense-drama. The characters
don't spend much time in Canada, but it's referred to a lot.
Northern Pursuit (USA)
(1943) Errol Flynn.....World War II adventure with Flynn as a mountie pursuing
a Nazi through Canada. Thanks to a Guestbook signer for suggesting this
The One That Got Away (British)
(1957) Hardy Kruger.....True story of a World War II German P.O.W. who
kept escaping from Allied prisons. According to an e-mailer, at one point
in the story he's been relocated to a Canadian P.O.W. camp and escapes
across the border into the then-neutral U.S.
(1977) Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling.....This "Jaws"-style flick with
environmental pretensions was set in maritime Canada. Harris plays a whaling
captain who engenders the wrath of a Killer Whale (Orca) after killing
its mate. Generally hated by critics, I'm not sure that this was such a
bad little flick. Harris is a fine actor, and the movie turns the "Jaws"
formula on its head by actually having us be more sympathetic to the beastie.
The movie's kind of memorable, and a scene where Harris asks a priest if
it's possible to sin against an animal shows a movie going for more than
just cheap thrills. Still, it's been a while... The movie's British-born
director, Michael Anderson, subsequently moved to Canada and became a citizen.
(1982) Tommy Smothers, Carol Kane.....Spoof of horror-slasher flicks which,
though set in the U.S., has comedian Smothers playing a Canadian Mountie
investigating. One source suggested that was as a joke on the fact that
so many slasher flicks were Canadian. What? You mean the Americans knew
that? So why were all those Canadian filmmakers bothering to stick all
those U.S. flags in their films if they weren't foolin' anyone?!? There
have been funnier slasher spoofs (and I don't mean "Scary Movie").
Pierre of the Plains (USA)
(1942) John Carroll, Ruth Hussey, Bruce Cabot.....Kitschy drama about a romantic triangle and crime in 1940s Saskatchewan (though apparently seeming a bit like the 19th Century!) Thanks to Will Thomas for mentioning this one.
The Pony Soldier (USA)
(1952) Tyrone Powers.....Powers plays a Mountie trying to avert an Indian
war in a movie that sounds as though it may've been inspired, a little
by the same historical events that fuelled The Canadians (see that entry
on the previous page). Thanks to an e-mailer
for mentioning this one.
The President's Analyst (USA)
(1967) James Coburn.....Odd ball, at times deliciously clever (at other
times, just bizarre) counter culture satire has Coburn as the U.S. President's
analyst who quits his job...and finds his former government employers are
trying to kill him because he knows too much. Definitely a product of its
time, and worth a look. The Canadian element in the story is minor, but
a hoot. Thanks to someone who signed the Guestbook for reminding me about
The Proposal (USA)
(2009) Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds.....Comedy about a Canadian-born American (Bullock) who ropes a co-worker (Reynolds) into marrying her so she won't be deported back to Canada. Ironically, Reynolds, playing an American, is actually Canadian.
Quantum of Solace (UK/USA)
(2008) see James Bond
The Raid (USA)
(1954) Van Helfin, Anne Bancroft, Lee Marvin.....Fact inspired Civil War drama about Confederates in the North, using the Canadian border to stage attacks. Thanks to Will Thomas for mentioning this one.
The Red Baron (UK/German)
(2008) Matthias Schweighoefer, Lean Headey, Joseph Fiennes.....Drama based around the WW I German air ace, The Red Baron...with Fiennes cast as Canadian pilot Arthur Roy Brown who some credit as having been the one who finally brought him down (though other historians dispute this). The movie seemed to get a chilly reception from some (going by the IMDB message board)...but as with a lot of war movies, it seemed the people most, um, obsessively into the subject matter were the most hyper critical, while the lay-viewer might be more accepting of it as a movie. The Red Baron/Roy Brown scenario was earlier employed (almost 40 years earlier!) in the movie Von Richtofen and Brown (referenced lower on this page).
