What’s the First Movie You Remember Seeing in a Theater?

I know that I saw the original Star Wars in theater with my dad and my brother during the film’s original run in 1977. Unfortunately, I have no memory of this…or seeing The Empire Strikes Back either. (For the record, I do vividly recall waiting in a massive, excitement-packed line to see Return of the Jedi on opening day).

Pardon my self-indulgence here, but I’m getting to a point — even though I know that I went to the movies before 1979, that is the year that I remember seeing a film for the first time: The Muppet Movie. Memory is, as it has been oft noted, a strange thing indeed. Yet I can recall so many details from that day vividly, from taking the bus there with my mom to jokes and songs that left an indelible mark on my younger self. (Indeed, it remains a favorite to this day).

All of this leads into this week’s Open Thread: Even if you know you saw films before, what is the first movie that you can actually remember seeing in a theater? Share your memories about it, including the movie itself obviously, as well as any small recollections about that experience in the comments below. Since motion pictures serve such a huge role in our society, these kind of memories are important as they are a part of our shared cultural heritage!

This article originally ran in 2018 and is being reprinted as part of our tenth anniversary celebrations!

  • http://themidnitedrive-in.blogspot.com Quiggy

    Some Disney flick like Bedknobs and Broomsticks probably. I don’t really remember much from my childhood. According to my father we went and saw Patton, and it was from that I was forbidden for years to see anything rated above G, until I practically begged to see Star Wars. And that is the earliest I can actually remember seeing. I was about 15.

  • Butch Knouse

    I remember Flight of the Phoenix at the Granada Theater in Kansas City, KS, I was 9. I also remember seeing The Bridge on the River Kwai at a drive-in when I was 7.

  • David Churchill

    The Sound of Music. Growing up, we didn’t have much money, so going to the movies was not high on our priority list. But we made an exception for that movie!

  • teko52

    The Fly, with Vincent Price.

  • garykevinware

    Lilies of the Field (1963) Amen.

  • Tom Johnson

    My parents took me to see a re-release of Snow White – I must have been four or five. I didn’t get that it was animated. And I fell hard in love with Snow herself.
    I think my father telling me it was only a cartoon (his words) was my first major love heart-break.

  • Alf Messina

    “Samson and Delilah”(1949). Made a few years before I was born, this is the earliest film of the few which made a big impression on me when I was little. Other stand-outs were “The Ten Commandments”(1956); “Bonjour Tristesse”(1958) ; “Invisible Invaders”(1959) & “The Legend of Tom Dooley”(1959)

  • Tom Rowley

    The Legend of Tom Dooley w/ Michael Landon

  • Movie Fan

    I think my first movie memory is of the theme song from The Magnificent Seven (1960). The first movie I remember watching at a theater is The Three Lives of Thomasina (1963). Tickets cost ten cents. With a pass, you could get in for a penny (to cover the sales tax.) Popcorn was a nickel, soda a dime. We didn’t live in town so going to the movies was a rare treat.

  • williamsommerwerck

    I believe it was a reissue of “King Kong”, about 65 years ago.

  • richardpeck

    Robin Hood with Errol Flynn. I recall one scene where they’re eating bloody meat with bare hands. Made me sort of sick to my stomach

  • David c.

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. For a four year old the flying car was amazing and made me a movie lover ever since.

  • Mike Randall

    Ben Hur was my first – one of the greatest movies ever produced