Summer Screenings: Rooftop Films in NYC


by Alyssa Grossman and Christina Parrella, 06/18/2012

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When summertime rolls into New York City, visitors and locals flock to parks, gardens and beaches for the chance to see a movie screening in the open air. Rooftop Films capitalizes on that much-loved seasonal tradition, offering entertainment in all five boroughs that spans every imaginable genre, from indie films to blockbuster hits. Read on to see what's on offer in this year's program, then pack a blanket and some popcorn and head out for a night of classic entertainment in a novel setting. Get out and explore the City—and come early or stay late: below each list of screenings, find recommendations for restaurants in the neighborhoods.

Staten Island


Rooftop Films at Bronx Terminal Market

July 10
Rango (2011)
Johnny Depp is the voice of Rango, an ambitious chameleon who lands in Dirt, a Western town without a sheriff. He steps up to the law-enforcement challenge and sets out to find the town's missing water, though his intentions are not so pure. 

July 24
Ratatouille (2007)
Remy the rat isn't exactly a welcome guest of the Paris kitchen where he sets up shop. But that doesn't stop the aspiring chef from following his dreams of serving gourmet dishes to the masses. 

August 7
Inocente (2012)
This documentary follows a homeless girl with lofty dreams of becoming an artist. The film took home an award for inspirational filmmaking at this year's Arizona International Film Festival. 

August 21
Kung Fu Panda (2008)
In this Oscar-nominated underdog tale, Po (Jack Black), an out-of-shape panda, is chosen for a special martial-arts mission. With the odds stacked against him, he must defeat a snow leopard and save the Valley of Peace from danger. The film's star-studded cast includes Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen and Lucy Liu. 

Restaurants near Bronx Terminal Market
Billy's Sports Bar
Bruckner Bar & Grill

El Valle Restaurant
Elsa La Reina Del Chicharron
Giovanni’s NYC Restaurant
Jo Jo Pizza and Burger
Sam’s Soul Food Restaurant & Bar
Sunlight Restaurant


Rooftop Films Summer Series at Dekalb Market, presented by NYC & Company

June 21
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (2012)
Part live-action and part animation, Terence Nance's film recounts a moment in his relationship with a young woman—which straddles the line between platonic and romantic—through emotions, memories and fantasies.

July 13
Clermont-Ferrand Shorts
Each year, France's Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival brings together the very best of the genre. Selections include animation, documentaries, comedies and dramas.

Bike-In Movies at Dekalb Market, presented by NYC & Company and Rooftop Films

June 28
The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
This French animated film is about an elderly woman who searches for her kidnapped grandson with the help of their dog and three old women who are former singers. The movie was nominated for two Oscars—Best Animated Feature and Best Music, Original Song. 

July 26
**(Canceled due to inclement weather)**

August 30
Surprise screening

September 27
Surprise screening

Restaurants near Dekalb Market
Buffalo Boss
Caffe e Vino
Foster's Restaurant
Kevin Barry's Bar & Grill
Mile End Delicatessen
Shake Shack

Coney Island Flicks on the Beach, presented by NYC & Company, CIDC and Rooftop Films, at Coney Island Boardwalk

July 2
Ghostbusters (1984)
Catch a screening of the film that brought ectoplasm to the New York Public Library and hellhounds to Tavern on the Green. 

July 9
Edge of the City: Underground NY Shorts By the Sea
Edge of the City: Underground NY Shorts By the Sea is a collection of independent short films, including The Best Thing I Ever Done—an endearing account of Domenico DeMarco, owner of the legendary pizza shop Di Fara—and A Man Named Magick, about a charismatic Midtown magic shop owner. The showcase begins at 8:30pm. 

July 14
Bound for Glory (1976)
David Carradine plays Woody Guthrie in this Oscar-winning biopic, set in the Dust Bowl, about the folk artist's experience with the working class after leaving Texas to join the Okies headed to California in search of work.

July 16
Manhattan (1979)
See Diane Keaton, Mariel Hemingway and Meryl Streep in Woody Allen's Oscar-winning love story. 

July 23
The Muppets (2011)
Jim Henson's much-loved characters return to the big screen, as Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) aim to reunite the gang in an attempt to salvage The Muppet Theater.

July 30
Girl Walk // All Day (2011)
This feature-length film is actually a long-form dance music video, featuring three dancers who use the cityscape as their stage. The movie is set to Girl Talk's sample-heavy 2010 album, All Day.

