Cart 0

Experience the Bigfork Retrospective Film Festival


10 Classic Movies Over 3 Amazing Days

 October 5th - 7th, 2018

Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts

Bigfork, Montana



Click on movie posters to move gallery and see all films being shown


New for 2018!

Bigfork Film Festivals (BFF) is pleased to announce that it will be partnering with the Bigfork Rotary Foundation (BRF) to produce this year's retrospective film festival. As a result of this new partnership a large percentage of the proceeds will be going directly to Rotary and then back to the community in support of local community and school programs. I have worked with Rotary on a number of film fundraisers in the past, but this will be the first time we work side-by-side on a major film event. I couldn't be happier to have a partner like Rotary to work with. Their volunteers do great work in the community, and the money we generate will help fund at least some of their initiatives.

Unrelated to the new BRF partnership, I also want to announce the Retro and Indie Film Festivals will no longer be produced by the Bigfork Community Players. BFF recently became a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation located in the State of Montana. I want to publicly thank BCP for their help and support over the past 2 years. I couldn't have done it without them.

Finally, BFF is proud to announce a new holiday tradition in downtown Bigfork. Starting this November we will be showing a double feature at the BCPA to help get everyone into the holiday spirit. For this year we plan to show two family-friendly movies, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase and The Grinch who Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey, on Friday evening, November 30th.  With the continued support of the local community we hope to keep this tradition going for many years to come. Please mark November 30th on your calendars and save the date!

Steve Shapero, BFF Founder


Take a look at our clip reel to see the 10 classic movies we're showing this year!


Program Guide

For the 3rd Annual Bigfork Retro Film Festival we're exploring a number of genres that audiences told us they wanted to see. Since this year's theme is "Something for Everybody" we handpicked films that we think just about anyone would want to see. A wide variety of your favorites, from Casablanca to Jaws to Annie Sing Along, will be shown. The two primary criteria we used were wide appeal and being a truly classic film. Not all classic films win Oscars, but everyone knows a classic film when they see it.

The films chosen run the gamut and have been selected to both entertain as well as demonstrate the breadth that Hollywood has to offer. Each day of the festival we will show films that either helped create, or broke the mold, of what a classic movie is. Here is your chance to see 10 great films, spanning over 50 years of movie making, in downtown Bigfork.


Friday - October 5th

  6:00 pm - JAWS* (1975) Rated PG

   9:00 pm - Close encounters of the third kind (1977) Rated PG


Saturday - October 6th

10:45 am - toy story (1995) Rated G

12:30 pm - Hook (1991) Rated PG

3:30 pm - Key Largo (1948) Not Rated

 6:45 pm - blackboard jungle** (1955) rated Approved

 9:00 pm - Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) Rated R     


Sunday- October 7th

11:45 am - Annie Sing Along (1982) Rated PG

3:15 pm - grease* (1978) Rated PG-13

5:30 pm - Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) Rated PG


* planned Guest Speaker: Bill Butler - director of Photography (JAWS & Grease)

** planned Guest Speaker: Peter ford - Actor, Biographer and Son of Glenn fords

    Go to 'The retro movies' link in the navigation bar for more info and the Ratings of our films

All Showtimes are approximate and subject to change



Film Festival Pricing

Our goal is to keep ticket prices as low as possible to in order to allow as many film goers to attend as possible. Tickets are available on this website or at the venue during festival hours.


Adult Single Showing Price - $10.00 per person

Senior (65+)/Children (12 yrs and under) Single Showing Price - $5.00 per person

Adult ALL Access Pass - $30.00 per Person for any and all films

Senior (65+)/Children (12 yrs and under) All Access Pass - $25.00 Per person for any and all films


Go to the "purchase Retro tickets" link in the Navigation Bar to buy tickets and passes

                        Use the "Contact us" link for information on school and other group discounts                         

Theater Seating is limited. Advanced purchase is recommended.


Our Mission

The mission of the Bigfork Retro Film Festival is to bring great films to the big screen in the comfort and convenience of the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts located in downtown Bigfork, Montana. In today's modern world with a myriad of portable devices to watch movies, we try to recreate the experience of watching movies as they were meant to be seen.

The Vision

Most people haven't seen many of the movies we show on the big screen; they've only seen them on their television, phone or tablet. Here is a rare chance to see some of your favorite classic movies as they were originally meant to be seen. During the festival, which is held over 3 consecutive days, moviegoers can enjoy a wide range of classic movies. They have the option of purchasing either an 'All Access Pass' for $25 or $30, or tickets to individual showings for $5 or $10 a seat. Discounts are provided for seniors, children 12 and under, and large groups.

Our vision is to bring great films to the Flathead Valley so they can be enjoyed by as many people as possible. By purchasing tickets, or by making a donation, you ensure we keep bringing time-honored movies to Bigfork for years to come. If you're like me, you miss watching movies in a beautiful theater. Here's your chance to relive the past.

In addition to just showing great movies we bring in special guest speakers, most of whom have worked in Hollywood. They tell fascinating and inspiring personal stories and provide a 'behind the scenes' look at the process of movie making. Following the showing the audience is encouraged to meet our guests, ask questions and learn more about how some their favorite films were made.

