20 Classic Movies to See on the Big Screen This Summer

From Oscar classics to cult flicks, local theaters are going into the vault all summer long.

Movie portraits by Massimo Carnevale

Once upon a time, the Moonlit Matinees series at the fabulous Oaks Theater was without rival. As recently as 10 years ago, Pittsburgh theaters weren’t in the habit of regularly going into the vault for classics and cult favorites. From the multiplex to the arthouse, it was all-new, all-the-time.

But with the advent of digital projection (and the realization that you only need to show The Croods so many times in any given week), theaters have finally figured out a seemingly obvious fact: people love old movies. And people will pay good money to see them on the big screen, free of the standard living room distractions and subpar microwaved popcorn.

Now, anyone filling a calendar with screening times will have to juggle the Oaks with series at AMC Waterfront, Cinemark Robinson, The Hollywood and more — including the ever-expanding Dollar Bank Cinema in the Park series.

Rather than repost full schedules for all these lineups, I thought I’d offer my favorites in a few categories.

The first contains flicks that everyone should go out and see, no matter how many times you’ve watched ’em on VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray or what-have-you. Because all of these flicks are …

  Can’t Miss

National Lampoon’s Animal House — AMC Waterfront 22, June 12, 7:30 p.m.

Pulp Fiction — Oaks, June 28-29, 10 p.m.

Jaws — Cinemark Robinson, June 2, 2 p.m., and June 5, 2 & 7 p.m.; Oaks, July 5-6, 10 p.m.; AMC Waterfront 22, July 17, 7:30 p.m.

Psycho — Riverview Park, July 13, Dusk

Finding Nemo — Overview Park, July 23; Brookline Memorial Park, July 25; Arsenal Park, July 26; Grandview Park, July 27; Schenley Park, July 28; All at Dusk

Raiders of the Lost Ark — Cinemark Robinson, June 9, 2 p.m., and June 12, 2 & 7 p.m.; Oaks, August 2-3, 10 p.m.

Casablanca — Riverview Park, August 17, Dusk

The Avengers — Schenley Park, August 28; Riverview Park, August 31; Both at Dusk

The second category includes pictures that maybe aren’t considered all-time classics, but are still worthy of your attention for one reason or another. Maybe it’s because they’re overlooked or forgotten gems, or maybe because they’re underrated and in need of further attention. And honestly, how could you miss an opportunity to see The Dark Knight Rises with the actual setting of the movie hovering in the background? So please, won’t you …

  Give These a Chance, Too

American Graffiti — AMC Waterfront 22, June 5, 7:30 p.m.; Riverview Park, June 8, Dusk

Hook — Highland Park, June 17, Dusk; Overlook park, June 18, Dusk; Brookline Memorial Park, June 20, Dusk; Arsenal Park, June 21, Dusk; Grandview Park, June 22, Dusk; Schenley Park, June 23, Dusk; AMC Waterfront 22, July 24, 7:30 p.m.

Scream — Oaks, June 21-22, 10 p.m.

The Dark Knight Rises — Schenley Park, July 3; Riverview Park, July 6; Both at Dusk

The Hunger Games — Schenley Park, July 31; Riverview Park, August 3; Both at Dusk

Pretty in Pink — AMC Waterfront 22, August 7, 7:30 p.m.

National Lampoon’s Vacation — AMC Waterfront 22, July 10, 7:30 p.m.; Oaks, August 16-17, 10 p.m.

Finally, a special subset. Cult movies are great late at night, and even better in the summer. But rare is the example of an offbeat, underground favorite that’s not at least somewhat improved by having a few drinks in you. So designate a driver and remember to …

  Have a Beer First

Gremlins — Oaks, May 31-June 1, 10 p.m.

Brazil — Hollywood Dormont, June 14, 10 p.m., and June 15, 7 p.m., and June 16, 3 p.m.

Road House — Hollywood Dormont, June 14, 7 p.m., and June 15, 10 p.m.

The Warriors — Oaks, August 10-11, 10 p.m.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie — AMC Waterfront 22, September 11, 7:30 p.m.

Categories: After Dark