30 Best Cinemas in the World

30 Best Cinemas in the World


Open Air Cinema, Parc de la Villette, Paris

Paris in the summer is full of life, with festivals, art shows and fun galore. Parisians also love a bit of an outdoor movie during the summer, and in July and August the trendy Parc de la Villette in Paris becomes just the place for this.

The numerous great features of this open air cinema include: the fact that it is usually free, the wonderful atmosphere, and the fact that you can pick up a picnic before hand, spread a blanket down on the grass of the Villette, and enjoy the movie. If you have a sore back or are looking for a bit more comfort, then there are deck chairs and chaise longues for hire at the venue.

The movies shown (every night for the summer) are a great mix of home grown French talent and international blockbusters and art films – the majority of which are shown in the original languages.

Of all the many things to do in the wonderful Parisian capital, the Open Air Cinema at the Parc de la Villette is one of the best, made more so by the fact that it costs nothing to attend! Each year, the organisers pick a theme that will pervade the summer showings and dictate the choice of movies.

What is better, sitting indoors at the local IMAX on a beautiful summers evening in the city that never sleeps with some popcorn or heading out into the beautiful Parc de la Villette, picnic basket in hand? Don’t forget the cheeky bottle of wine and a blanket, and you will have a great Parisian experience with the locals.

Make sure you rock up to Parc de la Villette early on the Open Air Cinema nights to get the best spot; there is no limit on capacity and it is likely to get crowded as city dwellers seek a bit of green space and a chilled out vibe. Get in the middle of it all and soak up the fantastic atmosphere at one of the best cinemas in Paris.

Open Air Cinema, Kamari, Santorini, Greece

Another open air cinema, this time on the stunning island of Santorini, one of the Greek islands. If you have seen the sky from the Greek islands before then you will understand the appeal of this outdoor cinema, which is not only one of the best cinemas in Greece but also the top attraction in Kamari.

Walking out of the town for about 10 minutes will take you to the plot where, on paying your entrance fee, you will be ushered into the plot. Grab yourself one of the deckchairs up front for the best viewing, or sprawl out in the back.

Inside, a bar serves drinks and snacks whilst the movie rolls. There is not a large variety of movies, and they are repeated over a few nights, but the experience is definitely a must do in Santorini.

The organisers build in a 15 minute interval into the screening, which is a great chance to use the facilities, head to the bar, chat amongst friends or simply marvel at the beautiful sky above you. The mood lighting is the perfect addition to the outdoor cinema and blends respectably into the local environment, whilst adding a romantic touch. Add to this the great Greek island weather and the tropical plants in the lot, and you will definitely know you are on the holiday of a lifetime.

The Open Air Cinema in Santorini, Greece, is the perfect place to head after days of lying on the beach, and a great alternative experience. The movies are mostly older blockbusters and English language favourites, with the odd classic or independent movie thrown in for good mix. Whatever the movie, it is the ambiance that makes the show at the Open Air Cinema.

The cinema itself has been operating for about ten years and is a favourite amongst locals and tourists alike. Despite being a great place to catch a movie, the Open Air Cinema is also doing its bit for the local community, raising money for charity and hosting events and festivals for the island.

Come on down to the Open Air Cinema in Kamari, Santorini and catch some great blockbuster movies in one of the most beautiful settings around.

Sala Montjuic, Barcelona Spain

Another seasonal open air delight can be found at the Sala Montjuic in one of Europe’s hippest and most happening cities. Barcelona is known for its trendy locals, beautiful people and loads of bars and clubs. The Sala Montjuic is a great addition to the city’s line up and the perfect space to spend a summer evening in the Catalonian capital on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea.

Whilst the art deco cinemas and the elaborate luxury movie theatres listed in this guide offer glamour and splendour, the Sala Montjuic has its own unique charms—it is housed in the grounds of the gorgeous Montjuic castle, and one of the old castle walls serves as a boundary to the outdoor cinema.

