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10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Vancouver That Will Inspire You To Visit!

10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Vancouver That Will Inspire You To Visit!

Vancouver has a lot to offer for both national and international filmmakers. The city is famed for being a cosmopolitan center, surrounded by beautiful scenery and nature. It is also well known for its stunning architecture and strong tourism industry. So it will come as no surprise that there are so many wonderful movies set in Vancouver.

Vancouver is one of those cities that could just be described as “welcoming”. Like many other places in Canada, particularly in British Columbia, it’s filled with a diverse array of people and cultures which live together in peace. Wherever you come from, Canadians are sure to welcome you. And that is especially true for Vancouver.

10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Vancouver That Will Inspire You To Visit!

As such, it’s a city that one should always keep in mind when planning your next trip. Although Vancouver is usually featured in many big Hollywood films, many of them aren’t actually set in the city but are only shot there. With these films, however, you’ll get to see the city in all its authenticity. The only drawback is that, once you visit, you’ll want to stay there forever!

These films set in Vancouver have narratives that rely on their settings as much as their main protagonists, and as a result, spectators get a glimpse of this iconic country through the director’s eyes. To honor the concept of cinematic travel, we have also assembled lists of our favorite films shot in some of our all-time favorite travel destinations: Moscow, Madrid, Dubai, Florence or Budapest.

Wondering where to watch? It depends on where you live in the world and which streaming services you have. We link to the streaming service we watch on in each case - be it Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, or elsewhere.

You can get one month free of Amazon Prime (or a 6-month trial for students) of Amazon Prime and also get immediate access to FREE Two Day shipping, Amazon Video, and Music. While you won't be charged for your free trial, you'll be upgraded to a paid membership plan automatically at the end of the trial period - though if you have already binged all these, you could just cancel before the trial ends.

Apple TV+ also has a one-week trial, and Hulu has a one-month trial (which can be bundled with Disney!). Another option might be using a VPN to access Netflix titles locked to other regions. Netflix is now available in more than 190 countries worldwide and each country has a different library and availability. US Netflix is (understandably) one of the best. 

While we wish everything could just be in one place - for now, it seems these are the best streaming platforms to watch on.

10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Vancouver That Will Inspire You To Visit!
10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Vancouver That Will Inspire You To Visit!
10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Vancouver That Will Inspire You To Visit!

Deadpool (2016)

What better way to start than with one of the best-regarded superhero movies of all time and, thus one of the most famous for being set in Vancouver? Deadpool is one of the many Canadian superheroes coming from Marvel Comics (the other most notable one being Wolverine).

Known as the “merc with a mouth”, Deadpool is a joke-cracking anti-hero with the power to regenerate almost indefinitely. Ever since the very first volumes, the character has been a hit with fans: he’s the only character from the Marvel universe to be self-aware and to do so in a way that never gets old. So it was a no-brainer to bring him to the big screen.

After a long time in production, known-yet-unsuccessful action star Ryan Reynolds finally got to portray the character on screen. The film was directed by Tim Miller, and, although not many people remember, it was entirely set in Vancouver.

Deadpool follows Wade Wilson, a former Special Forces soldier turned into a mercenary who spent most of his life killing, without anything to truly live for. That’s until he met Vanessa (Monica Baccarini), a prostitute who he got into a passionate romantic relationship with.

But disaster suddenly strikes when Wilson finds out that he has cancer, and it’s likely he won’t live much longer. Desperate, he goes to an experimental scientist in order to try to cure his illness. As you may imagine, this doesn’t go well: Wilson is tortured in order to awaken his superhuman powers, which end up being the ability to heal almost instantly.

This comes at the cost of his looks: he becomes disfigured and covered in scars. Looking for retribution for what was done to him, Deadpool searches Heaven and Earth for Francis (Ed Skrein), a scientist with a very lame name.