August 6
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)
Tom Cruise stars as Ethan Hunt in the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible series. Hunt and his team, who are implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, must go rogue to clear the Impossible Missions Force's name.

Restaurants near Coney Island Boardwalk
Café Glechik
Footprints Café
Gargiulo’s Restaurant
Nathan’s Famous
Restaurant Natalie
Riviera Grill & Sushi Restaurant
Rocco’s Famous Pizzeria
Tatiana Restaurant
Wildwood Rotisserie


Films in Tompkins Square Park, presented by NYC & Company

June 28
Taxi Driver (1976)
Director Martin Scorsese's classic follows despondent Vietnam War vet Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) as the cabbie drives around NYC, disgusted by crime and the "scum" on the streets. A series of suspenseful events that involve a run-in with 12-year-old child prostitute Iris (Jodie Foster) and a climactic shoot-out scene make the film unforgettable.

July 5
Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary about Thierry Guetta, a French-born LA shop owner who films street artists at work, saying he plans to make a documentary even though he has no such intentions. Guetta hears about Banksy and becomes obsessed with finding and befriending the British street artist, only later to have the cameras turned on him and to become a street artist himself.

July 12
Fantastic Mr. Fox
George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Bill Murray lend their voices to director Wes Anderson's family-friendly film, based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name.

July 19
Summer of Sam (1999)
Director Spike Lee tells the story of the Son of Sam murders, which left New Yorkers gripped by fear. The movie focuses on residents of the Bronx in 1977 as they live in suspicion of one another.

July 26
**(Canceled due to inclement weather)**

August 2
Donnie Darko (2001)
Jake Gyllenhaal stars as troubled teen Donnie Darko in this dark sci-fi drama that spawned an international cult following (and the eerie Frank the Bunny Halloween costume).

August 9
The Big Lebowski (1998)
In the Coen brothers' signature comedy, Jeff Bridges stars as Jeff Lebowski, or "The Dude," who is mistaken for millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski. The millionaire sends The Dude to deliver a ransom for his kidnapped wife, but the plan unravels when The Dude's friend schemes to keep the money.

August 16
Poltergeist (1982)
If the words "they're here" have never sent chills down your spine, they will after you catch a screening of Poltergeist—a movie about a suburban California family terrorized by evil spirits. Spoiler alert: they come through the TV.

Restaurants near Tompkins Square Park
Cacio e Vino
Jules Bistro
La Cerveceria
Mama's Food Shop
Two Boots Pizzeria
Veselka Restaurant
Yerba Buena


Socrates Sculpture Park and AT&T, in collaboration with the Museum of the Moving Image and Rooftop Films, present Outdoor Cinema 2012 at Socrates Sculpture Park

July 4
The American Experience
Celebrate Independence Day with a selection of shorts that pay tribute to the culture and history of America through humor, drama and more. 

July 11
Soul Kitchen (2009)
German foodie comedy Soul Kitchen centers on a down-on-his-luck restaurateur whose fortunes begin to turn around when he hires the best chef in the city. Presented in German with English subtitles.

July 18
Lemonade Joe (1964)
This Czech comedy is about a straight-laced cowboy who drinks only Kolaloka lemonade in a town full of whiskey-soaked gunslingers. Presented in Czech with English subtitles.

July 25
Her Master's Voice (2012)
Delve into the world of ventriloquists in this documentary, which follows director Nina Conti as she attends a convention in Kentucky and brings a puppet from her late mentor to its final resting place.

August 1
Senna (2010) 
This documentary tells the story of Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna, a three-time F1 world champion, who died at age 34.

August 8
Summer Wars (2009)
When his account in a massive computer-simulated world is hacked, the real and virtual worlds of math wiz Kenji Koiso become blurred in this Japanese anime adventure. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

August 15 
Certified Copy (2010)
In this film, a British writer travels to Tuscany to give a talk about his new book and meets a beautiful antiques dealer (Juliette Binoche).

August 22
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (2003)
This South Korean drama tells the story of a Buddhist monk as he passes through the seasons of life, from childhood to old age. Presented in Korean with English subtitles.

Restaurants near Socrates Sculpture Park
Aliada Restaurant
Bear Restaurant and Bar
Brick Cafe
Giorgio’s Pizza
Linn Restaurant
Los Portales Taqueria
Mundo Cafe & Restaurant
Sanfords Restaurant
Vesta Trattoria & Wine Bar
Zlata Praha Restaurant

Target Passport Fridays at the Queens Museum of Art, presented in partnership with NYC & Company and Rooftop Films

July 6
When the Drum is Beating (2011)
This moving documentary sets Haiti's history to the renowned music of the country's 20-member band Septentrional. The film spans events from Haiti's independence to the devastating 2010 earthquake. Presented in English and Kreyol (Haitian Creole) with English subtitles.

