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Seven Cool & Beautiful Winter Movies Filmed Right Here in Alberta

COOL WINTER GUIDE: Stories and information for all things winter in Alberta. Winter in Alberta isn’t only about chilly temperatures and snow-covered landscapes; it’s also the perfect backdrop for some of the most entertaining movies ever made.

Our province is gorgeous and everyone knows it. How can we confirm? Maybe the fact that Alberta’s stunning scenery has served as the canvas for several Hollywood blockbusters and timeless classics, bringing the magic of film to life against a background of wintry wonder. These productions have brought A-list celebrities to our province, given the world a glimpse of the place we’re lucky enough to call home, and engaged local communities by using various venues and local businesses for filming, casting some community members as extras, and bringing energy and excitement to even the most remote places.

What films, you ask? Some of these might be common knowledge, some might surprise you. Let’s take a snow-sprinkled stroll through the cinematic wonderland of Alberta with these seven winter movies that capture the spirit of the season.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Starring: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal


Let’s kick things off with a classic that not only captured the hearts of audiences but also showcased Alberta’s breathtaking beauty. Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain is a poignant love story set against the sweeping vistas of the Canadian Rockies. Ledger and Gyllenhaal deliver powerhouse performances as two ranch hands who form a deep connection while tending sheep in the picturesque Alberta mountains. The film was shot in various locations across Alberta, including the iconic Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall in Calgary, Kananaskis Country, Upper Kananaskis Lake, Elbow Falls, and the quaint towns of Cowley and Fort MacLeod.

The Revenant (2015)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

Next up, we have the survival epic that earned Leonardo DiCaprio his first and long-overdue Oscar - The Revenant. A gripping survival saga that tells the harrowing tale of Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), a frontiersman left for dead after a brutal bear attack. Directed by Alejandro G. Iňárritu, the film received 12 Oscar nominations and ultimately won for Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Cinematography.  Most of The Revenant was filmed in Kananaskis Country, Fortress Mountain, Bragg Creek, Dead Man’s Flats, the Drumheller Badlands, and along the shores of the Bow River near Morely. This blockbuster film showcased the breathtaking beauty of Alberta’s untouched wilderness and provided the perfect setting for this visually stunning masterpiece.

Togo (2019)

Starring: Willem Dafoe


Togo is a heartwarming true story depicting the 1925 run to deliver serum to save the children of Nome, Alaska from a Diptheria outbreak. Willem Dafoe stars as Leonhard Seppala, a dogsled trainer, and his crew of sled dogs. All the dogs used in the film were provided by Snowy Owl Sled Dogs Tours in Canmore and the film highlights the incredible bond between a musher and his lead sled dog, Togo. Most of the film was shot at Fortress Mountain, CL Ranch on the banks of the Jumping Pound Creek, the historic Prince House in Heritage Park, Calgary, and Bragg Creek. Alberta’s snowy landscapes beautifully stand in for the treacherous Alaskan Wilderness.

Cold Pursuit (2019)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Laura Dern

Cold Pursuit, a riveting action thriller directed by Hans Petter Moland, is set against the stunning scenery of the snow-covered Rocky Mountains in the fictional town of Kehoe, Colorado. Filmed primarily in Kananaskis, the film crew built a fictional home set right on the slopes of Fortress Mountain with views of Mount Kidd. The film follows Nels Coxman, played by Neeson, a snowplow driver who seeks revenge for the death of his son. The film’s blend of dark humour and action coupled with its visually striking location sets it apart as a memorable adventure filmed right here in our beautiful backyard.

Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan


The gang is back with the fourth instalment to the beloved Jumanji series, and this time, they’re facing new challenges in a wintry wonderland. Again, the stunning Kananaskis Country and Fortress Mountain backdrop doubles for the fictional in-game world, where this action-packed adventure adds a frosty twist to the Jumanji saga, and enhances the sense of adventure and unpredictability that defines the Jumanji universe.

Unforgiven (1992)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman

Directed, produced, and starring Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven is a gritty and thought-provoking Western film set in the snow-covered plains of Alberta, specifically in the Longview and High River regions. The film is set in the late 1800s and follows William Munny, a retired outlaw who reluctantly takes on one last job to collect a bounty. Unforgiven stands out for its realistic portrayal of the Wild West and its filming location added authenticity to the setting with its rugged terrain. The film earned four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Film Editing, making Unforgiven a must-watch for fans for both the unmistakable Alberta landscapes and classic cinematography.

Cool Runnings (1993)

Starring John Candy, Leon, Doug E. Doug


Last but certainly not least, we can’t forget about the classic feel-good comedy, Cool Runnings with our home-grown favourite funny man, John Candy.  Based on the true story of the Jamaican national bobsled team that made headlines in their journey to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Cool Runnings creates a memorable and uplifting experience with its inspirational message about determination, resilience, and the power of teamwork.

So there you have it - only a few of many cinematic adventures illustrating the chilly landscapes of Alberta. Whether love stories, survival epics, classic comedies, or small-town dramas, these films showcase the diverse and magnificent surroundings that makes Alberta a favourite destination for filmmakers.  So grab some popcorn, cozy up by the television, and let Alberta’s winter wonders unfold on your screen.

Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the 2023/24 Cool Winter Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.

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