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Experience the Bigfork Retrospective Film Festival


10 Classic Movies Over 3 Amazing Days

 October 5th - 7th, 2018

Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts

Bigfork, Montana


Click on movie posters to move gallery and see all films being shown


Friday - October 5th

  6:15 pm - JAWS* (1975) Rated PG

   9:00 pm - Close encounters of the third kind (1977) Rated PG


Saturday - October 6th

10:45 am - toy story (1995) Rated G

12:30 pm - Hook (1991) Rated PG

3:30 pm - Key Largo (1948) Not Rated

 6:45 pm - blackboard jungle** (1955) rated Approved

 9:00 pm - Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) Rated R     


Sunday- October 7th

11:45 am - Annie Sing Along (1982) Rated PG

3:15 pm - grease* (1978) Rated PG-13

5:30 pm - Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) Rated PG


* Guest Speaker: Bill Butler - director of Photography

** Guest Speaker: Peter ford - Actor, Biographer and Son of Glenn ford

    Go to 'The retro movies' link in the navigation bar for more info on our films

All Showtimes are approximate and subject to change

New for 2018!

Bigfork Film Festivals Inc. (BFF) is pleased to announce that it is partnering with Bigfork Rotary to produce this year's retrospective film festival. As a result of this new partnership a percentage of the proceeds will be going to Rotary and then directly back to the community in support of local community and school programs. I have worked with Rotary on a number of movie fundraisers in the past, but this is the first time we will be working side-by-side on a major film-related event. I couldn't be happier to have a partner like Rotary to work with. Their volunteers do great work in the community, and the money we generate will help fund their worthwhile initiatives.

I also want to note that the Retro and Indie Film Festivals will no longer be co-produced by the Bigfork Community Players (BCP). BFF recently became a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in the State of Montana. I want to publicly thank BCP for all of their support over the past 3 years. I couldn't have done it without them.

Besides guest speakers we've added a few extra things this year. We're having some girls who were in the Bigfork Summer Playhouse performance of Annie come and sing a song from the show prior to the movie starting. You don't want to miss that. We also added a Monty Python Trivia Contest prior to the showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail where we will be given out prizes to winners. For the thirst time we doing a Glenn Ford Silent Auction where you can bid on personal items from Glenn Ford's Beverly Hills home donated by Peter and Lynda Ford. We also added a new ticket level called VIP that gets you access to exclusive 'Meet & Greets' backstage with Bill Butler and Peter Ford prior to the showing of their films. The VIP pass also gets you preferential seating inside the theater and access to all of the movies.

Finally, BFF is proud to announce a new holiday tradition in downtown Bigfork. Starting this November we will be showing a double feature at the BCPA to help get everyone into the holiday spirit. For this year we plan to show two family-friendly Xmas movies, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, starring Chevy Chase and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey, on Friday evening, November 30th.  With the support of the community we hope to keep this tradition going for many years to come. Please mark November 30th on your calendars and save the date!

Steve Shapero, BFF Founder


Exclusive Glenn Ford Silent Auction

We're fortunate to have the son and biographer of a true Hollywood legend living in our midst. Glenn Ford was a Hollywood icon whose career spanned 7 decades. His IMDB page shows 110 acting credits from 1937 to 1991. Many of his films were box office smashes and a few of them were true classics in every sense of the word. Films like Gilda (1946) with Rita Hayworth, Superman (1978) with Marlon Brando and Christopher Reeve, Blackboard Jungle (1955) with Sidney Poitier and 3:10 to Yuma (1957) with Van Heflin, just to name a few. 

Glenn married Eleanor Powell, herself a acclaimed dancer in numerous MGM movies, and they settled in Beverly Hills, CA where they raised their son Peter. During his life, Glenn collected many fine things and he was particularly fond of Indian artifacts. When Glenn passed away in 2006 all of his movie wardrobes that he had kept, along with countless personal items from his home, were passed on to Peter and his wife Lynda. Peter and Lynda have been busy since then cataloging much of the material that he inherited from both his parents. When Peter heard we were going to showing Blackboard Jungle at the festival he graciously agreed to donate some of his father's personal items to our silent auction. Here is a rare chance to bid on a piece of personal memorabilia from a true Hollywood icon. These items come from his home in Beverly Hills that he had collected throughout his adult life.

