Top Movies: Our favorite Canadian films

Happy Victoria Day graphic

Canada celebrates Victoria Day on Monday, May 24, and we thought, “Hey, that’s a great excuse to celebrate our favorite Canadian movies.” We’ll take any excuse to celebrate movies here at Disc Dish.

Before we unveil our list, here’s a quick nod to the origins of Victoria Day: Celebrating the birthday of England’s Queen Victoria, Victoria Day was first observed in 1845 in Ontario.

Ok, back to our list. Our only major criteria is that the movie must have been produced in Canada and/or directed by a Canadian filmmaker and/or, hopefully, embodies some substantial, er, Canadian elements. Here’s what we came up with:

Videodrome movie scene


Videodrome (1983)
One of the great David Cronenberg’s earlier, gooier and undeniably “Cronenesque” works. James Woods is in full-on sleazebag mode as a Toronto cable TV operator whose station is targeted for takeover by an evil corporate entity that has developed a reality-searing video weapon.
Available on DVD from Universal and Criterion

The Sweet Hereafter (1997)
Acclaimed Canadian (by way of Egypt) independent filmmaker Atom Egoyan elicits outstanding performances from Canadian cast members Sarah Polley, Alberta Watson, Bruce Greenwood and Gabrielle Rose in this adaptation of Russell Banks’ searing novel about a tragic bus accident and its effects on the population of a small town.
Available on DVD from Warner

Meatballs (1979)
Pre-Hollywood-giant Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Stripes, Twins) cut his teeth on this family-friendly summer camp comedy starring then-hot-but-getting-hotter Bill Murray.
Available on DVD from Sony

The Silent Partner (1978)
In between the TV projects for which he is best known (Tai-Pan, The Thorn Birds), Daryl Duke banged out this tight little thriller about a bank teller’s (Elliott Gould) involvement with a psychotic robber (Christopher Plummer) who has been casing his bank. Written by Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential).
Available on DVD from Lionsgate

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974)/ Joshua: Then and Now (1985)
Ted Kotcheff’s adaptations of a pair of adaptations of Mordecai Richler novels starring Richard Dreyfuss and James Woods, respectively, offer the final word on the Jewish-Canadian experience.
Used copies of
Duddy available online; used VHS copies of Joshua available online

Outrageous! (1977)
Richard Benner’s ridiculously tawdry and over-the-top tale of a drag queen (Craig Russell) and a schizophrenic (Hollis McClaren) was one of the first gay-themed films to receive wide theatrical distribution in North America.
Available on DVD from Henstooth

Jesus of Montreal (1990)
Quebec’s Denys Arcand’s uniquely French-Canadian take on the Passion Play remains an audacious and intelligent look at religion in the modern, commercial world.
Available on DVD from Koch Lorber

Careful (1993)
A candy-colored, crackly soundtracked, German silent film-styled tale of incest, murder and suicide in an Alpine village, courtesy of inimitable Winnipeg-based auteur Guy Maddin.
Available on DVD from Zeitgeist

Black Christmas (1974)
The near-classic sorority house scream-a-thon starring Margot Kidder is still one of the most effective shockers to emerge from the Great White North.
Available on DVD and Blu-ray from Somerville House

Strange Brew (1983)
…and speaking of the great White North, remember when Canuck brothers Bob and Doug McKenzie (SCTV’s Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis) got their dream job at a brewery, which turned out to be a bit of a nightmare? Not your favorite silly Canadian comedy? Then you can take off, you hosers.
Available on DVD from Warner

About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.