Everything’s Gone Green (2006)

Everything’s Gone Green is a Canadian film by Paul Fox in the vein of some of the best American stoner comedies. Like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Harold and Kumar and Dazed and Confused, the film follows a protagonist who finds himself in many comical and often absurd situations, having him deal with them in the best way he can.

In this case, Everything’s Gone Green follows the exploits of a young man named Ryan (played by Paulo Costanzo). Ryan is a computer programmer who works at a small anonymous company. One morning, he finds himself both being dumped by his girlfriend and suspended from his job.

The call of his mother telling him that they’ve won the lottery comes at the apparently perfect time. But by the time he discovered that they hadn’t actually won, he had already embarrassed himself in front of his old employers.

Now he must find another way to make do. While Ryan’s dealing with being unemployed, his family is getting embroiled in a much bigger scheme which makes Ryan all the more worried: his parents have begun to grow massive quantities of marijuana in their basement, which they plan to sell and become rich.

Everything’s Gone Green will see Ryan finding a job in a new industry that he wasn’t even aware of, that of the lottery bureau. As he gets to know the people that actually won the lottery, he realizes that it isn’t as good as it sounds.

Everything’s Gone Green is a great comedy that is sure to get lots of laughs from anyone who watches it. It’s clearly a movie made in Vancouver. Even if it weren’t set in the city, you’d be able to tell: the characters have a certain charm that is unique in those being raised in British Columbia.

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

The Butterfly Effect is one of the best movies set in Vancouver and is a shocking thriller film that tells the story of a disturbed young man who, after a life filled with memory loss and blackouts, discovers he can travel back in time and change the present through the past.

Directed and written by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, the film deals with some heavy subjects and is not for the faint of heart. But it still makes for a great watch. Particularly due to the fact that it features one of the best performances of 2004 by a young Aston Kutcher.

Then a young rising star, now an activist committed to just causes, Kutcher hasn’t had many dramatic roles, so it’s not usual to see him in a film like this. However, seeing The Butterfly Effect will make you wish that he’d stuck with dramatic acting for a little bit longer.

The film’s name comes from an aspect of chaos theory which states that even some of the smallest things that can take place in the world can have very big consequences. In the film, Evan is a young man who has gone through many hardships in his life. However, he doesn’t remember most of them.

That is until he rediscovers his journals from back in the day. As he reads them in passing, he finds himself traveling back to the moment the events described there. The Butterfly Effect sees Evan going back and forth through time, rediscovering his early life at the great cost of changing his present one.

The film is quietly set in Greater Vancouver, a big area around Vancouver where one can find many suburbs and small towns. Since the film doesn’t show any major locations, one could see it without even realizing it. But those interested in the city will be able to find many things that are unique to this area.

Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

Josie and the Pussycats, by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, is a 2001 comedy based on the then-famous comic book by Dan DeCarlo. One of the many series to come from Archie Comics (where both Riverdale and Sabrina the Teen Witch originated), Josie and the Pussycats was a hit animated series for young kids before it was brought to the big screen.

As a film, however, it didn’t enjoy the same level of success. It was panned by most critics, and very few people got to watch it. This is mainly due to the fact that it was made for an older audience than the original show. And this was hard to market back in the day.

Like many films from the era, Josie and the Pussycats became a success through the power of word-of-mouth, and it’s now considered a cult film.

Josie and the Pussycats brought an interesting spin to its original premise. The story begins not with the titular Pussycats, but rather with a mischievous record producer who has just killed his last band. He arrives in the town of Riverdale looking for a replacement, and there he finds the Pussycats.

Although they do not totally fit with his boy band aesthetic, he decides to hire them anyway. Unknowing about what is going on, the group immediately takes the offer and leaves Riverdale to pursue their music career. But nothing is as it seems.

While the film isn’t set in Vancouver per se, it was filmed in its entirety in the city. This makes it a great resource for those looking to see the more understated side of the city. Vancouver’s famous buildings and landmarks are not in this film. But what Josie and the Pussycats does offer is a glimpse of what the most common streets and neighbors of British Columbia”s largest city have to offer.

