What Movies Have Been Filmed in Waterton Lakes National Park?
A small number of movies have been filmed in Waterton Lakes National Park, although it has been mostly just a few scenes, as the small town and remote location are not able to handle the demands of full production.
PIONEER WOMAN (1973) was one of the first movies filmed in the region, primarily at Waterton Lakes and nearby Twin Butte. The lead was Canadian William Shatner, who was returning to the screen following his success in the Star Trek TV series. Set in Wyoming, 1867, Pioneer Women told the story of a homesteader’s wife whose husband is killed. The movie was also the first appearance of Helen Hunt, who played the role of the homesteaders’ 10-year-old daughter.
DAYS OF HEAVEN (1978), starring Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, and Linda Manz, was mostly filmed out on the nearby prairies near Raymond, but two scenes were filmed in Waterton Lakes National Park. A love story supposedly set on a Texas farm, Days of Heaven was nominated for four Academy Awards and won an Oscar for Best Cinematography.
Loosely based on real-life John George “Kootenai” Brown and his involvement in a gunfight at Fort Benton, Montana, SHOWDOWN AT WILLIAMS CREEK (1991) was filmed primarily in British Columbia, but some scenes were filmed around the Bison Paddock at Waterton Lakes National Park, a fitting location as Kootenai Brown had strong ties to Waterton Lakes National Park.
EXCESS BAGGAGE (1997) was a comedy about a spoiled young lady who faked her own kidnapping to secure sympathy and a ransom from her millionaire father. The movie starred Alicia Silverstone, Benicio del Toro, Christopher Walken. It was primarily filmed in Vancouver and Victoria, but there are scenes that showcase the Prince of Wales Hotel and Waterton Lakes National Park scenery.
Although High River, southwest of Calgary, stood in for the fictional town of Little Big Bear in the British TV drama TIN STAR (2017), the mountains were not prominent enough, so the dramatic mountains of Waterton Lakes National Park were used in composite footage. The Prince of Wales Hotel also stars.
THE LAST OF US (2023) TV series was filmed throughout Alberta, including Calgary, Canmore, and Edmonton. In February 2022, the main street of Waterton townsite was transformed into a post-apocalyptic wasteland for a few scenes.
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 Jasper?
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 Kananaskis Country?
Movies in the Mountains—A eBook About Movies Filmed in the Canadian Rockies
The 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.