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A year-by-year, film-by-film history of 70-millimeter wide gauge exhibition in New York City & Vicinity


 Compiled by Michael Coate and William Kallay



And As For Those Mystery Titles…


A lot has been written about 70mm over the years, and, unfortunately, a number of books and magazine articles have included some questionable claims regarding certain movies having been exhibited in the United States in the large gauge format.  We feel there are an alarming number of unverifiable titles that fall into this category and that further research is necessary to help tell the whole story of 70mm.

The most controversial sources over the years in this regard have been the book “Wide Screen Movies” and the Dolby Stereo soundtrack master title listing maintained by Dolby Labs.  Recently, another book has joined the group: “The Moviegoing Experience, 1968 – 2001.”  While these publications certainly have plenty of interesting and useful information, we’ve determined they all feature an unfortunate number of questionable claims or outright inaccurate information in regard to movies released in the 70mm format.  And, rather than clutter up our own year-by-year lists with these possible innacuracies, we’re giving them their own section here.


We will identify below the unconfirmed titles to account for the title and to perhaps motivate a reader/fan/industry professional to contact us if they possess any useful information.  So what constitutes an unconfirmed title?  (1) a title in which no 70mm presentation notations were found in the New York area newspapers during their first-run engagement, (2) inability to locate any mention of 70mm print availablity in the industry trades during or after release, (3) inability to confirm 70mm print availability via “Projectionist’s Notes” sheets (enclosed with prints sent to theatres), (4) projectionists communicated with having no reasonable memory of ever running a 70mm print, (5) no confirmation of 70mm prints screened during revival or festival screenings in the ensuing years, and (6) studios not confirming existence of 65/70mm film and/or six-track audio elements.

We recognize that it is certainly a possiblity that some films could have screened in 70mm in
New York City first-run unadvertised given the importance of the market and breadth of appropriately-equipped venues. However, these authors think that scenario unlikely in the majority of cases since newspaper promotion was such an integral part of 70mm exhibition.


Dolby Laboratories, Inc. has over the years published a trade periodical called “Have You Heard Any Good Films Lately?,” which is an alphabetical listing of productions that featured any soundtracks under the “Dolby” umbrella. (Today, the master title listing is available on the company’s website, minus any references to 70mm.) For 70mm fans, it was neat to find that Dolby made notations of 70mm print availability on some films. Unfortunately, reading the lists could be a maddening experience since they listed a number of films believed not to have been shown in 70mm (“Buckaroo Banzai,” “Give My Regards To Broadstreet”), and some films that did have 70mm prints, but weren’t listed as such (the “Back To The Future” trilogy, some “Star Trek” sequels).


In fairness to the folks at Dolby, their lists of motion pictures with Dolby Stereo soundtracks do not identify the language(s) in which a particular Dolby Stereo mix was prepared or the market(s) in which a film was released. This means that a given entry in their records may reflect a foreign mix or an English-language mix used to prepare prints for a special screening or release in a non-U.S. market. Okay, that’s easy enough to understand, but it sure makes our job as researchers and historians difficult!


Also in regard to the Dolby lists, a number of titles appeared with a “70mm” notation in advance of release, only to have that format notation removed around the time of release or shortly thereafter, suggesting that a 70mm print order was cancelled and that the records were updated to reflect the change (“Moonraker,” Megaforce,” “The Pirates Of Penzance”).


Complicating matters is that the Dolby listings were generally prepared while a film was in post-production, and the notation represented the mixing and distribution intentions at that time. It was not unusual for a distributor to alter its plans for a given film's release, which, in the context of this project, can imply that a film may have had a planned 70mm release but in fact was released only in conventional 35mm with optical sound, despite the company records indicating a 70mm magnetic release…even in updates published years later (“RoboCop,” “Baby: Secret Of The Lost Legend”).

As for “Wide Screen Movies,” this 1988 book contains a chapter of 70mm blow-ups released in the
United States…only the chapter appears to have included too many titles!  The book also includes some questionable Super Technirama titles, at least as far as 70mm distribution in the U.S. is concerned.  And, to make the situation even more frustrating, the book contains no sources (footnotes, bibliography, etc.).  While a number of their titles have been confirmed as 70mm releases in countries other than the U.S (as well as some titles having been re-released in the U.S. with 70mm prints or screened in festivals or retrospectives years after the original first-run 35mm release), the titles we have flagged are those that we have been unable to confirm as having 70mm prints screened in New York (or, for that matter, anywhere in the U.S.) in their original first-run release in commercial cinemas (which is based on our interpretation of that book's claim of "released in the United States”).

Other books, such as ”The Moviegoing Experience, 1968 – 2001” and “Motor City Marquees” offer a handful of questionable claims, as do a number of magazine and newspaper articles.  The legend below lists of all of the sources used to compile this list of “mystery” titles.  The titles are followed by footnotes tracing the claim back to its source(s). 

Countless other possible 70mm releases have been mentioned in Internet newsgroup and forum discussions.  These comments, while creating interest, amount to hearsay and are not included (unless mentioned in another published source).


The Mystery List….


New York City was (and still is) a major film market and had an incredible number of cinemas equipped to screen movies in 70mm.  If the following movies truly had 70mm prints struck for U.S. distribution, wouldn’t you think they’d be exhibited in that format in a market as big and important as New York?  Of course, it is possible some bypassed the Big Apple, and others may have played unadvertised.  It’s a strange business, and strange things can and do happen.  But, we believe that most of the mystery titles fall under one of two categories: a 70mm release only in international markets or a planned and cancelled 70mm release.  Until confirmation, however, this mystery list should provide some interesting material to inspire further discussion and research.


[1] “Wide Screen Movies” (book)

[2] Dolby Labs’ “Have You Heard Any Good Movies Lately?” master title list
[3] “The Moviegoing Experience, 1968-2001” (book)

[4] “Four Aspects Of The Film” (book)
[5] “Widescreen Cinema” (book)
[6] “Motor City Marquees” (book)

[7] “Future Noir: The Making Of Blade Runner” (book)

[8] “3-D Movies” (book)
[9] Lucasfilm Ltd. Theater Alignment Program (TAP) trade ad

[10] Presentation notation on LaserDisc jacket

[11] Variety (trade coverage during production and/or in advance of release)

[12] Variety (trade coverage during and/or after release)
[13] Disney News (magazine)

[14] Newspaper advertisement in advance of release and/or first week of release only

[15] American Cinematographer magazine article

[16] “Roadshow Movies” (Widescreen Review magazine article)

[17] “Winning An Oscar In The Pre-IMAXian Era” (LF Examiner newsletter article)

[18] “In The Splendor Of 70mm” (..In 70mm: The 70mm Newsletter/ article)

[19] “Back To The Land” (Kodak’s In Camera magazine)
[20] “Cinedome Is Left Holding Bat-bag” (The Seatle Times newspaper article)

[21] Internet Movie Database (

[22] Pacific Theaters lobby display during 2000 Cinerama Dome film festival
U.S. roadshow release (70mm prints presumed and/or available in international markets)
[24] “
US 70mm Capable Theatre Listing” (webpage)

[25] 65mm original photography credit on promotional materials
[26] Boxoffice (magazine film review)


The Trials Of Oscar Wilde (1)

The Unforgiven (4)



Carthage In Flames (1)

The Savage Innocents (1)



Gypsy (7)

The Longest Day (6)
The Music Man (1,4,5,6,11)
The World By Night No. 2 (1)



Buddha (1,4)

Bye Bye Birdie (1,18)
Hercules And The Captive Women (1)



The Carpetbaggers (1,15)

First Men In The Moon (1)

The Long Ships (1)

The Pink Panther (1)

Zulu (1,11)


The Flight Of The Phoenix (17)

Genghis Khan (1,11)

The Great Wall (1)

Marriage On The Rocks (1,15)

Operation Crossbow (15)



Around The World Under The Sea (15)

The Blue Max (16,23)

The Heroes Of Telemark (1)

The Professionals (1,15)



Casino Royale (1)

The Comedians (1,11)

More Than A Miracle (15)

The Taming Of The Shrew (23)

Thoroughly Modern Millie (16,23)

Ulysses (11)



The Charge Of The Light Brigade (3,16)

Clint The Lonely Nevadan (1,3)

Guns For San Sebastian (15)

Hellfighters (1,3)

The Jolson Story [re-issue] (1,3)

Julius Caesar [MGM; re-issue] (1,3)

The Lion In Winter (6,23)

Mayerling (3)

The Young Girls Of Rochefort (1,3)



Alfred The Great (3)

All Quiet On The Western Front [re-issue] (1)

The Battle Of Britain (3)

The Longest Day [re-issue] (3)

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (3)

Those Daring Young Men In Their Jaunty Jalopies (1,3)

The Wild Bunch (1,3)
The Young Rebel (1,3)



