Bantam Cinema

115 Bantam Lake Road,
Litchfield, CT

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

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

Contributed by Roger Katz

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Patsy
Patsy on December 3, 2004 at 10:40 am

While looking at theatres, by state, I decided to click on CT and found this one in Litchfield. The town has been in the news as it is the home of Dick and Susan Ebersol who recently lost their 13 year old son to a plane crash that involved both her older son and husband, NBC executive Dick Ebersol. May our thoughts be with them at this most difficult time.

BobBrown
BobBrown on January 23, 2005 at 9:34 am

My family use to summer at near by Bantan Lake and a fond memory is riding with my best friend on one bicycle to the Bantam Theater. One evening in 1963 after the rather exhausting ride (seems I always peddled) we arrived at the Bantam to see King Kong vs Godzilla. After purchasing some of that wonerfull buttered popcorn we settled down full of anticipation (we were 12 & 13)to see this thriller. Much to our surprise and dissapiontment the movie shut off half way through and we were asked to leave! Maybe it had to do with the fact that we were the only two people in the theater!

RickKeeler
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
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
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.
edguinea

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
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.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 26, 2007 at 6:56 am

Here is a recent photo of the Bantam Cinema.

Scragglewart
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.

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