Drive-in theaters in Movies and on TV

This is a list of movies and TV shows containing drive-in theaters. I thought that it would be fun to try to compile a list for this. I would appreciate any help with this list. If you have anything that you can contribute to this list, please let me know.




Animaniacs: Yakko, Wacko, and their sister Dot harass Dr. Scratchandsniff and his date at the drive-in. The cars all had speakers in the windows. The theater was running a bad b&w French film.

Animaniacs: A cartoon about a small bird trying to figure out who his mother is sees a plane and tries to follow it. He ends up smacking into a wall while following the plane. Turns out the wall is actually the screen at a drive-in theater and the plane was a preview for an upcoming movie. "Top Fliers! Coming Soon To A Theater Near You!"

Courage the Cowardly Dog: There's an ad on Cartoon Network for a special Courage marathon called "Monstervision". The ad shows Courage, Eustace, and Muriel in the pickup at a drive-in theater. The theater appears to be a model with a snackbar behind them and there are speakers on poles by the cars.

** Beverly Hillbillies:

Family Guy:  Peter refers to the "stupid drive-in movie" where a movie that looks like an Arnold action movie is playing.  Peter is parked the wrong way facing away from the screen.  Car speakers and poles are visible.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand alone complex:  (Chat! Chat! Chat.)  A brief glimpse of a drive-in theater is shown in an episode where a “laughing man” logo seems to be appearing everywhere.  Speaker poles are visible along with the screen and several cars.

** Green Acres:

Greetings from Tucson: An episode of this WB show features a drive-in theater. +++

Hair Bears: The hair bears get into a drive-in movie claiming to be park patrol. Theater includes car speakers!

Happy Days: They filmed some episodes at the old Franklin 100 outdoor.

History Channel: There was a special on the history of the Jeep. They featured a Jeep being used to fog mosquitoes in a drive-in theater.

Johnny Bravo: Sometimes the credits for the show are run on a drive-in screen.

Megas XLR:  During the credits, the guy who runs the junkyard goes to the “Jersey City Drive-in” in a giant robot with a “space alien chick”.

Ripping Friends: The guys go on their first date and go to the drive-in. Drive-in is complete with speakers! Classic cars all around, but theirs is a hover car.

Scooby Doo!: There's probably a few examples here. Classic cartoons at their best! Watch 'em all!

Smallville:  At the end of the episode “craving”, Clark and Lana are seen enjoying a movie that is projected on to a sheet hung on the side of the barn, and there’s a projector in the back of the pickup truck they are sitting in.  There’s a Warner Brothers cartoon running on the screen.  Clark had promised Lana to take her to the drive-in and he set it up for her.

Survivor: All Stars: As one of the reward challenges, two of the survivors (Boston Rob and Amber) are rewarded with new vehicles and a trip to a drive-in theater constructed on the island.  They watch "Lord of the Flies".  Drive in complete with speaker polls, a projection "building", and a snack bar.  Pretty neat set-up.  All built out of wood.

The Flintstones: Well, the entire episode is actually seen by Fred and family at the drive-in.

The Simpsons: Yep, there's a drive-in in Springfield! Homer steals Moe's car and on the way down the road, passes the drive-in which is playing "Hail to the Chimp". He goes in to watch the movie for a while, but then he leaves to put the car on the railroad tracks so Moe can collect the insurance for the car.

That 70's Show: What's a better place to have a drive-in than a TV show about the 70's. Watch this show!

** The Wonder Years:

The X-Files: It seems like there was an episode that had something to do with a drive-in on this show.

++ Rugrats: The gang goes to a drive-in theater (the babies watch a "Reptar" movie, Grandpa something else), and imagine they're in that Reptar movie.



Bryant (furnaces/air conditioning) has a commercial where a Bryant service guy is at the drive-in watching a movie.  A woman in the movie complains about the heat and suddenly the Bryant guy drives off, then to reappear on the screen to help the woman.  When he leaves, he reappears at the drive-in and pulls back into the parking stall just as his girlfriend returns from the concession stand.  Looks like a real drive-in, with speakers and all.

Cadillac (car company) has a commercial that shows a couple in a Cadillac at a drive-in theater.

Chevron (gas station) commercial features a drive-in done in claymation! When the intermission comes up, everybody goes to the concession stand. While everybody is gone, all the cars leave and go to the gas station. Animation looks like it was done by the same people who do "Gary & Mike" on Comedy Central.

Cool (ice tea) features the skeleton / snowman who drinks Cool while watching a Charlie's Angels video at the drive-in. Drive-in complete with speakers on poles.

Scope (mouthwash) featured a commercial with two people enjoying fresh breath at a drive-in theater complete with speakers!

Dr. Pepper (soda) commercial that has a brief view of a drive-in theater. 

Kia (car company) Has a car commercial that features a drive-in theater. A guy returns from the concession stand and accidentally gets into the wrong car. The girl begins to kiss him and then realizes that he's the wrong guy. The theater has speaker poles with speakers.

Ford Focus (car) has an advertisement that features a drive-in theater. The driver attempts to enter the drive-in, and when he finally does, the screen is showing an intermission film with dancing food. You can also see the speakers and speaker poles.