Improved Digital Experience

While many of us weren't old enough to see Casablanca, Citizen Kane or Gone with the Wind when they were first released, we can still see those films when they are shown on TV, or when we stream them, or if we buy or rent a DVD. However you watch classic movies you are usually watching an enhanced or restored version of the film. By definition DVDs are a digital format, and because they're digital there are many ways they can be enhanced over the original analog version.

As grand as those old movie houses were, the visual and audio quality was limited by the fact that they were projecting light through celluloid film that had an audio track added to it. This analog technology for its time was reliable, but the audio and visual quality wasn't great. The picture was often degraded and the sound was sometimes muffled, but it was all they had and what their audiences expected. In today's digital world people expect the highest quality picture and sound possible.  

To address this expectation we show our movies using the latest digital technology, Blu Ray or HD DVD, whenever possible, which provides the best quality sound and picture available. That means we can provide a better movie watching experience than you could get even when the film was first released in the theaters. We want our audiences to not only experience movies as they were meant to be seen, but also to hear them as they were meant to be heard.

What Makes a Movie a "Classic"?

People sometimes ask what makes a 'classic' movie versus a popular one. There is no agreed upon definition of what a classic movie is, and to most of us it seems fairly subjective, but there are some criteria that movie critics and films historians do agree upon.

According to Tim Dirks from AMC's"Classic Films are often distinguished or unique works of cinema that have transcended time and trends, with indefinable quality. Classic films are often universal favorites that hold up after repeated rescreenings. Classics are renowned films of first rank, reference points in film mythology, or films that have become a part of American cultural folklore."

In other words, last year's attendance breaking blockbuster may or may not turn out to be a classic 25 years from now. If you think about it most films don't become classics, and wide public appeal, while a factor, by itself doesn't make a film a classic. As far as what "transcended time" means, I would argue that movies need to be at least 20 years old before they can even be considered a classic. A newer film may someday become a classic, but at least 20 years has to have pass before it can be said that it 'really stood the test of time'.

Few would argue that Casablanca, Citizen Kane and Gone with the Wind are not classics, but as you work your way down any Top 100 list it becomes harder and harder to distinguish between classic and just very popular movies.  Are Psycho (1960), The Jazz Singer (1927) or Little Caesar (1930) classic moviesThey are great movies in their own right, but where do you draw the line? Anyone can argue that their list of 10 would have been better, but our goal was not to select movies that were just "distinguished works" and had "indefinable quality", but movies we thought the average person would want to see again, or perhaps for the first time, on the big screen. So if you favorite didn't make the list don't feel bad. There's always next year! Don't forget to tell us your favorite classic movie using the survey cards provided in the lobby. We want your feedback.


Enjoy movies as they were  meant to be seen



What, No Casablanca Again?

If you're wondering why we aren't showing Casablanca this year you have a right to ask. We wanted to show it last year, but couldn't get the licensing rights because it was the 75th anniversary of the release and they were selling a new DVD box set. But what about this year? Casablanca is one of the most beloved classic films of all time. What's our excuse this year? There's actually a reason why we're not showing it this year and it has nothing to do with licensing restrictions.

Here's the story. I was working the box office at last year's retro festival when somebody I didn't know walked up to me during one of the movies. I didn't recognize the person and asked if I could help them. She then introduced herself as Monika Henreid. I still didn't make the connection until she said "you've heard of Victor Laszlo... that's my father". Then it all made sense. Monika is the late Paul Henreid's daughter, but what was she doing in Bigfork, Montana at a retro film festival? Long story short, Monika lives in Lakeside and wanted to know what we were up to. I was stunned. Here, standing in front of me, was a direct link to one of the most famous films ever made. I started asking questions, and she told me lots of stories about the film, and her father's career, that I had never heard before.

Monika Henreid is a treasure trove of information and has in-depth knowledge of her father's early films, including Casablanca. In addition, Monika has  worked in the film industry as as actress, and is currently working on a film, and that's why she can't be in Bigfork this year. Monika is currently finishing up a film about her father's life and career and I didn't think it made any sense to show Casablanca when we have such a rich resource available to talk about it. Monika has agreed to be a guest speaker next year, and I am considering showing another of her father's films, perhaps Now Voyager, at next year's festival. So whether you think it's a good excuse or not, that's why we aren't showing it this year. I know that some people will be disappointed, but having Monika talk about her dad and tell stories about the film next year should be amazing.

In the meantime, if you're a Humphrey Bogart fan like I am you'll enjoy watching Key Largo, a film he made after Casablanca. It's not as famous as Casablanca, but the on-screen chemistry between Bogart and Lauren Bacall is fun to watch. From all accounts everyone on the set got along remarkably well, especially considering the egos involved (Humphrey Bogart, Edward G Robinson, Lionel Barrymore and John Huston), and Bacall held daily afternoon teas that brought everyone together in a relaxed atmosphere so they could get to know each other and make the best film possible. Bogart liked the film so much he named his personal fishing boat after the one in the movie ("The Santana") and even named his own production company "Santana Productions".

Enjoy the rest of the festival!


Steve Shapero, BFF Founder