Rialto Theatre

172 Main Street,
Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660

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Showing 1 - 25 of 26 comments

moax429
moax429 on January 25, 2016 at 5:19 pm

I believe I saw “Out of Africa” at this theater on May 13, 1986. (Four weeks later, on June 1, I graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck. I was then living in Fair Lawn, but I now live in Charlotte, Michigan, which is between Lansing and Battle Creek.)

Sorry to hear the theater is closed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 17, 2014 at 1:49 pm

The Rialto was in operation by 1923. An item datelined Ridgefield Park, NJ, in the January 4, 1924, issue of The Film Daily said “About $20,000 will be spent in improving the Rialto.”

The Daily of January 11, 1928, reported that the Rialto had been sold to sold to Sobelson & Rosassy by the C. & V. Amusement Company.

markp
markp on December 17, 2014 at 6:47 am

In the early 2000’s I cleaned the screen here once. It was a beautiful theatre. It was nice to clean a huge screen, quite a departure from the small screens I was use to cleaning in the clearviews.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on December 16, 2014 at 5:41 pm

As this theater is long gone, the ridgefield park megaplex will survive in the near future

rialtoarts
rialtoarts on June 28, 2008 at 9:56 am

The Rialto Theatre in Ridgefield Park, NJ is now officially closed. As the owners of the property and the theatre we tried to keep the movies playing; but short of dividing it into little boxes we had to sell to stop the losses…and yes we tried almost every idea you can come up with.
The property was purchased by a developer who will re-purpose the interior into retail space. Fortunately, the exterior will remain the same as it is in a historic district of Main Street.
The official website will remain operational:
http://www.rialtoarts.com/

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 11, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Here is a June 2 article regarding the closure:
http://tinyurl.com/6mbrzw

JeffS
JeffS on June 11, 2008 at 3:16 pm

I read it was being converted into office space.

Also, the final show was June 8. They are not open until the 13th. I just called their number and the recording verified this.

They will be open this Saturday and Sunday for visitors to “walk through and take their final looks and goodbyes”. They will also be selling memorabilia, like seats, for those interested. I’ve already seen the projection equipment and sound gear is for sale. I think the hours were until 5pm each day, but call 201-994-0618 for details.

I don’t think they could have done what the Lafayette is doing in Suffern. That’s the whole point. They were already showing non-mainstream films and could not cut it. Showing the “classics” wouldn’t have been any different – sad to say.

hotwaterbottle
hotwaterbottle on June 9, 2008 at 11:37 am

This week, June 9 – 13, The Rialto will have it’s final program. They will be showing, rather appropiately, Cinema Paradiso. Bergen County will be losing it’s last single screen theatre. I don’t know if it will be sold to new owners and reopened, or gutted for retail space, or demolished. I hope it can be reopened at some point. Personally, I feel the current owners really dropped the ball by not considering a classic film program, like the Lafayette in Suffern offers. The Rialto clientele is mostly + 65 yrs old and would appreciate seeing the old classics they remember from their youth. Also, the parking situation in downtown Ridgefield Park is really tight. So, another one bites the dust. Too bad; I’ll miss it.

rhett
rhett on June 1, 2008 at 8:01 am

they could have done alot with this theater but it’s a neighborhood theater in the heart of town and it ran independents. Not enough to make money. Another one gone

JeffreyM
JeffreyM on May 30, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Sad news. I heard tha the theatre was sold and wil close for good next week. I loved this place, and will miss it BIG time.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 24, 2007 at 8:39 am

Rhett is right about it being a very nice theater. And when you realize it’s the last single-screen left in Bergen County … I don’t want to state the obvious, but that really makes it a cinema treasure.

rhett
rhett on February 24, 2007 at 4:04 am

A NICE thater that’s wasted…why don’t they have classic movie retrospectives…I bet they’d draw them in like flies…especially with that theater..

