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"Canadians. They walk among us."
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A 1995 geopolitical comedy film shot in 1993, written and directed by Michael Moore, starring John Candy, Rhea Perlman, and Alan Alda.

In the wake of the unexpected end of the Cold War, the sitting President of the United States, a milquetoast bumbler played by Alan Alda, is faced with a shrinking economy and high unemployment at home. Believing, rightly or not, that restarting the Cold War and the associated military-industrial complex at full steam will be just the right kind of economic stimulus, the President's advisors, in cahoots with a shady weapons contractor, try to get the Russians to play ball. When they say no, they decide to invent a fictitious conflict with their neighbor to the north, Canada.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Bud Boomer (Candy) of Niagara Falls, New York, has to deal with the unpleasant realities of the loss of his town's primary employer; he, his deputy, and all his friends lost their factory jobs when the Cold War ended. When the government spin doctors put out the news of the Canadian menace, he buys it completely, and sets about fortifying his town as a border defense against the coming invasion.

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The film is notable as John Candy's last starring role and Michael Moore's only non-documentary feature. Plus a magnificent throwaway line, especially considering the director, about the absurdity of a situation as comparable to declaring war on terrorism. Which they wanted to do to increase the approval rating of the president. In 1995!


This film contains examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating: The president faces this constantly. Being an idiot doesn't helps him.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Most notably Niagara Falls (NY) is depicted as having just recently fallen on hard times after the closure of a defense plant. However Niagara Falls, like many industrial cities of the Great Lakes region had been in decline for decades as industries and manufacturing methods had become obsolete. Likewise there were no major defense plants in Niagara Falls or really in the Great Lakes region as a whole. Post WWII most modern weapons were being manufactured in the west and/or sun belt.
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    • The movie also implies that everything was great on the Canadian side. Canadian Industrial cities like Hamilton, London, and even Toronto had been hit equally as hard. Twenty years later only a handful of cities on both sides of the border (Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Toronto) have been able to make notable comebacks as they restructured their economies. Many other cities (Detroit, Cleveland, Windsor) are still reeling.
  • Author Appeal: Michael Moore is the grandson of Canadians, loves Canada and is critical of the American military. So America is satirized as a country of hair-triggered oafs, while Canada is satirized as a clean and innocent utopia.
  • Berserk Button: Don't insult Canadian beer. And definitely don't insult Canadian beer in a hockey arena.
    • A mountie engages in Police Brutality against a corporate raider.
    • Honey's is Hacker Industries.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Khabral is worried this will happen to him. They even mention the trope word for word, and the conversation Khabral, Bud, and Roy Boy have about it includes several notable examples of it. Subverted as not only does Khabral survive to the end of the film, according to the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue he moves on to becoming a NHL star for the Toronto Maple Leafs and wins the Hart Memorial Trophy (League MVP) three years in a row!
  • Canada, Eh?: Every stereotype under the sun, including them being too nice and dumb.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Hacker is a man who has built his fortune on War for Fun and Profit, sold a super-computer capable of hacking all of America's nuclear arsenal to the Canadians by faking that it's weather equipment, stands behind a plan to trigger a new Cold War with Canada as the Big Bad because he wants to keep the money flowing and then uses the aforementioned computer to hack America's silos, lying that it's the Canadians doing that, and tries to blackmail the President that he can stop the entire nuking of the continent to kingdom come if the President pays the price he's asking, which would bankrupt the nation several times over, and decides not to when the President balks at the price. He also makes it clear that the reason he does this is not just because of the money, but because he hates the President that much.
  • Creator Cameo: Michael Moore appears as a member of an anti-Canadian mob.
    It's time we put America back in North America! GOD BLESS BUD BOOMER!!!
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Two of the guys in Canadian prison were arrested for putting leaded gasoline into an unleaded tank, and being in too many bad moods.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Canadian cop pulls the main characters—who are driving a van covered with anti-Canadian slogans—over, then criticizes them for not writing them in both English and French. The anti-Canadian slogans are even translated with grammar and spelling mistakes.
