Jasper National Park


What Movies Have Been Filmed in Jasper?

For decades, Jasper was a popular spot for filming Hollywood movies, but due to the restrictions in recent years, production companies looking for a mountainous setting have filmed elsewhere.

THE COUNTRY BEYOND (1926) was the first Hollywood movie to use Jasper as a filming location, with scenes set at Maligne Lake, Mount Edith Cavell, Lac Beauvert and Jasper Park Lodge. At the time, there was no road to Maligne Lake, so local outfitter Fred Brewster wrangled nearly 100 horses to transport cast, crew and equipment to the lake. The storyline of The Country Beyond centred on a girl’s living in the Canadian wilderness who escapes an accusation of murder by escaping to New York. She eventually returns to Canada for a romantic reunion with her lover.

In UNDER SUSPICION (1930), a young woman running from the law takes a train to the Canadian Rockies and meets a singing Mountie. While travelling together in the wilderness, the couple survive a forest fire and eventually discover the real criminal. Maligne Lake takes centre stage in the movie, while other scenes were filmed on the Maligne River and at Maligne Lake, Lac Beauvert, and Jasper Park Lodge, as well as Emperor Falls and Berg Lake in adjacent Mount Robson Provincial Park. Under Suspicion was the first “talking” picture filmed in the Canadian Rockies, and likely Canada. As reported in the Edmonton Bulletin, June 4, 1930: “For the first time the natural sounds to be heard in the Mountain Valleys of the Canadian Rockies will be permanently recorded on film when a unit of the Fox Film Corporation will proceed to Jasper National Park to make a ‘talkie’.”

The EMPEROR WALTZ (1948) was a musical-comedy starring Bing Crosby and Joan Fontaine that told the story of a fast-talking American salesman who travelled to pre-World War I Austria and through meeting a countess comes to realize the importance of social class. The movie was filmed throughout the park, including in the town, along the newly built Icefields Parkway, at the Columbia Icefield, and at the base of Mount Edith Cavell. At Leach Lake, along an original stretch of the Parkway (93A), an island, with earth, rocks, trees and flowers, was constructed and floated atop oil barrels for one scene. The Emperor Waltz was awarded Academy Award nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Scoring of a Musical Picture.

A singing Mountie discovers a wild, orphaned tomboy living alone in the wilderness and tries to make a lady of her in the musical ROSE MARIE (1954). Although filmed primarily in California, most of the scenery was from Jasper National Park at Maligne Lake, Maligne River, Astoria River, Mount Edith Cavell, and Patricia Lake (although not of te actors came to Canada for shooting).

Arguably the most famous movie filmed in the Canadian Rockies, RIVER OF NO RETURN (1954), starring Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum, was about a homesteader living in the wilderness with his son. After being double-crossed by a gambler, the adventure begins, culminating with an escape down a dangerous river on a raft. Jasper locations include Devona Warden Station on Snake Indian River and Maligne River near Jasper. Having the world’s most famous actress in town was a major distraction for Jasper locals; over 2,000 people greeted her when she first arrived in town by train and each afternoon after filming she would pose for local cameras. She stayed at Becker’s Chalets during her time in Jasper.

No movie star on location in the Canadian Rockies, before or since, was photographed as much as Marilyn Monroe. Hundreds of photos survive, taken by locals, tourists and professional photographers. Included are over 100 black-and-white images by Look magazine photographer John Vachon, were published in the 2010 book Marilyn, August 1953 (Calla Editions, ISBN 9781606600115), an exceptional, intimate portfolio created that summer in the Canadian Rockies.

THE FAR COUNTRY (1954) was based on a historical event—the Klondike gold rush of 1898. It tells the story of a Wyoming cowboy (actor Jimmy Stewart) who drives a herd of cattle from Skagway, Alaska, to the Klondike hoping to make a profit selling to beef-starved miners in Dawson City, Yukon. All mountain location scenes were filmed in Jasper National Park, including at the toe of the Athabasca Glacier and at the base of Mount Edith Cavell.

WINGS OF CHANCE (1961) tells the story of a Canadian bush pilot that crashes in the wilderness, then uses a family of Canada geese to send messages about his location back to civilization, resulting in his eventual rescue. Jasper locations include Jasper Park Lodge, Lac Beauvert, and Lake Annette.

DEATH HUNT (1981), starring Charles Bronson, was mostly filmed in Kananaskis Country, but one memorable scene was filmed on the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefield. The movie was loosely based on the true-life story of Albert Johnson (The Mad Trapper of Rat River), who shot an NWT police constable in 1932.

For scenery showing local mountains and the town of Jasper, see if you can find a copy of STRIKER’S MOUNTAIN (1985), written by Jasper local Wendy Wacko and starring Leslie Nielson. The storyline follows millionaire businessman who is determined to secure ownership of a family-owned ski resort by any means despite the family’s determination not to sell.

THE CLIMB (1986), by Jasper local Wendy Wacko, was a dramatized account of Hermann Buhl’s 1953 first ascent of Pakistan’s K2, considered the most difficult and dangerous mountain in the Himalayas. It was filmed at the Columbia Icefield.

What Movies Have Been Filmed in Other Parts of the Canadian Rockies?

Click through the links below to read about movies filmed in the Canadian Rockies:

What Movies Have Been Filmed in Banff?

What Movies Have Been Filmed in Kananaskis Country?

What Movies Have Been Filmed in Yoho National Park?

What Movies Have Been Filmed in the Columbia Valley?

What Movies Have Been Filmed in Canmore?

What Movies Have Been Filmed in Waterton Lakes?

Movies in the Mountains—A eBook About Movies Filmed in the Canadian Rockies

The Jasper movie content on this page was written by Brian Patton, who has been studying moviemaking in the Canadian Rockies for many decades and has been called upon as an expert on the subject by a variety of media. Patton is best known as the co-author of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide but is also the author of Movies in the Mountains: A History of Moviemaking in the Canadian Rockies. This book is available in two formats:

Movies in the Mountains as a Kindle eBook through Amazon.

Movies in the Mountains as a PDF download directly from the publisher.