Red Coat (Italian)
(1974)....Spaghetti Western in which the hero is a Canadian Mountie --
thanks to the diligent Will Thomas, who signed my Guestbook, for suggesting
Renfrew of the Royal Mounted (USA)
(1937, 1938) ....A couple of movies about an intrepid Mountie. These were
actually barely an hour in length (I believe) and were basically what were
known as B-movies -- nowadays that's a term used to refer to quality (or
lack thereof) but in the old days, B-movies were simply the lesser (shorter)
feature on a double bill.
Rose Marie (USA)
(1936) Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy
(1954) Ann Blyth, Howard Keel
Various versions of a comic operetta about a singing Mountie. The 1936
version is, apparently, the least faithful to the source material...but
arguably the most famous. Presumably where the whole cliche of the "singing
Mountie" comes from.
Russian Roulette (USA)
(1975) George Segal, Denholm Elliott.....Segal plays a Canadian Mountie
trying to prevent the assassination of the Soviet Premier during a visit
to Vancouver. Thanks to a person who signed the Guestbook for mentioning
Sailor of the King (USA/UK)
(1953) Jeffrey Hunter.....Yet another WW II-era adventure about a Canadian in the British military...presumably simply because the American star (here Hunter) couldn't do a British accent! This one is a naval adventure....based on a C.S. Forester story (who also wrote the African Queen, the movie of which also involved a Canadian...for that very reason). a.k.a. Single-Handed. Thanks to Will Thomas for mentioning this one.
(1954) Alan Ladd, Shelley Winters.....Hollywoodized version of one of the
Riel Rebellions -- presumably minus any real examination of the issues
or the political ambiguities in favour of a "rampaging Indians" story.
Scandal at Scourie (USA)
(1953) Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon.....Drama about a Protestant couple who adopt a Catholic girl...stirring up controversy in their largely Protestant neighbourhood, particularly when accusations are made that the girl had started fires. Set in Canada. Pidgeon was Canadian in real life. Thanks to Will Thomas for mentioning this one.
The Scarlet Claw (USA)
(1944) Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce.....One of a series of successful Sherlock
Holmes movies Rathbone and Bruce did (updated to then modern times). This
one goes the Hound of the Baskervilles route with Holmes and Watson investigating
grisly murders in rural Quebec (seeming more like rural England) that may
be the result of a monster. There were a series of Canadian made Holmes
movies, plus, check out my entry on the Hound of the Baskervilles
(on previous page)
The Score (USA)
(2001) Robert DeNiro, Marlon Brando, Angela Bassett.....A crime thriller
about hoods who try to pull off a robbery in Montreal. Canadian Paul Soles
has a significant supporting part as an elderly janitor.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (USA)
(2011) Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth-Winstead, Kieran Culkin.....How's this for "Canadiana"? A series of Canadian graphic novels, set in Toronto, get turned into a Hollywood movie starring (filmed in Toronto), no doubt coincidentally, a Canadian (that is, I'm guessing Cera was cast simply because he was the appropriate Hollywood star at the time, rather than because of his citizenship). And funnily, the movie is more unapologetically set in Canada than a lot of so-called Canadian movies! It's hilarious, off-beat, stylish, and brilliantly acted from all concerned (right down to all the minor and bit parts) -- and kind of hard to describe. It's a comedy about a slacker (and garage band guitarist) who attempts to woo the girl of his dreams...but first must battle her ex-boyfriends in a series of surreal video game style duels. Yeah: huh? Despite mostly great reviews, it failed to quite score at the box office. But it's perhaps not hard to see why, 'cause it's definitely...off-beat and comes across as a quirky, indie film but made with a big Hollywood budget. Definitely worth a look. As mentioned, it's a great cast all around, to the point where it's hard to single anyone out, but Canadians Ellen Wong and Allison Pill are definite scene stealers.
(2003) Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper.....Critically and commercially
popular drama about a real life Depression era American race horse, and
those connected with it, including its real life Canadian jockey (Maguire)
Sealed Cargo (USA)
(1951) Dana Andrews, Claude Rains.....Thriller about deception and Nazi skulduggery off Canada's east coast during W.W. II. Thanks to Will Thomas for mentioning this one.
