Canadian Bacon is a 1995 American-Canadian comedy film written, produced, and directed by Michael Moore which satirizes Canada–United States relations along the Canada–United States border. The film stars an ensemble cast featuring Alan Alda, John Candy, Bill Nunn, Kevin J. O'Connor, Rhea Perlman, Kevin Pollak, G. D. Spradlin, and Rip Torn.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Moore|
|Written by||Michael Moore|
|Distributed by||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Gramercy Pictures|
The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, and was the final film released starring John Candy, though it was shot before the earlier-released Wagons East. It is also Moore's only non-documentary film.
Thousands of former employees are outraged with military businessman R. J. Hacker (G. D. Spradlin), who had closed down his weapons manufacturing plant, Hacker Dynamics. At a conference held at the former plant, he pins the blame for the shutdown of his business on the current President of the United States (Alan Alda), who has just arrived. The President defends his own belief that the future of the children is more important than war, which has caused major decline in his approval rating. After the conference, he expresses to confidantes General Dick Panzer (Rip Torn) and National Security Advisor Stuart Smiley (Kevin Pollak) his discontent about not having an enemy to engage in war. An attempted negotiation with Russian President Vladimir Kruschkin (Richard E. Council) to start a new cold war with Russia fails, and the President's suggestion of a war on international terrorism is deemed too absurd.
Serendipitously, American sheriff Bud Boomer (John Candy) offensively criticizes Canadian beer while attending a hockey game between the neighboring nations in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The ensuing brawl ends up on the news and catches Stuart's attention; Stuart, in turn, collects more information about Canada from a CIA agent named Gus (Brad Sullivan), and suggests Canada as their new enemy during a cabinet meeting. Before long, television channels are littered with anti-Canada propaganda, which Boomer believes wholeheartedly. He prepares for war by distributing guns to his fellow sheriffs, including his girlfriend Honey (Rhea Perlman) and their friends Roy Boy (Kevin J. O'Connor) and Kabral Jabar (Bill Nunn). After they apprehend a group of Americans "dressed as Canadians" attempting to destroy a hydroelectric plant, despite Gus's protests, they sneak across the border to litter on Canadian lands, which leads to Honey being arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In a rescue attempt, Boomer, Roy Boy and Kabral sneak into a Canadian power plant and cause a countrywide blackout. When the President learns of this, he orders Boomer's immediate removal from Canada before it's too late.
Hacker, seeking revenge on the President for shutting down his business, uses a software program ("Hacker Hellstorm") to activate missile silos across the country. The President learns that the signal causing the activation of the silos originated from Canada, and summons Hacker. Hacker offers to sell a program to the President that can cancel out the Hellstorm—for $1 trillion. Stuart, fed up with the President being too busy to give Hacker the money, realizes that Hacker, getting up to leave, is the one controlling the silos, not Canada, and, after storming up, takes the operating codes from him required to stop the Hellstorm (accidentally killing Hacker in the process). The President orders Stuart's arrest, despite his protests that he is now able to give the codes to the President so they could deactivate the missiles which are aimed at Moscow. As the launch time approaches the President pleads with Canadian Prime Minister Clark MacDonald (Wallace Shawn) over the phone to stop the launch.
Meanwhile, Honey was taken to a mental hospital upon her capture and escaped all the way to the CN Tower. She discovers the central computer for the Hellstorm located at the top and destroys it with a machine gun, aborting the launch sequence. She then reunites with Boomer, who had tracked her to the Tower, and they return to the United States via a speedboat.
An ending montage reveals the characters' fates: Boomer realizes his dream of appearing on Cops; Honey has been named "Humanitarian of the Year" by the National Rifle Association; the President was defeated in the next election by a large landslide and now hosts "Get Up, Cleveland"; Stuart served eight months in prison, but was pardoned by the new President; Panzer committed suicide after learning that "Hogan's Heroes" was fictional; Gus was last spotted heading to Mexico in a tank; Hacker's body has been viewed daily at Republican National Headquarters; Kabral has become a hockey star, winning the Hart Memorial Trophy three years in a row; Roy Boy's whereabouts become unknown; and MacDonald is "still ruling with an iron fist".