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 23, 2007 at 10:54 am

I’m going to the Rialto tonight to see “Venus”. I checked back through my collection of old Bergen County movie ads to see what played at the Rialto over the years. They showed “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” on the day I was born in 1954. Other great shows include “Lawrence of Arabia”, “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World”, “Bye Bye Birdie”, “From Russia With Love”, “You Only Live Twice”, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, many more. I’ll keep them in mind tonight when I visit the theater for the first time in more than 30 years (I saw Fellini’s “Amarcord” there in 1975).

hotwaterbottle
hotwaterbottle on April 24, 2006 at 4:40 pm

Believe it or not, this is the last single screen theatre left in Bergen County! Frequented by many senior citizens, the theatre has decent legroom, a small stage, no balcony, and is a great place to see a movie. I agree with rhett; if they had a slate of classic films I think they would do very well with them.

teecee
teecee on March 2, 2006 at 5:02 am

Listed in the 1961 FDY as part of Triangle-Liggett Theatre Service.

teecee
teecee on March 2, 2006 at 4:30 am

Listed in the 1970 FDY as part of G.G. Theatres.

teecee
teecee on August 11, 2005 at 5:46 am

HIGH-QUALITY FILMS, HIGH-CLASS SETTING

  • The Rialto, 172 Main St., Ridgefield Park. (201) 994-0618 or rialtoarts.com

The independently owned Rialto is one of the few remaining grand theaters with a large screen and a single auditorium. Although tickets here are pricier than at Cedar Lane or Columbia Park – $5.50 for a matinee or $8 for an evening show – the Rialto more than makes up for its cost with class. For instance, the concession stand sells French chocolates, mints and freshly brewed coffee as well as more traditional fare such as popcorn and candy. The Rialto strives to show thought-provoking and intelligent independent films, foreign films and documentaries. Recent offerings have included the Oscar-nominated “Vera Drake,” Gurinder Chadha’s Austen-meets-Bollywood “Bride and Prejudice” and “William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.” Pre-show commercials are non-existent and previews are kept to a minimum.

extracted from:

The Record (Bergen County, NJ), May 13, 2005 pG26
THAT’S THE TICKET; Sick of the multiplex? Return to classic movie magic, or, at least, good-old-days prices. (GO!) Sara L. Raftery

teecee
teecee on July 24, 2005 at 8:58 am

I saw “March of the Penguins” here yesterday. Some notes and observations not made clear in their web page nor by member postings:

There is no balcony.
There is a small stage with false arches on either side.
The screen is huge, so large in fact that the projected image did not fill the entire width.
Sound is great. Projection very good.
They don’t use a curtain.
They show movie previews but no annoying advertising.
There is no organ in this theater but they do play nice music before the show.
Rest rooms are tiny and a bit dated.
The CVS that was to be built here must have been built later on the same side of the street at the next corner.
The parking lot is tiny, 8 spaces.
The marquee is V shaped and partially blocked by a tree.
I took some photos that I will put in photobucket.
Overall a very nice experience. And the movie was wonderful!

teecee
teecee on July 24, 2005 at 8:58 am

I saw “March of the Penguins” here yesterday. Some notes and observations not made clear in their web page nor by member postings:

There is no balcony.
There is a small stage with false arches on either side.
The screen is huge, so large in fact that the projected image did not fill the entire width.
Sound is great. Projection very good.
They don’t use a curtain.
They show movie previews but no annoying advertising.
There is no organ in this theater but they do play nice music before the show.
Rest rooms are tiny and a bit dated.
The CVS that was to be built here must have been built later on the same side of the street at the next corner.
The parking lot is tiny, 8 spaces.
The marquee is V shaped and partially blocked by a tree.
I took some photos that I will put in photobucket.
Overall a very nice experience. And the movie was wonderful!

teecee
teecee on May 19, 2005 at 9:17 am

Article about the reopening:

The Record (Bergen County, NJ), July 27, 2000 pL1
RIDGEFIELD PARK’S 1920S MOVIE PALACE RETURNS AS ART HOUSE. (NEWS) Peter J. Sampson.
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2000 Bergen Record Corp.

