Best Canadian Films by Year

by jon-832 | created - 05 May 2015 | updated - 4 months ago | Public

Best feature film from Canadian Film Awards, Genie Awards, and Canadian Screen Awards.

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1. The Loon's Necklace (1949)

12 min | Short

The Tsimshian legend of a blind old medicine man and the origin of the distinctive white pattern on the neck of the loon.

Director: F.R. Crawley | Star: George Gorman

Votes: 26

Canadian Film Awards

2. Newfoundland Scene (1951)

44 min | Documentary, Short

A portrait of Newfoundland that records a way of life that has all but disappeared.

Director: F.R. Crawley | Star: Frank Peddie

Canadian Film Awards

3. Tit Coq (1953)

104 min | Drama, Romance, War

After returning home from war, an ill-tempered young soldier must deal with his sweetheart having married another man.

Directors: René Delacroix, Gratien Gélinas | Stars: Fred Barry, Monique Miller, Denise Pelletier, Clément Latour

Votes: 150

Canadian Film Awards

4. The Seasons (1954)

18 min | Documentary, Short

A documentary film on the subtle and changing seasons through the passing year in one small part of Ontario.

Director: Christopher Chapman

Canadian Film Awards

5. The Stratford Adventure (1954)

45 min | Documentary, Short

The story of the founding, by Stratford-born journalist Tom Patterson, of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada, which opened in July of 1953 with a performance of "Richard III" ... See full summary »

Director: Morten Parker | Stars: John Drainie, Michael Bates, Lloyd Bochner, Douglas Campbell

Votes: 33

Canadian Film Awards

6. City of Gold (1957)

22 min | Documentary, Short, History

Author Pierre Berton tells the history of his hometown of Dawson City at its heyday during the Klondike Gold Rush.

Directors: Wolf Koenig, Colin Low | Star: Pierre Berton

Votes: 214

Canadian Film Awards

7. Universe (1960)

29 min | Documentary, Short

A journey through the universe as it would appear to a space traveler beginning at the David Dunlap Observatory on Earth.

Directors: Roman Kroitor, Colin Low | Stars: Donald MacRae, Douglas Rain

Votes: 227

Canadian Film Awards

8. Lonely Boy (1963)

27 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

A documentary chronicling the career of teen singing star Paul Anka (the title is taken from one of his hit songs).

Directors: Wolf Koenig, Roman Kroitor | Stars: Paul Anka, Jules Podell

Votes: 310

Canadian Film Awards

9. Take It All (1963)

Not Rated | 99 min | Drama

A man struggles with his identity, his life choices, his interracial relationship, and his latent homosexuality. A portrait of some young intellectuals in early sixties Montreal.

Director: Claude Jutra | Stars: Claude Jutra, Johanne Harelle, Victor Désy, Tania Fédor

Votes: 295

Canadian Film Awards

10. Pour la suite du monde (1963)

105 min | Documentary

At the instigation of the filmmakers, the young men of the Ile-aux-Coudres in the middle of the St-Lawrence River try as a memorial to their ancestors to revive the fishing of the belugas ... See full summary »

Directors: Michel Brault, Pierre Perrault | Stars: Léopold Tremblay, Alexis Tremblay, Abel Harvey, Louis Harvey

Votes: 566

Canadian Film Awards

11. The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1964)

100 min | Drama

An out-of-work Irish immigrant in Montreal remains hopeful that his luck is about to change but his disillusioned family grow tired of his pigheadedness and instability.

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Robert Shaw, Mary Ure, Liam Redmond, Tom Harvey

Votes: 183

Canadian Film Awards

12. Astataïon ou Le festin des morts (1965)

96 min | Drama

A young Jesuit missionary reflects on his life and his faith while awaiting his execution at the hands of the Native Americans he came to convert.

Director: Fernand Dansereau | Stars: Alain Cuny, Jean-Guy Sabourin, Jacques Godin, Jean-Louis Millette

Votes: 12

Canadian Film Awards

13. The Mills of the Gods: Viet Nam (1965)

56 min | Documentary, War

A documentary on the war in South Vietnam shot entirely on location. There is no narration and no use of archive footage. The participants speak for themselves. The filmmakers spend time ... See full summary »

Director: Beryl Fox | Stars: Bernard Fall, Thai Nguyen

Votes: 15

Canadian Film Awards

14. Warrendale (1967)

100 min | Documentary

Chronicles 7-weeks in the lives of 12 emotionally disturbed children and their therapist's experimental method of treatment at the Toronto-area Warrendale facility.

