What was the first film you saw at the cinema?

Father and young son with emojis covering their faces standing in front of a cinema.It’s coming up to a year since I joined my brother and took my then four-year-old nephew to see his very first film at the cinema. The film was Frozen 2 and to say he was excited was an understatement. 

I met them in the cinema’s car park. They had arrived a few minutes before me so my nephew started telling me where the entrance was and, when we were inside, where you queued to buy your tickets and refreshments.

When the film started he was on the edge of the seat. Literally. (He was so light that if he sat any further back it would close with him still sat on it.)

As the film got going he had a wonderful time, happily munching away at the pick-n-mix, the giant screen reflected in his eyes. And while he may not have followed the film’s plot completely, he definitely enjoyed his trip.

DISNEY: THE QUINTESSENTIAL FIRST FILM

After asking my mum a little while ago we think my first trip to the cinema would probably have been to see either Aladdin (1992) or The Lion King (1994). Suffice to say: I can’t remember.

With Walt Disney Animation Studios having released feature films since 1937, I would have thought that a Disney flick was the first film watched on the silver screen by many English speakers. However, a quick Twitter poll came back with a Disney film being the first for 55% of responders and ‘another studio’ for the other 45%.

While my fellow Eighties babies had Aladdin and The Lion King, Nineties kids had Hercules (1997) and Mulan (1998). However, Pixar Animation Studios was making an appearance too, with its first feature film, Toy Story, released in 1995. 

Other young children’s films released by other studios around this time include 20th Century Fox’s Miracle on 34th Street (1994) and Universal Pictures’ The Flintstones (1994).

Do you know what the first film you saw at the cinema was?

17 thoughts on “What was the first film you saw at the cinema?

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  1. Is that Great Park, Rubery? I used to go there all the time when it was a Virgin, before Virgin/UGC/Cineworld opened on Broad Street, Birmingham. Back in the day that was the best cinema around with THX sound in every screen.

    Although I have averaged about 120 trips to the cinema year for the last 20 something years (pre Covid, 26 to date this year) I hardly ever went as a kid. As far as I can remember before attending university age 18, I had only seen eight films on the big screen.

    My first two visits were in the early 80’s, and were both Disney films: A Re-releases of Sleeping Beauty (1959), and Herbie Goes Bananas (1980 – (1981 in the UK)). I’m a little shaky on which came first, but think it was Sleeping Beauty.

    It was in two screen cinema, probably originally a one screen that had been split. I have only visited that venue once since then, around 2009, by which time it had been turned into a movie themed bar.

    1. Good spot! It is indeed.
      That’s interesting that you didn’t go to the cinema much as a child. I used to go quite regularly, especially as birthday trips with my friends. I remember seeing Chocolat for my 12th birthday, which my friend Anna wasn’t pleased about as it was during Lent and she had given up chocolate!
      I used to visit the cinema fairly regularly up until I was about 24/25. I put that down to a combination of getting a puppy and Orange 2-4-1 Wednesdays stopping!

  2. Hey Claire, honestly I can’t remember what’s the first film I saw at the cinema. It could’ve been Superman: The Movie but I’m not sure. I actually can’t remember seeing any of my fave Disney princess movies on the big screen, mostly on VHS (yep that’s how old I am, ahah!)

    1. Hi Ruth – if it was Superman: The Movie then that was a very cool first film! I feel like it’s something that should be remembered for posterity. Maybe I’ll keep the first ticket stubs for any future children!

      Ah, we had quite the VHS collection when I was growing up! They really did take a lot of space up if you compare them to DVDs.

      1. Hello! I cried in ET! Of course!! i never got a BMX sadly though…

  3. Pretty sure I saw some Disney films when really young. But the first movie I REALLY remember going to is E.T. A good start – probably helped me to fall in love with film. 🙂

    1. Oh I bet it did. I remember seeing the odd film in childhood – including when my mum would see one film with my brother while my dad watched a different one with me. I think A Bug’s Life when I was 10 must have been one of the first I really remember!

      For me the ‘falling in love’ moment came when I was 13 with my beloved The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

  4. Nice article 🙂
    80’s child here, first cinema visit was The Transformers Movie in ’86. I rewatched it earlier this year for a review, still gave it a solid 9/10.

    1. What a fun first film! Glad to hear it was as good as you remembered.
      We had A LOT of the television series of The Transformers on VHS growing up. My brother was a big fan.

  5. I think my first film was An American Tail – the Don Bluth film that he made after he split from Disney. So the Disney link is definitely still there. I watched it with my kids recently and they enjoyed it. That was a nice moment.

    1. I should say this was 1986. Looking at IMDB’s release dates, I would have been 3 years, 4 months old when I went to see this. I remember being in awe. That local cinema has since been split into two and turned into a bar that’s favoured by students and a nightclub that has languished in a state of poor ownership for years. The closed sign has been hanging on the door for ages. (Nothing COVID related). Sad really.

      1. Oh wow, must have left quite the impression on you. Lovely you could share it with your kids! 🙂
        There are quite a few cinemas I know of that have been repurposed – on my drive to work a lovely Art Deco cinema is now a gym and then an old cinema and bowling alley nearby changed to a nightclub.

  6. First film I ever saw at the cinema? Probably The Santa Claus Movie (*not* The Santa Clause with Tim Allen)

    TBH I’m not actually sure, it was soooo long ago LOL

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