July 13
Alamar (2009)
This Mexican independent film takes audiences to a fishing village, where a Mayan man and his half-Italian son set sail together before parting ways. It made its way around the festival circuit and took home the New Directors Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Presented in Spanish and Italian with English subtitles.

July 20
Suite Habana (2003)
A documentary tracks 10 people through a day in their lives in Cuba. The film uses only sound and image, not dialogue, to tell their stories.

July 27
Microphone (2010)
This Egyptian film sheds light on Alexandria's underground music scene. When Khaled travels back home after living in the United States, he finds himself fighting for artistic expression in an increasingly repressive culture. Presented in Arabic with English subtitles.

August 3
Fire in Babylon (2010)
Presented in conjunction with the New York African Film Festival, and in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence, this documentary tells the tale of the West Indies' iconic cricket team's victories during a time of race riots and civil unrest.

August 10
Dend dai dei yu (Fishing Luck) (2005)
With the tagline "love appears when cell phone signals disappear," this tale follows a girl who finds romance in an unlikely place—after becoming stranded while studying cell phone reception on Orchard Island, off the coast of Taiwan. Presented in Mandarin with English subtitles.

August 17
Santo Domingo Blues: Los Tígueres de la Bachata (2004)
This documentary relays the story of bachata—from its humble origins in the Dominican Republic to its subsequent rise in popularity, especially to Dominican immigrants in the United States—through its pioneers and stars.

August 24
Cayo (2005)
Shot on the island of Culebra in Puerto Rico, Cayo follows Iván, a former NYPD officer, as he travels to his childhood home and attempts to deal with a cancer diagnosis—and some of his regrets. Presented in Spanish with English subtitles.

Restaurants near Queens Museum of Art
Empanadas Café
Leo's Latticini-Mama's
Parkside Restaurant
Spicy and Tasty
Tambo's Restaurant
Tortilleria Nixtamal
Victoria's Pizza

Staten Island

St. George Film Series, presented by NYC & Company and the Staten Island Yankees, at Richmond County Bank Ballpark 
Watch films outdoors in Richmond County Bank Ballpark, home of the Staten Island Yankees, offering sweeping views of New York Harbor and Lower Manhattan.

July 26 
**(Canceled due to inclement weather)**

August 9
Field of Dreams (1989)
If you build it, they will come: such is the lesson learned by Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) in this Oscar-nominated baseball fable. When Kinsella, an Iowa corn farmer, begins to hear voices, he builds a baseball field on his farm, which draws ghosts from the scandalized 1919 Chicago "Black Sox" team.

August 14
Once in a Lullaby: The PS22 Chorus Story (2012)
The documentary Once in a Lullaby follows the PS22 Chorus on their journey from Staten Island to the 2011 Academy Awards.Watch as the fifth graders, led by chorus teacher Gregg Breinberg, or "Mr. B," overcome various obstacles during the five-week-long preparation for their big performance of "Over the Rainbow."

August 16
The Sandlot (1993)
Scotty Smalls, the shy new kid in town, musters up the courage to play baseball with the neighborhood boys. Although he's not very good at first, as the summer passes he becomes a vital team member and manages to bring the group face-to-face with "The Beast," a ferocious guard dog located beyond the fence of the sandlot.

Restaurants near Richmond County Bank Ballpark
A&S Pizzeria
Adobe Blues
Café Milano
Enoteca Maria
Jimmie Steiny's Pub
Karl's Klipper
Nurnberger Bierhaus
Ruddy & Dean

For more information on Rooftop Films, visit

related venues/(5)

  1. 1
    Coney Island Boardwalk
    Boardwalk and W 8th St
    Multiple Locations
    NY 11224
  2. 2
    Tompkins Square Park
    Ave. A between 7th and 10th Sts.
    Manhattan – East Village
  3. 3
    Socrates Sculpture Park
    32-01 Sculpture Park at Broadway
    Queens – Long Island City
    NY 11106
  1. 4
    Queens Museum
    New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
    Queens – Flushing
    NY 11368
  2. 5
    Richmond County Bank Ballpark
    75 Richmond Terrace
    Staten Island – St. George
    NY 10301

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