In addition to donating these items to the auction, Peter and Lynda have also graciously agreed to open up their home to 10 special guests on Saturday, October 27th to see the autographed pictures and other memorabilia from the biggest stars from the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's that Glen knew personally from the business. You can see personal notes written to both Peter and Glenn from every major movie star imaginable. You also get the opportunity to ask Peter about what is was like living in Hollywood during the golden era of movie making and what his father really thought about the various film projects he acted on. It's a rare chance to get a glimpse of what it was like to be a box office star during the hey-day of Hollywood movie making.

Below are some photographs taken at Peter and Lynda's home to give an idea of what you can see if you are the winning bidder! Click on the photo banner to see them all.

Download the Auction Items List


Take a look at our clip reel to see the 10 classic movies we're showing this year!


Program Guide

For the 3rd Annual Bigfork Retro Film Festival we're exploring a number of genres that audiences told us they wanted to see. Since this year's theme is "Something for Everybody" we picked films that we think just about anyone would want to see. A variety of your favorites that include JawsPsycho, Grease and Annie Sing Along will be shown. The two primary criteria we used were audience appeal and being a "classic" film. Not all classic films win Oscars, but everyone knows a classic film when they see it.

The films chosen run the gamut and have been selected to both entertain as well as demonstrate the breadth that Hollywood has to offer. Each day of the festival we will show films that either helped create, or broke the mold, of what a classic movie is. Here is your chance to see some great films, spanning 50 years of movie making, all in downtown Bigfork.


Film Festival Pricing

Our goal is to keep ticket prices as low as possible to in order to allow as many film goers to attend as possible. Tickets are available on this website or at the venue during festival hours.


Adult Single Showing Price - $10.00

Senior (65+)/Children (12 yrs and under) Single Showing Price - $5.00

Adult ALL Access Pass - $30.00 for any and all films

Senior (65+)/Children (12 yrs and under) All Access Pass - $25.00 for any and all films

Adult VIP Pass - $50.00 for any and all films PLUS Exclusive Extras*

Senior (65+)/Children (12 yrs and under) VIP Pass - $40.00 for any and all films PLUS Exclusive Extras*



ACCESS to 3 EXCLUSIVE Meet and Greet Sessions INcluding complimentary Refreshments


Go to the "purchase Retro tickets" link in the Navigation Bar to buy tickets and passes

Use the "Contact us" link for information on school and other group discounts                         

Theater Seating is limited. Advanced purchase is recommended.


Our Mission

The mission of the Bigfork Retro Film Festival is to bring great films to the big screen in the comfort and convenience of the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts located in downtown Bigfork, Montana. In today's modern world with a myriad of portable devices to watch movies, we try to recreate the experience of watching movies as they were meant to be seen.

The Vision

Most people haven't seen many of the movies we show in a movie theater; they've only seen them on their television, phone or tablet. Here is a rare chance to see some of your favorite classic movies as they were originally meant to be seen. During the festival, which is held over 3 consecutive days, moviegoers can enjoy a wide range of classic movies. They have the option of purchasing either an 'All Access Pass' for $25 or $30, a VIP Pass for $40 or $50 or tickets to individual showings for $5 or $10 a seat. Discounts are provided for seniors, children 12 and under, and large groups.

Our vision is to bring classic films to the Flathead Valley so they can be enjoyed by as many people as possible. By purchasing tickets, becoming a sponsor or by making a donation, you ensure we keep bringing time-honored movies to Bigfork for years to come. If you're like us, you miss watching movies in a beautiful theater. Here's your chance to relive the past.

In addition to just showing great movies we bring in special guest speakers, most of whom have worked in Hollywood. They tell fascinating and inspiring personal stories and provide a 'behind the scenes' look at the process of movie making. Following the showing the audience is encouraged to meet our guests, ask questions and learn more about how some their favorite films were made.

Improved Digital Experience

While many of us weren't old enough to see Casablanca, Citizen Kane or Gone with the Wind when they were first released, we can still see those films when they are shown on TV on channels such as TCM, when we stream them, or if we buy or rent a DVD. However you watch classic movies these days you are usually watching an enhanced or restored version of the film. By definition DVDs are a digital format, and because they're digital there are many ways they can be enhanced over the original analog version.

As grand as those old movie houses were, the visual and audio quality was limited by the fact that they were projecting light through celluloid that had an audio track added to it. This analog technology for its time was fairly reliable, but the audio and visual quality wasn't great. After many showings the picture was often degraded and the sound was sometimes muffled, but it was all they had and what their audiences expected. In today's digital world people expect more. They expect the highest quality picture and sound possible.  

