The Hope College Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland is hosting free family films again this year, on three Thursdays, June 7, June 14 and August 16, at 8 p.m.
The timing is intended to enable audience members to enjoy the downtown street performers and then watch a family-friendly movie for free.
The three films in the free family film series are “The Love Bug,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.” The films were selected to celebrate the original movie creations, each of which was followed by a series or a subsequent adaptation. As it happens, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is also the first film that the Knickerbocker showed after the college acquired the theatre and reopened it in May of 1988.
“The Love Bug” will run on June 7. Starring Dean Jones, Michele Lee and David Tomlinson, the 1968 “The Love Bug” is about a race car driver who becomes a champion with a Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own. That car, “Herbie,” went on to star in multiple additional films as well as a television series. The film is rated G and has a runtime of 108 minutes.
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” will show on June 14. Starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen and Paul Freeman, the 1981 film is about the archeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones, who is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis. “Raiders” was followed by three sequel films and a television series focused on Jones’s adventures in childhood and as a young adult. The film is rated PG and has a runtime of 115 minutes.
“Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” will run on August 16. Starring Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson and Peter Ostrum, the 1971 film is about a poor boy named Charlie Bucket winning the opportunity to tour the most eccentric and wonderful candy factory of all. The film is adapted from Roald Dahl’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which was also adapted to film in 2005. The film is rated G and has a runtime of 100 minutes.
The Knickerbocker Theatre opened in 1911 as a venue for live performances. By the 1920s it had been renamed the Holland Theatre, and it featured films for several decades. The college purchased the theatre with support from an anonymous donor and returned it to its original name in 1988. The theatre features primarily art and foreign films as well as special series like the summer family films, and also hosts live community and college events, including Hope’s Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series, dance concerts and portions of the Great Performance Series.
The Knickerbocker Theatre is located in downtown Holland at 86 E. Eighth St.