Bantam Cinema

115 Bantam Lake Road,
Bantam, CT 06750

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Bantam Cinema in 2014

The Bantam Cinema, according to its website, is the oldest continuously operated movie theatre in the state of Connecticut.

Originally opened as the Rivoli Theatre in 1927, it was later known as the Cinema IV, despite the fact it had only one screen at the time, it was later split in two. The Bantam Cinema still looks like a little red barn on a country road. It showed first run films and mostly art house fare.

It was closed on March 15, 2020 due to the mandatory closing of all cinemas due to Covid-19 Pandemic. It was announced in June 8, 2020 that it would be closed permanently.

Contributed by Roger Katz

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

RickKeeler on July 13, 2005 at 4:46 pm

My family has owned a property on Bantam Lake for over 100 years (just down from Keeler’s Cove), and my very first recollection of going to see a show at the Bantam Cinema was when I was 8, maybe 9 years old.
My parents took us to see Lillies of the Field – Sidney Poitier, and even at that age, I realized that I had just witnessed a treasure.
Two of my other favorites were The Old Man and The Sea, and Dr. Zhivago, although not seen there at Bantam.
Nice place and my wife Myra and I are still planning on going there again this summer. She really enjoys it there!!!

DamienB on December 3, 2005 at 10:21 am

The Bantam Cinema became an art house in the late ‘60s — my guess would be 1968 — which, if memory serves, was also when it was renamed Cinema IV. I saw Bergman’s Hour Of The Wolf here in '68 or '69.

edwardguinea on February 23, 2006 at 4:14 pm

They used to have revivals into the ‘80’s such as The Marx Brothers and Bogart. I certainly doubt that it is the only continuously operating movie house in CT…for years it was only open on Fridays and Saturdays. The theatre in Watertown deserves that title.
It was a comfortable place until they sliced in half sideways. The screens are too high.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on January 5, 2007 at 6:38 pm

The Bantam Cinema was just sold by longtime owner Lisa Hedley to Syndey Koch earlier this week. He plans to continue to run it as an art cinema.

kencmcintyre on September 26, 2007 at 7:24 pm

In 1970 the operator was Lightstone Theater Enterprises, Inc. President was Morty Lightstone, booker was Hank Lightstone.

Scragglewart on September 19, 2008 at 12:12 pm

I used to own a house in Litchfield (2000-2006)and would go to the Bantam Cinema every now and then. It was often drafty and cold, the sound wasn’t the greatest, but what it lacked in technology it more than made up in charm. It seemed as if the treats at the concession stand were all homemade…old fashioned bags of popcorn, home baked cookies and that sort of thing. I havent been back in a few years but hope it never changes.

Trolleyguy on November 4, 2014 at 6:44 am

According to the website, the Bantam has gone digital.

Granola on August 24, 2015 at 6:49 am


Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 20, 2017 at 7:12 pm

I wonder if the barn-like, utilitarian exterior remodeling can be undone, and the handsome brick front the Bantam sported when it opened in 1927 as the Rivoli restored?

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