Those old enough to remember the days of pre-streaming hold fond memories of the video store. Pulling quirky and interesting movies from the shelves just for their unique box art. Coming home with armfuls of psychological thrillers, sci-fi disasters, rom-coms, and who knows what else? 20th Century Flicks in Bristol is a nostalgic trip back to these simpler times.
When most video stores in the country, and the world, have shut, 20th Century Flicks has remained open and thrived in an age of online media consumption. Opened back in 1982 (when video rental stores were more profitable businesses), 20th Century Flicks today holds over 20,000 DVDs for you to peruse and rent – from lost classics to modern blockbusters, plus plenty of surprises. New movies cost £4 for 3 nights, all others are £3 for 7 nights.
It’s now considered the longest-running video rental store in the world. Some might say it’s silly to keep peddling what many consider ‘dead formats’. But in a year when numerous TV shows and movies have been removed from streaming services (likely forever) – a reminder that you don’t really own anything online – this video library is keeping these works of art alive.
But while 20th Century Flicks does regularly rent DVDs to locals and those further afield via post, one of its most unique draws is its cosy cinemas. The smallest of the two (and probably the smallest cinema in Bristol) is the Twin Peaks-themed Kino, which fits up to 8 people. The other is The Videodrome, which can fit up to 10 people in the VHS-themed cinema – though an extra 8 can squeeze in for £10 each on arrival.
Both are available to book for £80 and £100 respectively (only £10 per person if you can fill the room). So maybe you missed the original release of Stephen Spielberg’s love-letter to cinema, The Fabelmans, earlier this year. Or you’ve always dreamt of seeing the 1922 horror classic Nosferatu on the big screen. Book a seat, pick your film and settle in at 20th Century Flicks.
The video store has even taken its extensive library to Bristol’s best independent cinemas over the years, with screenings at Watershed, The Cube and the former IMAX. So it’s worth keeping an eye out for upcoming events. As this year has proven, you can’t trust everything to stick around forever. But 20th Century Flicks is doing its best to keep these movies alive and kicking.