- John Candy as Bud Boomer, Sheriff of Niagara County
- Alan Alda as President of the United States
- Rhea Perlman as Honey, Deputy sheriff of the Niagara County Sheriff Department and girlfriend and colleague of Sheriff Bud Boomer
- Kevin Pollak as Stu Smiley, National Security Advisor
- Rip Torn as General Dick Panzer, U.S. Army Chief of Staff
- Kevin J. O'Connor as Roy Boy, friend of Sheriff Bud Boomer
- Bill Nunn as Kabral Jabar, Deputy sheriff of the Niagara County Sheriff Department and friend and colleague of Sheriff Bud Boomer
- G. D. Spradlin as R.J. Hacker, Owner of Hacker Dynamics
- Steven Wright as Niagara Mountie
- Jim Belushi as Charles Jackal, news reporter for NBS News
- Richard E. Council as Russian President Vladimir Kruschkin
- Brad Sullivan as Gus
- Stanley Anderson as Edwin S. Simon, news anchor for NBS News
- Wallace Shawn as Canadian Prime Minister Clark MacDonald
- Michael Moore as Redneck guy
- Dan Aykroyd (uncredited) as Ontario Provincial Police officer
- Ed Sahely (uncredited) as Mountie
The film was shot in fall 1993, in Toronto, Hamilton, and Niagara Falls, Ontario; and Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York. Scenes depicting the rapids of the Niagara River were actually filmed at Twelve Mile Creek in St. Catharines. Parkwood Estate in Oshawa was the site for the White House, and Dofasco in Hamilton was the site for Hacker Dynamics. The scene where the American characters look longingly home at the US across the putative Niagara River is them looking across Burlington Bay at Stelco steelworks in Hamilton, Ontario.
The hockey game/riot were shot at the Niagara Falls Memorial Arena in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and the actors portraying the police officers (who eventually join in the riot upon hearing "Canadian beer sucks") are wearing authentic Niagara Regional Police uniforms.
The film has numerous cameos by Canadian actors, including Dan Aykroyd, who appears uncredited as an Ontario Provincial Police officer who pulls Candy over (ticketing him not for the crude anti-Canadian graffiti on his truck, but its lack of a French translation). Other cameos are by Alex Trebek and William Shatner. Moore himself appears as an American gun nut.
Nathan Rabin in a 2009 review concluded, "After generating solid laughs during its first hour, Canadian Bacon falls apart in its third act," lamenting the film "was perceived as too lowbrow for the highbrows, and too highbrow for the lowbrows."
- Canada–United States relations
- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, a 1964 Stanley Kubrick comedy about a fictional element of the cold war
- The Mouse that Roared
- The Canadian Conspiracy, a 1986 fictional documentary about how Canadian entertainers are conquering TV and movies in the United States.
- Wag the Dog, a 1997 film about a war devised for similar reasons
- War Plan Red, also known as the Atlantic Strategic War Plan, was a plan for the United States to make war with Great Britain, by attacking Canada.
- Canadian Idiot, a parody of Green Day's "American Idiot", by "Weird Al" Yankovic, which explores similar themes, and actually mentions the idea of a "preemptive strike" against Canada.
- "A Speculative Fiction", a song by Canadian band Propagandhi that explores a war between Canada and the U.S.
- South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, the 1999 South Park film about a similar war (though in this case the war's reason is a moral panic rather than explicitly to boost a president's sagging poll numbers).
- The real-life War of 1812 between the United States and British North America (now Canada).
- "Canadian Bacon (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. April 21, 1995. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
- Canadian Bacon on IMDb
- Holden, Stephen (September 22, 1995). "FILM REVIEW; America's Cold War With Canada. Just Kidding!". The New York Times.
- "Festival de Cannes: Canadian Bacon". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
- Fine, Marshall (November 28, 1993). "Movies: On Location: Will His 'Bacon' Sizzle? : Sure, Michael Moore can get a rise out of former GM honcho Roger Smith, but let's see how the documentarian does with his first feature". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
- Bradley, Ed (April 26, 1995). "Moore Gets to 'Super Bowl' of Film Makers". Flint, Michigan: The Flint Journal via Dog Eat Dog Films (Michael Moore official site). Archived from the original on January 22, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
- Imdb Canadian Bacon (1995) Filming Locations
- "Rhea Pearlman at the Niagara Falls Arena During the Filming of Canadian Bacon". Retrieved April 10, 2008.
- "John Candy at the Niagara Falls Arena During the Filming of Canadian Bacon". Retrieved April 10, 2008.
- "Canadian Bacon". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
- Rabin, Nathan. "North of the Border Case File #135". AV Club. Retrieved February 5, 2015.