9 Best Independent Movie Theaters in Manhattan

A Cinephile's Guide to the Top Indie Cinemas in NYC

Photo credit: Jason Kempin / FilmMagic / Getty Images

This cinematic city of ours surely shows all of the silver screen's latest hits, in cutting-edge movie theaters, to boot, but look closer still and you'll find it offers a great selection of independent movie theaters, too. Here, we've rounded up 9 of best independent movie theaters in Manhattan, where you can catch an interesting flick in a cinema oozing character and off-the-radar appeal.

Prefer modern multiplexes? Check out our feature on the 5 Best Movie Theaters in Manhattan. For even more articles highlighting movies in Manhattan, see The Ultimate Guide to NYC for Film Lovers.

1. Landmark Sunshine Cinema

Set within an old Yiddish vaudeville theater, dating to 1898, this Lower East Side multiplex offers five state-of-the-art screens dedicated primarily to first-run independent and foreign films, including midnight showings. Expect stadium seating, Dolby Digital Surround EX sound, and gourmet concessions, as well as more unexpected attractions like a Japanese rock garden and third-floor viewing bridge touting city views. 143 E. Houston St., btwn 1st & 2nd aves.; landmarktheatres.com

2. Film Forum

A nonprofit cinema since 1970, this legendary staple on the indie cinema circuit is a go-to for independent premieres and repertory programming. The three-screen Manhattan movie house is open 365 days a year, and showcases two complementary film programs, including NYC premieres of American independents and foreign art films, as well as curated repertory selections. 209 W. Houston St., btwn 6th Ave. & Varick St.; filmforum.org

3. IFC Center

Set within the historic Waverly Theater, this temple to independent film offers five topnotch cinemas that screen independent, foreign, and documentary features, as well as special showings of classics and midnight cult movies on the weekends. Look, too, for short film screenings ahead of every feature. 323 6th Ave. at W. 3rd St.; ifccenter.com

4. Angelika Film Center

Set in SoHo since 1989, this indie cinema standby programs a robust selection of indie and foreign films (along with some box office hits). The sophisticated space is a must among indie movie theaters in Manhattan, and claims a a popular gourmet café, too. 18 W. Houston St., btwn Mercer St. & Broadway; angelikafilmcenter.com/nyc

5. Anthology Film Archives

This museum-minded center, established in 1970, comes dedicated to "the preservation, study, and exhibition of film and video, with a particular focus on independent, experimental, and avant-garde cinema." Apart from an inventive and diverse film program, it lays claim to the world's largest reference library devoted to avant-garde cinema. 32 2nd Ave. at 2nd St.; anthologyfilmarchives.org

6. Paris Theatre

This Midtown single-screen movie theater specializes in original-language foreign films (especially French cinema), and other indie and classic films. Dating to the 1940s (Marlene Dietrich cut the opening ribbon here), the elegant gem of a theater is today operated by City Cinemas, and is often used for film premieres. 4 W. 58th St., btwn 5th & 6th aves.; citycinemas.com

7. The Quad Cinema

Dating to 1972, this small yet longstanding indie cinema in Greenwich Village shows independent features, documentaries, and foreign films. Note the theater is currently closed for renovations, and will open with a fresh polish in fall 2015. 34 W. 13th St., btwn 5th & 6th aves.; www.quadcinema.com

8. Film Society of Lincoln Center

Showing a mix of indie and mainstream films, Lincoln Center's in-house theaters are state of the art, with a generous year-round calendar of programming. Billed as "America’s preeminent film presentation organization," the Film Society of Lincoln Center was founded in 1969, and today hosts two major film festivals, the New York Film Festival and New Directors/New Films. Walter Reade Theatre at 165 W. 65th St., btwn Broadway & Amsterdam Ave.; filmlinc.com

9. Cinema Village

Set up in an old fire station dating to the 1890s, the humble Cinema Village opened in the mid-'60s and is one of the oldest continuously operated art cinemas in the city. Come to see American indie sleepers, revivals, film festivals, Japanese/Hong Kong cinema, and even animation compilations at this longstanding favorite among Manhattan movie theaters. 22 E. 12th St., btwn 5th Ave & University Pl.; cinemavillage.com