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The museum, IMAX and Pictureville are temporarily closed. Find out about our major transformation.

"The best cinema in the world": The history of Pictureville

In the heart of Bradford, UNESCO City of Film, the National Science and Media Museum is home to Pictureville and has a long history of cinema firsts.

Pictureville is Yorkshire’s biggest independent cinema, with three screens showing a wide range of films from the latest releases and family favourites to arthouse films, restored classics, retrospectives and more.

Our home at the National Science and Media Museum has a world-class collection of sound and image technologies, including Louis Le Prince’s single-lens cine camera, used to shoot the first moving images.

We’ve had our share of cinema firsts too. When our IMAX opened in 1983, it was the first in Europe and is still the biggest screen in the region. With a 60ft screen and two projectors creating a 3D image, it is a truly immersive experience.

Our Pictureville screen opened in 1992 and has been described as "the best cinema in the world". The beautiful auditorium, with its iconic red tabs and famous curved screen, is host to hundreds of films and events every year. We can screen films digitally with the latest 4K projection system, or from film on 35mm or 70mm.

We remain the only public venue in the world that can show 3-strip Cinerama—the IMAX of its time. Once the pinnacle of immersive cinema, we continue to screen Cinerama throughout the year. Read more about the history of Cinerama in Pictureville.

Over the years, Pictureville has welcomed celebrities and film industry experts at its screenings and events, including the likes of Kenneth Branagh, Jenny Agutter, Barbara Windsor, Brian Cox, Samira Ahmed, Aamir Khan and Ray Winstone. In 2021, Pictureville hosted the regional premiere of Clio Barnard’s Ali & Ava

Since 1996 Pictureville has hosted the Widescreen Weekend film festival. The festival attracts cinemagoers from around the world and celebrates some of cinema's boldest and most exciting formats. It showcases classic films and the projection skills required to see them as they were intended. Pictureville also hosts the Yorkshire Games Festival, a week-long celebration of all things gaming. Events at these festivals have included a live recording of the award-winning podcast Soundtracking with Edith Bowman and Sir Michael Palin, and high-profile guests from the games industry including John Romero, creator of DOOM.

As well as our three screens, we have a stylish café bar offering a wide range of local coffee, cake, ice cream and premium beers, wines and spirits, as well as classic cinema snacks.

Pictureville is part of Bradford’s rich cinema history—the world’s first UNESCO City of Film. Find out more at Bradford City of Film.