The Sentinel (USA)
(2006) Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland, Eva Longoria.....Thriller in
which Douglas plays a U.S. Secret Service man wrongly implicated in an
assassination plot. The climax takes place at a global summit in Toronto.
Trivia note: Sutherland, and director (and actor) Clark Johnson, are both
The Shipping News (USA)
(2001) Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore.....High profile film version of American
novelist E. Annie Proulx's critically acclaimed novel about a widower who
moves his family back to his Newfoundland home town to re-discover himself.
An all-star cast and filmed in Newfoundland, with a few Canadian actors
in the cast, including Gordon Pinsent.
(1953) Jeffrey Hunter.....Yet another WW II-era adventure about a Canadian in the British military...presumably simply because the American star (here Hunter) couldn't do a British accent! This one is a naval adventure....based on a C.S. Forester story (who also wrote the African Queen, the movie of which also involved a Canadian...for that very reason). a.k.a. Sailor of the King. Thanks to Will Thomas for mentioning this one.
Slap Shot (USA)
(1977) Paul Newman.....Coarse and violent comedy (apparently) about a bush
league American hockey team that starts winning after it decides to start
playing dirty. Some of the team members are French-Canadian, played by
Quebecois actors. Merci to an e-mailer for this one.
Some Girls (USA)
(1988) Patrick Dempsey, Jennifer Connelly.....Comedy about an American
guy coming to spend the holidays with his girlfriend's family in Quebec.
South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut (USA)
(1999) The scatalogical, adult-aimed animated comedy movie (based on the
cult hit TV series) about a bunch of little kids in Colorado. The premise
of this feature film is that the kids sneek in to see an R-rated Canadian
comedy, which causes such a scandal that it leads the United States and
Canada to the brink of war. Very funny (as long as you're not easily shocked),
particularly because the humour has a point, and it boasts some
of the catchiest songs of any modern musical (though some can't be sung
(1994) Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper.....Hit action movie
about a runaway bus rigged to explode and the cop on board trying to stop
it. According to an e-mailer, one of the passengers on the bus is identified
as Canadian. The movie was written by Canadian Graham Yost and star Keanu
Reeves is, at least partly, Canadian. Another passenger was played by Canadian
actress Natsuko Ohama.
Submarine X-1 (UK)
(1968) James Cann, Rupert Davies.....WW II flick with Cann as a Canadian
put in charge of a British mini-sub fleet. Thanks to Will Thomas for this
(1981) Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp.....The second Superman
movie (and the 2nd best) has a sequence where Superman and Lois go off
to do a news story at Niagara Falls -- the Canadian side! It's not a big
part of the movie, but it is pivotal -- I've actually been to some of the
places they were (O.K., so I'm thrilled by small things). Superman also
goes off to his Fortress of Solitude which, though never explicitly stated,
is presumably located in the Canadian Arctic. Trivia note: Superman,
the comic book character, was co-created by a Canadian (Joe Shuster, cousin
of comedian Frank Shuster) and Kidder is a Canadian.
Taking Lives (USA)
(2004) Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland.....Story of a maverick
American criminal profiler (Jolie) who is summoned to Montreal to investigate
a serial killer who actually adopts the identities of his victims. Not
bad, not great film doesn't makes as much use of its interesting core premise
(adopting the victim's identities) as it could, though it does have a surprisingly
steamy sex scene thrown in. Most of the Quebecois characters are played
by European actors, and the accents aren't quite right. Canadian Sutherland
is in the cast in a small but key part and, as a trivia note, I think Jolie's
mother is Canadian. Canadians in bit parts include Marie-Josee Croze as
the coroner, and Marcel Jennin as the guy on the train.
Terror on a Train (British)
(1953) Glenn Ford.....Ford plays a Canadian demolitions expert trying to defuse a bomb on a British train. Ford was actually born in Canada in real life, too. Thanks to Will Thomas for suggesting this one.