Turn up with your picnic basket filled with Spanish treats and a bottle of local wine or beer and spread your blanket down in preparation for the movies, which are screened every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday during the Barcelona summer.

The movies shown at this cool venue can be anything from large international movies, independent foreign films, and local movies from the Spanish cinema scene. The choice of movie may not be the reason you come to the Sala Montjuic, though; the atmosphere, open air and great experience is enough to get the punters in.

Before each movie gets going there is often a local band playing as customers settle in and open their snacks and drinks. Once the crowd is warmed up, the organisers like to screen a short movie, which can be anything from a short documentary to a quick film promoting a cause or even a cartoon. By the time the movie begins you will be relaxed and ready to abandon yourself for a few hours.

Watching a movie is usually a great experience for film buffs, but add to this the beautiful surrounds, the soft lighting bouncing off the castle walls and the chilled out crowd and you will be sure of one of the best cinema experiences Spain has to offer.

Rooftop Cinema, Queen of Hoxton, Liverpool Street, London

The Queen of Hoxton in London’s Liverpool Street offers a great cinema experience and evening out for all. Showing a wide range of old classics, blockbusters and international movies the cinema attracts a faithful crowd at each screening.

Set up for summer screenings, the Queen of Hoxton Rooftop Cinema is a new addition to the London arts scene, and like many of the open air cinemas listed above it provides excellent views and a great atmosphere.

Viewers can turn up, grab a cold beer—or perhaps a hot drink if the weather is being its usual dismal self—and sit back to watch the movie amongst a like minded crowd right in the centre of London.

The feeling at the cinema is more like a relaxed beer garden and not a cinema, and guests receive their own individual headphones to ensure they do not miss a single part of the movie whilst they enjoy a drink and some snacks.

The rooftop garden is open long before the screenings and is a pub in its own right, and many of the cinema goers head to the Queen of Hoxton Rooftop Bar beforehand to have a beer or glass of wine, and to sample the delicious food served up by the bar staff. All you need to do is bring yourself, a jumper, and perhaps a blanket, and show up at the Queen of Hoxton Rooftop Cinema.

The cinema gets booked up pretty quickly in advance, so for the 2012 season you had better get in and book your tickets as soon as they are released. You cannot bring your own drinks to the cinema, but never mind—the bar is well stocked and the staff friendly. They will also look after you if it starts to rain by handing out ponchos, blankets and umbrellas to those who have come unprepared for the Great British Summer.

And just what is the best part of this fabulous cinema experience? Well, it is probably the food! And, of course, the fact that you will be able to watch a great old favourite movie in the open air, in the sometimes stuffy and frenetic city of London.

Open Air Cinema, Isola Tiburina, Rome Italy

Speaking of fabulous seasonal roof top cinema locations, we cannot fail to mention the great Open Air Cinema, hosted at the Isola Tiburina in the Italian capital of Rome. The island is shaped like a boat and is an important cultural hub during the summer months in Rome.

Unbearably hot and crowded at times during the summer days, an open air cinema experience becomes most welcome as the night draws in. Located on the tiny island found in the Tiburina River in Rome, the cinema is part of the international Isola Del Cinema and is a real treat in the summer months for the residents of Rome and the thousands of tourists who are lucky enough to find out about this every year.

The usual cinema screenings are broadcast in Italian language only, which can be a downer if you do not speak the language. However, the organisers of the Isola Del Cinema also have dedicated nights for international films. The best of new international cinema from certain countries is screened, and the events are a huge success. Sometimes, as part of the film festival, actors and directors from the movie set will appear, food and drink is served, and even politicians or representatives of the country in question can make an appearance.

The atmosphere is electric at the Isola Tiburina, which is divided in the summer months of the festival into a few sections; there is also an Isola of photos, of music, of anything cultural, which adds to the fabulous atmosphere of this historic city.

Along the banks of the river, small bars and pubs serve food and wine, and it is a great place to begin your cinema experience. Then, head over to the Isola Tiburina for a cultural evening under the stars in one of the worlds best cities.