  • Defcon Five: Defcon 4 is the level taken when nuclear missiles are ready to launch.
  • Eagleland: This movie mocks everything regarding Patriotic Fervor with a vengeance. Every single American character is running around Flavor 2, but they are quite convinced they're Flavor 1.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Smiley is willing to start a cold war, but draws the line at starting a nuclear war.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through! : Hilariously subverted during a chase scene, when (Canadian) bystanders say "I'm sorry" and "Excuse me" as they're being knocked out of the way.
  • Invaded States of America: Played for laughs. The Attack of the Political Ad campaign meant to ignite the Patriotic Fervor necessary for the American people to allow a full-on war with Canada implies that every single Canadian that has ever come to America, from the most famous of actors to the most harmless of bystanders, is secretly some kind of infiltrator.
  • Karma Houdini: R.J. Hacker dies but his dead body becomes a tourist attraction for the Republican Party.
  • Make the Bear Angry Again: Attempted at the very beginning of the film, to keep the Military-Industrial Complex reaping in Cold War-level profits. It is unsuccessful.
  • Most Common Card Game: The Mountie plays it with his prisoners.
  • Neat Freak: In Canada, littering is punishable by a $1 million (Canadian) fine. A Canadian policeman charges the American guys $1,000 Canadian, though this only translated to $10 American due to the weak Canadian dollar.
  • No Name Given: The president is never named.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Subverted by the Omega Force. One guy stubs his toe and is shot by his comrades as a result.
    • Played straight, however, when our heroes take off for America after doing their dirty work—and mistakenly leave Honey behind.
      Roy Boy: We left a man behind! Boomer left a man behind!
      Khabral: The Marines never leave a man behind!
      Roy Boy: Chuck Norris never left a man behind!
      Khabral: Wesley Snipes never leaves a man behind!
      Roy Boy: She's all alone, behind enemy lines.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The Canadians are consistently depicted as being friendly and good-natured throughout the movie, to the point of being seemingly oblivious to America's hatred of them. Even when they catch someone breaking the law, their law enforcement officers only ever get kind of stern at worst. The only time they get angry is when one of the characters remarks that their beer sucks.
  • One-Track-Minded Artist: An anti-Canadian report displays the CN Tower, causing Officer Honey to become obsessed with it. When Kabral visits her, she's created several recreations of it.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: "President Buffoon" is being too kind to Alan Alda's President.
  • Serious Business: Canadian beer is taken very seriously in Canada. If you insult it, you will cause a riot.
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Bud, Roy Boy, and Kabral on the road, singing the title of "Born in the USA" . . . and not much else. They also attempt "Oklahoma."
  • Spanner in the Works: Honey goes berserk when she sees the Hacker Industries brand on the side of the "Hellstorm" computer and shoots it up with an assault rifle, preventing a nuclear apocalypse accidentally.
  • Straw Character: Boomer and Honey are stereotypical boorish blue-collar conservatives. General Panzer is a stereotypical right-wing warmonger. The President is a stereotypical spineless liberal weenie.
  • Stupid Evil: R.J. Hacker hacks into America's nuclear launch network and uses it to start a launch sequence for America's nuclear missiles. Blames Canada for doing it, and then offers an anti-hacking countermeasure for an extortionate amount of money. When the President balks, he walks off, knowing full well that calling his bluff will lead to The End of the World as We Know It and thus render Hacker's fortunes worthless.
  • Suicide Dare: The US city of Niagara pays its cops extra for cleaning up suicides. This led to unfortunate consequences...
  • That Came Out Wrong: The president, at the now out-of-business munitions factory in Niagara Falls: "It's time to turn off the war machine and turn on our children."
  • War for Fun and Profit: Hacker wants profit. General Panzer wants fun.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue:
    The body of R.J. Hacker can be viewed daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Republican National Headquarters.
  • Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell: Without the Russians to blame everything on, the president's approval ratings are in the toilet. To rectify this (and return profitability to Hacker's weapons company) they plan to start a new one.
  • Weaponized Landmark: By means of lying that the equipment is meant for climate measurement, R.J. Hacker manages to install the "Hellstorm" computer (which would trigger the launch of every nuclear silo in America) on the top of Toronto's CN Tower.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Everyone thinks they are on some kind of late Cold War "Occupiers out of Our Country" saga, boosted by In-Universe propaganda (when they accidentally leave Honey behind, they even point out that every other film action hero ever does No One Gets Left Behind). Hacker and Smiley manipulate them all for their own means.

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