Bruce Goldstein

Bruce Goldstein is Repertory Programming Director of New York’s Film Forum, editor of its popular repertory film calendar, and founder of Rialto Pictures. Under Goldstein’s direction, Film Forum’s repertory division has premiered virtually every major film restoration of the past two decades, making it the country’s preeminent theater for classic cinema.  As founder and co-president of Rialto, he has reissued over 50 classic films in cinemas across the U.S.  Rialto is now the U.S. representative of the 2,000-film Studiocanal catalogue. Rialto’s most popular re-releases have included Godard’s Breathless (1960), Renoir’s Grand Illusion (1937), Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers (1966), Melville’s Army of Shadows (1969) (released for the first time ever in the U.S. by Rialto), the original Japanese version of GODZILLA (1954) (first time in the U.S.), and many others.

In 1987, Goldstein created Film Forum’s now-iconic repertory format.  Since then, he has produced four repertory calendars a year (“packed with eye-catching graphics, rare stills and [Goldstein’s] own purple prose, often as much fun as the flicks themselves,” raved Time Out New York) and has singlehandedly created over 400 film festivals, which are often emulated around the world.  Among his proudest distinctions are his creation of “Pre-Code” (films made before Hollywood censorship) as a distinct genre; his early series “Movies in Scope,” which helped create a public demand for the letterboxing of videos; and the reputation of Film Forum as flagship theater for new prints and restorations (over 1,000 new 35mm prints have been unveiled there since 1990). In its 2010 movie issue, Time Out New York named Film Forum “New York’s Best Theater for Classic Films.”

In 1997, Goldstein founded Rialto, a distributor specializing in classic reissues. Described as “the gold standard of reissue distributors” by the Los Angeles Times, Rialto distributes films by Federico Fellini, Jean Renoir, Jules Dassin, Vittorio De Sica, Luis Buñuel, Costa-Gavras, Carol Reed, Alain Resnais, Akira Kurosawa, Mel Brooks, French crime specialist Jean-Pierre Melville, and many others.  Rialto’s 2006 release of Melville’s 1969 Army of Shadows was its U.S. premiere.  The most critically acclaimed film of 2006, Army of Shadows won the New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year and was named Best Film of the Year by The New York Times, Premiere, and many other publications.

2007 marked Rialto’s tenth anniversary, a milestone that was celebrated with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, with similar tributes held in Washington, D.C., Seattle, and other cities. In honor of the company’s anniversary, The Criterion Collection issued a special gift box set, 10 Years of Rialto Pictures.  In 2012, the Film Society of Lincoln Center honored Rialto with a 15th anniversary retrospective.

Goldstein is also known for his showmanship.  He has produced live orchestra shows (with Vince Giordano & His Nighthawks) of Keaton’s The Cameraman (1928) and Sherlock Jr. (1924) and Borzage’s Lucky Star (1929) at Film Forum, as well as at NYC’S Ziegfeld Theater, San Francisco’s Castro, Disney World, and at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, where last year he also re-created the missing soundtrack of Frank Capra’s The Donovan Affair (1929) with a live cast of 10 (including himself) at the Egyptian Theater, which was named one of the two most popular events at last year’s festival.  He has produced events for all of TCM’s film festivals and cruises.

Among Goldstein’s many specialties are the gimmick films of low rent director William Castle.  He has presented festivals of Castle’s films (complete with buzzing seats and flying skeletons) at Film Forum and the Cinémathèque Francaise, as well as at venues in Hollywood, Munich, North Carolina, Neuchatel (Switzerland), Ljubjana (Slovenia), Glasgow, Dublin, and Tel Aviv.

Goldstein has been profiled in the Village Voice, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, Time Out New York, five times in The New York Times (most recently in August, 2013), and twice in The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town,” among many other publications.  His programming has been called “the Best of New York” by both New York magazine and the New York Press. In 1997, Time Out named Goldstein one of the 101 essential people or places of New York, citing him “for keeping showmanship alive,” and, in 2005, “New York’s Finest Film Programmer.”  In its 2012 “Best of New York issue,” the Village Voice called him “the Michael Jordan of Film Programmers.” Kent Jones’ recent profile of Goldstein in Film Comment was entitled “The King of New York.”

Among his many awards are a CableAce and two Telly Awards for a documentary on dance legends The Nicholas Brothers (which he co-produced and wrote) and a D.W. Griffith Award from the National Board of Review for “Visionary Film Programming.” In 1990, the New York Film Critics Circle presented him with a special award “for consistent and imaginative quality programming of repertory films.” In 2000, the National Society of Film Critics awarded Rialto a special “Heritage Award” for its re-releases of The Third Man (1949) and Grand Illusion and the following year the New York Film Critics Circle awarded Rialto a special award for its re-release of Rififi (1955), which was presented to him by Jeanne Moreau.   

In 2007, Goldstein was honored by Anthology Film Archives for his work in film preservation and, in 2009, he was the recipient of the San Francisco Film Festival’s prestigious Mel Novikoff Award.  In 2002, he received the French Order of “Chevalier” of Arts & Letters.  Last year, he was the recipient of the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award in Film ever given by George Eastman House.

“There are programmers, there are programmers’ programmers, and there is Bruce Goldstein, programmers’ programmer and cine-showman extraordinaire… He is a celluloid warrior, a dedicated cinephile-activist, a fighter for old movies and new prints, for weeklong revivals and knowledgeable reviews. For going on a quarter of a century, he’s been New York film culture’s indispensable man.”

– J. Hoberman, San Francisco Film Festival

“Bruce Goldstein has turned Film Forum’s second screen into one of Manhattan’s last great revival houses. It’s the kind of place even Jean Renoir would be honored to be honored at.”

– Stephen Schiff, Vanity Fair (May 1988)

“The invaluable programmer and distributor Bruce Goldstein makes Film Forum one of New York’s most important destinations.” — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times (December 24, 2006)

“The Michael Jordan of Film Programmers!” – Village Voice

“The King of New York!” – Film Comment



“The Essential Man” by J. Hoberman


Cineaste Repertory Programming Symposium


Breathless trailer written and directed by Bruce Goldstein