The 39 Steps (British)
(1935) Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll.....A classic example of the romantic-comedy-thriller,
with Donat as a Canadian on the run in England, mistakenly accused of murder
and espionage. He ends up handcuffed to Carroll, forcing her to run with
him. Funny, exciting, and clever, it holds up surprisingly well all these
years later. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and based (loosely) on the novel
by British-born Canadian John Buchan (the one-time Governor General of
Canada and founder of the Canadian arts awards, The Governor General Awards).
Ironically, in Buchan's novel the hero wasn't Canadian.
Thunderball see James Bond
(1967) Rock Hudson, George Peppard.....World War II actioner about an Allied
commando unit fighting Nazis in North Africa. According to a guy who signed
the Guestbook (see main page) Hudson plays a Canadian.
Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (USA)
(1954) Kirk Douglas, James Mason.....Jules Verne's Victorian science fiction
novel had been filmed before and after, but arguably never as well as in
this Disney-produced version with Mason playing the definitive version
of the enigmatic Captain Nemo. Like in the novel, Douglas' character, Ned
Land, is Canadian (though in the novel he was French-Canadian),
but what's more interesting is that in the novel, he was a supporting character,
while in this movie he has been elevated to being a lead part. Insight
into the psyche of Canadian filmmakers time: in this Hollywood movie,
the character is identified as Canadian, but in the 1990s, a TV
movie was made that appears to be partly Canadian...and in it, the
Canadian origins of the Land character are not mentioned!
The Untouchables (USA)
(1987) Kevin Costner, Sean Connery.....Remake of the 1960s TV series, or
loosely inspired by fact drama (take your pick) about G-Man Elliott Ness'
battle with mobster Al Capone in the 1930s. In one scene Ness and his boys
attempt to stage a raid at the Canadian border that the Canadian Mounties
botch...while riding horseback, yet -- no, it doesn't seem to be
a joke. I guess the filmmakers didn't realize that the "Mounties" also
drive cars and wear plain clothes, sometimes. A hugely successful movie,
but I'll admit, I just found it broad and corny. Still, it's interesting
as one of the few unflattering portraits of Canadians on this page.
Vertical Limit (USA)
(2000) Chris O'Donnell, Scott Glenn.....Action movie about trying to rescue
a mountain climbing expedition. Izabella Scorupco plays a Canadian. Thanks
to an e-mailer for pointing out this one.
(1968).....Russ Meyer sexploitation set in Canada. Thanks to a Guestbook
signer for suggesting this one.
Von Richthofen and Brown (USA)
(1971) John Phillip Law.....War movie has Law as the infamous W.W. I German
air ace, The Red Baron, and Don Stroud playing the man credited (at one point) with finally
shooting him down...Canadian pilot Arthur Roy Brown.
Wait Until Dark (USA)
(1967) Audrey Hepburn, Richard Crenna, Alan Arkin, Jack Weston, Efrem Zimbalist
Jr.....One of the all-time classic thrillers, with Hepburn a blind woman
caught up in a con being perpetrated by some shadey types. The story revolves
around the fact that she has something her husband (Zimbalist Jr.) unwittingly
brought back from his trip to Canada. Sure no one in the movie is supposed
to Canadian, and other than the opening scene, nothing takes place in Canada...but
the movie makes more references to Canada than many Canadian movies! Besides,
it's just a really good film -- see it!
Walk the Line (USA)
(2005) Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Patrick.....Successful,
crirically acclaimed bio-pic about troubled country singer Johnny Cash
and his relationship with fellow singer June Carter. Brief -- but historically
significant, fact based -- scene towards the end where Cash proposes
to Carter in the middle of a concert in Ontario.
The Way (USA)
(2010) Martin Sheen.....Sheen stars in this comedy-drama about a man who decides to complete his dead son's spiritual pilgrimage across Europe...and gathers a collection of eccentric fellow travellers, including Canadian Deborah Kara Hunger playing a Canadian.
A Whale for the Killing (USA)
(1981) Peter Strauss.....Made-for-TV drama about a beached whale in Newfoundland
and an environmentalist's efforts to save it from fishermen, based on Farley
White Fang (Italian)
(1973) Franco Nero.....Italian version of the Jack London novel set in
the Yukon. I guess you could call it a Spaghetti Northern. Thanks to a
Guestbook signer for this.
