The NFB is committed to respecting your privacy

We use cookies to ensure that our site works efficiently, as well as for advertising purposes.

If you do not wish to have your information used in this way, you can modify your browser settings before continuing your visit.

Learn more
Canada Proud | Watch 5 Films on Canadian Rock Music

Canada Proud | Watch 5 Films on Canadian Rock Music

Canada Proud | Watch 5 Films on Canadian Rock Music

As Canadians, we may be too modest to brag about it, but we’ve made some significant contributions to the world of rock music. This shouldn’t be surprising – we’ve got some very talented people in this country, who have made a name for themselves across all disciplines in the arts. But there’s something about Canadian rock music, it has a feel to it, a certain quality that makes it ours.

Whether you’re a music fan or not, you likely know who the following people are. So take 30 minutes, sit back, and enjoy 5 short films on classic Canadian rockers.

Inner Rush

Is there anyone in Canadian rock who has a more iconic voice than Geddy Lee? (Okay, okay – forget about Neil Young for a minute.) And the drumming skills of Neil Peart are unparalleled and world-renowned. Rush is, and has always been, a tight, tight, rock band. This film, which profiles the band nicely, has the added twist of following a young band, Inner Volition, at the start of their career while drawing the unavoidable comparisons between the young up-and-coming rockers and their well-established idols.

Inner Rush, Christopher Romeike, provided by the National Film Board of Canada


Michel Pagliaro is a staple of Canadian rock, particularly of the Quebec rock scene. His music transcends linguistic barriers as he transitions seamlessly from French into English and vice versa. As an Anglo born and raised in Quebec, I didn’t appreciate how much I loved Pag until I realized I knew all his music and could sign along with each song that came on the radio. I challenge you to be able to get through this film without belting out at least a few lyrics, or engaging in some serious chair dancing.

Pag, Éric Tessier, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Family Band

The Tragically Hip is arguably one of the greatest rock bands to come out of this country. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I can attribute a Hip song to almost every significant event in my life over the past 25 years. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen them play. That said, it’s a bittersweet experience to watch this film today, which was made to commemorate The Hip receiving a 2008 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award.

It’s oddly prescient that lead singer Gord Downie isn’t interviewed here, and I may or may not have had something in my eye by the time they started singing Wheat Kings. But it’s a wonderful little film, and it’s made with a lot of heart. It’s a near-perfect film for fans.

Family Band, David Battistella, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Bryan Adams: Bare Bones

So, Bryan Adams is not just a pillar of the Canadian rock scene, he’s one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He’s also the second artist I ever saw in concert, and I will never forget the feeling in that room when the first chords of Run to You came through, or how the entire Forum became alive with lighters when he belted out Heaven. Since then, his talent, reputation and fame have grown, and he most definitely counts as one of more popular exports.

Bryan Adams: Bare Bones, David Battistella, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Blue Rodeo: On the Road

Blue Rodeo is just quintessentially Canadian. There’s no other way to put it. Their music, along with the voices of Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, are ingrained in our nation’s musical legacy. They’re the bar band you saw in university, or at that amazing outdoor festival. You slow danced to their ballads at the high school dance, or at your best friend’s wedding.  There is something warm, soothing, and just downright enjoyable about their music, and that comes across loud and clear in the wonderful little tribute.

Blue Rodeo: On the Road, Millefiore Clarkes, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Add a new comment
  1. Thank you, enjoyed the presentations

    — Thalay,
  2. How can one, anyone pick just 5 Canadian Artists when so many have had a profound impact on the entire music industry. The unsung heroes that never got that huge, diverse recognition outside of their peers & other music professionals. Understandably Neil Young is not in this group, he for me is equal to some of the greatest artist in history. To be honest this is just a vehicle for me to get someone to listen to Ian Thomas. Besides all of his great music the one thing that sticks in my mind is a clip I heard of him explaining the song
    “Right Before Your Eyes”.
    Written in 5 minutes he says and that it was given to him and you know what? I believe him.
    Take a moment right now and once you have it cued up sit back, relax, and push play.

    — Paul Gordon,

Write your comment here