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NYC's 10 Best Cinemas for Watching Classic Films This Summer

NYC's 10 Best Cinemas for Watching Classic Films This Summer

Picture of Holly Fink
Updated: 15 November 2016
New York City is brimming with choices for classic film lovers, and there is no better time than this summer to catch up on your favorites. You can catch cinema classics at nonprofit movie theaters downtown or even outdoors at sunset with hundreds of other New Yorkers. Here is the lowdown on what classics are playing in the City this summer for under $20.

Film Forum

Film Forum is the only autonomous, nonprofit cinema in New York City and one of the few in the U.S. that has been around for as long as 40 years. Located on Houston Street, it features three cinemas and is open year-round. It attracts die-hard moviegoers with its wide selection of international, independent and classic films. This summer, the cinema is showing a series called BRANDO, showcasing the great Marlon Brando’s most iconic performances, including The Godfather, A Streetcar Named Desire and Apocalypse Now—all from August 7th-11th. In conjunction, the Film Forum will also be showing Listen to Me Marlon, a documentary about the actor’s fascinating life.

Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 727 8110

Film Society at Lincoln Center

Film Society at Lincoln Center is one of the world’s most prominent film presentation organizations. Over the last four decades, this film society has introduced American audiences to the works of many of the world’s most acclaimed filmmakers, including Francois Truffault, Jean-Luc Godard, Pedro Almodóvar and Martin Scorsese. This year marks the centennial for the iconic American vocalist and actor, Frank Sinatra. To commemorate his legacy, the Film Society is hosting a new series entitled Frank at 100, which will showcase some of his most beloved roles on the big screen including The Manchurian Candidate, Ocean’s 11, From Here to Eternity, and more. The series runs July 24-26.

Film Society at Lincoln Center, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY, USA +1 212 875 5600

Bryant Park

Grab a blanket and picnic and head to Bryant Park on Monday nights for great films. People arrive hours in advance, so be prepared for slim pickings on space if you arrive late. Films start at sundown, with a cartoon running before the features begin. This summer’s classics include I’m No Angel on July 13th, Badlands on July 20th, Footloose on July 27th, Marathon Man on August 3rd, Desk Set on August 10th, Chinatown on August 10th and Back to the Future on August 24th.

Bryant Park, 1065 Avenue of the Americas #2400, New York, NY, USA +1 212 768 4242

The Silent Clowns Film Series

The Silent Clowns Film Series is presented at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at the Library for the Performing Arts. The series celebrates Hollywood’s greatest comedy studio, fondly known as “The Lot of Fun,” and its founder-producer, the legendary Hal Roach. On July 11th at 2:30 pm, they are playing Roach All-Star Rarities from the Library of Congress, a series of five 1920s films, and on August 8th another 1920s film marathon will be running.

The Silent Clowns Film Series, 111 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY, USA +1 212 712 7237

Chelsea Classics

Chelsea Classics shows classic films every Thursday night at 7 pm, and once a month on Saturday night at 10 pm. Admission is just $10. This summer’s classics, hosted by Hedda Lettuce, include Polyester on July 16th, Nine to Five on July 23rd, Desperately Seeking Susan on July 30th, Madonna: Truth or Dare on August 6th and Psycho Beach Party on August 13th.

Chelsea Classics, 260 West 23rd Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212-777-FILM (3456)

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Museum of Modern Art has been celebrating the preservation of classic film since its inception. This summer MoMA is showing the classic A Star is Born by the legendary George Cukor on July 17thand 23rd, Quo Vadis on July 18th, Lady in the Dark on July 22nd, Night Falls on July 26th, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry on July 28th, Mean Streets on August 5th and I Walked with a Zombie on August 22nd.

The Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 708 9400

©Thanassi Karageorgiou / Museum of the Moving Image
©Thanassi Karageorgiou / Museum of the Moving Image (On Screen: Masaki Kobayashi’s HARAKIRI)

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, seeks to educate mainstream audiences about the technical and artistic process behind the making of movies and television. It does so by presenting exhibitions, promoting education programs, and housing rare and old moving images for public consumption. Dedicated to the world of classic film, they are featuring the films of John Ford through August 2nd. The series is a selection of 20 of his greatest works including The Quiet Man, Fort Apache, Stagecoach and The Sun Shines Bright.

Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, New York, NY, USA +1 718 777 6800

By Holly Fink