Lights, Camera, ACTION! A History of Lunenburg in Film

To hands holding a clapperboard.

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve already seen the historic town of Lunenburg on the “big screen”. Lunenburg has served as the stage for several films and TV shows throughout the years. The working waterfront and original architecture make Lunenburg an especially attractive setting for historical dramas.

Have you watched any of the productions below? Can you spot any Lunenburg landmarks?

Run Stranger, Run – 1973, Film; Ron Howard, Cloris Leachman. A creepy first for Lunenburg.

Little Kidnappers – 1990, TV movie; Charleton Heston. Mr. Heston rides his bike right through town!

Dolores Claiborne – 1995, Film; Christopher Plummer, Kathy Bates. Filmed mostly in Blue Rocks.

Two If by the Sea – 1996, Film; Sandra Bullock, Denis Leary. Shot entirely on location in Nova Scotia, with substantial filming in Lunenburg.

Can you spot St. John’s Anglican church in Simon Birch?

Simon Birch – 1998, Film; Jim Carrey, Ashley Judd. St. John’s Anglican Church’s black trim was painted white for filming.

Jesse Stone Series – 2005-2012, Eight TV movies; Tom Selleck. You might even see Reggie in nearby Stonehurst.

Moby Dick – 2010, TV miniseries; William Hurt, Ethan Hawke. The film was shot predominately in Shelburne and Lunenburg Nova Scotia and includes excellent shots of Lunenburg’s waterfront. 

Cloudburst – 2011, Film; Olympia Dukakis, Brenda Fricker. The film includes many Nova Scotian Locations, including King Street in Lunenburg. 

The Disappeared – 2012, Film; Billy Campbell, Shawn Doyle. The film crew was based in Lunenburg for 15 days, but most of the movie was shot at sea. The crew had to adapt to the difficulty of shooting on the water and a special barge had to be built to hold the film equipment and crew. 

Lunenburg's town hall, a large brick building.
Lunenburg’s Town Hall; also known as the police station on the TV series Haven

Haven – 2010-2015, TV series; Eric Balfour, Emily Rose. Haven police station? Lunenburg’s Town Hall.

Jumping The Broom – 2011, Film; Angela Bassett. Garden Lots doubles as Martha’s Vineyard.

The Book of Negroes – 2015, TV miniseries; Cuba Gooding Jr.

The Healer – 2016; Film; Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jonathan Pryce, Camilla Luddington. The film includes prominent Lunenburg locations such as King Street and St. John’s Anglican Church. 

Locke & Key – 2020, TV series; Darby Stanchfield, Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones.