Guides for Sydney movie lovers
Movie lists you'll love
The best cinemas in Sydney
Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace
Without doubt the grandest cinema in Sydney, Cremorne’s Art Deco picture palace is a stunning step back in time. Built in 1935 by George Kenworthy, the top theatrical architect of the period, today’s version is even glitzier than the original thanks to a $2.5-million restoration some years back by owner and local TV celeb Mike Walsh. Each of the six auditoria has its own colour scheme and decor, but the 744-seat Orpheum is the true star of the show. It even has a genuine Wurlitzer cinema organ, which rises out of a stage pit on weekend evenings complete with flashing lights and a grinning organist. Expect a mix of mainstream US, British and Australian fare, with some art-house, special presentations and the occasional cabaret show.
Ritz Cinema Randwick
With a distinctive Art Deco design restored to its former 1930s glory and an impressive sound system, the six-screen Ritz cinema is both a local landmark and an excellent venue for catching the latest mainstream releases. Signs explain the regulations – no alcohol, bare feet, smoking or skateboards – which make sense if you hit the place in the afternoon after school’s out. In the evening the place attracts a different crowd, including film geeks who seek out the Ritz for its great acoustics and old-fashioned flair. Upstairs the inimitable Bar Ritz boasts a marble bar and balcony – perfect for pre- and post-film drinks. Bus 372, 373, 376, 377.
Golden Age Cinema
It was one of the most exciting new movie theatre openings in Sydney since, well, the golden age of cinema itself. Since 2013, the Golden Age Cinema and Bar has been the much-loved swank basement occupant inside the stunning Art Deco Paramount building on Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills. The building was constructed in 1940 as the offices of Paramount Pictures, with a basement theatrette for the previewing of movies to cinema owners. The space was utilised during World War II for the screening of news reels and informational films for the military. In its time, the building has been visited by such Hollywood stars as Bob Hope and Charlton Heston. The creators of Melbourne's Rooftop Cinema – Barry, Bob and Chris Barton – tried for many years to launch a similar rooftop project on top of the Paramount building. Frustrated by local residents' objections, they opted instead to convert the old screening room into a 60-seat cinema with an adjoining bar. Cinema seats from the 1940s were located in Switzerland and were installed in the space. Two vintage projectors remain on the premises, although the new cinema utilises a digital projector. As the boutique Golden Age Cinema, it screens both classic films and new releases as programmed by Kate Jinx, host of FBi's Picture Show. Alongside fine wines, high-quality cinema snacks are offered in the adjoining bar – expect the best sundaes ever – and chefs will pair menus with films. The building also houses Paramount Coffee Project, fr
This independent, family owned twin cinema of Roseville is quaint, lovely and local. Originally a town hall, it became a cinema in 1919 and underwent a renovation in 2011 They screen a wonderful mix match of art house, foreign and independent movies. There are crying rooms for parents with babies, and they have a bar!
Palace Norton Street Cinemas
Leichhardt's Palace Cinemas were fully refurbed in 2013 and now have eight auditoria, all licensed, and an impressive foyer with a lounge bar and café on site. Palace Norton Street plays host to some of the best annual film festivals such as the French, Spanish, Greek, German and Italian. It is also in close proximity to the eateries and vibrant culture of Norton Street.