British Columbia prides itself as “Hollywood North” for their film and television industry, but sitting just on the other side of the Rockies is a city that can give BC a run for its money.
Most of the Alberta-shot productions range from mega blockbusters to award-winning films and TV series, and we’ve decided to saddle up a list of projects filmed in the area.
Unlike Vancouver, Calgary has actually played itself in a Hollywood film – just watch Cool Runnings to see the city in all its Olympic glory!
1. Brokeback Mountain
The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger as cowboys who begin a forbidden romance in the fictional town of Signal, Wyoming. Filming actually commenced in Calgary and the Metro Calgary Region. The film features the famed Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall.
The dream bending heist movie by Christopher Nolan stars an ensemble cast, led by Leonardo DiCaprio. Alberta’s Fortress Mountain is the location of the third-level of the film’s “dream within a dream” state.
3. Legends of the Fall
Brad Pitt’s role as Tristan Ludlow was prime heartthrob material for movie buffs. The film shot in Morley and Banff to emulate the Montana wilderness.
4. Superman (plus Superman II and Superman III)
You may recognize the old facade of East Village in Calgary for the first film and other parts of Metro Calgary in the sequels starring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. Here’s the famed St. Louis Hotel from the film and in its current glory today.
This sci-fi movie, starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, is the second time director Christopher Nolan has shot in Alberta. Locations filmed include Okotoks, Fort Macleod, Longview, and Canmore.
The baseball field with the sandstorm features Tourmaline Field at the Seaman Stadium in Okotoks.
7. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Brad Pitt’s criminally underrated film was shot in Alberta, with scenes taking place in areas like Kananaskis Country. In the movie, Pitt plays one of America’s most notorious outlaws, Jesse James.
8. Game of Thrones
The worldwide phenomenon shoots in Calgary on a much lesser scale than at its other international shooting locations. An Albertan wolf named Quigley plays Jon Snow’s direwolf Ghost, and some of his scenes are filmed in Calgary on local sound stages. Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, filmed some parts of season 7 in Banff with wolves. Williams clearly had a blast in Alberta, according to her Instagram.
We all know the significance of Clint Eastwood in Western films, and this 1992 movie is no exception. Set the late 1800s in a Wyoming town called Big Whiskey, the movie depicts a wild west setting – when really production built the Western town sets near Longview, Alberta.
10. Mystery, Alaska
It doesn’t get any more Canadian than hockey! Russell Crowe leads a pond hockey team from the small town of (you guessed it) Mystery Alaska. The actual locations filmed for the movie includes Banff National Park and Canmore.
12. Seventh Son
While it performed below expectations, the fantasy movie reunites Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore after their last film, The Big Lebowski. Though mainly filmed in British Columbia, the opening sequence features Horseshoe Canyon in Drumheller.
12. Shanghai Noon
Owen Wilson stars with Jackie Chan as an unlikely duo for this Western comedy. The movie was predominantly shot in Drumheller and at CL Westerntown, a famed ranch and studio used for old-timey towns.
13. The Young and Prodigious T. S. Spivet
Jean-Pierre Jeunet, best known for the quirky French film Amélie, directed this Canadian, French, and Australian production starring Helena Bonham Carter. Set in Montana, they partially filmed the movie in locations like Pincher Creek, Lethbridge, Fort Macleod, Longview, and Calgary.
14. War for the Planet of the Apes
Another predominantly shot-in-BC film that needed Alberta’s beautiful mountainous views. The production filmed for about a week in the Rockies and used backdrops from Fortress Mountain.
15. The Bourne Legacy
A Bourne film without Matt Damon was somehow put together, and it features a few scenes in Alberta. Jeremy Renner plays another black-ops agent name Aaron Cross and shooting locations included Fortress Mountain and Elbow River by Elbow Falls. The film’s official featurette shows off Alberta’s notoriously cold winters.
The Discovery miniseries stars the former King in the North, Richard Madden. Set during the Klondike Gold Rush, Alberta appears as a stand in for Yukon’s Dawson City. Filming commenced at CL ranch, Kananaskis’ Spray Lakes, and Fortress Mountain.
17. Tin Star
Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction) and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) star in this television series, which is set in the fictional small town of Little Big Bear, Alberta. Standing in for the location are the towns of High River, Waterton, and Cochrane.
The show airs on Sky Atlantic in the UK and Amazon Prime but ironically, is not available in Canada.
We’re not talking about the film by the Coen brothers but instead the television anthology series. The dark comedy has filmed all three seasons in and around Calgary, which stands in for locations set in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The pilot episode features Inglewood Pizza as a stand in for Norm’s Pizza.
19. The Revenant
The film where Leo FINALLY gets his Oscar. The locations scouted in Alberta range from Kananaskis Country to the Badlands in this critically acclaimed film.
20. Hell on Wheels
Set after the Civil War, the AMC series lasted for five full seasons. The Western backdrops of the show was filmed in Southern Alberta’s Okotoks and also features the familiar sights of Bow River, Albertina Farms, and CL Ranch. This featurette video shows the filming of their production in Tsuu T’ina Nation.