Watching Niagara Falls on Film is almost as glorious as seeing it in person. Niagara Falls has been a part of movies and television programs for over eighty years, not to mention the countless times it has been filmed by millions of tourists over the past century.
Yes, Niagara Falls is a favorite spot for Hollywood and independent movie makers. Whether it was the iconic “Niagara” made with Marilyn Monroe in 1953 or “Tammy” with Melissa McCarthy filmed in 2014, Niagara Falls offers a great back drop for cinematic magic.
Below are some of the significant feature movies and television series that have incorporated Niagara Falls on film one way or another:
A woman (Margie Blake) gets a flat on the road and a man (Tom Wilson) stops to help, but they soon realize they are exact opposites. Oklahoma oilman Sam Sawyer and his new bride Emmy are on their way to Niagara Falls on their honeymoon and come across the pair, thinking they are a married couple. The movie’s plot centers on Sawyer’s attempt to get the strangers to reconcile by locking them in a “honeymoon suite” overnight. The movie stars Marjorie Woodworth, Tom Brown, Zasu Pitts and Slim Summerville.
Niagara Falls is shown by the air as this film explores depth and movement using a 3-camera, 3-projector process. The film was narrated by Lowell Thomas and offers one of the most breath-taking views of Niagara falls.
This film was released in 1953 and has been credited with launching the film career of Marilyn Monroe. The film starred Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters and Max Showalter. Filming took place in Niagara Falls, Ontario at the Carillon Bell Tower, Table Rock, tunnels located Behind the Falls and the Cave of the Winds at the American Falls.
Niagara features the finest cinematography of the Falls themselves and offers a look at the natural wonder before the construction of the many towers on the Canadian side and the New York State Park Observation Tower on the American side.
The popular black & white TV series Route 66 came to Niagara Falls New York in the summer of 1963 and filmed this episode. The series starred Martin Milner and Glenn Corbett who traveled the country doing various jobs and seeking adventure. When they get to Niagara Falls Milner’s character (Tod Stiles) discovers he has an evil twin who is planning on assassinating an Arab King visiting the Falls. The plot is foiled, but the episode never aired in December of 1963 as scheduled because of the JFK assassination on November 22nd of 1963. It reportedly aired four months later.
The program had numerous downtown Niagara Falls locations and scenes shot on Goat Island near the Falls.
Jack Lemmon, Elaine May and Peter Falk star in this 1967 release. The American Falls are shown as Lemmon and May test one anothers love at Prospect Point.
This made for TV movie profiles the famous daredevil Red Hill family and stars Richard Boone, Michael Sacks and Randy Quaid. One side-note, a movie stuntman almost got killed while filming a raft stunt down the Whirlpool Rapids.
The Last Embrace marked the directorial debut of Director Jonathan Demme who later directed The Silence of the Lambs. The film stars Roy Scheider, Janet Margolin and John Glover and centers around Scheider’s wife’s death and espionage. There are scenes of Scheider pursuing Margolin along the gorge, across the Power Vista walkway, over to the Table Rock House, down the Niagara Falls Observation Tower, back over to the Table Rock House Viewing Deck and finally behind the Horseshoe Falls.
This sequel to the original Superman film again stars Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder.Reeves and Kidder pose as honeymooners and have several scenes at Table Rock near the Horseshoe Falls and again in the area of the Great Gorge Adventure’s White Water Walk. Reeves as Superman saves a young boy who foolishly falls over the railing at the brink of the Falls after ignoring his mother’s commands to get down.
The filming was conducted at the height of the tourist season to maximize the crowds. Despite tourists constantly clamoring for an autograph or glimpse of Reeves and Kidder, the movie filming schedule went as planned.
Shot in Imax, this film traces the history of Niagara Falls. Recreates the July 9, 1960 harrowing rescue of Deanne Woodward near the brink of the Horseshoe Falls while her brother Roger plunges over wearing only a life preserver.
This low budget film directed by Michael Moore offered more of a look at the city of Niagara Falls New York and the Niagara Power Plant than the actual Falls. Starring notable actors such as John Candy, Alan Alda, Rhea Perlman and Rip Torn, the film is a satirical comedy that spoofs America declaring war on Canada. Moore used numerous locations in Niagara Falls New York and Ontario for the filming as well as local extras.
Starring Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson and Yvonne Zima this film centers around a scheme to detonate a chemical bomb in downtown Niagara Falls New York. The film’s big finale takes place at the Rainbow Bridge with Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson.
Niagara, Niagara stars former child actor Henry Thomas of E.T fame and Robin Tunney. The pair are in search of a Barbie Doll head and the film has scenes on the Falls Observation Tower, Prospect Point and the Horseshoe Falls near the Table Rock House.
This made-for-TV documentary is a great look at the formation of Niagara Falls and its historical geology.
Bruce Almighty was NOT filmed in Niagara Falls. However, the film does feature a very realistic scene with Jim Carrey as Buffalo TV news reporter Bruce Nolan on the Maid of the Mist done through the green screen process. The film stars Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman.
The Falls stars David Tully, Diedre Kilgore and has scenes on Luna Island and at Prospect Point. The film does conclude in the Lockport Caves which serve as a stand-in for the actual Cave of the Winds which collapsed in 1954.
This brief television series that aired on Fox was filmed in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The stars were Caroline Dhavernas, Katie Finneran and Tyron Leitso and the premise of the series was that Jane Tyler (Dhavernas) hears voices from the souvenirs she is selling that ultimately helps people she meets. The series debuted on March 12, 2004 and was cancelled on April 5, 2004, after airing only 4 of 13 episodes. On February 1, 2005, all 13 episodes were released on DVD.
This great comedy stars Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon, now host of the Tonight Show. Fallon plays a diehard Boston Red Sox fan and Barrymore a data analyst. The pair view the Falls and Queen Victoria Park in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
This comedy is a Canadian film about a tattered group group who hang at a cheap motel in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Starring Craig Ferguson, Peter Keleghan, Damir Andrei and Kevin Pollak, the film has scenes of Clifton Hill and around the Horseshoe Falls.
The one significant scene that features Niagara Falls in the third installment of Disney’s “Pirates” movies shows Captain Barbossa’s ship going over a waterfall which is at the end of the world. The waterfall in the scene was partially computer generated after the real Horseshoe Falls near the American side were used for the template.
The scene was realized after Disney producers met with Buffalo/Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark and arrangements were made to hang a large crane over the brink of the Falls to get the dramatic shot.
Starring Sienna Miller, James Franco, and David Carradine, this movie uses Niagara Falls as the ultimate destination for the character Camille Foster played by Miller. This comedy uses the Falls as the payoff for a wild trip that includes Camille’s death, but not her demise. The film has elements of Death Becomes Her as parts of Camille begin to fall off as she journeys to Niagara Falls.
The popular NBC comedy traveled to Niagara Falls New York in the Spring of 2009 to shoot a very important one hour special episode featuring the long awaited wedding of Jim and Pam. Airing on October 8th of that year, the program recorded exterior scenes on the Maid of the Mist as well as the Red Coach Inn on Buffalo Avenue.
Scenes for this film were shot on Goat Island in the summer of 2013 starring Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon and Dan Aykroyd. The plot of the film centers around McCarthy who has lost her job and learns that her husband has been unfaithful. McCarthy (Tammy) then takes a trip with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother played by Sarandon.
This “camp” sci-fi series uses a bizarre series of events to end up in Niagara Falls New York. A Sharknado goes through a nuclear power plant and heads for Western New York, but a company called Astro-X saves the day along with the suffering cast to counter the forces of the shark-laden tornado.