The Canadian movie industry covers a vast array of films that showcase the talents of the country’s filmmakers. Canadians have made many excellent movies, from dramas to comedies to art house cinema features. Not only do Canadian directors and actors do a terrific job, but the vast array of cities and landscapes in Canada offer a diverse setting for any film. 

Whether it’s a gritty thriller set in the streets of Toronto or a beautiful documentary that takes place in the Canadian Rockies, many movies should be on any cinephile’s must-watch list. Here, we’ve chronicled the ten best Canadian movies of all time so you know what to check out next.

Owning Mahowny

In this thriller directed by Richard Kwietniowski, a Toronto bank worker embezzles millions of dollars to fund his gambling addiction. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Dan Mahowny, who is trying to win big at the casino. Failing to practice responsible gaming in JackpotCity, Mahowny begins stealing money from the bank and heading to Atlantic City. The film is based on the true story of Brian Molony, a clerk at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce who stole over 10 million dollars from the bank in 18 months. 

Dead Ringers

Horror fans will be delighted by Dead Ringers, directed by Canadian filmmaker and master of the genre David Cronenberg. Jeremy Irons plays twins Elliot and Beverly Mantle, gynecologists in Toronto. All is not well at their practice, however, as Elliot is seducing women and passing them off to Beverly when he’s done with them. The patients, however, don’t know anything is amiss because Elliot and Beverly are identical. When one woman figures out the scam, things take a turn for the worse for the Mantles. 

The Sweet Hereafter

If you’re looking for something a little more dramatic, you can watch The Sweet Hereafter. The film wasn’t very successful at the box office but won many awards. Adapted from a book by Russell Banks, the movie details the events following a school bus crash in British Columbia. Atom Egoyan directed The Sweet Hereafter and was nominated for an Academy Award for his work. 

Mon oncle Antoine

Mon oncle Antoine is a French-language movie set in Québec. In 1949, there was an Asbestos strike in the region, and the film looks at the lives of the people who lived there at the time. The movie was directed by Claude Jutra and is considered one of the best Canadian films of all time by the Toronto International Film Festival. 

Stories We Tell

If documentaries are more up your alley, try checking out Stories We Tell, directed by Sarah Polley. Polley explores her parents’ relationship, learning that her father is actually another man. She recreated home videos, using actors to play her family throughout the years. The film, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, is an engaging tale of adultery and revelations and is sure to keep any watcher on their toes.

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner

The Inuit people are an essential part of Canadian history, and no list of Canadian films would be complete without including Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner. This cinematic classic was released in 2001 and was the first film entirely created in the Inuktitut language. Atanarjuat tells the story of an Inuit man and the conflict between others in his nation. It’s considered one of the best Canadian films of all time by many outlets.

Jesus of Montreal

Comedy lovers will find Jesus of Montreal a great addition to their movie collection. When an acting troupe stages a play based on the Passion story in the Bible, trouble between the actors and the church where they’re performing arises. The leading actor’s life begins to follow the Biblical tale, and when the play is finally performed, it is a hit with all but the priest at the church. Jesus of Montreal was nominated for the 1989 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and though it didn’t win, it is still regarded as one of Canada’s best comedies.


Released in 1974, Orders is a historical drama set during Pierre Trudeau’s time as Prime Minister. In this tale of the 1970 October Crisis, interviews with prisoners were used to craft the film. It’s considered docufiction and stars Senator Jean Lapointe. Like other films on this list, it was the Canadian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards but sadly wasn’t nominated. 

My Winnipeg

Guy Maddin is known for his surreal cinema, and My Winnipeg is no different. When the Documentary Channel commissioned him to create a film centered around the city, they had specific requirements for the film. As a result, Maddin created a documentary that stars Darcy Fehr as “Guy Maddin” and is considered a more unusual documentary. The film is definitely for people with a particular taste, but it’s still an important watch.


Coming-of-age films have a crucial role in film history, and one such Canadian drama is one of the best. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, C.R.A.Z.Y. is a movie about gay culture in Quebec during the 1960s and ‘70s. It has a soundtrack any classic rock fan will love, and the Toronto International Film Festival listed it as one of the top Canadian films of all time.


Those are just ten of the top Canadian films, but there are many more that are worth watching. As the film industry expands in Canada, new films are released each year. Make sure to update your to-watch list and check out some of these essential films today!