F. R. Crawley

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Frank Radford Crawley
Frank Radford Crawley, c. 1950
Born (1911-11-14)November 14, 1911
Ottawa, Ontario
Died May 13, 1987(1987-05-13) (aged 75)
Toronto, Ontario
Nationality Canada
Other names "Budge" Crawley
Occupation film producer
Known for Filmmaking
Spouse(s) Judith Crawley
  • Michal
  • Patrick
  • Roderick
  • Alexander
  • Jennifer
  • Mariah
Awards Order of Canada

Frank Radford "Budge" Crawley, OC (November 14, 1911 – May 13, 1987) was a Canadian film producer, cinematographer and director.[1] Along with his wife Judith Crawley, he co-founded the production company Crawley Films in 1939.[2]

Crawley is best known for producing the Academy Award-winning documentary The Man Who Skied Down Everest. During his 40-year career, he produced hundreds of films. Film historian Peter Morris described Crawley as "... the Godfather of Canadian film and Canada's answer to Sam Goldwyn."[3]

Early life[edit]

Frank Radford "Budge" Crawley was born November 14, 1911 in Ottawa, Ontario. His early interest in filmmaking was shared by his next-door neighbour, Judith Sparks. The pair married on October 1, 1938, beginning a long working relationship as a filmmaking team.[4][5]

Filmmaking career[edit]

While on their honeymoon, Judith wrote the script and edited Île d'Orléans (1938), the first film she worked on with her husband.[2] Crawley shot and directed the film that won the Hiram Percy Maxim Award from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for Best Amateur Film in 1939, making their collaboration the first Canadian film to receive this type of recognition.

Crawley was a pioneer in the creation of an independent Canadian film sector. Although he worked intermittently as an independent filmmaker on contract with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), Crawley chose to work independently rather than with NFB or the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.[Note 1]

Crawley was known for making avant-garde films with his wife Judith Crawley. Together they owned the Crawley Films company which produced numerous short films, feature films, television commercials, animated cartoons and other productions. The first Canadian Film Award (predecessor of The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Genie Awards) in 1949 went to Crawley Films for the The Loon's Necklace (1950), a film based on a Native-American legend.[7]

After the Second World War, the company grew quickly and provided a great training ground for young Canadian filmmakers eager to launch film careers. At that time, the NFB was the only other major filmmaking body, until CBC television went live in 1952.[7] During the 50 years that the company operated, from 1939 until its sale to Atkinson Film Arts in 1982, Crawley Films made thousands of films and received hundreds of film awards.[7]

After separating from her husband in 1965, Judith Crawley founded another film production company with two of her children, Michal and Jennifer.[8]

Awards and recognition[edit]

The Man Who Skied Down Everest won the 1975 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, becoming the first Canadian-produced film to win an Oscar in this category.[9]

The Crawleys won several Canadian Film Awards and a Special Achievement Genie for Outstanding Contributions to the Canadian Film Industry in 1986.

In 1980, Crawley was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "in recognition of a unique contribution to film in Canada". [10]

The Canadian Film Institute in Ottawa premiered Budge: The One True Happiness of F. R. 'Budge' Crawley (2003), a one-hour documentary examining the career of the maverick Canadian film producer, Budge Crawley. The film is based in part on interviews contained in the Information Research Services (IRS) publication: Budge: F. R. Crawley and Crawley Films, 1939-1982. Produced and directed by Michael Ostroff and written by Seaton Findlay, the Cine Metu video was developed in association with Bravo! Canada for broadcast.[11]

Partial filmography[edit]



  1. ^ His wife Judith Crawley also worked for the NFB as a freelancer.[6]


  1. ^ Wise 2015, p. 1954.
  2. ^ a b "Judith (Rosemary) Sparks Crawley." Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved: April 23, 2016.
  3. ^ Morris 1984, p. 74.
  4. ^ McInnes 2004, p. 175.
  5. ^ "Budge Crawley."The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved: April 23, 2016.
  6. ^ Khouri 2007, p. 116.
  7. ^ a b c Siegel. Lois. "Frank Radford 'Budge' Crawley." siegelproductions.ca. Retrieved: April 23, 2016.
  8. ^ "Judith Crawley." Canadian Women Film Directors Database. Retrieved: April 23, 2016.
  9. ^ "The Man Who Skied down Everest." Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved: April 23, 2016.
  10. ^ Rose 1998, pp. 219, 252.
  11. ^ "Budge: The One True Happiness of F. R. 'Budge' Crawley." Telefilm, 2003. Retrieved: April 23, 2016.


  • Armatage, Kay, Kass Banning, Brenda Longfellow and Janine Marchessault, eds. Gendering the Nation: Canadian Women's Cinema. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999. ISBN 978-0-8020-4120-3.
  • Khouri, Malek. Filming Politics: Communism and the Portrayal of the Working Class at the National Film Board of Canada, 1939-46. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: University of Calgary Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-55238-199-1.
  • McInnes, Graham. One Man's Documentary: A Memoir of the Early Years of the National Film Board. Winnipeg, Manitoba: University of Manitoba, 2004. ISBN 978-0-8875-5679-1.
  • Morris, Peter. The Film Companion. Toronto, Ontario: Clarke, Irwin & Company, 1984. ISBN 978-0-7725-1505-6.
  • Rose Wade, Barbara. Budge: What Happened to Canada's King of Film. Toronto: ECW Press, 1998. ISBN 1-55022-363-1.
  • Wise, Wyndham. Take One's Essential Guide to Canadian Film. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. ISBN 978-1-4426-5620-8.

External links[edit]