Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time

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The Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time is a list compiled by the Toronto International Film Festival ranking what are the considered the best Canadian films. The list has been compiled once roughly every 10 years starting in 1984, typically assembled by polling a combination of Canadian critics and filmmakers. The list has been published in 1993, 2004 and 2015.

Methodology[edit]

The list is compiled once every decade, as a supplement to TIFF's annual "Canada's Top Ten" list of the best Canadian films of the year.[1] The list was started in 1984 because Canadian film was taking off, and was made by polling critics, professors, fans and festival staff.[2] According to Piers Handling, a TIFF director, the idea of the Top 10 was to introduce the public to Canadian film, and around 100 people were polled. TIFF did not provide the poll-takers with a list of films to choose from.[3]

In 2015, the polling method was changed, as those who responded were divided into two groups, filmmakers and critics. Filmmakers made up 40% of the respondents.[4] There were 200 participants.[5]

The lists[edit]

The lists have been compiled as follows:

2015 list[edit]

The 2015 list reads:[6]

Rank Title Year Director
1 Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner 2001 Zacharias Kunuk
2 Mon Oncle Antoine 1971 Claude Jutra
3 The Sweet Hereafter 1997 Atom Egoyan
4 Jesus of Montreal (Jésus de Montréal) 1989 Denys Arcand
5 Léolo 1992 Jean-Claude Lauzon
6 Goin' Down the Road 1970 Don Shebib
7 Dead Ringers 1988 David Cronenberg
8 C.R.A.Z.Y. 2005 Jean-Marc Vallée
9 My Winnipeg 2007 Guy Maddin
10 (tie) Stories We Tell 2012 Sarah Polley
10 (tie) Les Ordres 1974 Michel Brault

2004 list[edit]

The 2004 list reads:[4]

Rank Title Year Director
1 Mon oncle Antoine 1971 Claude Jutra
2 Jesus of Montreal 1989 Denys Arcand
3 (tie) Goin' Down the Road 1970 Don Shebib
3 (tie) The Sweet Hereafter 1997 Atom Egoyan
5 Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner 2001 Zacharias Kunuk
6 Dead Ringers 1988 David Cronenberg
7 Les Bons Débarras 1980 Francis Mankiewicz
8 Les Ordres 1974 Michel Brault
9 (tie) The Decline of the American Empire 1986 Denys Arcand
9 (tie) The Barbarian Invasions 2003 Denys Arcand

1993 list[edit]

The 1993 list reads:[7]

Rank Title Year Director
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 Débarras 1980 Francis Mankiewicz
6 Les Ordres 1974 Michel Brault
7 The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz 1974 Ted Kotcheff
8 The Grey Fox 1983 Phillip Borsos
9 I've Heard the Mermaids Singing 1987 Patricia Rozema
10 The Adjuster 1991 Atom Egoyan

1984 list[edit]

The 1984 list reads:[7]

Rank Title Year Director
1 Mon oncle Antoine 1971 Claude Jutra
2 Goin' Down the Road 1970 Don Shebib
3 Les Bons Débarras 1980 Francis Mankiewicz
4 The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz 1974 Ted Kotcheff
5 (tie) The Grey Fox 1983 Phillip Borsos
5 (tie) Les Ordres 1974 Michel Brault
7 (tie) J.A. Martin Photographer 1977 Jean Beaudin
7 (tie) Pour la suite du monde 1963 Pierre Perrault
9 (tie) Nobody Waved Goodbye 1964 Don Owen
9 (tie) The True Nature of Bernadette 1972 Gilles Carle

Reception[edit]

TIFF organizers were surprised with the results of the 1984 poll, which provided recognition for what they felt were underappreciated directors such as Claude Jutra, Don Shebib and Gilles Carle.[8] Wayne Clarkson, testifying before the Parliament of Canada, remarked on the 1984 list's oldest film being Nobody Waved Goodbye (1964), asking "How is it that some of this country's most acclaimed films came in the brief 20-year period between 1964 and 1984? That's a very interesting phenomenon for us."[9]

According to encyclopedist Gene Walz, the revisions in 1993 "forced people to rethink their stereotyped notions about Canadian film."[2] The 1993 list was noted for the addition of the first female director, Patricia Rozema, and Mon oncle Antoine being ranked first for a second time, despite the popularity of Jesus of Montreal and The Decline of the American Empire.[7]

Among the films that dropped off the list after 1993 were Nobody Waved Goodbye and The Grey Fox. Critic Norman Wilner said this was unsurprising, describing the two films as "very much products of their time, and they haven’t aged well."[5]

The 2015 poll saw major changes, including in the number one spot, prompting essayist Steve Gravestock to comment, "This is likely the first time that a film by an indigenous filmmaker has topped a poll of national cinema."[4] The Nunatsiaq News heralded the choice as a sign Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner "has stood the test of time."[10] However, Eric Moreault, writing for La Presse, dismissed Atanarjuat's first-place finish as nonsensical, noting Mon oncle Antoine topped all previous versions.[11]

John Semley of The Globe and Mail commented that the 2015 list "seems a little heavy on recent movies," but was remarkable for its diversity.[12] The inclusion of more recent films led to the question of whether Canadian cinema was becoming more creative, or if critics were biased to more popular films.[5] Moreault objected to what he saw as too few Quebeckers participating in the vote, saying Incendies (2010) or Mommy (2014) could be included.[11]

Peter Knegt of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation called the 2015 list "worthy" compared the alternative list produced by data journalism website The 10 and 3, weighing votes from the Internet Movie Database. That list named Room (2015) as the best Canadian film, followed by Incendies and A Christmas Story (1983).[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time". The Canadian Encyclopedia. 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Walz, Gene (1999). "Feature Film". The Canadian Encyclopedia (2000 ed.). Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Inc. p. 823. 
  3. ^ Handling, Piers (Fall 1994). "Canada's ten best". Take One. p. 22. 
  4. ^ a b c Gravestock, Steve (26 June 2015). "Essay". Toronto International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 4 July 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c Wilner, Norman (26 June 2015). "The numbers game". Now Toronto. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  6. ^ "Atanarjuat voted No. 1 Canadian film of all time". CBC News. 24 April 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c Handling, p. 23.
  8. ^ Handling, pp. 22-23.
  9. ^ "38th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage". Parliament of Canada. 10 March 2005. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  10. ^ "Atanarjuat best Canadian film ever, TIFF poll finds". The Nunatsiaq News. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Moreault, Eric (27 April 2015). "Les dix meilleurs films: un palmarès très "canadian"". La Presse. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  12. ^ Semley, John (28 May 2015). "TIFF poll shows Canada’s All-Time Top Ten films". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  13. ^ Knegt, Peter (11 March 2016). "Are these the best Canadian films of all time?". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 August 2016.