Director: Allan King | Star: Martin Fischer

Votes: 468

Canadian Film Awards

15. The Ernie Game (1967)

89 min | Drama

Set in mid-winter Montreal, a mentally unstable young man becomes involved with 2 women, which fuels his paranoia, forcing him to commit criminal acts.

Director: Don Owen | Stars: Alexis Kanner, Judith Gault, Jackie Burroughs, Derek May

Votes: 47

Canadian Film Awards

16. A Place to Stand (1967)

17 min | Documentary, Short

A multi-image large-format film showcasing life in Ontario without narration and dialogue.

Director: Christopher Chapman

Votes: 83

Canadian Film Awards

17. The Best Damn Fiddler from Calabogie to Kaladar (1969)

50 min | Drama

A poor bush worker refuses to sacrifice his dignity to provide his family with a better life.

Director: Peter Pearson | Stars: Chris Wiggins, Kate Reid, Margot Kidder, William Thourlby

Votes: 36

Canadian Film Awards

18. To See or Not to See (1969)

G | 15 min | Animation, Short

A scientist develops an unusual pair of eyeglasses which allows the wearer's mind to see things objectively rather than the usual subjective manner.

Director: Bretislav Pojar | Star: Severn Darden

Votes: 35

Canadian Film Awards

19. Goin' Down the Road (1970)

R | 90 min | Drama

Two friends leave the picturesque yet rural province of Nova Scotia for the nightlife and culture of Toronto. They soon end up wistful and nostalgic about Nova Scotia though after finding out that Toronto isn't as fun as they'd hoped.

Director: Donald Shebib | Stars: Doug McGrath, Paul Bradley, Jayne Eastwood, Cayle Chernin

Votes: 805

20. Mon Oncle Antoine (1971)

Not Rated | 104 min | Drama

Set in cold rural Quebec at Christmas time, we follow the coming of age of a young boy and the life of his family which owns the town's general store and undertaking business.

Director: Claude Jutra | Stars: Jacques Gagnon, Lyne Champagne, Jean Duceppe, Olivette Thibault

Votes: 2,429

Canadian Film Awards

21. Wedding in White (1972)

R | 103 min | Drama

A father will do anything to protect his family's reputation when his unmarried teenage daughter becomes pregnant because she was raped by her brother's friend.

Director: William Fruet | Stars: Donald Pleasence, Carol Kane, Doris Petrie, Leo Phillips

Votes: 247

Canadian Film Awards

22. Slipstream (1973)

PG | 93 min | Drama

A reclusive Albertan DJ runs his popular pirate radio station in a remote farmhouse but begins to feel pressure from his romantic relationship with a fan and his producer who wants more mainstream content.

Director: David Acomba | Stars: Luke Askew, Patti Oatman, Eli Rill, Scott Hylands

Votes: 35

Canadian Film Awards

23. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974)

PG | 120 min | Comedy, Drama

The younger son of a working-class Jewish family in Montreal, Duddy Kravitz yearns to make a name for himself in society. This film chronicles his short and dubious rise to power, as well ... See full summary »

Director: Ted Kotcheff | Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Micheline Lanctôt, Jack Warden, Randy Quaid

Votes: 1,731

Canadian Film Awards

24. Orderers (1974)

109 min | Drama, History

A fact-based account of ordinary citizens who found themselves arrested and imprisoned without charge for weeks during the October Crisis in 1970 Quebec.

Director: Michel Brault | Stars: Hélène Loiselle, Jean Lapointe, Guy Provost, Claude Gauthier

Votes: 906

Canadian Film Awards

25. Lies My Father Told Me (1975)

PG | 102 min | Drama

A Jewish boy grows up in 1920s Montreal (in Canada), with a grandfather who tells stories and a father who won't work.

