Reels At The Rialto Film Series Returns

Classic movies to be screened at this iconic Route 66 theatre

The “Reels at the Rialto” year-round movie series will start its 2024 season on Thursday , Feb. 15 with a showing of "The Wizard of Oz."

The Rialto Square Theatre, one of the most memorable buildings along Route 66, is a must-visit destination for fans of live entertainment – but for a few special engagements throughout the year, this opulent former movie palace returns to its roots for a curated series of revival film screenings.

The Rialto Square Theatre, which originally opened in 1926 as a vaudeville movie house, will roll down its silver screen to show a selection of iconic films. This year’s Reels at the Rialto lineup will feature crowd-pleasing hits like “The Wizard of Oz,” “Mary Poppins,” John Ford’s “The Quiet Man,” “Rudy,” “Encanto,” “Ghostbusters” (1984), “The Sandlot,” “Hocus Pocus” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”

The screenings will start at 7 p.m., with doors opening 30 minutes before showtime. Tickets cost $5 each, and will be available the day of the screening at the Rialto Square Theatre Box Office. All seating will be general admission offered on a first-come basis. Cash and credit will be accepted for payment, with offerings from the bar and concessions available to buy.

The Rialto sign is visible through several snow dusted trees in downtown Joliet on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023.

Next up in the series will be a screening of “The Wizard of Oz,” the 1939 musical fantasia starring Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton and Bert Lahr. The film starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, and tickets must be purchased at the box office ahead of the screening.

In addition to this family-friendly film series, the Rialto regularly hosts touring bands, lavish live theater performances and some of the biggest names in standup comedy. With a place on the American Institute of Architects’ list of “150 Great Places In Illinois,” the Neo-Baroque-style building provides a jaw-dropping, world-class entertainment experience.

Drawing inspiration from many popular European architectural styles, the interior is home to a replica of Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors, sweeping grand staircases and a stunning 22-foot-tall crystal chandelier, known affectionately as “The Duchess.” The awe-inspiring auditorium houses live theater and popular music throughout the year. You’ll hear a rare Barton Grande theater pipe organ, which still provides rich and authentic vaudeville sounds before each show. Legends who graced the grand stage at the Rialto include Bob Hope, Red Skelton and The Marx Brothers, all of whom are now honored in a nearby silhouette sculpture.

Looking to catch another film at this iconic theater? Cary Elwes, star of the beloved cult-classic “The Princess Bride,” will host an “Inconceivable Evening” on April 19. Join Elwes for a behind-the-scenes look at life on and off the set of “The Princess Bride.” After a screening of the film, Elwes will engage in a moderated discussion revealing never before shared secrets and tales of inconceivable antics.

Elwes has been in a multitude of films and television shows, including “Robin Hood: Men in Tights,” “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” “Saw,” “Twister,” “Liar, Liar,” “Stranger Things” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” He recently starred in Guy Ritchie’s “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre”, “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1″ with Tom Cruise, Zack Snyder’s sci-fi epic “Rebel Moon” and his latest film, “Sweetwater,” based on the true story of the first African American signed to the NBA. Now Elwes is hitting the road to share with fans the personal stories behind the making of a piece of cinematic history.

Tickets are available now for the special event, along with a limited number of VIP packages that include the best seats in the house, a meet-and-greet event with Cary Elwes, and a signed copy of Elwes’ best-selling book, “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.”

To see more great activities coming to the theater, be sure to visit