214 Harvard Avenue,
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Previously operated by: National Amusements
This small, unremarkable-looking two-screen theatre was located in a non-descript office building in a busy student neighborhood.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, the Allston Cinema was an art house, part of the local Sonny & Eddy’s Theaters chain which also operated the Exeter Street in Boston, the Central Square and Galeria in Cambridge, and the Academy in Newton. The theater is best known for its two-year run of the cult classic “Harold and Maude” in the 1970s.
In 1985, it became part of the National Amusements chain, which never understood what to do with it. They ignored the students and the other bohemian inhabitants of Allston Rock City, and instead programmed an endless succession of usually low-quality second run Hollywood films. When National Amusements finally closed it in 2002, it was the last movie theatre in any outlying neighborhood of Boston.
Later in 2002, it reopened as the Bombay Cinemas, featuring Bollywood films from India. For a few months in 2003, the “Allston Cinema Underground” also used it to present various programs of kung-fu, Asian exploitation, action, and music documentary films.
As the Bombay Cinemas, the theater closed for good in early 2004, and was demolished later that year to make way for a Staples store.
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