Film and Fun in the Bay Area
San Francisco has been one of the primary hotspots for film in the 20th and 21st century. Whether it is an innovative, small budget production from a new auteur or the next explosive blockbuster from Hollywood, San Francisco will be screening it, perhaps premiering it, and there’s also a good chance that some of the cast and crew live nearby. Visitors who love movies, whether it is with a passion or just a way to escape for a few hours, will find the Bay Area a welcoming and enriching place.
The following few locations are some of the most fantastic venues for experiencing movies — both classics and new releases—in San Francisco.
- Roxy: This cinema considers itself to be the oldest continuing operating cinema in the USA. From 1909 until today (including a stint in the 60’s as a porn theater), the Roxy has been serving San Francisco with some of the most innovative films ever. There are only two screens (one of them seats 238, the other 49), but they manage to crank out a nearly continuous array of revolutionary films, participate in festivals, and host comprehensive retrospectives for cinephiles.
- Sundance Cinema (Kabuki): Started by Robert Redford, Sundance has proven itself to be a powerhouse for contemporary independent cinema. You know that film from Eastern Europe that you wanted to see but thought it would never be released in America? They’re playing it at Sundance. They also pride themselves on hosting after-screening talkbacks with cast and crew, giving viewers the opportunity to delve more deeply than ever before into the movie. As well as showing the best in contemporary cinema, Sundance also hosts old favorites in their Classic Movie Series, evenings with the San Francisco Opera, and live telecasts of productions from London’s National Theater.
- Castro Theatre: Another tremendously historic and fun movie house is the Castro Theatre. Number 100 on the San Francisco Historic Landmark list, the Castro primarily works with film festivals, repertory films, and films with gay or multicultural focuses. Attending movies at the Castro is a highly immersive experience, and the ornate architecture serves to highlight and enhance the already quality movie experience. You will also experience unique film pairings during their double feature events. Come see Gone with the Wind and Django Unchained back to back, or indulge your nostalgia with The African Queen and Casablanca—again, back to back.
- Century San Francisco Centre 9: This is more mainstream theater, but worth checking out if you are looking for the best possible sound/picture combination. State of the art projection makes the newest Hollywood superhero film or animated extravaganza look better than you ever thought was possible. Many a citizen of the Bay Area has spent a long Saturday bouncing from screen to screen, reveling in the magic of movies.
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