Prince Charles Cinema

Cinemas , Independent Leicester Square
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(13 user reviews)
63 Love It
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The Prince Charles in Leicester Square is the only cinema in London where no one is going to shush you. In fact, it’s all about audience participation. Aca-along to ‘Pitch Perfect’, sing-along to ‘Frozen’ or get on your best jimjams and settle in for a marathon all-night pajama party. The Prince Charles started life as a porn cinema and it’s still central London’s wild card cinema. The programme isn’t quite as sleazy as it might’ve been 40 years ago, but it’s still a fantastic blend of new-ish blockbusters and arthouse titles with heaps of horror, sci-fi and teen-flick all-nighters, double bills and short seasons, often screened from 16mm or 35mm celluloid. Luxurious it ain’t, but it’s comfy, cheap and very cheerful, and the programming is as good as it gets. Voted 'best for fun' in Time Out's cinema awards.

Venue name: Prince Charles Cinema
Contact:
Address: 7 Leicester Place
London
WC2H 7BP
Transport: Tube: Leicester Sq
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  • Time Out says
    • 5 out of 5 stars
    ‘If a person can’t afford dog food, then they shouldn’t have a dog,’ snaps a preppy store clerk to Wendy (Michelle Williams) after catching her stealing food for her beloved yellow-gold retriever, Lucy. The clerk’s sentiment captures the debate at...
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  • Time Out says
    • 4 out of 5 stars
    There was already something wonderfully weird and carnivalesque about Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone's past films about the Naples mafiosi ('Gomorrah') and our modern yearning for celebrity ('Reality'). Now, the director has let his circus ringm...
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  • Time Out says
    • 4 out of 5 stars
    Michael Moore, still the baseball-hatted icon of lefty discontent (if looking schlumpier 26 years after 'Roger & Me') delivers his latest documentary provocation, which refreshingly turns out to be one of his more hopeful and celebratory efforts. ...
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  • Time Out says
    • 4 out of 5 stars
    Colombia is not a nation known for its cinema (to be fair, it’s probably tough to focus on the creative process when your nation's been beset by six decades of armed conflict). Which makes ‘Embrace of the Serpent’ – nominated for Best Foreign Film...
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  • Time Out says
    • 4 out of 5 stars
    Sorry, Taylor Swift, but #girlsquad of the year goes to the five sisters in Turkish director Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s brilliant debut drama. ‘Mustang’ feels unlike anything you’ve seen before; it’s like a cross between a prison-break movie, an arthou...
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  • Time Out says
    • 4 out of 5 stars
    You can’t help but become acutely aware of your eyesight – if you’re lucky enough to have it – while watching a film about living with blindness. This creative British doc tells the story of John Hull, an Australian academic living in the UK whose...
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  • Time Out says
    • 4 out of 5 stars
    ‘If I loved you less,’ Jane Austen famously wrote in ‘Emma’, ‘I might be able to talk about it more.’ Judging from the non-stop chat in Whit Stillman’s witty, winning comedy based on Austen’s novel ‘Lady Susan’, love is barely on the minds of its ...
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  • Time Out says
    • 4 out of 5 stars
    It’s the end of an era. After three decades legendary Japanese animator Studio Ghibli has ceased production, which means that ‘When Marnie Was There’ is its last film for the foreseeable future. Adapted from a 1967 novel by British author Joan G R...
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Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|13
1 person listening
Jojuj
Tastemaker

It's a conundrum: the Prince Charles has one of the best film programmes in London, but also the worst-designed theatre I've ever seen. Against all reason, it slopes downward from the stage, so that if you're in the first half of the cinema, your view is partially obstructed by the seats in front of you. If you're in the back half, there's a strange overhang that creates a confining atmosphere. And the aisles are so narrow that, even while standing, it's difficult to give others enough space to reach their seats. 


If the programming remained the same, but the theatre itself were redesigned or moved, this would be a 5-star cinema.

Tom Bruce
Tastemaker

For the experience it provides, this is London's best value cinema. While the Prince Charles rarely has all the latest releases - or if it does, they usually get them pretty late compared with the massive chain flagships for Odeon and Vue just around the corner in Leicester Square -  it does have a fantastically unique atmosphere and specially catered screening schedule which demonstrates a profound dedication to cinema, and the people who love it. 


On a typical day the PCC might be showing a foreign indie drama (probably something Scandinavian), an Arnold Schwarzenegger action double-bill, and a singalong Dinsey musical. One after the other. As if it's no big deal. Then a 20:01 screening of sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey for good measure, a showing which I have drunkenly stumbled into twice after calling a pub crawl short to sit in a chair and look at a screen instead. Little did I know, the screen was staring back at me! If the theory about the monolith being Kubrick's representation of the reflective nature of cinema is to be believed. More likely than his admission of faking the moon landings or being a member of the NWO, anyway. 


All the staff at Prince Charles are incredibly friendly; they're the type of people who might (and have) notice that you're wearing a t-shirt bearing an obscure cult movie reference, and not only mention it but do so by nonchalantly spitting out a quote from the movie in question, to which you excitedly reply, sparking a back and forth chain of fanboy/girl glee. Everyone likes the Prince Charles. It's why Edgar Wright had his first film screened there, and why he personally attended a movie marathon of all his works which they hosted. It's why the inimitable auteur, Tommy Wuseau, came to host one of their monthly screenings of his magnum opus, The Room, at which everyone in attendance throws plastic spoons at the  screen. 


When you come out of the Prince Charles, charged by cinema and fairly priced booze, you have all of London at your disposal. Chinatown beckons. 

Nicky G
Tastemaker

This is a real cinema lover's cinema - good films and amazing value. They used to do Sunday morning hangover specials for something like £10 for your ticket and a bacon butty and this to me really epitomises their general attitude. They also do a good SInga-long-a evening (Grease and Rocky Horror Show being personal faves). The only thing they could do better, though you could argue this isn't the point, is more comfortable seats - especially for the all-nighters. A blanket or heating control of some sort wouldn't go amiss either (it got freezing at 2am). That said, you could probably bring your own. Just be prepared!

Tiago Almeida
Tastemaker

One of my favorites cinemas when it come to seeing those classics that we all grew up with.

So far I've seen 'Home Alone', 'Gremlins', 'Alien', 'Lord of the Ring' and the latest one (and it's already a tradition) was 'Elf' Quote along.

The staff makes every thing very friendly and fun and you feel at home and as a kid again.

jeaniekarl
Tastemaker

This well established ‘proud of having the title of the only independent cinema based in the west end’ is a cult institution. In the heart of Leicester square it’s well located just moments from Soho, China Town so where better to go after a quick bite to eat. This is a special place that is very close to my heart. There is something incredibly charming about this small independent cinema and I can only assume that this is the main reason why this has kept going for so long despite masses of nearby competition. There's nothing fancy about it, it doesn't always offer the latest blockbuster viewings and releases but what it does provide could be considered a film lovers paradise or close to that anyway. The prices are very reasonable with good range of drinks and snacks if fuelling during your film is a must. What is even better is the discounted films and very reasonable membership options on offer.  Their run of movie marathons in particular Studio Ghibli, Christmas, Halloween themes and of course the classics, sing alongs, quote alongs are impressive. It is also for some strange reason renowned for the film The Room, that has become a bit of a cult classic of late and apparently watch out for the occasional guest appearances too. There are already a few films that are on my list of things to see this year, I’ll be looking forward to visiting this place again soon.

Melanie H

Vintage art house cinema showcasing a great range of recently released European and International films.

Michelle v

We very much enjoyed ‘Raleigh Ritchie Presents’. The format of the evening was a great idea: first Raleigh's "old" music video, then one of his favourite films "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind", his new music video and a Q&A. It was insightful to learn more about how music videos are made. I had not seen the film before, so it was great seeing it on the big screen. The cinema has friendly staff and comfy seats. I'd very much like to go to more of these events :)

Alex F

‘Raleigh Ritchie Presents’ was a great evening, looking into the two different music videos he had made for his single Blood Sport, a Q&A with Raleigh himself and the team that put the music video together and in the middle of it all a viewing of the classic film Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.

It was an entertaining evening because it was great to get an insight into how music videos are made and that Raleigh was such an enthusiast and likeable guy, completely different to the character he plays in Game Of Thrones. I was also surprised about how much I enjoyed seeing Eternal Sunshine again but this time on the big screen in such a nice cinema. It was only a shame that people seemed to shy away from asking questions in the Q&A.

Kateryna V
Tastemaker

‘Raleigh Ritchie Presents’ with Time Out was a great event. Raleigh really is a sweetheart. Seems very genuine. And young :) 

I must commend the format. What a great idea to have an artist screen the film, that has influenced his work. I'd love to see more of that. They do that in NYC, you know! Like Moby screening David Lynch's Inland Empire and explaining how postmodernist films have influenced him.

P.S.: Did PCC get new armchairs? They were comfy. Haven't been a while, so can't remember.

Natalia V

We really enjoyed the full evening and the presentation of Raleigh Ritchie new video. Great atmosphere and cinema! Definitely coming back. X

MooseInLondon
Tastemaker

I love me some cinema-- but I typically dread paying silly prices to sit in a auditorium with barely comfortable chair, sticky floors, and way overpriced concessions. PCC is a breath of fresh air in the tourist trap known as Leicester Square. They have an awesome movie line up, ranging from classics to new(-ish) releases. Many of them are themed events, with pyjama parties and singalong/quotealongs being more the norm than an outlier. They also have some pretty kick-ass movie marathons, with short 10-15 minute breaks in between to pop to the bar, go out and get some food, or grab a loo break 


Speaking of the bar-- amazing beer selection! Great selection of IPAs downstairs, and and at not too unreasonable prices for our fair city. 


Highly recommend popping in for a film if around the area and looking for something a bit more unique. Best thing also is with Chinatown as its neighbour, you can't complain about a lack of post-film dinner choices. Also recommend combining with Experimental Cocktail Club or similar for an awesome date :)

Tara P
Tastemaker

A London cinema unlike any other, the Prince Charles offers standard film showings alongside  unique events. As a taster, I've been to 4 singalongs, 1 quiz, a pixar sleepover and - the cherry on top - a showing of 'The Room' with a live appearance by Tommy Wiseau. When I become prime minister I plan to make it obligatory that everyone watches The Room at least once!


If you like film, a touch of randomness and a slightly different night out, then check out the PC's special event planner - there's likely to be something for you.