The Whole Nine Yards (USA)
(2000) Matthew Perry, Bruce Willis, Rosanna Arquette.....Comedy stars Perry
as an American living in Montreal who discovers his neighbour is an infamous
American hitman (Willis) in hiding. This was a commercially successful
movie, though even American critics felt there was a certain lack of veracity
to Arquette's French-Canadian accent (she plays Perry's scheming wife).
Canadian Natasha Henstridge also co-stars. Followed by a sequel (though
I'm not sure if any of it was set in Canada)
The Wild North (USA)
(1952) Stewart Granger.....Canadian trapper (Granger) goes on the run after being accused of a crime. Sounds (vaguely) like the later Death Hunt (listed on previous page) -- which was inspired by a true incident. Thanks to Will Thomas for drawing attention to this one.
The World Beyond (USA)
(1978) Granville Van Dusen.....Back in the day, it was not uncommon to test the waters for possible TV series by first presenting a stand alone movie pilot -- or two or three. In this case, this was the second of two short supernatural-themed movies (each about an hour long, the first called The World of Darkness) featuring Van Dusen as an American sports reporter who, after a near death experience, finds himself sensitive to warnings from the other side. In this one, he and a few others (JoBeth Williams and Barnard Hughes) end up on an isolated island being pursued by a murderous Golem. Although it never became a series...most people who saw it seem to remember it fondly to this day (particularly a spooky scene where the Golem's disenfranchised hand comes to life!) It's a simple plot, but no doubt helped by the short running time, it's a well acted, and surprisingly well produced little thriller (at the time I'm writing this, it's posted on youtube). A number of references to it describe it being set on a Canadian island -- and it was certainly filmed in Canada (Canadian actor Richard Fitzpatrick has a small part as the apparition that first alerts Van Dusen's character)...but I'll admit, I'm not entirely sure it was supposed to be set in Canada (at the time, it wasn't as common to film American movies in Canada, so maybe people just assumed if it was filmed there, it was deliberately supposed to be set there). But, I'm not sure it necessarily says it isn't set in Canada -- so what the heck, I'll include it, just 'cause it was so freakin' cool back in the day. Thanks to Will Thomas for mentioning this one (and ending my decades-long search to remember what it was called!) a.k.a. The Mud Monster.
(2000) Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry.....This
is the long-time coming adaptation of the hit comic book series about a
group of mutant superheroes. Longtime comic readers know that one of the
most popular X-Men, Wolverine, is a Canadian. In the movie, Wolverine (Jackman)
is used as the kind of focal/lead character in this ostensibly ensemble
cast and there are a few scenes set in Canada. Trivia note: the
movie was filmed in Canada and Canadian-born New Zealand actress Anna Paquin
appears as Rogue. Ironically, when the thematically similar Canadian TV
series, Mutant X, came out a year later,
none of the characters in that were Canadian.
X2: X-Men United (USA)
(2003) see above -- still Wolverine, still with some scenes set in Canada
(although not identified as such -- you'd have to have seen the first movie).
Actually, a better film than the first...although it probably helps
to have seen the first in order to know what's going on! The benefit to
Canadians from US productions being filmed in Canada is that little, inconsequential
parts are sometimes cast from the local, Canadian, talent pool...and then
these parts can actually blossom into something more (like happened with
some roles in TV's The X-Files). In the first X-Men, Canadian Shawn Ashmore
appeared in a bit part as Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman...but in this sequel,
the Iceman character was featured significantly, and Ashmore was still
playing him. Sidebar: although the story has undergone
changes, the core idea is lifted from the critically regarded graphic novel
God Loves, Man Kills. FYI.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (USA)
(2009) Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber.....Spin-off of the X-Men movies providing background to the ever-popular Wolverine. So...still Wolverine, still Canadian.
(1986) Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze.....Lowe plays an (American?) hockey player
who joins a Canadian hockey team.