The Sweet Hereafter is a 1997 Canadian drama film written and directed by Atom Egoyan, starring Ian Holm, Sarah Polley and Bruce Greenwood and adapted from the novel of the same name by Russell Banks. The film tells the story of a school bus accident in a small town that results in the deaths of numerous children. A class-action lawsuit ensues, proving divisive in the community and becoming tied with personal and family issues.
The story is inspired by the 1989 Alton, Texas bus crash. It was filmed in British Columbia and Ontario, incorporating a film score with medieval music influences and references to the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
Although The Sweet Hereafter was not a box office success, it was critically acclaimed and won three awards, including the Grand Prix, at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, along with seven Genie Awards, including Best Motion Picture. It also received two Academy Award nominations, for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Toronto International Film Festival critics named The Sweet Hereafter one of the top 10 Canadian films of all time.