Prince Charles Cinema

Cinemas, Independent Leicester Square
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(22user reviews)
121 Love It
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Prince Charles Cinema

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.

Posted:

Venue name: Prince Charles Cinema
Contact:
Address: 7 Leicester Place
London
WC2H 7BP
Transport: Tube: Leicester Sq
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To improve this listing email: feedback@timeout.com
  • Fun. It’s a crucial but often overlooked element in a summer blockbuster comic-book adaptation and it’s in ‘Hellboy’ by the spadeload. How could it not be when the central figure is a grouchy 60-year-old adolescent seven-foot half-human devil wi...
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  • Time Out says
    • 3 out of 5 stars
    Playing it more low key and less brash than in ‘Marie Antoinette’, Sofia Coppola is back in another rarefied world for her fourth feature and her first on home turf since ‘The Virgin Suicides’. This time she swaps Versailles for Sunset Boulevard a...
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  • Is it possible to make a film that evokes both ‘Barry Lyndon’ and ‘National Lampoon’s European Vacation’? Sofia Coppola has had a decent stab at it. Her schtick in writing and directing this dreamy evocation of the Versailles life of Marie Antoine...
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  • Time Out says
    • 2 out of 5 stars
    ‘You are relentlessly annoying,’ barks arms dealer Ed Skrein to Ryan Reynolds’s wisecracking, fetish-clad anti-superhero midway through this latest romp inspired by a Marvel comic. It’s an insult that applies just as easily to the film itself. Blo...
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  • Time Out says
    • 4 out of 5 stars
    Decadence is both the subject and the style in ‘Oldboy’ director Park Chan-wook’s elegant, intensely romantic adaptation of Sarah Waters’s spicy bestseller ‘Fingersmith’. Shifting the action from Victorian England to pre-war Korea under Japanese r...
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  • Time Out says
    • 5 out of 5 stars
    ‘I demand satisfaction!’ These words echo throughout Stanley Kubrick’s sedate, sumptuous eighteenth-century satire, as men in outrageous frocks challenge one another to pistols at dawn over matters of love and honour. But any audience member who g...
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:12
  • 4 star:8
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|22
1 person listening
Minki Winky
tastemaker

Great independent cinema, it's definitely worth looking at their program with the specially curated evenings, went to an all-night Disney Pyjama Party and it was fabulous! The bar was open until late (although they said they only get a handful of late licences a year, so may not be the case with their other screenings), the staff was kind and attentive (even at 6 am), and the atmosphere was very nice. As the name suggests, people were in their jammies, so you can imagine the sight of PJ-clad people queuing for the loo in their socks at 3 am.

The Disney marathon went on for nearly 12 hours, but the real killer is the Harry Potter one - over 21 hours, if you dare!

Julie R
Tastemaker

This is a hidden treasure of London.  Located just off Leicester Square, it has a selection of films, not always the latest ones and is quite a good price, especially if you become a member.  They regularly have sing-a-longs, movie all-nighters and show unusual versions of films such as films in 70mm of 35mm (not sure what difference it makes!). I showed my son their Christmas film all nighter, but he wouldn't go because he disagreed with their choice of Die Hard as a Christmas film (it is).


I went to this cinema a couple of times as part of the BFI Film Festival and it is a nice setting, with a good small bar downstairs.  The seats are pretty comfortable, but we sat in the back row for a horror film and there was a curtain behind us which made it even eerier!  When we checked afterwards, we found the curtain just covered a wall, so we needn't have worried about someone jumping out on us!

I wold definitely recommend this cinema.

MillieMollyMoo
Tastemaker

I have been going to this cinema since I was a teenager and I love it. Back in the day it was a bit run down and felt like a secret,sorta seedy joint,where you catch re-run films and had a constant showing of Rocky Horror Show. It's still retro but cleaned itself up,you can enjoy this historic cinema with all the trimmings of a an art house cinema. Good cinema nibbles and craft beers aplenty. With now two screens,there is more on offer than ever. Alongside Sing-A-Long Rocky,Sound of music or quotation Mean Girls,Labyrinth Masked Ball,this is for the cult loving film lover. Very reasonable tickets too,you could spend all day taking a trip down memory lane in your filmic mind. Loads of special events,keep an eye of there website for all the things happening. This place is an absolute gem. 

Karolina Muczacza
tastemaker

pretty unusual to find a venue like Prince Charles among Odeons or Cinewords at Leicester square. 

The film selection includes current and old school movies as well cult classics, they organize various events like pizza and beer nights - you can be sure there will always be something for everyone's taste. 

If you love cinema I would recommend buying a membership immediately as there £1 screenings every week!

Great atmosphere, lovely bar downstairs and outstanding programme - best cinema I have ever visited. 


Anaelle
Tastemaker

Fun independent cinema you need to check out!


Don’t expect the latest releases and mega blockbusters – this place is not about that. Instead, you’ll have the chance to enjoy special movie marathons like all three ‘Back to the future’, great retrospectives like Kubrick’s, amazing sing-a-long-a like the Frozen one, interesting events like Raleigh Ritchie introducing his new single and of course the famous pizza and beer nights where your drink and nibble is included in your ticket price. So book yourself a seat for one of the some good re-runs and enjoy the incredible vibe this place can offer.

MatureLinda
tastemaker

Worth becoming a member for £10/£7.50 p.a. for the member screenings alone (£1) - and a reduction on the bar prices!  Generally the cinema area itself feels a little "tired" but excellent value for money, friendly staff and wonderful sing-along parties.

Stephanie C
tastemaker

I love this cinema. I just wished I had more time to go to it. Its the type of place where if it ever shut down, there would be protests to save it with placards saying its a London icon. This place shows cheap films that aren't the latest film out but that doesnt matter. It still sells popcorn and even better, it does film nights with common themes but best of all sing a longs :D I love how the cinema is constantly evolving and the best thing has to be Frozen Sing a long but just for adults :D Oh and yes I did dress up! 

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.