What Movies Have Been Filmed in the Canadian Rockies?

Over 120 movies have been filmed in the Canadian Rockies. For decades, the national parks were the most popular destination for filming, but as restrictions were put in place by Parks Canada to protect the wilderness, especially in the last 40 years, production companies looking for a mountainous setting have mostly chosen surrounding areas, including Canmore, Kananaskis Country, and the Columbia Valley.

The Earliest Movies Filmed in the Canadian Rockies

On an afternoon in late June 1919, a Model T Ford sat precariously on the edge of Surprise Point opposite the Banff Springs Hotel. Suddenly, a man in a ten-gallon Stetson sprinted to the “Tin Lizzy” and gave it a mighty shove. It tipped over, slid down steep rock slabs, and tumbled into the swollen Bow River. For a few moments, the crumpled auto was motionless, securely wedged in the rocks on the lip of Bow Falls. Then, as the force of the river built behind it, the car tumbled forward. In a matter of seconds, it disappeared over the roaring cataract. Across the river, men stopped cranking cameras and a cheer arose. Hollywood had officially arrived in the Canadian Rockies.

For the last century, motion picture companies have traveled here to create stories for the silver screen. In that time, more than 120 feature films have used the Canadian Rockies as a location. In fact, prior to the mid-1970s, this was Hollywood North.

During the last century, some of Hollywood’s most prestigious directors, actors and cinematographers have worked here. And the rugged, remote landscape and unpredictable weather has often tested their endurance.

During the early years, outfitters assembled pack trains to transport actors, crew, cameras and equipment to remote, scenic locations. Local skiers and alpine guides doubled for actors during hazardous scenes on glaciers and high, snowy mountain ridges. Swiss guides served as location scouts and safety officers and set off avalanches with dynamite charges. Banff and Jasper’s experienced young horsewomen filled in for actresses on action-riding scenes.

In more recent times, local carpenters and tradesmen have constructed lavish sets at remote and lofty locations. Mountain helicopter pilots have taken time off from their usual duties to fly movie-makers to scenic locations in the range. Location scouts, still photographers, and cinematographers, all found employment when Hollywood came to the Rockies.

What Movies Have Been Filmed in the Canadian Rockies?

Click through the links below for details about movies filmed in the Canadian Rockies:

What Movies Have Been Filmed in Jasper?

What Movies Have Been Filmed in Kananaskis Country?

What Movies Have Been Filmed in the Columbia Valley?

What Movies Have Been Filmed in Canmore?

What Movies Have Been Filmed in Waterton Lakes?

Emperor Waltz poster.

Emperor Waltz poster.

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

Author Brian Patton 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.