Ambassador Theatre

115 Fayetteville Street,
Raleigh, NC 27601

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1988 Aerial Showing Ambassador

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Ambassador Theatre was the foremost movie theater in Raleigh for decades.

The Ambassador Theatre showcased the films of M~G~M, Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, etc. At least one premiere took place there — “Bright Leaf” in 1950.

It was demolished in March 1989 when Fayetteville Street was turned into a mall.

Contributed by Edward Wright

Recent comments (view all 55 comments)

Micah on December 6, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Raysson, I wonder if you even thoroughly read some comments? I posted an aerial photo that shows exactly where the Ambassador was. It was, in fact, nearly halfway down the east side of the block from the capital, not immediately off Morgan Street. Today, there is a parking deck exactly where the Ambassador stood. There are retail shops below the parking deck at street level. The deck is called Alexander Square. The pedestrian entrance to this deck from Fayetteville Street is just to the right of where the Ambassador entrance was. I have uploaded another image from Google Street View that shows the present day site of the Ambassador entrance.

raysson on February 7, 2014 at 12:07 pm

The world premiere of BRIGHT LEAF made its U.S. event showing at Raleigh’s Ambassador Theatre on May 31,1950. It was the second motion picture to make its U.S. southeastern premiere engagement(after “Gone With The Wind”),and the first-ever Carolina exclusive premiere to be shown at the Ambassador Theatre.

Among the celebrities who were present at the world premiere were Gary Cooper, Lauren Becall,with Patricia Neal,along with British actor Donald Crisp and director Michael Curtiz.

skeeter81 on June 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm

I am trying to find out the year The Ambassador showed its first X-rated movie. I recall it made quite a stir, upsetting many Raleighites.

raysson on June 27, 2014 at 11:24 am


The first X-Rated movie that ever played at Raleigh’s Ambassador Theatre was Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” that was released in early-1972.

Information regarding this theatre will be revised and updated very soon. By the way, I have found the original ad for the opening of Raleigh’s Ambassador Theatre and will be revised with new information. If you need to see the original ad scans I do have them. E-Mail me at

raysson on June 30, 2014 at 11:27 am

The information on this theatre will be upgraded for Cinema Treasures. I have found the original ads to the grand opening of the Ambassador Theatre along with other information that will be revised. Very soon!

skeeter81 on June 30, 2014 at 11:58 am

raysson, thanks so much. you’re a veritable gold mine of info.

I recall the Ambassador with great fondness. I went to there every week of my life, practically, starting about 1960 as a child. I took the bus so I could see the cartoons they ran on Saturdays for kids, then as a teen, I hit every major movie release. My older sister worked in the ticket booth in the late 1950s.

I asked about the X-rated date in trying to put a date on a piece of Ambassador memorabilia I bought from a collectibles store — a card they used to put in the window of the ticket booth, stating the movie was X-rated and for age 17 and older. So thanks again for that.

skeeter81 on June 30, 2014 at 12:01 pm

I forgot to mention that I saw “A Clockwork Orange” at the Ambassador with my boyfriend (now husband). I had forgotten it was an “X.”

raysson on June 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm

The reserved seat engagement of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” played here in 70mm in 1968.

Not to mention first-run exclusives like “The Exorcist”,“Billy Jack”,“Planet of the Apes”,and the 1976 remake of “King Kong”(the Ambassador’s BIG Christmas Attraction!)not to mention the first-run exclusive of “The Wiz” played here too with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

raysson on June 5, 2015 at 11:14 am

THE SOUND OF MUSIC-The Reserved Seat Engagements—showmanship/sound-of-money-celebrating-sound-of-music-50th-anniv

raysson on March 18, 2016 at 10:18 am

The Ambassador Theatre also showed the “X” rated feature BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS first-run in 1970 as a late show.

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