One of the country’s last, great independent theaters, the Castro Theater has been entertaining San Franciscans since 1922. Inside, the auditorium is an elegant mix of art deco, Spanish and Asian influences: a dream space of classical murals and rare old film posters, with ceilings that shimmer with gold and films introduced to the strains of a Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ that rises from beneath the stage. At the Castro, the films lean more towards the classic and obscure and include the Noir City Film Festival (January) and family-friendly singalongs.
San Francisco has appeared in more than 4,000 movies and, over the years, most of them have been shown at one of the city’s best movie theaters. Grande dames like San Francisco’s Castro Theatre, and Oakland’s Grand Lake Renaissance Theatre and Paramount Theatre for the Arts have been lovingly restored and maintained, while smaller venues, such as the fog-enshrouded Balboa in the Richmond District still cling to the bygone era of fresh popcorn and noir glamour. Settle in for one of Hollywood’s hottest blockbusters or show up for one of the long list of film festivals on the calendar of San Francisco events, including the Noir City Film Festival, the SF IndieFest and the San Francisco International Film Festival.
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