Director: Ján Kadár | Stars: Yossi Yadin, Len Birman, Marilyn Lightstone, Jeff Lynas

Votes: 425

Canadian Film Awards

26. J.A. Martin photographe (1977)

100 min | Drama

The wife of photographer J.A. Martin decides to go with him in his tour of the hard Canadian countryside at the turn of the century. She hopes the intimacy will revive their marriage.

Director: Jean Beaudin | Stars: Marcel Sabourin, Monique Mercure, Marthe Thierry, Catherine Tremblay

Votes: 300

Canadian Film Awards

27. The Silent Partner (1978)

R | 106 min | Drama, Crime, Thriller

A timid bank teller anticipates a bank robbery and steals the money himself before the crook arrives. When the sadistic crook realizes he's been fooled, he tracks down the teller and engages him in a cat-and-mouse chase for the cash.

Director: Daryl Duke | Stars: Elliott Gould, Christopher Plummer, Susannah York, Céline Lomez

Votes: 4,163

Canadian Film Awards

28. The Changeling (1980)

R | 107 min | Horror

70 Metascore

A man staying at a secluded historical mansion finds himself being haunted by the presence of a spectre.

Director: Peter Medak | Stars: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas, Jean Marsh

Votes: 26,890

Genie Awards

29. Les bons débarras (1980)

120 min | Drama

A woman is overwhelmed with having to deal with her emotionally unstable daughter, mentally-challenged brother and two suitors while simultaneously trying to run her small firewood business.

Director: Francis Mankiewicz | Stars: Charlotte Laurier, Marie Tifo, Germain Houde, Louise Marleau

Votes: 612

Genie Awards

30. Ticket to Heaven (1981)

PG | 108 min | Drama

David is a young man seduced by a religious cult that uses starvation, exhaustion, and brainwashing to mold recruits into money hustling disciples of a messiah-like leader. Chronicles ... See full summary »

Director: Ralph L. Thomas | Stars: Nick Mancuso, Saul Rubinek, Meg Foster, Kim Cattrall

Votes: 677

Genie Awards

31. The Grey Fox (1982)

PG | 110 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

When an aging, but gentlemanly stagecoach robber is released from prison, he decides to go to Canada to become a train robber.

Director: Phillip Borsos | Stars: Richard Farnsworth, Jackie Burroughs, Ken Pogue, Wayne Robson

Votes: 1,487

Genie Awards

32. The Terry Fox Story (1983 TV Movie)

96 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

The true story about the Canadian cancer amputee hero who decided to run across Canada on only one leg to raise money for cancer research.

Director: Ralph L. Thomas | Stars: Eric Fryer, Robert Duvall, Chris Makepeace, Rosalind Chao

Votes: 469

Genie Awards

33. The Bay Boy (1984)

R | 107 min | Drama

A teenage boy living in a Cape Breton coal mining community during the 1930's finds himself contemplating life and is haunted by a murder he witnessed in town.

Director: Daniel Petrie | Stars: Liv Ullmann, Kiefer Sutherland, Peter Donat, Alan Scarfe

Votes: 606 | Gross: $0.16M

Genie Awards

34. My American Cousin (1985)

PG | 90 min | Biography, Drama

Adding an intriguing Canadian twist to a universally appealing story of teenage trials, My American Cousin begins as bored 12-year-old Sandy (Margaret Langrick) is preparing for another ... See full summary »

Director: Sandy Wilson | Stars: Margaret Langrick, John Wildman, Richard Donat, Jane Mortifee

Votes: 527

Genie Awards

35. The Decline of the American Empire (1986)

R | 101 min | Comedy, Drama

60 Metascore

Sexual revelations emerge when a group of academics and their partners spend a weekend at a country retreat.

Director: Denys Arcand | Stars: Dominique Michel, Dorothée Berryman, Louise Portal, Pierre Curzi

Votes: 7,240 | Gross: $1.90M

Genie Awards

36. Un zoo la nuit (1987)

115 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Marcel, recently released from prison, attempt to rebuild his relationship with his girlfriend Julie (now a prostitute) and especially his father Albert (who thinks he's been away on a long... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Claude Lauzon | Stars: Gilles Maheu, Roger Lebel, Corrado Mastropasqua, Lorne Brass

Votes: 640

Genie Awards

37. Dead Ringers (1988)

R | 116 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

86 Metascore

Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske, Barbara Gordon

Votes: 36,860 | Gross: $9.13M

Genie Awards

38. Jesus of Montreal (1989)

R | 120 min | Drama

A group of actors put on an unorthodox, but acclaimed Passion Play which incites the opposition of the Catholic Church while the actors' lives themselves begin to mirror the Passion itself.

