• Grandillusioninterior2

The Grand Illusion Cinema is the longest-running independent cinema in the city, and has become a landmark of the film community. Opened in 1968 by Randy Findley in a converted dentist’s office, the cinema became the city’s first arthouse, showcasing foreign and revival films. The cinema was such a success it led to Randy's opening the Seven Gables Cinema and eventually starting the local Seven Gables Theatre Chain, which inevitably got swallowed by the national Landmark Cinema Corporation. The Grand Illusion was never part of the Seven Gables chain, and remained a popular independent venue.

A nonprofit film arts organization, the Northwest Film Forum, saved the theater from closure in 1997, remodeled it, and revitalized interest in the venerable institution. Since 2004, a strong group of dedicated staff and volunteers focus attention and energy on continuing the tradition of this treasured cinema. Over the years, literally hundreds of cinema classics, rarities and truly independent cinema from around the world have been presented in the charming confines of The Grand Illusion Cinema.


King County Metro Transit routes 45, 70, 71, 73, 83, 74, 373, 541, 542, and 556


  • All patrons are required to show proof of vaccination (card or photo of card) or proof of a negative COVID test from the last 48 hours.
  • Masks required for all regardless of vaccination status.
  • Our auditorium capacity is reduced by 50% and seats will be blocked off to help facilitate distancing. In addition, we are limiting showtimes to one per night, plus one matinee on weekend afternoons.
  • We will not sell concessions for the time being. We'll have bottled water for sale for $2 or feel free to bring your own non-alcoholic beverage and keep your mask on when not drinking. No eating in the auditorium.
  • We now accept debit/credit cards (in addition to cash) and offer advance ticket purchases for all shows. No refunds.
  • We installed filtration capable of removing airborne COVID particles in the auditorium, lobby, and projection booth.
  • We are doing all of this to keep you safe as well as our volunteers, who donate their time to run the cinema.

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