Just as a memorable as the movie – Sydney’s chic collection of cinemas prove to be the real star of the show!

They are weird and they are wacky, but they are wonderful. Prepare to be wowed over by the world of cinema thanks to our list of the best Sydney movie theatres.

From harbourside views to theatres built in the 1930s, drive in cinemas, and even pipe organ performances to welcome you in. Catch the latest Hollywood hit or a classic golden age flick in style thanks to our list of the best and most unique cinemas in Sydney. Don’t forget the popcorn!

<strong>Chauvel Cinema</strong>
Photographed by A Shot Of Bliss. Image via Shutterstock.

Chauvel Cinema

The Chauvel Cinema on Oxford Street in Paddington is a heritage-listed venue that has been operating for over 40 years and counting. It has become a gathering place for cinema lovers and showcases independent, Australian, world-class and cult films. Inside Chauvel Cinema, movie lovers will find the gorgeous ornate ceiling which creates an atmosphere of grandeur, making it a beloved destination for film-buffs. The perfect location for your next date night!

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249 Oxford St, Paddington, NSW 2021

<strong>Dendy Cinemas Newtown</strong>
Photographed by Jonatan Moerman. Image via Unsplash.

Dendy Cinemas Newtown

If one was looking for an institution, Dendy Cinemas Newtown is where to find one. Dendy shows the latest and best in quality movies and offers experiences for all cinema goers. However, for Dendy Cinemas Newtown, their reputation and community importance is their true drawcard. It is one of the things that Newtown is known for, and something that Dendy Cinemas Newtown fully embrace. With friendly staff, amazing restaurants and bars nearby, what more could you want for your next cinema visit?

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261-263 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042

<strong>Golden Age Cinema & Bar</strong>
Photographed by Ken Leanfore. Image supplied via Destination NSW.

Golden Age Cinema & Bar

Part of Paramount House Hotel in Surry Hills, Golden Age Cinema & Bar is more than its size – seating around 50 people per session to be exact. Found just below street level, here you can expect a boutique establishment that automatically makes every customer feel part of the family. When you arrive, ticket in hand, mosey on over to the bar for a ridiculously good cocktail and a nibble before your screening. Talk about a boutique cinema turned cool!

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80 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010

<strong>Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace</strong>
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Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace

The name may be grand, but just wait until you step inside. Cremorne’s Hayden Orpheum began life as The Orpheum on the 03 October 1935. In 1986, the venue joined the Hayden Group of Companies and was lovingly restored – in particular, the art deco restoration. The restored Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace reopened 09 December 1987 and today has six screens, which all have state-of-the-art equipment. One of the best movie theatres in Sydney, we recommend arriving early so you can witness the unique and mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ performance before your film kicks-off in the main auditorium.

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380 Military Rd, Cremorne, NSW 2090

<strong>Mount Vic Flicks</strong>
Photographed by Alessia C. Image via Unsplash.

Mount Vic Flicks

Now this theatre may be a little out of Sydney, but it is well worth the drive. Located in Mount Victoria and built in 1934, the cinema is a window into the golden age of Australian country picture theatre culture. The family-run and owned cinema plays a mix of new release and classic films from Australia and abroad. Plus, did we mention that many of the classic film screenings shown at Mount Vic Flicks are played alongside their resident theatre organist? A true sight to see!

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2a Harley Ave, Mount Victoria, NSW 2786

<strong>Ritz Cinemas</strong>
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Ritz Cinemas

The Ritz in Randwick was built in 1937 and is now a heritage listed cinema multiplex located in the heart of Sydney’s eastern suburbs. With art deco fittings and one of the largest permanent cinema auditoriums in Sydney, the Ritz Cinemas provides excitement and entertainment of ‘the movies’ straight from the golden age of cinema. Despite the latest blockbusters and promising popcorn, it is possibly one of Sydney’s best movie theatres you must visit at least once!

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45 St Pauls St, Randwick, NSW 2031

<strong>Roseville Cinemas</strong>
Photographed by Linus Mimietz. Image via Unsplash.

Roseville Cinemas

Roseville Cinemas has been serving the North Shore community for many years since it was built in the 1900s as a town hall for the area. When World War I broke out, the hall was then used for a recruitment drive for soldiers. After the war, it was named Traynor’s Picture Palace and was renovated into the beautiful art deco-style cinema it is known for today. Since then, although it was renamed Roseville Cinemas, it has remained a family-owned business, and today serves the community as a beloved independent cinema that shows local and foreign films.

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112 Pacific Highway, Roseville, NSW 2069

<strong>Skyline Drive In Blacktown</strong>
Photographed by Jem Cresswell. Image via Destination NSW.

Skyline Drive In Blacktown

Fifty years on, the newly revived Blacktown Drive-In now the Skyline Drive In Blacktown, is still going strong! Located under 45-minutes from Sydney’s CBD, Skyline Drive In Blacktown is a nostalgic and fun way to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Of course, you can even catch a nostalgic film or a new release. Plus, with a retro-style diner located in the complex, all you need to worry about is purchasing tickets and loading the car up with plenty of pillows and blankets. So if you’re looking for one of Sydney’s coolest cinemas, be sure to put Skyline Drive In Blacktown on your list!

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Cricketers Arms Rd, Blacktown, NSW 2148

<strong>United Cinemas Opera Quays</strong>
Photographed by Ruben M Ramos. Image via Shutterstock.

United Cinemas Opera Quays

Circular Quay may be famed for its harbour, but very few people know that it’s actually the home to one of the best cinemas in Sydney. Let us introduce you to United Cinemas Opera Quays. Despite being closed for renovations which was sadly brought on by rainwater floods, this is still one movie theatre to add to your list. The venue itself is breathtaking: think three state-of-the-art cinemas, surround sound, comfortable seating and a gorgeous grand staircase. Better yet, all theatres are licenses so you can enjoy a glass of wine with your film of choice. Be sure to check out their website for updates!

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1 Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000

<strong>Westpac OpenAir</strong>
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Westpac OpenAir

If you’re thinking of one of Sydney’s coolest cinemas, chances are you’re thinking of Westpac OpenAir. One of the most unique cinemas in Sydney, Westpac OpenAir comes to life every summer on the promenade of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Located at Fleet Steps on Mrs Macquaries Point, Westpac OpenAir rises from the harbour ensuring film lovers have front-row seats to not only the latest blockbuster, but the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. Exclusive and equally special, we recommend booking ahead and treating yourself to some of their hospitality packages for a romantic night out.

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Fleet Steps Rd, Sydney, NSW 2000

Go country wide with our list of Australia’s Best Retro, Boutique and Most Unique Cinemas. Staying in? Prepare to be spooked with our guide to the 10 Best Australian Horror Movies of All Time.

Feature image: Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, Sydney. Image supplied.
This article was first published on October 24 2019. It was updated and edited by Hunter and Bligh on October 05 2023.