Glasgow has a love affair with cinema dating back decades, and with more cinemas than any other city in the UK at its height, it’s no surprise that generations of Glaswegians have fond memories of romance, comedy, action, and everything in between.

From the stunning Art Deco picture halls of the 1930s to the tallest cinema in the world, Glasgow has truly cemented itself as a cinema city.

Let’s take a trip back to some of our city’s most glamorous – and some long-gone – picture halls and learn some of the stories behind them.


Glasgow Times:

1939 was a monumental year for cinema. The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind were just some of the classics hitting the big screens, and in Glasgow, one of the city’s longest-standing film theatres debuted on the red carpet.

The Cosmo opened its doors on Rose Street that year, and it was the last cinema to be built in the city before the Second World War.

Glasgow Times:

Today it is better known as the Glasgow Film Theatre and shows hundreds of films every year, from new releases to foreign language flicks, and hosts the Glasgow Film Festival.

The Classic

Glasgow Times:

This cinema dates back to 1915 when it opened as Cranston’s Cinema De Luxe. It was later and more familiarly known as the Classic when it was taken over in 1960. Within the cinema was the Tatler Cinema Club, which screened adult movies.

The Classic is a city cinema the younger generation would never have known as it was destroyed by fire in May 1983.


Glasgow Times:

This venue has been ever-changing in Glasgow’s entertainment scene, beginning life in 1875 as ‘the Diorama’, a viewing experience with images and scenes projected onto the dome ceiling.

It then transformed into an indoor skating rink and then Hengler’s circus before officially becoming a cinema in 1929.

READ MORE: In pictures: Looking back on the history of Glasgow's O2 ABC

It was known as the Regal then later the ABC, sat 2359 guests and maintained its original features, like the dance floor being used for the stalls and guests coming in through the same twin staircase.

Glasgow Times:

While the GFT was the first to open before World War II, this was also notably the first to open after the end of the war.

The cinema closed in 1999, and it reopened six years later as a music venue. Known among the student population as the place to be for Jellybaby Thursday, Propaganda Fridays and Love Music Saturdays, the O2 ABC has since shut down and now plans are proposed to turn the site into student accommodation.


Today it is the tallest, but many faces ago the Cineworld cinema on Renfrew Street was home to the biggest cinema.

READ MORE: The world's tallest cinema built on a historic Glasgow entertainment patch

Before it was Cineworld, UGC and the Apollo, the space was home to Green’s playhouse which had an incredible 4368 seats and a ballroom.

Glasgow Times:


Glasgow Times:

Who remembers the name in huge letters lighting up the cinema? It was one of the first in the city to be fitted with neon lighting, making a sparkling spectacle for Glaswegians. Its name was later changed to one we all know, Odeon.

Glasgow Times: Odeon Odeon (Image: Archive image. Newsquest.)

Showcase Cinema de Lux

We can look back fondly at the Art Deco picture halls of the golden age of cinema, but a special mention goes to this Coatbridge cinema that proves there is still an avid interest in going to the movies in the age of Netflix.

READ MORE: Britain's biggest film fan visited Glasgow cinema more than 200 times in 2022

Glasgow Times:

In 2022, local movie buff Mark Green visited his local cinema more than 200 times in 2022, around four times a week and sometimes sitting through multiple flicks per day.

In a nationwide search for the biggest cinema fan, Showcase rewarded him for his dedication with a free annual pass for the following year.


The Toledo, at Muirend, evoked an essence of Spain with its influence on its hacienda-style windows.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times: