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The Top 5 Canadian Movies Over the Years

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A brief look at the top Canadian movies over the years

made-in-canada

It’s never easy to compile a top list of things, especially when it comes to movies but the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has been doing it roughly every decade since 1984.  Critics have one idea about a feature film, while the public can have an entirely different one. To make things even harder to quantify, there’s really no way to know what makes a movie great. It’s certainly not it’s looks and special effects, then again a great story alone is also not enough to make a movie great.

There’s no easy way to classify a list of movies. You can create a top list based on the viewers’ reviews, the critics’ appraisals, the gross income at the Box Office, or even by which one of them made it to mega websites like the Royal Vegas Online Casino’s game library. Not many movies and TV shows appear as slots at the Royal Vegas Canada, so it’s not surprising that none of the top TIFF selections made it.  It seems movies adapted to the smallest screens (those of computers and smartphones) via popular websites are destined to be Hollywood blockbusters.  Some blockbusters that are forever being recycled into pop culture ethos include Jurassic Park (and Jurassic World, soon to be released at the Royal Vegas), Bridesmaids, The Dark Knight, Terminator 2, and Battlestar Galactica.

When it comes to Canadian movies, the Toronto International Film Festival is a reliable source for a top 10: it asks critics, professors, fans, and festival staff about which movie was the best ever. The first such poll was conducted in 1984, and the last one appeared last year. Let’s see how the lists of the top 5 Canadian films of all time have changed over the years.

1984

The 1984 top 5 is actually a top 6 since Phillip Borsos’ The Grey Fox and Michel Brault’s Les Ordres were tied for the fifth place. The list looked like this (title – year – director):

  1. Mon Oncle Antoine (1971 – Claude Jutra)
  2. Goin’ Down the Road (1970 – Don Shebib)
  3. Les Bons Debarras (1980 – Francis Mankiewicz)
  4. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974 – Ted Kotcheff)
  5. The Grey Fox (1983 – Phillip Borsos) and Les Ordres (1974 – Michel Brault)

Mon Oncle Antoine, a social and political drama, has occupied the top spot on the list for decades, as you’ll see below.

1993

  1. Mon Oncle Antoine (1971 – Claude Jutra)
  2. Jesus of Montreal (1989 – Denys Arcand)
  3. Goin’ Down the Road (1970 – Don Shebib)
  4. The Decline of the American Empire (1986 – Denys Arcand)
  5. Les Bons Debarras (1980 – Francis Mankiewicz)

As you can see, aside from the two newcomers, the list is mostly unchanged in 1993.

2004

  1. Mon Oncle Antoine (1971 – Claude Jutra)
  2. Jesus of Montreal (1989 – Denys Arcand)
  3. Goin’ Down the Road (1970 – Don Shebib) and The Sweet Hereafter (1997- Atom Egoyan)
  4. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001- Zacharias Kunuk)
  5. Dead Ringers (1988 – David Cronenberg)

Another top 6 list, with two movies – The Sweet Hereafter and Goin’ Down the Road being tied for the third place. Newcomers include David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers, and Atanarjuat, each of them applauded by critics and fans alike.

2015

  1. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001 – Zacharias Kunuk)
  2. Mon Oncle Antoine (1971 – Claude Jutra)
  3. The Sweet Hereafter (1997 – Atom Egoyan)
  4. Jesus de Montreal (1989 – Denys Arcand)
  5. Leolo (1992 – Jean-Claude Lauzon)

The only newcomer on the 2015 list is Jean-Claude Lauzon’s Leolo – but look at the changes in rankings! Mon Oncle Antoine slipped to the second place after a 30 year reign and Atanarjuat jumped from 4 to 1! The epic movie directed by Zacharias Kunuk didn’t go down in history as the first (and only) Inuktitut-language movie ever created, but as Canada’s top-grossing release of 2002 ($5.9 million) it’s one of the greatest Canadian movies ever made.  While Canadian films may be good enough for critics and fans alike to meticulously compare decade after decade, none are big enough in the box office to make it into online Canadian casinos or pop culture websites.    Perhaps their Canadian nature and authenticity makes their presence little known to the wider public, which in general is not a band thing.


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