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A guide to Bristol's best cinemas

Just in time for freshers' week, we offer some tips on the best places to catch a film in Bristol, from cheap and cheerful to cool and classy.

By Miles Jackson Deputy Online Film & TV Editor

Just in time for freshers' week, we offer some tips on the best places to catch a film in Bristol, from cheap and cheerful to cool and classy.

Recently hailed as a UNESCO City of Film, it’s no wonder that Bristol offers a veritable treasure trove of cinemas. There’s no better way to get away from the overwhelming chaos of freshers’ week than by settling into a dark room and losing yourself to the silver screen. Regardless of whether you lean towards the cheap and cheerful, the cool and classy or the wild and wacky, Bristol caters to all audiences and with our list you should easily find a place suited to your tastes.

Watershed, Harbourside

Twitter / @wshed

Arguably one of the most important independent cinemas in the UK, Watershed is a charming three-screen cinema located just by the harbour, slap-bang in Bristol’s city centre. The immediate selling point is the pricing; Watershed offers cinema tickets to anyone aged under 25 for just £5. Beyond the bargains, a wide selection of foreign films, otherwise hard-to-see indies and acclaimed prestige pictures ensure that Watershed is an invaluable destination for any Bristolian cinephiles.

Though its screens are fairly rudimentary - the sound is particularly poor - Watershed more than makes up for it with its eclectic programming and fantastic special events, which have recently included regular Q&As with acclaimed directors such as Spike Lee and retrospective seasons dedicated to cinematic masters such as Ingmar Bergman and Paul Thomas Anderson. It’s a must for any strapped-for-cash student.

Showcase Cinema De Lux, Cabot Circus
Easily Bristol’s biggest cinema complex, Showcase Cinema De Lux is nestled in the urban jungle of Cabot Circus Shopping Centre. Crammed with 13 screens of varying sizes, Showcase still manages to provide a far more pleasant experience than your average Vue or Odeon multiplex might. Decently priced, its recently renovated screens are crisp and sharp, with comfortable seating providing the perfect environment for enjoying the latest massive blockbuster.

The Cube, Stokes Croft
Tucked away just off the artsy Stokes Croft is The Cube, one of Bristol’s hidden gems. Showcasing a range of prestige and indie cinema from Academy Award heavy-hitters to truly obscure foreign films that often don’t get a release anywhere else, a visit to The Cube always feels special. It’s also the home of Bristol’s ever-growing repertory scene, with local film clubs such as 20th Century Cube and Hellfire Video Club often screening older films that would genuinely test the knowledge of even the most avid of cinephiles. Many is the time I’ve taken a chance on a film I’ve literally never heard of and been immensely rewarded. Despite being somewhat hard to find, The Cube is well worth seeking out.


Everyman Cinema, Whiteladies Road
Those looking for a real treat will find true comfort in Bristol’s Everyman on Whiteladies Road. Housed in one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Bristol, a stunning 1920s movie palace that anticipated Art Deco, the cinema is pure luxury. Set in a gorgeous auditorium with plush, comfy seating, tickets are pricey - £11 for students - but for special occasions there’s no place better.

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The Caves, Redcliffe
Finally, keep an eye out for screenings held in the Redcliffe Caves. Truly one of the most bizarre concepts for a novelty cinema location out there, one can sometimes dip into the subterranean to enjoy repertory screenings of old classics. Occasionally, the films screened there aren’t quite appropriate for the setting - does anyone really want to see Do The Right Thing in a cave? But their next series, entitled ‘Horror in the Caves’, sounds like a perfect fit; a selection of some of the best horror films ever made, including Alien, The Fly and The Witch, screened in a spine-chilling setting. The season starts on October 27th - don’t miss it.

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Any undiscovered gems that we missed? Let us know!

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