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Free outdoor movies for New York City families in summer 2014

From McCarren Park to the Intrepid, the city is full of free outdoor movies for young cinephiles this summer.

Syfy Movies with a View

Syfy Movies with a View Photograph: Etienne Frossard

The season of outdoor movies is upon us, and we've rounded up the best spots to catch gratis flicks under the stars—Bryant Park, Central Park, McCarren Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park and everywhere in between! Bring a blanket (or folding chair) and some treats, and settle in for an alfresco family movie night. (You may need to extend your little one's bedtime since many of the films start past dark!) Make sure to check the series' official sites for rain dates and any last-minute schedule changes.

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Free outdoor movies

Intrepid Summer Movie Series: Top Gun

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Sit atop the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's flight deck to see a set of adventure-themed flicks that the tween set will love. On tap for this year's series: Top Gun (May 23), Independence Day (July 10), Gravity (July 17), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (July 24), The Hunt for Red October (July 31), Spaceballs (Aug 7) and Captain Phillips (Aug 14). All ages.

  1. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Pier 86, Twelfth Ave, at 46th St, 10036
  2. Until Fri May 23
More info

Bryant Park Summer Film Festival

  • Free

This free outdoor movie festival brings weekly screenings to the lawn of Bryant Park every Monday throughout the summer. This season's best family-friendly offerings are The Karate Kid (Aug 4) and the 1940 flick The Mark of Zorro (June 23), but tweens and teens might also enjoy A Soldier's Story (June 30) and Lover Come Back (Aug 11). Consider leaving the kids at home for the fest's other grown-up flicks. Check the event's website for a full schedule of films. The lawn opens at 5pm and movies start at sundown, so show up early if you want a good spot. All ages.

  1. Bryant Park Sixth Ave, between 40th and 42nd Sts
  2. Mon Jun 16 - Mon Aug 18
More info

Movies Under the Stars

  • Free

Take a quick ride on the Path train to Hoboken to experience a free night of entertainment for the entire family with Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. This year's kid-friendly screenings include Saving Mr. Banks (June 25), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (July 23), E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (July 30), Despicable Me 2 (Aug 6), The Lego Movie (Aug 13) and—wait for it—Frozen (Aug 20)! Ages 4 and up.

  1. Pier A Park Frank Sinatra Dr, at 1st St
  2. Until Wed Aug 20
More info

Summer on the Hudson Pier 1 Picture Shows

  • Free

While not all of these outdoor film screenings are geared toward the younger crowd, the movies in this year's series are sure to delight moviegoers with tweens and older children. Look out for family-friendly classics like Clueless (July 9), Back to the Future (July 16), Harold and Maude (July 23), The Princess Bride (July 30), Anchors Aweigh (Aug 6) and The Outsiders (Aug 13). All ages.

  1. Pier I, Riverside Park South W 66th St, at the Hudson River
  2. Until Wed Aug 13
More info

SummerScreen at McCarren Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

While this Williamsburg-based series is targeted toward adults, older kids and tweens might enjoy some of the titles, like Back to the Future (July 9) and Zoolander (July 16). Tweens can also start earning their indie cred by rocking out to sets by local Brooklyn bands before the films start. Live music starts at 6:30pm. Visit summerscreen.org for a complete schedule. Ages 5 and up.

  1. McCarren Park Bayard St to Nassau Ave, between Leonard and North 12 Sts
  2. Wed Jul 10 - Wed Aug 14
More info

Syfy Movies With A View

  • Free

Set against a spectacular view of lower Manhattan, this outdoor movie mainstay at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1 seems to garner a larger following with each passing year. That being the case, be sure to arrive early to beat the massive crowds—you'll stay entertained with pre-movie sets by local DJs as well as a short film. While this is not a strictly family-friendly series (many flicks are rated R), this year's more kid-friendly picks include Duck Soup (July 10), Fantastic Mr. Fox (July 24), and Beetlejuice (July 31). Music starts at 6pm, movies begin at sundown. All ages.

  1. Brooklyn Bridge Park Main St, at Fulton Ferry Landing, 11201
  2. Thu Jul 31
More info

RiverFlicks for Kids

  • Free

Not only does this annual series feature a gorgeous view of the Hudson River, but kids can also fill their bellies with free popcorn as they settle in for a Friday night family flick. On the lineup this year are recent hits as well as classics: Despicable Me 2 (July 11), Ghostbusters (July 18), Ghostbusters 2 (July 25), Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 (Aug 1), Groundhog Day (Aug 8), Smurfs 2 (Aug 15) and The Wizard of Oz (Aug 22). Movies begin at dusk, usually around 8:30pm. Visit riverflicks.com for a complete schedule. All ages.

  1. Hudson River Park at Pier 46 West St, at Charles St
  2. Fri Jul 11 - Fri Aug 22
More info

12th Annual Central Park Film Festival

  • Free

Midpark at 69th St, enter at Fifth Ave and 72nd St. This series camps out in a spot just north of Sheep Meadow for five nights straight, and this year's theme celebrates movies filmed right here in New York City. First, see Big (Aug 18), followed by The Royal Tenenbaums (Aug 19), The Way We Were (Aug 20), Ghostbusters (Aug 21) and Rear Window (Aug 22). All ages.

  1. Central Park 59th St to 110th St, between Fifth and Eighth Aves
  2. Thu Aug 18 - Mon Aug 22
More info

Bronx Terminal Market's Free Summer Film Series

  • Free

Rooftop Films teams up with the massive Bronx shopping center to bring family-friendly flicks to the Level 6 garage. Feel free to bring lawn chairs, beach towels and snacks to see Frozen (July 8), The Odd Life of Timothy Green (July 25) and Coudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (July 29). Pre-film community activities start at 7pm, movies screen at sunset (around 8). All ages.

  1. Bronx Terminal Market 610 Gateway Center Boulevard, at 150th St, 10451
  2. Until Tue Jul 29
More info

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