Top 10 Best Canadian Movies of All Time

The Top 10 Best Canadian Movies of All Time is a list compiled by the Toronto International Film Festival ranking what are the considered the best Canadian films. The list has been compiled once roughly every 10 years starting in 1984, typically assembled by polling a combination of Canadian critics and filmmakers. The list, which is separate from the festival's annual Canada's Top Ten list of the best Canadian films released within that year, has been published in 1993, 2004, and 2015.

10- Les Ordres
Top 10 Best Canadian Movies of All Time

Orders (original title: Les Ordres, known in the United States as: Orderers) is a 1974 Quebec historical drama film about the incarceration of innocent civilians during the 1970 October Crisis and the War Measures Act enacted by the Canadian government of Pierre Trudeau. It is the second film by director Michel Brault. It features entertainer and Senator Jean Lapointe.

The film tells the story of five of those incarcerated civilians. It is scripted but is inspired by a number of interviews with actual prisoners made during the events and its style is heavily inspired by the Quebec school of Cinéma vérité. It is a docufiction.

9- My Winnipeg

Initial release: 4 July 2008 (United Kingdom)
My Winnipeg

My Winnipeg is a 2007 film directed and written by Guy Maddin with dialogue by George Toles. Described by Maddin as a "docu-fantasia", that melds "personal history, civic tragedy, and mystical hypothesizing", the film is a surrealist mockumentary about Winnipeg, Maddin's home town. A New York Times article described the film's unconventional take on the documentary style by noting that it "skates along an icy edge between dreams and lucidity, fact and fiction, cinema and psychotherapy".

My Winnipeg began when Maddin was commissioned by the Documentary Channel, and originally titled Love Me, Love My Winnipeg. Maddin's producer directed "Don't give me the frozen hellhole everyone knows that Winnipeg is", so Maddin cast Darcy Fehr in the role of "Guy Maddin" and structured the documentary around a metafictional plot that mythologizes the city and Maddin's autobiography.

Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin conducts a personal tour of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the town where he grew up and still lives, in a film he calls a "docu-fantasia." By combining archival footage and interviews, dreamlike camera work and recreated scenes -- including several with actress Ann Savage playing the part of Maddin's mother -- the filmmaker builds a portrait of Winnipeg that manages to be historical, intimate, surreal, entertaining and entirely his own.

8- C.R.A.Z.Y.

C.R.A.Z.Y. is a 2005 Quebecois coming-of-age drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and co-written by Vallée and François Boulay. It tells the story of Zac, a young gay man dealing with homophobia while growing up with four brothers and a conservative father in Quebec during the 1960s and 1970s. The film employs an extensive soundtrack, featuring artists such as Pink Floyd, Patsy Cline, Charles Aznavour, and The Rolling Stones.

A popular piece in the Cinema of Quebec, C.R.A.Z.Y. was one of the highest-grossing films of the year in the province. The film won numerous honours, among them 11 Genie Awards, including Best Motion Picture. At Quebec's Prix Jutra film awards, it won 13 awards in the competitive categories from 14 nominations, becoming the all-time record holder for most award wins at that ceremony; it also won both of the box-office based awards, the Billet d'or and the Film s'étant le plus illustré à l'extérieur du Québec, for a total of 15 awards overall.

7- Dead Ringers
Dead Ringers (film)

Dead Ringers is a 1988 Canadian-American psychological body horror film starring Jeremy Irons in a dual role as identical twin gynecologists. David Cronenberg directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Norman Snider. Their script was based on the lives of Stewart and Cyril Marcus and on the novel Twins by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland, a "highly fictionalized" version of the Marcus' story.

Elliot (Jeremy Irons), a successful gynecologist, works at the same practice as his identical twin, Beverly (also Irons). Elliot is attracted to many of his patients and has affairs with them. When he inevitably loses interest, he will give the woman over to Beverly, the meeker of the two, without the woman knowing the difference. Beverly falls hard for one of the patients, Claire (Geneviève Bujold), but when she inadvertently deceives him, he slips into a state of madness.

The film won numerous honors, including for Irons' performance, and 10 Genie Awards, notably Best Motion Picture. Toronto International Film Festival critics have ranked it among the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time.

6- Goin' Down the Road
Goin' Down the Road

Goin' Down the Road is a key 1970 Canadian film directed by Donald Shebib, co-written by William Fruet and Donald Shebib. It tells the story of two young men who decide to leave the Maritimes, where jobs and fulfilling lives are hard to find, for the excitement and perceived riches of Toronto. It stars Doug McGrath, Paul Bradley, Jayne Eastwood and Cayle Chernin. Despite the lack of a large production budget, the movie is generally regarded as one of the best and most influential Canadian films of all time and has received considerable critical acclaim for its writing, directing and acting.

In rural Nova Scotia, childhood friends -- Joey (Paul Bradley) and Peter (Doug McGrath) -- set off in search of a better life in the big city. After arriving in Toronto, the pals find meager but steady work at a soda bottling plant. Joey then learns that his girlfriend, Betty (Jayne Eastwood), is pregnant with their child. But the happy occasion is dimmed by a setback when both Joey and Peter are let go from their jobs, and must now figure out some way to survive in the city.

