7 must watch movies featuring Canada at war

May 25, 2017 by Legion Magazine

Have you ever watched a war movie and thought, “when are they going to mention Canada?” It’s rare that the great white north gets anything more than a nod in cinematic depictions of warfare, but these 7 movies break the mould and let Canada take centre stage.

Hyena Road (2015)

Elevation Pictures
Set in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, Hyena Road follows Canadian Forces snipers as they attempt to construct a road deep in the heart of Taliban territory.

The film explores the complex relationships between foreign soldiers and local civilians, while also depicting the moral grey area of modern combat.

Directed by Paul Gross, Hyena Road received three Canadian Screen Awards for audio and visual effects.


Passchendaele (2008)

Alliance Films
Shot mainly in Calgary, Passchendaele depicts Sergeant Michael Dunne, of the 10th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) fighting for both his country and his lover, during one of the most significant battles of the First World War.

His battalion, known as “The Fighting Tenth,” participated in every major battle of the First World War and set the record for the most individual decorations earned by a Canadian unit during a single battle.

Directed by Paul Gross, Passchendaele received a National Arts Centre Award and multiple Genie Awards.


The Devil’s Brigade (1968)

The 1st Special Service Force, a joint American-Canadian commando unit, also known as The Devil’s Brigade, is tasked with penetrating a seemingly impregnable Nazi mountain stronghold:  Monte la Difensa in Italy.

The film was co-written by Colonel George Walton, a member of the brigade.


Battle of Britain (1969)

Based on the book The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster, Battle of Britain is a fictional retelling of the historic military campaign.

The film was praised for its practical effects, specifically the model work used to create flying sequences.

Although focusing mainly on British efforts, Canadians receive prominent play through the role of Canadian fighter pilot Colin Harvey.


Captains of the Clouds (1942)

The only film on our list to be shot during wartime, Captains of the Clouds aimed to show Americans, who had just recently entered the war, the contributions of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Canadian military as a whole.

The film even features Victoria Cross recipient and First World War air ace, William Avery “Billy” Bishop

Attack on the Iron Coast (1967)

Following the exploits of Canadian commando Major Jamie Wilson (Lloyd Bridges), Attack on the Iron Coast tells the story of soldiers on a mission of near-certain death to destroy a Nazi naval stronghold—the fictional, Axis held French port of Le Clare.

In the United Kingdom, Attack on the Iron Coast premiered as a double bill with The Beatles’ animated film Yellow Submarine.


Bomb Girls (2012)

Shaw Media
Technically not a movie, but a TV show with a two-season run and a feature-length series finale, Bomb Girls shows the perspective of wartime life back home.

This female-led drama follows four women breaking free of their home and social restrictions when they go to work in a Canadian munitions factory during the Second World War.

Originally aired on Global TV, Bomb Girls was syndicated internationally in the U.S., U.K., Ireland and Poland.

  • jonnm

    How could you forget “Corvette K-225”?

  • Khaleesisdoormat

    Corvette K-225 is available on YouTube.

  • rob morriso


  • oldsoldier952

    I always get a kick out of Captains of the Clouds. I watch it every time it comes on. Love the scene where they fly over the wings parade yelling “Billy Bishop!” Saddest thing of course is that so few of the places they show in that film remain extant. Of all the bases/camps etc., that appear in the movie, only CFB Trenton still exists.

  • Khaleesisdoormat

    I’ve always loved Captains of the Clouds; I still get a little thrill every time Air Marshal Billy Bishop appears on screen for the first time. I also rather like Covette K-225, Attack on the Iron Coast, and the rather hard to find to rent Battle of Britain (1969). My least favourites are the Paul Gross films, which have great action scenes, but cringe-inducing, completely unnecessary love stories.

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