Previous screenings have included The Terminator, Planet of the Apes, and other big favourites, as well as local and European cinema. After the movie, do not leave the island. Instead, stay there and wait for the party to start—and start it will. The island will buzz long after the film has finished, as music and dancing replaces the blockbuster movie!

Camelot Outdoor Cinema, Mosman Park, Perth, Western Australia

Residents of Perth in Western Australia love a good outdoor movie just as much as their European and New Zealand cousins. In Mosman Park, a great outdoor cinema exists, hidden inside the picturesque walled garden of the fabulous art deco Memorial Hall. Open during the Australian summer, it is a great treat to watch a movie outdoors instead of in the usual setting of a cinema building.

Those lucky enough to get a ticket will be able to dine on mouth watering freshly made sushi, whilst the smell from the wood burning pizza oven pervades the space. Grab a slice, as well as a beer, and sit back on one of the comfortable deckchairs to enjoy the film. Of course, you are also welcome to bring your own picnic hamper stocked full to the brim with goodies and treats.

Get yourself down there early (gates open at about 6pm) and settle in for the greatest movie experience ever. The show will start at eight thirty, so you will have plenty of time to relax and chat amongst friends, enjoy a glass of wine, and get ready to enjoy the film. You can’t bring your own alcohol to the venue, but the bar is fully stocked with local and international favourites.

A wide range of movies is screened at the Camelot Outdoor Cinema; however, there is also a good mix of other activities going on. There is a jazz evening on certain evenings throughout the summer, and also a blues day. These events are simply excellent, and visitors must be sure to sample the excellent sushi and fresh seafood prepared by award winning chefs right in front of your eyes.

The Camelot Outdoor Cinema is also host to the Flickerfest International Film Festival, which showcases some of the best international short film and is a great evening out for those looking for a quick film fix.

Movies have been shown in the memorial hall for decades, but it is only recently that they have moved outside into the open air. The summer cinema and events program is an important community event for many of the locals, but as a visitor you will be sure to be welcomed to join in too.

The Phoenix Cinema, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom

The wonderful Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley in the capital of the UK is a great place to catch a movie. A historically important movie house—it is the oldest purpose built cinema in the United Kingdom—the Phoenix shows a great mix of movies and short films.

Screening old classics such as Jane Eyre and Gone with the Wind, as well as blockbusters and kids favourites, the Phoenix is one of London’s best known older cinemas, and is independently run.

Like many of the United Kingdom’s older cinemas, the Phoenix Cinema is finished in an art deco style typical of many from a time gone by. The Phoenix also boasts a café restaurant, which has been kitted out in a modern art deco style to complement the exterior façade of the Phoenix. Here you can come for a quick drink before the movie, or perhaps a light lunch. The café is open from lunchtime every day.

Prices for a visit to the cinema are reasonable, and there is also a kids club and friends of the cinema scheme, which sees members getting extra discounts and benefits.

The history of this beautiful cinema stretches back 100 years. Inside the wonderful auditorium you can marvel at the gorgeous internal décor, vaulted ceiling, and comfortable seating. Through the cinema’s long history, it has seen silent movies since the opening in 1910, when a piano usually accompanied the movie.

The Phoenix broadcasted news footage and events from the two world wars, and continues right up to this day showing the best that modern cinema has to offer. The Phoenix has earned its place in cinema history as one that first showed a film with sound in the area and has continued to be a main stay in the local community.

The trust that manages the cinema’s finances has successfully (and sensitively) refurbished the cinema and reinstated some of the original features, including the café. Old and young alike love to come to the cinema to take in a movie and chat about the way the cinema once was. So important is the history of this cinema that there is even a book available for sale in the foyer detailing the impressive life span of this gorgeous movie theatre in London.

Museum of the Moving Image, New York, USA

This newly refurbished cinema is a great place to enjoy a classic movie in New York City. Dedicated to all moving image, art and movie magic, the cinema is a fantastic example of a brilliantly conceived building and line-up. It is not just a cinema, either. The Museum of the Moving Image in New York is a whole exhibition; it is the complete cinema experience for those who love cinema.

