The Stanford Theatre

The Stanford Theatre is dedicated to bringing back the movie-going experience of Hollywood's Golden Age. It is one of the few places where you can still watch movies on a big screen projected the way they were intended — in 35mm prints. Great classic films were not made to be watched on a video screen in your living room. They depend on a larger-than-life image, and the shared reactions of a real audience.

The Stanford Theatre first opened in June of 1925. For decades nearly every important Hollywood picture played there on its first release. The people of Palo Alto saw them all for the very first time in this theatre.

In 1987 the Packard Foundation bought the theatre and restored it to its original condition. It quickly became America's most popular classic movie house. More people saw Casablanca there on its 50th anniverary in 1992 than at any other theatre in America.

The non-profit Stanford Theatre Foundation is dedicated to the preservation and public exhibition of films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. This means classic movies in a classic movie palace, complete with Wurlitzer organ rising from the orchestra pit every night before and after the 7:30 show, or providing the accompaniment to “silent” films.

Note: This is an unofficial posting of the Stanford Theatre schedules, from published information. This site is in no way connected with the Stanford Theatre nor the Stanford Theatre Foundation. Please check out the official site at in case this schedule isn't quite up-to-date! Programs are subject to change. For information, call (650) 324-3700.

(Showtimes in parentheses are for the Saturday and Sunday screenings.)

December 25 – January 21: closed

January 22 – 25:
"With the coming of the Second World War, many eyes in imprisoned Europe turned hopefully, or desperately, toward the freedom of the Americas. Lisbon became the great embarkation point. But not everybody could get to Lisbon directly; and so, a tortuous, round-about refugee trail sprang up: Paris to Marseilles, across the Mediterranean to Oran, then by train, or auto, or foot, across the rim of Africa to Casablanca in French Morocco. Here the fortunate ones, through money, or influence, or luck, might obtain exit visas and scurry to Lisbon, and from Lisbon to the New World. But the others wait in Casablanca... and wait... and wait... and wait."
Casablanca (1942) (3:40), 7:30
d Michael Curtiz. w Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch, from the play Everybody Comes to Rick's by Murray Burnett & Joan Alison. m Max Steiner. ph Arthur Edeson. Warner Bros. 102 min.

Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Konrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, S. Z. Sakall, Madeline Le Beau, Dooley Wilson, Joy Page, John Qualen, Leonid Kinsky, Helmut Dantine, Curt Bois, Marcel Dalio, Corinna Mura, Ludwig Stossel, Ilka Gruning, Charles La Torre, Frank Puglia, Dan Seymour.

Everybody comes to Rick's café — exiles from the Nazis, corrupt officials, and Ilsa Lund, the great lost love of Rick's life.

We can debate whether Casablanca is the best movie ever made. It may be. Certainly few other movies are so universally recognized as expressing the deepest truths about human life — and are also so much fun.

As time goes by, it becomes increasingly unlikely that anyone will ever make a movie better than Casablanca. On its 50th anniversary in 1992, more people saw Casablanca at the Stanford Theatre than anywhere else in the world.

"Of all the movie theatres in all the towns in all the world, they walk into ours."

first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 24, 1943; last played Mar 2014

"Statistics show there are more women in the world than anything else — except insects."
Gilda (1946) 5:30, 9:25
d Charles Vidor. w Marion Parsonnet, story by E. A. Ellington. ph Rudolph Maté. m Hugo Friedhofer. Columbia. 110 min.

Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready, Joseph Calleia, Stephen Geray, Joe Sawyer, Gerald Mohr, Robert Scott, Ludwig Donath, Don Douglas.

Intense romantic triangle, set in a mysterious South American gambling casino.

There never was a woman like Gilda (according to the movie ads of the time), and Hayworth's rendition of Put the Blame on Mame remains one of the great movie moments of the 1940s.

first played at the Stanford Theatre June 16, 1946; last played May 2010

January 25 – 27: closed

January 28 – 31:
"He dislikes you. But his criticism of your talents wouldn't go that far — to imagine that you are married to an American agent. You are protected by the enormity of your stupidity."
Notorious (1946) (3:40), 7:30
d Alfred Hitchcock. w Ben Hecht. ph Ted Tetzlaff. m Roy Webb RKO. 101 min.

Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern, Leopoldine Konstantin, Reinhold Schunzel, Moroni Olsen, Ivan Triesault, Alexis Minotis.

U.S. agent Cary Grant enlists the help of notorious party girl Ingrid Bergman to infiltrate a ring of Nazis in South America.

Notorious is without doubt one of the supreme creations of Hollywood's golden age. Many persons (including Truffaut) regard it as Hitchcock's greatest film, and it is a leading candidate for top rank among the films of Ingrid Bergman and of Cary Grant. In any case, it is the third most popular film at the Stanford Theatre (topped only by Casablanca and Gone With the Wind).

first played at the Stanford Theatre Jan 5, 1947; last played Jan 2015

Casablanca (1942) 5:35, 9:25

February 1 – 3: closed

February 4 – 7:
"It's all right, Tracy. We all go a little haywire at times — and if we don't, maybe we ought to."
The Philadelphia Story (1940) (3:30), 7:30
d George Cukor. w Donald Ogden Stewart & Waldo Salt, from the play by Philip Barry. ph Joseph Ruttenberg. m Franz Waxman. MGM. 112 min.

Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, John Howard, Roland Young, John Halliday, Mary Nash, Virginia Weidler, John Howard, Henry Daniell.

The society marriage of Tracy Samantha Lord and C. K. Dexter Haven ended in divorce. Tracy is about to marry "man of the people" George Kittredge, when Spy Magazine sends a couple of reporters to cover the wedding.

Philip Barry wrote the play specially for Katharine Hepburn. After its successful Broadway run she sold the play to MGM, retaining the right to select the director and cast.

Jimmy Stewart won the Oscar as Best Actor of 1940 for his performance as reporter Macauley Connor.

This wonderful picture ranks as one of the supreme treasures of Hollywood's golden age. The Stanford Theatre brings it back at least once a year — always to enthusiastic crowds. It never grows old!

first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 9, 1941; last played May 2015

Notorious (1946) 5:35, 9:35

February 8 – 10: closed

February 11 – 14:
"I shall never forget the weekend Laura died. A silver sun burned through the sky like a huge magnifying glass. It was the hottest Sunday in my recollection. I felt as if I were the only human being left in New York. For Laura's horrible death, I was alone. I, Waldo Lydecker, was the only one who really knew her. And I had just begun to write Laura's story when another of those detectives came to see me."
Laura (1944) (3:45), 7:30
d Otto Preminger. w Jay Drattler, Samuel Hoffenstein, Betty Reinhardt, from the novel by Vera Caspary. ph Joseph La Shelle. m David Raksin. Twentieth Century-Fox. 87 min.

Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Gene Tierney, Judith Anderson, Vincent Price, Dorothy Adams, James Flavin.

A beautiful young woman is murdered, or so it seems.

Laura is one of the most hauntingly unforgettable movies ever made, and the reason is David Raksin's score, one of the greatest ever written. When Hedy Lamarr was asked why she had turned down the role, she said "They sent me the script. They didn't send me the score."

Clifton Webb's portrayal of acerbic radio personality Waldo Lydecker ("I'm vicious, it's the secret of my charm") is one of the treasures of the cinema.

"Everybody's favorite chic murder mystery." Pauline Kael

Laura has been by far the most popular film noir with audiences at the Stanford Theatre. David Raksin was a guest of the theatre four times.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 30, 1944; last played July 2013

The Philadelphia Story (1940) 5:25, 9:10

February 15 – 17: closed

February 18 – 21:
"People! I ain't people! I'm a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament. It says so. Right there!"
Singin' in the Rain (1952) (3:55), 7:30
d Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly. w Adolph Green, Betty Comden. ph Harold Rosson. m Nacio Herb Brown. MGM. 104 min.

Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Millard Mitchell, Jean Hagen, Rita Moreno, Cyd Charisse, Douglas Fowley.

Perhaps the most popular film musical of all time is set in Hollywood at the dawn of talking pictures. Silent stars Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lena Lamont (Jean Hagen) are making their first sound picture. When Lena's voice doesn't quite match her glamorous image, up-and-comer Debbie Reynolds steps in.

first played at the Stanford Theatre July 27, 1991; last played July 2014

Laura (1944) 5:50, 9:25

February 22 – 24: closed