The Adventurers (1,3)

Bedknobs And Broomsticks (6)
Cromwell (3)

Julius Caesar [Commonwealth] (23)

Kelly’s Heroes (1,3)

The Robe [re-issue] (3)
Two Mules For Sister Sara (1,3)

Winning (1,3,11)

Woodstock (3,19)



The Andromeda Strain (3)

Battle Of Neretva (1,3)

The Boy Friend (1,3)

The Devils (1,3)

Elvis: That’s The Way It Is (3)
The Emigrants (3,12)

The Horsemen (3)

Le Mans (3)

The Light At The Edge Of The World (1,3)

The Music Lovers (1,3)

The Ten Commandments [re-issue] (1,3)

Wild Rovers (1,3,11)
Windjammer [re-issue] (6)



Antony And Cleopatra (3)

The Great Caruso [re-issue] (3)
Jeremiah Johnson (3)

The New Land (3,12)

Silent Running (3)

Young Winston (1,3,16,23)



Electra Glide In Blue (1,3)

Jesus Christ Superstar (3)
Let The Good Times Roll (3)

Lost Horizon (1,3)

The Neptune Factor (1,3)

Playtime (1,3)



Earthquake (1,3)

The Great Gatsby (3)

Papillon (3)

Run, Run, Joe! (3)



Barry Lyndon (22)

Funny Lady (3)

The Hindenburg (1,3)

Tommy (1) [see our 1977 entry]



Grizzly (1,3)

King Kong (1,3)



Billy Jack Goes To Washington (1,3)

A Bridge Too Far (1,3)

Mohammad: Messenger Of God (1,3)



Coming Home (3)

The Punk Rock Movie (1,3)

The Wiz (3)



The Black Stallion (1,3)

The Champ (1,3)

Hair (3) [see our 1982 entry]

Moonraker (1,2,3,26)

Winds Of Change (1,3)



The Blues Brothers (3)

The Electric Horseman (3)
Flash Gordon (3,18)

Roadie (2)

Rough Cut (2)

Saturn 3 (1,2,3,14)

Tess (1,3)

The Watcher In The Woods (13)



Chariots Of Fire (1,3)

For Your Eyes Only (21)

Lion Of The Desert (22)



The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas (3)

Brimstone & Treacle (12)

Dance Craze (1,3)

Das Boot (1,2,3)

Inchon (2)

Megaforce (2)

Night Crossing (2)

One From The Heart (1,2,3)

The Pirates Of Penzance (2)



Jaws 3-D (11)
The Keep (1,3,11,12)

Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone (11)
Twilight Zone: The Movie (11)
Yentl (22)



The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai (1,2,3)

The Bounty (2,3)

Country (1,2,3)

Give My Regards To Broad Street (2,3)

The Killing Fields (1,3)

Metropolis [re-issue] (1,2,3)

The NeverEnding Story (1,3,14)

Once Upon A Time In America (11)

Romancing The Stone (14)

Sheena (11)

Supergirl (1,2,3)

Tightrope (11)

We Will Rock You (1,3)



Baby: Secret Of The Lost Legend (1,2,3,18)

Enemy Mine (1,3)

King David (1,3)

The Last Dragon (1,2,3)

Pale Rider (1,3)

Ran (3)
Starchaser: The Legend Of Orin (1,2,3,8)

A View To A Kill (1,3)



Down And Out In Beverly Hills (1,2,3)

The Fly (1,3)

Highlander (1,2,3)

Iron Eagle (1,3)

Labyrinth (1,3)

Legal Eagles (1,3)

Legend (1,3)

Pirates (2,3)

Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1,3)



Beverly Hills Cop II (3,9)

Dead Of Winter (14)

Platoon (3)

RoboCop (2,3)

The Sicilian (2,3)


The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen (3)
Akira (3,10)

Kansas (2,3)

Pathfinder (3)


Slipstream (3)



Bird On A Wire (10)

Dances With Wolves (2,3)

Fire Birds (14)

Hamlet (14)

Narrow Margin (2,3)

RoboCop 2 (2,3)



Final Approach (2,3)

Flight Of The Intruder (3)

The Hard Way (10)



Aladdin (22)

Batman Returns (20)

The Bodyguard (14)

Map Of The Human Heart (25)

Son Of The Pink Panther (25)



The Bridge On The River Kwai [re-issue] (2)

Wolf (24)


Flipper (21)

Scream (21)



The Girl On The Bridge (25)



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1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964
1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974
1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984
1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004


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