Movie being shown in the theatre

About Us

Cornell Cinema has been cited as one of the best campus film exhibition programs in the country, screening over 150 different films/videos each year, five to seven nights a week in the beautiful Willard Straight Theatre. The space features the largest screen in Ithaca, Dolby Digital Surround Sound and the best projection in the area, with facilities to handle archival 35mm reel-to-reel prints, DCP (including high quality 3D), and other digital formats. 16mm prints can also be accommodated with portable projectors.


Each semester-long schedule includes an array of classic Hollywood and foreign films, documentaries, recent international cinema, silent films with live musical accompaniment, cult classics, experimental work, and recent Hollywood and arthouse hits, in addition to guest appearances by visiting filmmakers. Many films are introduced by faculty or graduate students, and some are followed by faculty panel discussions and/or receptions.

Sage Chapel film screening

Mission Statement

Cornell Cinema was established in 1970 as a university film society, but has evolved into a regional exhibition program with a national reputation.

Its primary mission is educational: to expose audiences to a diverse range of cinematic experiences (classics, documentaries, experimental work, silent films, international cinema, shorts programs, alternative animation) that would otherwise not be offered in the area, and to supplement these with educational services that enhance viewers’ appreciation of the art form (media maker presentations, faculty introductions, and panel discussions with experts on subject matter). Its secondary mission is to offer the campus community affordable, second-run popular Hollywood entertainment.

General Information

Cornell Cinema panel

Cornell Cinema is a program of the Department of Performing & Media Arts in the College of Arts & Sciences at Cornell University. 

All screenings take place in Willard Straight Theatre unless otherwise specified. The Cornell Cinema box office opens 20 minutes before each film and closes 30 minutes after the film has started. 


Black and white logo for New York State Council on the Arts

Cornell Cinema receives major support from the College of Arts & Sciences and the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly. Additional support is provided by the Cornell Council for the Arts.

Cornell Cinema's programs are also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Two men standing before audience with Cornell Cinema logo behind them.


    Cornell Cinema has wheelchair and companion seating inside its theatre, and a lift to move from the outer to the inner lobby. Mobility-impaired patrons are encouraged to use this lift, as there are a number of stairs down to the inner lobby and the theatre entrance. The inner lobby also includes an accessible, gender-neutral washroom.

    Cornell Cinema also has assistive listening headsets and closed caption readers available for checkout at the Box Office. Not all titles include descriptive audio or closed captions, but those that do will have this information noted on the individual film’s page within a week of its showdate. To check out one of these devices, please leave an ID with the Box Office.

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