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
Unsung Canadian Heroes: Police Officers

Unsung Canadian Heroes: Police Officers

Unsung Canadian Heroes: Police Officers

When young children bear witness to tragedy, we always tell them to look for the helpers. We want them to seek out the people who step forward, help out, and model acts of compassionate behavior. We want them to focus on those professionals whose job it is to maintain order, restore health, and sometimes perform rescue operations.

These people are unsung heroes. They’re all around us. Sometimes we see them, sometimes we don’t. Some heroes wear a uniform, like police officers, fire fighters, or ambulance workers. Some don’t, like mothers, teachers, and passersby who offer food to the homeless.

In this series, each post will focus on a different type of unsung Canadian hero. Today we’re looking at police officers. Given the nature of the work they do, a lot of these films call for viewer discretion.

Whistling Smith

Sergeant Bernie “Whistling” Smith, who passed away in 2012, was widely known as a tough cop with a big heart. He goes beyond the call of duty by not only maintaining order on Vancouver’s Eastside, but by actively trying to help the addicts, thieves, and prostitutes living in the area.

Whistling Smith, Michael Scott & Marrin Canell, provided by the National Film Board of Canada


No matter the subject, filmmaker Terence Macartney-Filgate is a master at getting through the veneer to give us a glimpse of the truth. This time, he turns his lens on the Toronto metropolitan police force to show us what they’re dealing with day in and day out.

Police, Terence Macartney-Filgate, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Through a Blue Lens

Here are a group of seven policemen who take their jobs one step further by documenting the people on their beat to send a powerful message about drug abuse. By getting them to open up and speak on camera about their experiences, these officers are working to prevent addiction in the next generation.

Through a Blue Lens, Veronica Alice Mannix, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

10-7 for Life

Meet Carol Banks, a Toronto officer who’s on the last two weeks of the job. Burnt out and at the end of her rope, Banks has opted to get off the force to salvage her peace of mind. Filmed by her sister, the film really gives you a sense of what these officers are up against.

10-7 for Life, Cynthia Banks, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Station 10

As we move from the streets of Toronto to the neighbourhoods of Montreal, we learn that regardless of location, police officers have their work cut out for them. This feature-length doc follows the life of police officers working at Montreal’s Station 10 in the early 1970s.

Station 10, Michael Scott, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Add a new comment
  1. In a time when there is significant discussion about the very real dangers of police brutality, it is disappointing (but not surprising) that the nfb, an agency of the state, would produce such a blog post.

    — warren,
    1. Thanks for your comment. I understand the point you’re making, but we can’t forget that there are men and women who put their life on the line to help and protect other people. I felt it was important to highlight those heroes.

      — Julie Matlin,

Write your comment here