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Reel Cheap: Free Film Screenings in Washington
Comments () | Published September 3, 2008

It’s time to break out the picnic baskets and lawn chairs—free outdoor movies are back! From Bond movies to Bee Movie, check out our round-up of great places in the DC area to catch a flick under the stars.

Got a tip on another free movie spot? Let us know in the comments!

WASHINGTON
James Bond Film Festival: Thursdays through August 28, catch a free Bond flick in DC’s NoMA neighborhood at the future site of the upcoming mixed-use development Washington Gateway. (See below for the Rosslyn-location Bond screenings.) Upcoming showings include Live and Let Die (June 19), Moonraker (July 17), and Goldeneye (August 14). Come dressed as your favorite Bond character for a chance to win prizes. Recite a few lines or act out a scene for the best chance to win.

Mount Pleasant Films in the Park: Three Saturdays this summer, head to Mount Pleasant's Lamont Street Park for free outdoor movies, music, and games. The 1982 Spielberg classic, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, kicked off the series on June 14, followed by Blanca Nieve (Snow White) with English subtitles on July 12, and Raiders of the Lost Ark on August 9. Films begin at 9, with music and games beforehand. 

Screen on the Green: Monday nights in July and August starting July 14 mean free movies on the National Mall. This year’s classics, which will be projected on a 20-by-40-foot screen, include Dr. No, The Candidate, and Superman. Movies start at dusk, between 8:30 and 9 PM, but people get there as early as 5 to grab the best spots. In the event of inclement weather, call 877-262-5866; screenings may be canceled.

Update:
Riverfront Reel: Wednesday nights near the Navy Yard in Southeast, catch free baseball-themed movies. The movies—like Eight Men Out, Major League, and (our personal favorite) The Sandlot—start at 8:50, but get there at 6:30 for games, music, food, and drinks. At 7:30, play Wii baseball on a 32-inch screen.

Update:
Dupont Movie Mania: Thursdays this summer, catch an outdoor movie at Stead Park near Dupont Circle. June 26 is Ferris Bueller's Day Off, July 31 is Wizard of Oz, and August 28 is Goonies (woo!). There will also be screenings of Austin Powers on September 18 and Ghostbusters on October 16. Movies start at 8:30.

VIRGINIA

Comcast Outdoor Film Festival in Alexandria: Ben Brenman Park will host an outdoor film festival July 18 and 19 benefitting Hopkins House, a local education charity. The screenings are free, but a portion of food sales will go to the charity. Films start at 8:30.

James Bond Film Festival: Fridays through August 22, catch the Virginia contingent of the James Bond Film Festival. (See above for the festival’s DC location.) Screenings in Rosslyn include The Spy Who Loved Me (June 27), For Your Eyes Only (July 18), and Tomorrow Never Dies (August 15). Films start at 8, but Bond-character costume contests and giveaways begin at 7.

Update:
Starlight Cinema: Saturday nights in August, head to Centreville's Sully District for a free drive-in movie. The family-friendly flicks being shown include The Spiderwick Chronicles and Transformers. Movies start at 7:30, but gates open at 6. If you don't have a car, you can still go—lawn seats will be reserved in the front for those operating without four wheels. Screenings are canceled in the event of rain. Call 703-324-7469 after 6 on the night of the show for cancellation information.  

Update:
Fabulous Films of '58: Alternating Fridays in July and August, the Manassas Museum is dusting off some classics for free screenings under the stars. Screenings of Tom Thumb, Gigi, and more start at 8 and will play on July 11 and 25 and August 8 and 22.

MARYLAND
Bethesda Outdoor Movies: Stars on the Avenue: Downtown Bethesda’s free outdoor movie tradition returns this summer from July 29 through August 2 in Woodmont Triangle Park. This year’s five-flick lineup includes Wizard of Oz, An Inconvenient Truth, Annie Hall, Hairspray, and Mission Impossible. Some chairs will be provided, but movie-goers are encouraged to bring their own. Screenings start at 9 PM.

Comcast Outdoor Film Festival at Strathmore: August 15 through 24, bring a blanket or beach chair and catch a free movie on the lawn at Strathmore. This year’s lineup includes Bee Movie, Spiderman 3, The Kite Runner, Transformers, and more. Donations will be accepted to benefit the National Institutes of Health Children’s Charities. Movies start at 8:30.

Hopkins Summer Outdoor Films: If you’re in Baltimore on a Friday night this June or July, swing by Gilman Hall at Johns Hopkins University for live music and a free outdoor film. The series kicks off on June 20 with The Simpson’s Movie and wraps up July 25 with Some Like It Hot. Music starts at 7:30, and the film begins just after sunset. In case of rain, films will be shown in Shriver Auditorium.

Related:

The Month of June in Film
Fun for Free in Washington, DC
Screen on the Green Schedule
Festivals to Kick Off Summer

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