Though the Film Society of Lincoln Center was founded in 1969, it would take 22 more years before the organization had its own venue for showing movies all year round. On December 3, 1991, when the Walter Reade Theater, occupying the space of a former school building on the Lincoln Center campus, finally opened, moviegoing in New York would never be the same.

The first films screened at the Walter Reade Theater included Pedro Almodóvar’s High Heels; Orson Welles’s 1952 Othello; Woody Allen’s Shadows and Fog; A Brief History of Time, Errol Morris’s portrait of Stephen Hawking; and the 1949 musical On the Town, directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly. The diversity of these initial films anticipated the programming philosophy that persists today: films new and old, foreign and Hollywood, provocative and purely enjoyable.

This December we’re thrilled to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Walter Reade Theater, which remains one of the city’s premier cinema venues, a state-of-the-art facility for film and video projection, programmed by the cream of movie culture’s most discerning crop. Please join us for an evening of free screenings of essential films that speak to the mission of the theater and of the Film Society of Lincoln Center.