Sitting outside on a balmy summer night and watching one of your favorite films with the Manhattan skyline in the background almost makes the stinking mounds of cooking garbage on the street and the hellish temperatures in subways stations worth it. With that in mind, here are some of the best upcoming outdoor film series this city has to offer. Best of all: Most of these are free!
This one goes out to all the Francophiles out there. In collaboration with the French Embassy and the French-American Cultural Exchange Foundation, this year’s theme will be “Summer in Paris” and features a solid mix of classics and lesser-known French cinema gems, all distributed across a variety of NYC parks. New Wave fans will particularly appreciate the Godard, Besson, and Truffaut on the menu. The next screening is Yves Robert’s 1972 film The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe, tonight, June 10, at 8:30pm at Washington Square Park. Other upcoming highlights include François Truffaut’s 1959 masterpiece The 400 Blows and the more contemporary Girlhood, from 2014. All films are free, and are shown in the original with English subtitles
Movies under the Stars
The NYC Parks Department hosts its own free summer film series, with a wide variety of both newer releases and well-known classics. The lineup includes kid-friendly features such as Inside Out and Zootopia, as well as screening the absolute best film of all times (Space Jam, on June 11th!!!) and musicals such as Rent and Chicago. Check the Parks Department’s website for locations.
What’s better than sitting on the grass and watching an indie film as night settles over the buzzing city? Why, watching said film on a rooftop, of course. Everything’s better on a rooftop, and free film screenings are no exception. Rooftop Films returns this year with its acclaimed Summer Series, which shows both feature length films, documentaries, and a wide variety of shorts, the majority of which are independently produced. Many of the screenings are free, such as this tonight’s Sundance Short Films, shown at 9pm at the Metrotech Commons in Downtown Brooklyn. Check the schedule for the full lineup and locations across the city.
Rooftop Cinema Club
You thought there was only going to be one rooftop film series this summer? Amateur. The export from London is back this summer to bring a wide variety of classics and new releases to Bushwick and Midtown. The screenings sell out quickly, so it’s wise to act soon, but you can still catch gems such as Coming to America (on the 13th), Blade Runner (on the 15th), or Taxi Driver (on the 23rd).
Although Films in Tompkins hasn’t announced this year’s lineup yet, but it promises to be the usual solid mix of beloved classics and lesser-known pieces. The films, which are always free, are usually preceded by gigs from different bands, and last year there was food, too! Plus, the films were selected by a roster of high-profile individuals including Matthew Broderick, who chose the Al Pacino flick Dog Day Afternoon, and James Franco, who chose Chinatown.
Williamsburg’s beloved free screening series is back! Audience favorites such as Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (on July 13), 10 Things I Hate About You (on July 27), and Wes Anderson’s classic The Royal Tenenbaums (on August 3), everyone’s sure to find something to please their cinematic tastes. As is de rigueur, there will be live music beforehand, as well as a bevy of food and drinks from local vendors. The last film of the series, shown on August 10, will be voted on by the audience. Bring a lawn chair if you have one, or at least some very comfy cushions.
Go out and live your best life in front of a massive screen. Hey, you’re spending time outdoors, aren’t you?