Clifton Theatre

1138 Main Avenue,
Clifton, NJ 07013

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Clifton Theatre

Located at the corner of Main Avenue and Clifton Avenue. Opened by 1927, the Clifton Theatre was listed as (Closed) in the 1932 edition of Film Daily Yearbook as a silent movie theatre. It disappeared from listings until 1939, although the theatre actually re-opened December 31, 1937 as the ‘New’ Clifton Theater with Paul Muni in “Emile Zola” & Bing Crosby in “Double or Nothing”.

This theatre was the oldest theatre in Clifton and managed to survive throughout the early years of the 21st century despite competition from the upscale Allwood sixplex and the bigger Clifton Commons. Known for playing urban film fare, the place was closed in April 2000 and demolished in 2000-2001 to make room for a new Walgreen’s, which stands where the old theatre used to be. The only bad theatre that I went to while I lived in Clifton, with poor projection, bad sound, and uncomfortable seats.

Contributed by Justin Fencsak

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

moviebuff82 on March 4, 2007 at 11:55 am

Thanks for that photo!! This was back in the days before TV lured people away from theaters like the Clifton theater, which was mentioned in a recent issue of Clifton Merchant, the town’s magazine. From its humble beginnings as a popular place for Hollywood’s Golden Age to showing blockbusters on a large screen to its status as a popular hangout for urban moviegoers to its fateful end as a transformation to a Walgreen’s, the Clifton Theater was the first theater to open in Clifton that paved the way for other theaters in the surrounding area, mostly the still open Allwood Sixplex, which is much nicer but smaller than the Clifton Quad.

rhett on December 28, 2007 at 9:16 am

I worked at the Clifton (my very first job) in the mid-70’s. I was an “usher”…. remember them? The theater was huge and we got the main movies. It’s amazing how we took it for granted back then. I went there when it was a quad , the last movie I saw there was “Conspiracy Theory”…it wasn’t the same, it seemed like all the old neighborhood theaters that went to hell…I went upstairs to re-visit….where the old storage rooms used to be , were now theaters. I looked in…it was a described here….a storage room with a few rows of seats and a small screen…what were the owners thinking??? Now all we have are multiplexes…the ALLWOOD is still there, but it is one of the worst constructed theaters ever…the architect should be brought up on charges….the seating is uncomfortable and the movies in theaters 5 and 6 are never shown in their proper aspect ratio. Boy, I miss the times of the Clifton and single screen theaters

kencmcintyre on December 12, 2008 at 11:07 pm

Here is an item in Boxoffice magazine, October 1963:

Jerry Littenberg, former Stanley Warner relief manager in this area, has resigned from that company to assume the manager’s duties at the Clifton Theater. Littenberg had been with SW for over a year and before that was associated with Skouras Theaters in the Bergen County area. He replaces Evan Thompson, a former Skouras man, who has now rejoined that circuit.

moviebuff82 on December 26, 2008 at 7:25 pm

very interesting article. BTW, Stanley Warner owned the Ridgewood theater. The person who replaced the relief manager at SW must have overlooked what would become the two Paramus theaters.

moviebuff82 on May 6, 2009 at 4:41 pm

During the credits of “FernGully”, the picture was black while the sound was still on. This theater was the second one to be located not too far from a Blockbuster video store right down the street from its location (the other one is at Clifton Commons). At the time of its closing, it, along with the Franklin, were the only theaters not owned by Clearview, General Cinema, and Loews Cineplex. They were independently run by true employees who know it best.

moviebuff82 on April 24, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Last week marked 10 years since this theater closed down. It was at the time the oldest movie theater in town and showed its age once Clifton Commons opened. Did this theater ever had 70mm projection and dolby sound during its operation?

moviebuff82 on January 16, 2011 at 10:12 am

Probably not. The Clifton Theater probably showed silent films for the first time in Clifton in those days, then came sound, and the occasional old 3-D flick. In recent years, the theater became a popular venue for kiddie and urban fare that the Allwood wouldn’t play. With the acquisition by Clearview, the Clifton Quad remained an independent theater for the rest of its lease.

moviebuff82 on December 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm

This theater was the only theater in Clifton to show Raiders of the Lost Ark, according to a post by a CT user commemorating the 30th anniversary of that iconic film. They showed it in Dolby Stereo 35mm. When did it become a quad theater from being a single screen?

moviebuff82 on January 26, 2018 at 8:41 pm

Grease was shown in dolby nearly 40 years ago here.

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