Director: Denys Arcand | Stars: Lothaire Bluteau, Catherine Wilkening, Johanne-Marie Tremblay, Rémy Girard

Votes: 6,511 | Gross: $1.60M

Genie Awards

39. Black Robe (1991)

R | 101 min | Adventure, Drama, War

In the 17th century, a Jesuit missionary nicknamed Black Robe by the natives and his small party of companions try reaching the Huron tribe in Canada all while facing mistrust, Iroquois warring parties and harsh winter conditions.

Director: Bruce Beresford | Stars: Lothaire Bluteau, Aden Young, Sandrine Holt, August Schellenberg

Votes: 5,997 | Gross: $8.21M

Genie Awards

40. Naked Lunch (1991)

R | 115 min | Drama

67 Metascore

After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally kills his wife, and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands

Votes: 43,204 | Gross: $2.54M

Genie Awards

41. Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993)

Not Rated | 98 min | Biography, Drama, Music

A collection of vignettes highlighting different aspects of the life, work, and character of the acclaimed Canadian classical pianist.

Director: François Girard | Stars: Colm Feore, Derek Keurvorst, Katya Ladan, Devon Anderson

Votes: 3,394 | Gross: $1.57M

Genie Awards

42. Exotica (1994)

R | 103 min | Drama

A man plagued by neuroses frequents the club, Exotica, trying to find solace - but even there his past hides among him.

Director: Atom Egoyan | Stars: Bruce Greenwood, Elias Koteas, Don McKellar, Mia Kirshner

Votes: 16,751 | Gross: $4.18M

Genie Awards

43. The Confessional (1995)

Not Rated | 100 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

The year is 1952, in Quebec City. Rachel, 16, unmarried, and pregnant, works in the church. Filled with shame, she unburdens her guilt to a young priest, under the confidentiality of the ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Lepage | Stars: Lothaire Bluteau, Patrick Goyette, Jean-Louis Millette, Kristin Scott Thomas

Votes: 1,479 | Gross: $0.58M

Genie Awards

44. Lilies (1996)

R | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy

1952: Bishop Bilodeau visits a québécois prison to hear the confession of a boyhood friend jailed for murder 40 years ago. The inmates force the prelate to watch a play depicting what ... See full summary »

Director: John Greyson | Stars: Ian D. Clark, Marcel Sabourin, Aubert Pallascio, Jason Cadieux

Votes: 2,513 | Gross: $0.22M

Genie Awards

45. The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

R | 112 min | Drama

90 Metascore

A bus crash in a small town brings a lawyer to the town to defend the families, but he discovers that everything is not what it seems.

Director: Atom Egoyan | Stars: Ian Holm, Sarah Polley, Caerthan Banks, Tom McCamus

Votes: 30,249 | Gross: $3.25M

Genie Awards

46. The Red Violin (1998)

R | 130 min | Drama, Music, Mystery

57 Metascore

A perfect red-colored violin inspires passion, making its way through three centuries over several owners and countries, eventually ending up at an auction where it may find a new owner.

Director: François Girard | Stars: Carlo Cecchi, Jean-Luc Bideau, Christoph Koncz, Jason Flemyng

Votes: 30,202 | Gross: $9.47M

Genie Awards

47. Sunshine (1999)

R | 181 min | Drama, History, Romance

71 Metascore

The fate of a Hungarian Jewish family throughout the 20th century.

Director: István Szabó | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Rosemary Harris, Rachel Weisz, Jennifer Ehle

Votes: 12,402 | Gross: $5.10M

Genie Awards

48. Maelstrom (2000)

R | 87 min | Drama

66 Metascore

After plunging her car into a river, a woman encounters a man who helps her come to terms with her life.

Director: Denis Villeneuve | Stars: Marie-Josée Croze, Jean-Nicolas Verreault, Stephanie Morgenstern, Pierre Lebeau

Votes: 4,284 | Gross: $0.03M

Genie Awards