Throughout the summer, folks living in Denver flock to Red Rocks, although no concerts are scheduled.
They bring coolers and snacks, and they spread their picnic blankets on the smooth red stone seats, wrapping themselves in warm blankets, and settling in under the stars.
Then they recite all the lines of their favorite movie as it projects on a giant screen on the stage.
Red Rocks Amphitheater is an outdoor concert venue set among natural rock formations that are perfect for amplifying sound. The Ute tribe used to make use of it as a gathering place. Today, it’s many a musician’s favorite place to play.
And when there are no concerts scheduled, people living in Denver don’t want to let this resource go to waste.
That’s why the Denver Film Society collaborated with Denver Arts & Venues to create the Film on the Rocks series.
The movies aren’t always new releases. Instead, they mix in cult classics and old favorites—films that have become iconic not for their artistic integrity, but for the way they bring people together even after multiple showings.
The Big Lebowski, Fight Club, Caddyshack, This is Spinal Tap, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Princess Bride, and Labyrinth are a few films that have been shown on the rocks. The first film was shown fifteen years ago. It was The Godfather. Since then, Film on the Rocks has become a Denver tradition.
Film on the Rocks began so that people living in Denver could have an affordable way to watch movies and live entertainment at Red Rocks. General admission tickets are only $15.
But if you go to Film on the Rocks, the purpose for it seems much different. Each film is preceded by a live concert and a comedian. Most of the performers are local to the Denver area. The audience is camped out in the seats on blankets, with coolers and camp chairs. It seems like people living in Denver just want an excuse to hang out, watch movies in a beautiful landscape, laugh, and listen to music.
This summer, the 75th anniversary of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre’s dedication ceremony will fall on the same day as their 3rd Film on the Rocks show. To celebrate, they will be holding a re-dedication ceremony before the film, CITIZEN KANE. This movie came out the same year as the original Red Rocks dedication, 1941.
If you go to Film on the Rocks…
… Stop at the Ship Rock Grille for dinner beforehand. It’s a restaurant located right at Red Rocks, and the view is unbeatable. Parking is free, but if you’d rather not drive, the Denver Film Society often has party buses that take people up, so the fun begins before the show does.
Here’s what to bring:
· Camp chairs
· A soft cooler
· Bottled water and non-alcoholic drinks
· Food (Check their website for restrictions)
· Umbrella or poncho – Getting rained on at Red Rocks is a rite of passage – BE PREPARED!
· Cash for food and drinks
· Bug spray
· Sunscreen (At this altitude, the pre-sunset hours can still pack some potent rays.)
And what to leave at home: