Eight Classic Films to See in the Theater


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Free seats in movie theater photo, public domain leisure CC0 image.

Movies being brought back to the big screen in the Loudoun area that deserve a viewing in a theater.

While some would say that they prefer to watch movies in the comfort of their own home, it is difficult to deny that going to the movie theater to watch a film in a crowded theater in a dark room is an enjoyable experience. While many people go to the theater to watch the latest big-budget blockbuster, some theaters hold events bringing classic films back to the big screen. Being in the cinema with other people can be an immersive experience, and can give viewers even more appreciation for films. For film lovers, there are plenty of films being shown at theaters in the Loudoun/Fairfax area that are worth seeing in theaters. 

Sept. 12 – The Godfather, 1972 – Regal Virginia Gateway, Gainesville, VA

Often regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, being ranked #2 on American Film Institute’s (AFI) Top 100 Films, Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece shows the rise of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and his succession of Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) as the head of the Corleone crime family. Setting a new standard for the modern era of cinema, The Godfather features a memorable story, stunning cinematography, and incredible acting from many on-screen legends who make appearances in this film. The film based on Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name should be a must-see in theaters for film fans. 

Sept. 13 – The Godfather Part II, 1974 – Regal Virginia Gateway, Gainesville, VA

Just as The Godfather is called the greatest film ever, Part II is regarded as the greatest sequel (highest ranked sequel on AFI’s Top 100 at #32), maintaining its strong writing, acting, and cinematography from its predecessor. Continuing Michael Corleone’s story as head of the crime family, it also details the past of his father, Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro), and his rise to power. A viewing of two of the greatest movies made on back-to-back days, in a theater, could be a memorable experience for lovers of the saga. 

Sept. 19 – The Terminator, 1984 – Angelika Film Center, Merrifield, VA

One of the most impactful action movies of the 1980s, The Terminator features Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career defining role as the infamous cyborg assassin that made him one of the most recognizable actors in Hollywood. Sent from a dystopian future, a human revolutionary (Michael Biehn) is tasked with protecting Sarah Connors (Linda Hamilton), the mother of a future revolutionary leader, from a cyborg killing machine (Schwarzenegger) with the goal of stopping the birth of her son. With fast-paced, explosive action scenes and memorable lines, The Terminator is a film that warrants a big screen viewing. 

Sept. 25 – Poltergeist, 1982 – Regal Fairfax Towne Center, Fairfax, VA

Written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper, Poltergeist is an all-time classic in the horror film genre. Beginning with a suburban family experiencing normal life, they start to experience strange, unexplainable events in their home that slowly turn more and more violent, until their youngest daughter goes missing. Poltergeist is everything a horror fan wants in a movie, with stressful, terrifying moments and disturbingly real special effects, giving life to an unforgettable film. 

Oct. 5 – The Birds, 1963 – Angelika Film Center, Merrifield, VA

The first of several Alfred Hitchcock films being shown at Angelika Film Center during October, The Birds turns innocent animals into terrifying villains. Following a wealthy socialite Melanie Daniel’s (Tippi Hedren) trip to a small bay community in California to meet lawyer Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor). What starts as a friendly visit turns into chaos when flocks of birds mysteriously start to terrorize the small community. Displaying Hitchcock’s ability to create thrills at any moment, The Birds is one of the many classics created by the Master of Suspense. 

Oct. 7 – Halloween, 1978 – Regal Fox Stadium, Ashburn, VA

Giving the world the silent, unstoppable psychopath Michael Myers (Nick Castle), John Carpenter’s cult classic is one of the most celebrated slasher films. Fifteen years after killing his sister as a child, Michael Myers escapes from a mental institution to terrorize his small home town on Halloween night. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasance, Halloween is a fun, violent, suspenseful experience that gave the public an obsession with slasher films throughout the 1980s.

Oct. 31 – Psycho, 1960 – Angelika Film Center, Merrifield, VA

Arguably Hitchcock’s most famous film, Psycho follows office worker Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) after stealing $40,000 from her job and fleeing her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. After driving through California, she stumbles upon the Bates motel, owned by Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), one of the most infamous villains in cinema history. Containing stellar acting, beautiful cinematography, and arguably the most recognizable scene in film, Psycho is possibly the most influential thriller film ever made and is a perfect film to watch on Halloween night in a theater. 

Nov. 7 – Jurassic Park, 1993 – Angelika Film Center, Merrifield, VA

Spielberg’s $63 million blockbuster, known for its significant impact on popular culture in the 1990s, was one of the biggest leaps for special effects in movies, with effects that rival most modern movies. Groundbreaking special effects, however, don’t distract from the entertaining story of three scientists (Sam Niell, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum) being asked to examine a theme park featuring prehistoric creatures as its main attraction, before a sequence of events makes them fight for their lives. Jurassic Park is undoubtedly one of the most influential films of the past three decades and is worth seeing in theaters.