To address this expectation we show our movies using the latest digital technology, Blu Ray or HD DVD, we can use, which provides the best quality sound and picture available. That means we can actually provide a better movie watching experience than you could get even when the film was first released in theaters. We want our audiences to not only experience movies as they were meant to be seen, but also to hear them as they were meant to be heard.

What Makes a Movie a "Classic"?

People sometimes ask what makes a 'classic' movie a classic, versus just being a popular movie. There is no agreed upon definition of what a classic movie is, and to many people it seems rather subjective, but there are some criteria that movie critics and films historians do agree upon.

According to Tim Dirks from AMC's"Classic Films are often distinguished or unique works of cinema that have transcended time and trends, with indefinable quality. Classic films are often universal favorites that hold up after repeated rescreenings. Classics are renowned films of first rank, reference points in film mythology, or films that have become a part of American cultural folklore."

In other words, last year's attendance breaking blockbuster may not turn out to be a classic many years from now. If you think about it most films don't become classics, and wide public appeal, while certainly a factor, by itself doesn't make a film a classic. As far as what "transcended time" means, I would argue that movies need to be at least 20 years old before they can even be considered a classic. A newer film may someday become a classic, but at least 20 years has to have pass before it can be said that it 'really stood the test of time'.

Few would argue that Casablanca, Citizen Kane and Gone with the Wind are not classics, but as you work your way down any Top 100 list it becomes harder and harder to distinguish between classic and just very popular movies.  Are Singing in the Rain, The Jazz Singer or Little Caesar classic moviesThey are great movies in their own right, but where do you draw the line? Anyone can argue that their list of 10 would have been better than ours, but our goal wasn't to select movies that were "distinguished works" and had "indefinable quality", but also movies we thought the average person would want to see again on the big screen. So if you favorite didn't make the list don't feel bad. There's always next year! Don't forget to tell us your favorite classic movie using the survey cards provided in the lobby. We want your feedback.


Watch movies as they were  meant to be seen



What, No Casablanca Again?

If you're wondering why we aren't showing Casablanca this year you have a right to wonder. For the first year we only showed westerns, and while Casablanca is a great film, you really couldn't call it a western. We wanted to show it last year, but couldn't get the licensing rights because it was the 75th Anniversary and they were selling a new DVD box set. But what about this year? Casablanca is one of the most beloved love stories of all time. What's our excuse this year? There's actually a good reason why we're not showing it this year and it has nothing to do with licensing restrictions or genres.

I was working the box office last when somebody I didn't recognize walked up during one of the movies we were playing. I asked if I could help and she then introduced herself as Monika Henreid. I didn't make the connection until she said "you've heard of Victor Laszlo? that's my father". Then it all made sense. Monika is the late Paul Henreid's daughter, but what was she doing in Bigfork? Long story short, Monika lives in Lakeside and wanted to know what we were up to. I was stunned. Here, standing in front of me, was a direct connection to one of the most iconic films of all time. I started asking questions, and she told me many stories about the film, and her father's career, that I had never heard before.

Monika is a treasure trove of knowledge of her father's entire career, but also early Hollywood, including the making of Casablanca. In addition, Monika has worked as an actress, and is currently putting together on her own film, and that's why she can't be in Bigfork this year. Monika is finishing up a film about her father's life and career, and I didn't think it made any sense to show Casablanca when we have such a rich resource available to talk about it. Monika has agreed to be a guest speaker next year, and I am considering showing another of her father's films, perhaps Now Voyager, at next year's festival too. So whether you think it's a good excuse or not, that's why we aren't showing Casablanca this year. I know that some people will be disappointed, but having Monika talk about her dad and tell stories about the film next year will be amazing. I promise.

In the meantime, if you're a Humphrey Bogart or Lauren Bacall fan you'll enjoy watching Key Largo, a film they made after Casablanca. It's not as famous as Casablanca, but the on-screen chemistry between Bogie and Bacall is something to watch. From all accounts everyone on the set got along remarkably well, especially considering the egos involved (Humphrey Bogart, Edward G Robinson, Lionel Barrymore and John Huston), and apparently Bacall held afternoon teas that brought everyone together in a relaxed atmosphere so they could get to know each other and make the best movie possible. Bogart liked the film so much he named his personal fishing boat after the one in the movie (Santana) and even named his production company "Santana Productions".

Enjoy he festival!


Steve Shapero, BFF Founder