Rio Cinema (Dalston)

  • Cinemas
  • Independent
63 Love It
Alastair Wiper
Stoke Newington

This Dalston cinema opened as the Kingsland Empire in 1915 (although films were shown on the same site several years before in a converted shop). The venue was significantly changed in the 1930s and reopened as the Classic in 1937 – very similar to how it looks today. It became the Rio in 1976 and is now one of the few genuinely independent movie houses in London. A single-screen cinema with a grand, two-floor auditorium, the Rio shows mostly independent and foreign films, with a healthy sprinkling of double bills, classics and films for kids. The foyer is a compact but welcoming place to find food and drink before a film – although you might want to save yourself for one of Dalston’s Turkish restaurants.

Venue name: Rio Cinema (Dalston)
Address: 107 Kingsland High St
E8 2PY
Transport: Rail: Dalston Kingsland
Do you own this business?
  • Read more
  • Time Out says
    • 4 out of 5 stars
    Making no attempt to deliver a conventional cradle-to-grave biopic, Abel Ferrara instead offers a subtly suggestive cameo of the great Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini’s fateful final few days. Bearing a striking resemblance to his subject (e...
    Read more
  • This is not an action movie, but a cerebral comedy - which is to say, an ideas movie. Some of those ideas are startling, provocative, transgressive, even subversive. They're also pretty funny. It goes like this: Norton used to be an upwardly mobil...
    Read more
    • Time Out says
      • 4 out of 5 stars
      Showing a signature flair missing since 'Gladiator' (2000), Ridley Scott returns to mainstream mastery with 'The Martian', a space misadventure turned survivor’s tale. Similarities to 'Apollo 13' and the more recent 'Gravity' will be obvious to an...
      Read more
    • Time Out says
      • 3 out of 5 stars
      In an era when so many children are inseparable from their handheld devices, who’d imagine that a simple piece of paper could provide so much fun? So kudos to this bright and breezy half-term Aussie kids flick for realising that competitive paper ...
      Read more
      • Time Out says
        • 4 out of 5 stars
        The full picture emerges slowly in ‘Room’, Lenny Abrahamson’s powerful, sensitive survival drama. Details arrive like the droplets of rain that fall on the skylight of the shed in which a mother and child are locked. But it’s clear from the start ...
        Read more
      • Time Out says
        • 5 out of 5 stars
        ‘This is Boston,’ says Stanley Tucci’s seen-it-all victims’ lawyer to a reporter in ‘Spotlight’, echoing that famous last line in ‘Chinatown’: ‘Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown’. But forgetting isn’t an option sometimes: ‘Spotlight’ calmly and powe...
        Read more

      Average User Rating

      4.3 / 5

      Rating Breakdown

      • 5 star:5
      • 4 star:1
      • 3 star:0
      • 2 star:0
      • 1 star:1
      1 person listening
      Tom H

      East London's loveliest cinema, totally lacking in the corporate grimness of Hackney Picturehouse. Friendly, reasonably priced and great programming. Stunning building, too.

      Victoria B

      My favorite cinema! Interesting and diverse selection of films and for a reasonable price (Monday's are only £6!). One of the last remaining truly independent cinemas.

      Alanna S

      Amazing independent cinema. It's old school charm might not be to everyone's taste. The seats are a bit worn and tatty and the screen is certainly no I-max but for me that's part of the fun. There is only one screen but they show a good variety of films. Save your money and avoid the Popcorn, it can be a bit stale!

      Sheila M

      This cinema needs to be treasured as one of the crown jewels in London's gems. As one of the last standing truly independent cinemas in London, it has not only resisted the commercialisation and 'corporatisation' of the film industry in the UK, but continues to serve its local community with a really colourful and diverse array of art & foreign language films as well as the big blockbusters, and still manages to keep it all affordable. London would be culturally lacking without the Rio Cinema.

      Fabrice B

      Disagree. Very uncomfortable seats, smells of damp, needs a lick of paint. Was a member for a year purely to enjoy their Sunday double bills. The auditorium was always closed for no apparent reason (I suspect because it's just more work for staff and they can't be bothered). Like many venues in London that are automatically praised by hipsters for their "authenticity", it should be really judged for the poor state it's in and the obvious lack of care from management.

      Gill ward

      lovely, quaint. old style cinema with a fantastic range of old and new films for the young, old and just about anyone. it's a proper stalwart of Dalston. There's mother and baby film sessions. a cafe serving hot and cold drinks, snacks and cake. it's laid back, serious about film, gets along with business quietly, has interesting themes from time to time and is like cinema used to be, smell, feel and exist. Don't mess around with the chains, the Rio's a proper gem and long may she live.