Kitchen Party (1997)

While Kitchen Party isn’t all that well-known outside of Canada, it’s one of the best films that the country has to offer. Featuring a cast of unknown Canadian actors (who would then go on to become very famous in the country thanks to this film), Kitchen Party is a comedy about a group of teenagers who get together in order to have a classic Canadian dinner party.

But things turn quickly sour as the guests realize that the party will take place only in the house’s kitchen. This low-budget comedy managed to attract the attention of many critics in the country, culminating with its several nominations and awards in small international film festivals.

As far as movie successes go, Kitchen Party wasn’t all that successful. But it did manage a lot if you consider the place where it comes from: it’s just a small, low-budget movie set in a house in Vancouver, yet it was seen all over the world.

Kitchen Party‘s main character is Scott (Scott Speedman), the son of a well-to-do family in the suburbs of Vancouver. While his obsessive parents aren’t home, he decides to throw a party for his friends and invite them to dinner.

However, he’s sure that his parents will find out what he did if they see footprints on the carpet. There’s only one place in the house that isn’t carpeted, and that is the kitchen. So, Scott decides that the only thing left to do is to throw a party that is kitchen-only.

As you may imagine, that isn’t exactly a good idea. In just the first few minutes of the party, he’ll realize that inviting so many teenagers to his kitchen was a bad idea.

Last Wedding (2001)

Last Wedding, by Bruce Sweeney, is a comedy-drama film set in Vancouver. This is one of those films that focus on the relationships of several characters as they come ever closer to an end.

However, it isn’t really a sad movie: it’s quite funny and made all the funnier thanks to the great performances by its main actors, many of which will surely be a new discovery for you if you aren’t familiar with Canadian cinema.

Even though the film has a better production value than Kitchen Party, it didn’t enjoy such a warm welcome from international critics and audiences. Last Wedding did well in its home country, though. It even won that year’s award for Best Canadian Film, given out by the Toronto Film Critics Association, which is quite a big deal in Canada.

Last Wedding follows three couples. Against her family’s wishes, country singer Zipporah is about to marry a regular guy named Noah at the wedding that gives the movie its title.

Coming to this wedding is Peter, Noah’s friend, and a professor who is cheating on his girlfriend, Leslie, with one of his students. Also coming to the wedding is Shane, Peter’s friend and a man who has become jealous of his girlfriend’s job.

These three couples are going to have to deal with many hardships in the wake of the wedding. Last Wedding is a fantastic film that manages to go from comedy to drama and back to comedy in a heartbeat.

Like many films set in Vancouver, it doesn’t quite show the best-known landmarks of the city. Rather, it portrays its beauty and splendor in an understated way.

A Man, a Woman, and a Bank (1979)

All the way from the seventies comes this Canadian comedy crime film which is considered a classic of its time. The film was directed by Noel Black, an American filmmaker who struck gold with one of his very first films and then couldn’t quite reach that same level of success.

The film in question was 1968’s Pretty Poison, also a crime comedy film, which saw a cheerleader get together with a criminal. Even though none of Black’s films were as big as that one, he came pretty close with A Man, a Woman, and a Bank.

The best thing that the film has going for it is its main actors: it stars Donald Sutherland, perhaps the best Canadian actor to ever grace the screen, the talented seventies-star Brooke Adams, and five-time Academy Award nominee Paul Mazursky. Perhaps you’re not familiar with these names, but rest assured that they are some of the best that Canadian cinema has to offer.

A Man, a Woman, and a Bank follow a thief and his accomplice as they plot to rob a bank in the center of Vancouver. Both of them are very experienced in what they do and have a tried and tested plan: while Norman (Mazursky) does all the preparations with his skills in computing science, Reese (Sutherland) does all the dirty work with great skill and care.

However, their plan takes a tumble when they realize that a young woman accidentally took a picture of them as they were scouting the location.

