This year I’ll be celebrating my tenth Calgary Stampede and, if I’m being honest, I think my feet are still blistered from the first one. That’s what you get when you wear cowboy boots for the first time at the greatest outdoor show on earth. But what about the greatest indoor show on earth? Whether it’s your 90th Stampede or your first, movies can inspire you on what to wear, how to talk the talk and (hopefully) how not to act on the grounds.

I’ve been pouring over TELUS Optik TV™, which has the largest On Demand library, and found some great movies that’ll get you ready for the Calgary Stampede. TELUS empowers all of its customers to be picky about their entertainment and they have lots of choices just in time for the wildest ten days anywhere.


I think as a society, we can all agree that we need a little break from Johnny Depp. His roles have been getting stranger and stranger, then he does another Pirates of the Caribbean movie (a franchise that is long over). But before all of that, he did a really fun movie called Rango. A “fish out of water” animated film, except instead of a fish, Rango is a chameleon who accidentally winds up in a lawless Wild West outpost in desperate need of a new sheriff.   It’s the most enjoyable Depp has been in years. Fingers crossed Rango 2 is right around the corner.

True Grit

Here’s hoping your ten Stampede days go better for you than the cast of True Grit. The 2010 film is actually remake of the 1969 movie of the same name. The updated version was written and produced by the Coen brothers and it stars Hailee Steinfeld, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin. It was nominated for a total of ten Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Bridges) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Steinfeld). This western is about a tough U.S. Marshal tasked with helping a stubborn teenager track down her father’s murderer and, because it’s a Coen brothers film, you know it’s going to be dark and twisty, but hey, that’s how the west was won.

Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

If you’re going to be celebrating the Calgary Stampede, why not watch a movie that was shot in and around Calgary! This movie never got the fanfare it deserved, but I absolutely loved it. It’s slow burning, tension-filled and leads to the obvious conclusion given away by the title, but it doesn’t even matter. The shots of the western prairies are familiar to Calgarians, but somehow with Brad Pitt they just look that much better, you know? And even though you know you’re not supposed to like Robert Ford, Casey Affleck’s portrayal of him is so emotional, it’s hard not to root for him as well.


The mother of all western films happened to also be filmed in and around Calgary. This Academy Award winning western stars Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris. This film is so good it’s been added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. Eastwood scored two big Oscars for the film (Best Picture and Best Director), while Hackman won best supporting actor. If you want to watch acting legends go toe-to-toe (in western wear), don’t even think about heading down to the Stampede grounds until you watch this movie masterpiece.

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West

I still remember the first time I watched An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. It came as a Columbia House movie of the month choice and I begged my parents not to return it. They said I could keep it if I watched it more than once. Boy, did I show them. I think I watched this movie until the tape broke. A lot of people love the first American Tail, and what’s not to love? But I truly believe the (completely unnecessary but nonetheless awesome) sequel is just as good. I’ll forgive you for not knowing that American Tail has a sequel, I’m pretty sure I’m the only person that saw it. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying this fantastic family film. It give kids lots of great ideas about how the west was fun, but also gives parents a good ol’ lesson in nostalgia.

Mike Morrison


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