By PETER J. SAMPSON, Staff Writer

RIDGEFIELD PARK – The Rialto Theater, a 1920s movie palace that screened films from India in its last incarnation, is reopening Friday as a showcase for foreign and independent art films.

One of the few remaining grand theaters from early in the 20th century, the Rialto has a wide screen, a stage, and a 520-seat auditorium.

Tonight, Mayor George D. Fosdick is expected to cut a ribbon at the reopening ceremonies, which will include a private screening of the Canadian film “Five Senses” for about 300 invited guests.

The theater, at 172 Main St., will have its grand opening to the public the following evening with shows at 7:30 and 9:35.

Fosdick said Wednesday that he is pleased to see the old movie house reopening after being shuttered for nine months.

“The Rialto Theater has been there since the 1920s, and it has always been an important part of the community,” Fosdick said.

In recent years the theater catered to a largely South Asian audience with movies produced by Bollywood, as India’s prolific Bombay-based film industry is known.

Then hard times led to the prior tenant’s bankruptcy and eviction.

After its closing in October, the theater’s owners shopped around for a new tenant and considered selling the building, said Aviva Djiji-Levy, whose family owns the Rialto. At one point, a prospective tenant wanted to open a wrestling arena, but that idea didn’t go over too well with local officials, she said.

“So we decided rather than leave it closed, we’d like to open it and get that Main Street [area] active again,” Djiji-Levy said.

The theater has been given a fresh coat of paint, new carpeting, an enhanced projector, and a new Dolby Surround-Sound system. Future improvements will include replacing seats and doors.

The challenge now, Djiji-Levy said, is getting the word out to a specific market that enjoys art and foreign films and “to let them know we exist,” she said. “We want to give them a good product and bring films they don’t have the opportunity to see in New Jersey,” she said.

In addition to screening films for general audiences, the owners plan to offer programs that would allow different ethnic and cultural groups to rent the theater for special events tied to a particular film.

“We’d like to develop some programs that will serve the community; to find different cultural organizations to make use of our stage and all that space,” Djiji-Levy said.

Staff Writer Peter Sampson’s e-mail address is

Article CJ63741588

teecee
teecee on April 25, 2005 at 6:42 am

Does anyone have photos of this place? The website only has a painting. I am interested to know about the condition. From Ed M’s comment, it appears to have been restored recently.

umbaba
umbaba on July 19, 2004 at 8:50 am

I was there once. It is a great great theater. It only shows the independents but I wish they would use it for other films.

It’s such a shame that one of the only surviving single screen theaters doesn’t show the older big screen classics the way the Lafayette in Suffern does. If they showed Sound of Music, Bridge on River Kwai, Jaws, Ben-Hur etc. etc. on that screen at the Rialto, I believe it would put the theater on the map and they would get alot of people. The lafayette shows their classics on Satuday mornings at 11:30 am. recently they showed Casablanca (the same day it was also on TCM) and there was over 300 people there.

I hope the Rialto expands their program instead of just indies. It’s a great theater and should be used what it was meant to be used for. Showing the greats. It has to be owned by film lovers, the fact that it wasn’t cut up to multi screens.

EddieMcD
EddieMcD on July 18, 2004 at 10:39 pm

This is one of the original movie house gems of Bergen County and should not be missed by any true fan of old theaters. The Rialto closed in the late 80s for a number of years and was almost lost. It reopened in the 1990s as one of the only Indian-only film venues in the state. It was a niche audience but it allowed the theater to remain standing during dark times for old movie houses. It could have very well been turned into a CVS right around the same time the Ridgefield Park Loews opened up in the Meadowlands. A few years ago they closed again and went through a beautiful restoration to reopen as a single screen, independent film house.

http://www.rialtoarts.com/