The museum is, of course, full of thousands of artefacts, scripts, art works and pieces dedicated to the moving image and film works throughout the ages. Combine a view of the museum with one of the arty movies for the film buffs ultimate day out.

The films themselves are a mix of documentaries, previews, and international movies. You are unlikely to see big name blockbuster here; this cinema is for the real movie junkie, who not only enjoys a slightly off the wall movie, but the incorporation of the museum and cinema itself for a great overall experience.

The numerous exhibitions housed in the museum complement the films being shown on screen. Jim Henson is getting a good run in the galleries and on the big screen alike.

However, the museum of the moving image does not stop there. It is also an integral part of the local community, sponsoring workshops and forums on the moving image and helping to promote film making amongst the youth of the community. 60,000 students every year benefit from the workshops and the museum is fast earning its place as a great supporter of local education.

Additionally, you can hire out one of the venues for your own private event. This will be a great venue for a charity fundraiser or even a party amongst friends, and the setting couldn’t be better. Have your guests wander around the museum and the studio before having a good old movie binge to finish it all off. There is also plenty to do for the family as well, with matinees, family workshops and activities for the big and small kids alike. This is certainly a great cinema for all.

The Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square, London UK

The Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square, has often been voted one of the best in the UK, and certainly is highly regarded in London. Situated in an enviable position just off Leicester Square in London’s prime entertainment district, the cinema shows a wide range of movies year round.

There is a fantastic mix of productions shown at the Prince Charles Cinema, which is named after Britain’s very own Prince in line to the throne. From the usual Hollywood blockbusters to old classics, with a mix of international and art house films thrown in to boot, there is something for everyone on the two screens of the cinema.

The cinema also screens the odd sing a long version of the much loved Sound of Music, which makes for a great day out for all the family. The cinema often promotes an environmental agenda, regularly showing documentaries that highlight the plight of the environment and the dangers facing the world.

The cinema’s canopy often shows not only the names of the movies being broadcast but also famous quotes and quirky sayings. The cinema was built in the 1960s and is rumoured to be haunted in the upper floors. Numerous sightings have been logged and staff members claim the ghost does all sorts of housekeeping for them!

It is of course possible to rent out this cinema for private hire and functions, and a look at the website will give you an idea of the great selection of all the movies shown at the cinema. Those who love the cinema can take advantage of the great membership, which gives a lot of great additional benefits. For those who just know that they are going to keep coming back, it is even possible to buy a lifetime membership.

Beaucaire Open Air Cinema, Beaucaire, Nimes, France

Situated in the open air along the old Roman Road near Nimes in the South of France, the outdoor movies shown at the Beaucaire castle are a real treat. The old castle, situated in the beautiful town of old streets and rivers, broadcasts movies on the flat wall of the building, allowing locals and tourists alike to take in the great movies on offer as part of a local festival.

As the heat of the sun subsides in the south of France, you can sit amongst friends and lavender and watch the movie, made even more special by the beautiful lighting illuminating the castle wall.

Beforehand, try any number of the great restaurants in Beaucaire along the river, before having a drink in the local brasserie whilst watching the boats go by with the lights on. Then, head over to the grounds of the castle, spread your blanket down, and settle in for a great French experience.

Entry is usually free as part of the many festivals that descend on the town every month, and may be combined with a music festival for some great entertainment. The only thing you will need is a blanket and perhaps a bottle of great local wine.

There is no set schedule to the movies, and you will need to check with the local tourist office in Nimes to get an idea of when the movies will be on. This ensures that the event is not crowded with tourists, and you will get a real authentic French experience surrounded by locals. The castle is itself beautiful, especially when lit up, and you will be able to view a part of local history whilst watching a modern movie with surround sound in the heat of the wonderful Languedoc region of the south of France. One of the best impromptu cinema experiences around.

Date posted: 22nd July, 2015

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