5- Léolo
Léolo: Top 10 Best Canadian Movies of All Time

Léolo is a 1992 Canadian coming of age-fantasy film by director Jean-Claude Lauzon. The film tells the story of a young boy named Léo "Léolo" Lauzon, played by Maxime Collin, who engages in an active fantasy life while growing up with his Montreal family, and begins to have sexual fantasies about his neighbour Bianca, played by Giuditta del Vecchio. The film also stars Ginette Reno, Pierre Bourgault, Andrée Lachapelle, Denys Arcand, Julien Guiomar and Germain Houde. Gilbert Sicotte narrates the film as the adult Léolo.

With a story developed by Lauzon as a semi-autobiographical work, the project was supported by producer Lyse Lafontaine as a co-production with France. Filming took place in Montreal and Sicily in 1991. It was Lauzon's final film, as he died in a plane crash in 1997 while working on his next project.

Young Léo Lauzon (Maxime Collin) lives in a Montreal apartment building with his troubled and highly eccentric family, but he spends much of his time in his own imagination. Devising a strange fantasy world where his mother (Ginette Reno) conceived him with an Italian tomato, Léo attempts to cope with his unsettling reality by retreating into his mind, with his meandering thoughts often drifting to his gorgeous neighbor, Bianca (Giuditta Del Vecchio).

Initially released in the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, Léolo won three Genie Awards, including Best Original Screenplay for Lauzon, losing Best Motion Picture to Naked Lunch. It later benefited from a resurgence of interest, leading to critics and filmmakers adding it to the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time in 2015.

4- Jesus of Montreal
Jesus of Montreal

Jesus of Montreal (French: Jésus de Montréal) is a 1989 French Canadian comedy-drama film written and directed by Denys Arcand, and starring Lothaire Bluteau, Catherine Wilkening and Johanne-Marie Tremblay. The film tells the story of a group of actors in Montreal who perform a Passion play in a Quebec church (the film uses the grounds of St Joseph's Oratory on Mount Royal), combining religious belief with unconventional theories on a historical Jesus. As the church turns against the main actor and author of the play, his life increasingly mirrors the story of Jesus, and the film adapts numerous stories from the New Testament.

The film came out to critical acclaim and won numerous awards, including the Genie Award for Best Picture and the Jury Prize at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival. The film was also nominated for the 1989 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Critics in the Toronto International Film Festival have regarded the film to be one of the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time.

3- The Sweet Hereafter
The Sweet Hereafter (film)

The Sweet Hereafter is a 1997 Canadian drama film written and directed by Atom Egoyan, starring Ian Holm, Sarah Polley and Bruce Greenwood and adapted from the novel of the same name by Russell Banks. The film tells the story of a school bus accident in a small town that results in the deaths of numerous children. A class-action lawsuit ensues, proving divisive in the community and becoming tied with personal and family issues.

The story is inspired by the 1989 Alton, Texas bus crash. It was filmed in British Columbia and Ontario, incorporating a film score with medieval music influences and references to the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

Although The Sweet Hereafter was not a box office success, it was critically acclaimed and won three awards, including the Grand Prix, at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, along with seven Genie Awards, including Best Motion Picture. It also received two Academy Award nominations, for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Toronto International Film Festival critics named The Sweet Hereafter one of the top 10 Canadian films of all time.

2- Mon oncle Antoine
Mon oncle Antoine

Mon oncle Antoine is a 1971 National Film Board of Canada (Office national du film du Canada) French language drama film. Québécois director Claude Jutra co-wrote the screenplay with Clément Perron and directed what is one of the most acclaimed works in Canadian film history.

The film examines life in the Maurice Duplessis-era Asbestos Region of rural Québec prior to the Asbestos Strike of 1949. Set at Christmas time, the story is told from the point of view of a 15-year-old boy (Benoît, played by Jacques Gagnon) coming of age in a mining town. The Asbestos Strike is regarded by Québec historians as a seminal event in the years prior to the Quiet Revolution.

Benoit (Jacques Gagnon) is an adolescent in the care of his uncle, Antoine (Jean Duceppe), who runs a general store in a small mining town in Quebec. To make some extra money, Antoine doubles as the town's undertaker. During the Christmas shopping rush, Benoit helps out at the store, learning a lot about himself in the process. When he accompanies his uncle to pick up a body of a local boy who has recently died, he is faced with his own mortality, and realizes that life is fleeting.

Jutra's film is an examination of the social conditions in Québec's old, agrarian, conservative and cleric-dominated society on the eve of the social and political changes that transformed the province a decade later.

1- Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner is a 2001 Canadian epic film directed by Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk and produced by his company Isuma Igloolik Productions. It was the first feature film ever to be written, directed and acted entirely in the Inuktitut language.

Set in the ancient past, the film retells an Inuit legend passed down through centuries of oral tradition. It revolves around the title character, whose marriage with his two wives earns him the animosity of the son of the band leader, who kills Atanarjuat's brother and forces Atanarjuat to flee by foot.

The film premiered at the 54th Cannes Film Festival in May 2001, and was released in Canada on 12 April 2002. A major critical success, Atanarjuat won the Caméra d'Or (Golden Camera) at Cannes, and six Genie Awards, including Best Motion Picture. Atanarjuat was also a commercial success, becoming Canada's top-grossing release of 2002, outperforming the mainstream comedy Men with Brooms. It grossed more than US$5 million worldwide. In 2015, a poll of filmmakers and critics in the Toronto International Film Festival named it the greatest Canadian film of all time.


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