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Top 10 Amazing Drive-In Movie Theaters in the US

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands

Script written by Michael Wynands

You’re not just watching a film… you’re living an experience. From Ford-Wyoming Drive-In, to Becky’s Drive-In, to the Field of Dreams Drive-In Theater, these unique spots will bring you back to a different era in cinema.

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Transcript
Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Amazing Drive-In Movie Theaters in the US



You’re not just watching a film… you’re living an experience. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Amazing Drive-In Movie Theaters in the US.
For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the most popular, interesting and classic drive-in movie theaters found across America. To be included, the theater needs to operate regularly, not just for special events. So while the “‘Jaws’ on the Water” screening at the Alamo Drafthouse is indeed unforgettable, it won't be considered.

#10: Ford-Wyoming Drive-In

Dearborn, Michigan
This Detroit drive-in gets all the popular new movies, but in terms of modern trappings, that’s about it. Of course, that’s part of what makes this institution so charming and memorable… the old school vibe! It’s been around since 1950, and, boasting 5 screens, claims to be the largest drive-In in the world. It offers special “two for the price of one” double features, and is open exclusively on weekends. Of course, as their retro intermission animation reminds you, you’ll want to take advantage of that time to visit the refreshment center!

#9: Becky’s Drive-In

Walnutport, Pennsylvania
In many ways, Becky’s is the archetypal establishment, but that’s what makes it so great - they deliver a perfect, family-friendly Drive-In experience. The sound is broadcast locally over FM radio, but portable radios can also be rented for next to nothing. The snacks are tasty and affordable, and they’ve even got a playground for kids. Each visit to Becky’s feels like a trip to a simpler, more wholesome time. Add to that the fact that they’ve got two screens, and host special events like car shows and fireworks, and you really can't go wrong! Of course, while in Pennsylvania, you’ll also want to check out Shankweiler’s Drive-In too.

#8: Field of Dreams Drive-In Theater

Liberty Center, Ohio
As Kevin Costner’s Ray Kinsella learned in the 1989 film, “Field of Dreams,” ‘if you build it, they will come’. Taking that same faith in the public’s undying love for good old-fashioned community entertainment, the Saunders family of Ohio built this drive-In theater in their very own backyard. It was clearly a labor of love for Donna and Rod Saunders, but it’s one that has paid off - people can’t say enough good things about it. In the years since they opened in 2007, they’ve added a second smaller screen, as well as games, putting and volleyball - all in the name of creating an atmosphere of good clean fun.

#7: Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre

Wellfleet, Massachusetts
This Cape Cod drive-In theater has been putting a smile on the faces of locals and tourists alike since it opened for business all the way back in 1957. Since then, they’ve upgraded to a digital projector and Dolby Digital Sound; but apart from those undeniable improvements in quality, the institution remains every bit as classic and nostalgic as one might hope. Each parking space comes with a little old-timey looking radio that is sure to pique the interest of kids all ages, while the on-site playground serves as the perfect distraction for more restless children. The drive-in also plays host to a flea market and other events!


#6: Mesa Drive-In

Pueblo, Colorado
At the Mesa Drive-In, kids get in for free, and unlike with so many other businesses, here kids are still considered kids until the age of 12 - which makes this a very affordable night out for families. Add to that the fact that this long-running establishment offers an “order ahead” concession stand menu, and you’ve got the recipe for a really great evening! The place has been around since 1951, and has since converted from 35mm to digital projection; but apart from the necessary updates, not much has changed. Many decades later, they still offer the same fun atmosphere and great hospitality that made them famous..

#5: Route 66 Drive-In Theatre

Carthage, Missouri
Route 66 might not be an official highway anymore, but it remains an iconic symbol of a bygone era of American life - a driving pilgrimage of sorts for travellers with a nostalgic streak. There’s a lot to see and do along this legendary stretch of road, from its many diners and retro motels to the countless odd roadside attractions, but no trip is complete without a stop at the famous Route 66 drive-In. Located in Carthage, Missouri, this slice of history first opened in 1949, only to be shuttered in 1985. Thankfully, in 1998, it was reopened, doing its part to keep Historic 66 alive and kicking in all its nostalgic glory.

#4: Bengies Drive-In Theater

Middle River, Maryland
Size doesn’t always matter, but when you’re on the tail-end of the lineup for a drive-in and get stuck at the back of the field… there’s something to be said for a really big screen. And at 52 by 120 feet, Bengies claims to boast the largest drive-In screen in America. This Maryland landmark has been in operation since 1956, and has developed a funny reputation for having really strict rules. However, for anyone annoyed by the widespread disregard for common courtesy in most theaters these days, it’s kind of great. Ask any of its many dedicated patrons and they’ll assure you that the rules, are a part of the draw and overall charm.

#3: Delsea Drive-In Theatre

Vineland, New Jersey
Amongst roadtrippers, nostalgia junkies, and drive-In aficionados, Delsea Drive-In is spoken about with a sort of reverence. It’s the last drive-In in New Jersey; and while that might not seem like a big deal, it is when you consider the fact that Jersey is actually the birthplace of the American drive-In. Jersey businessman Richard M. Hollingshead filed the patent in the city of Camden, and then opened the first drive-in there in 1933. Today, Delsea keeps the dream alive. The spot doesn’t have much in terms of bells and whistles, but it offers rock bottom prices, an oft-praised assortment of snacks, and the knowledge that you’re participating in a real American tradition.

#2: Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In

Gibson City, Illinois
When you think retro entertainment and technology, “energy efficiency” and “environmentally friendly” aren’t among the first qualifiers to come to mind. But in Gibson City, Illinois, the good folks behind Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In are proving that the age old tradition of the American Drive-In and eco-responsibility can actually go hand in hand! The theater has been around since 1954, but in 2009 it underwent a refurbishment, adding wind turbines and LED lighting. Despite these measures, it still offers all the charms, snacks and low prices that people love.Translation: it’s the sort of theater you’ll really feel good about supporting.

#1: Coyote Drive-In

Fort Worth, Texas
Coyote Drive-In actually boasts not one, but three locations in Texas and Alabama. Though they all rock, the Fort Worth location is arguably the best. The fully loaded concession stand has a menu item for just about every taste, and a selection of beers sure to satisfy even the most discerning suds aficionado. With cheap prices, double features, multiple screens, a massive dining area, live music and more, this drive-in is more than just an outdoor theater… it’s perfect night out just waiting to happen. Oh, and in addition to bringing your dog, you’re also welcome to arrive on horseback - they’ve got hitches waiting at the cantina. Yee haw!


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