Deciding to get rid of the picture, Reese tracks the woman down and meets with her. However, it turns out that Stacey and Reese have quite a lot of chemistry together, a fact that leads them to become romantically involved and makes the thieves’ situation all the more complicated.

Mount Pleasant (2006)

Perhaps the most Vancouverian film on this list, Mount Pleasant, by Ross Weber, is set in the neighborhood of the same name and follows the lives of three different families who become entangled in a plot bigger than themselves.

While once a place known for housing many of the people that worked in Vancouver’s major industries, Mount Pleasant is now known for being a very mellow and safe neighborhood, having undergone a process of gentrification since the nineties. The film is set right in the middle of this process, where the wealthiest and best-regarded neighbors have not yet moved to.

Mount Pleasant explores the conflict between upstanding citizens and those who live in the bylines of society, and the issues that are characteristic of inner cities come to the forefront. The film features several known and unknown Canadian actors, showcasing what the country has to offer in terms of great performances.

Mount Pleasant follows a married couple who are suddenly faced with a crisis: while their daughter was playing in the backyard, she found a used needle and pricked herself with it. While they’ve been told that Mount Pleasant is a very good neighborhood, they know that heroin-addicted people live around there.

They rush to the hospital where they’ll get their daughter tested to see if she’s caught any disease, with the parents being mainly worried about HIV. As the plot unfolds, the lives of these people will become entangled with that of a rebellious teenage girl named Megan and Nadia, a girl of the same age who is being abused by her boyfriend.

Many awards were given to Mount Pleasant on account of its gritty and emotional depiction of harsh subjects, but also because of its careful treatment of them.

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open [Malkʼwalaʼmida uḵwineʼ leʼołeʼ yax̱idixa̱nʼs ʼnalax̱] (2019)

This is a film that truly breaks the mold when it comes to movies set in Vancouver. Most of them usually tell the stories of the usual Canadian middle to upper-class family, living in a nice home and enjoying a relatively carefree life. The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open is nothing like that.

This film was both written and directed by Kathleen Hepburn and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers. From her surname, you may realize that Tailfeathers is part of the Blackfoot and Sámi tribe and a native Canadian. She’s also one of the stars of the film.

As such, this is a very personal film that draws from her own life experience as a native woman dealing with the effects of colonization in Canada, as well as the struggles of abusive relationships.

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open follows two different Indigenous women who develop a tender but conflicted relationship. There’s Rosie, who comes from the Kwakwaka’wakw tribe, and Áila, who is played by Tailfeathers. While the first is pregnant and living with an abusive boyfriend, the latter has just gotten a contraceptive insertion in order to avoid becoming pregnant.

As she goes back to her house, Áila sees Rosie alone in the rain and offers her help. The two women bond as they take care of each other, but quickly their own problems and bad traits arise. The film will see Áila convincing Rosie that she should go to a women’s shelter in order to escape her boyfriend, but on the way there, Rosie will do all things possible to abandon the idea.

The Vancouver Asahi [バンクーバーの朝日] (2014)

The Vancouver Asahi is a sports drama that tells the often unknown or ignored story of a baseball team consisting of Japanese immigrants and their descendants. Before the Second World War broke out, the relationships between countries were not at all as we see them today.

There are many stories that seem to have been lost for modern audiences. One of them is that of the Japanese immigrants who were living in other countries when the war began. As you may know, Japan was allied with Germany, so all allied countries were at war with Japan.

This meant that immigrants suddenly found themselves antagonized by all people around them. On top of the struggle of being away from your own home came this new struggle of being a social enemy.

The Vancouver Asahi captures this experience through the story of a Japanese-Canadian baseball team which was known as “Asahi”. The film was directed by Yuya Ishii, a very talented and multifaceted Japanese filmmaker who is known for having won the 2013 Best Director Award at the Japanese Academy Awards.

With this film, Ishii found international success: he was thoroughly praised and even won the People’s Choice Award at Vancouver’s main film festival.