Maxwell House (Coffee) has a commercial with a couple "enjoying" a movie at a drive-in theater. There are speakers on the poles.

Labor Ready (temporary staffing service) There's a commercial that ran in late 2000 - early 2001 for a temporary staffing service that (for a brief moment) featured a woman painting the bottom edge of concession stand at a drive-in theater. You could see the screen and speaker polls in the background.

Video Games:

Redneck Rampage: (PC) Yep, this game actually features a drive-in theater! You can go inside the concession stand and even go into the projection booth! Just watch out for the aliens inside (no, not the workers). Hint: There's some goodies hidden behind and under the screen! Even has speakers!

Vigilante 8: 2nd offense: (Playstation) In the Arizona level, there is a drive-in theater called the 66 Drive-in. It features a screen, projection building, high wooden fence, and speaker poles. There's a test pattern running on the screen.



** American Drive-in:

American Pop: (Animated musical, 1981) In the opening credits, there is a painting of a drive-in theater. But this is the only place that there is a drive-in in this movie. Very good animated film. (VHS, LASER, DVD)

Attack of the 50 foot woman: (Comedy, 1993) Daryl Hannah. This movie features a shot of the El Monte drive-in theater. There are a couple of cops eating in their patrol car next to the marquis. The movies that are playing are "Night of the car wash girls" and "The Adventures of Milo and Otis". The theater appears to be quite real. The backside of the screen has large neon lights featuring the name of the theater and a mural underneath. (VHS, LASER)

Back to the Future III (Comedy, 1990) Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd. Third installment of this great movie series features a drive-in theater. Marty and Doc use a drive-in theater as the location to take the DeLorean from 1955 to 1865. Marty drives towards the screen and vanishes just before hitting it. The drive-in is called the Pohatchee Drive-in. (VHS, LASER, DVD)

** Bikini Drive-in:

**** Blue Thunder: (Action, 1983) Roy Scheider, Malcolm McDowell. Thriller featuring a hi-tec helicopter. Contains a drive-in scene. (VHS, LASER, DVD)

Cars: (Animated, 2005)  A preview for the movie “Cars” has a car and a truck talking about a movie while watching it at a drive-in theater.  Pixar / Disney film coming November of 2005.

Christine: (Horror, 1983) Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Harry Dean Stanton. Stephen King movie about a killer '58 Plymouth with demonic powers (don't they all?) (VHS, LASER, DVD)

Cider House Rules: (Drama, 1999) Haven't seen it yet, but a friend told me that it has a drive-in in it. (VHS, DVD)

Cowboy Bebop:  The Movie (Anime, 2001) Jet Black and a police detective are discussing a case at a drive-in theater.

** D.C. Cab: (Comedy, 1983) Gary Busey, Mr. T. Comedy about a taxi cab company. (VHS, LASER)

* Dead-End Drive In: (Action, 1986) Ned Manning, Natalie McCurry. The Government uses a drive-in theater as a prison for problem teens (VHS)

** Drive-in: (1976) Lisa Lemole, Glen Morshower. Amiable low-budget trash about a night in the life of teenaged yahoos at a Texas drive-in during the unreeling of a campy disaster film (which takes up much of the screen time). Better after 20 beers. *** (VHS)

Drive-in: (Horror, 2001) Horror film about a guy who is locked up for most of his life with only a window to see a nearby. He escapes and goes on a killing rampage in the drive-in. (DVD, VHS?)

Drive-in Massacre: (Horror, 1976) Jake Barns, Adam Lawrence. Low budget gorefest where movie patrons are killed at a drive-in theater.

Flamingo Rising, The: (Drama, 2001) William Hurt, Elizabeth McGovern, Brian Benben. This CBS made for TV movie aired on February 4th, 2001. It is a movie about a man who fulfills a life long dream of building a huge drive-in theater, his family, and a funeral home across the street. This movie really features a drive-in theater well. For those who didn't see it when it was on, it's available on video from CBS / Hallmark. It's really worth checking out. (VHS)

Flintstones, The: (Comedy, 1994) John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Rosie O'Donnell, Elizabeth Perkins. Just like the original TV show, they include the drive-in in this live action movie. (VHS, LASER)

Gas-s-s-s: (Comedy, 1970) Bud Cort, Cindy Williams. This is a rather bizarre film contains a drive-in theater. There is a large concert (if you can call it that) where they display strange color patterns on the screen. The theater is called "The 66 Drive-in". (VHS)

Grease: (Musical, 1978) John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John. This movie contains a scene at a drive-in. On the screen in the background is one of the classic intermission films with people walking from the concession stand to their cars, and also has the dancing food. (VHS, LASER)

Hulk: Watch for three scenes in this movie where a drive-in theater is visible in the city by the military base.  Hulk actually smashes through it later in the movie.

Joy of Sex: (Comedy, 1984) Michelle Meyrink, Cameron Dye. This goofy film has a drive-in in it. If gross humor is something you enjoy, there is a scene where a group of kids called "The Blue Flames" go to a drive-in theater and light farts (yep, you heard it here) in the car causing the windows to explode. (VHS)

Never been Kissed: (Comedy, 1999) Drew Barrymore. There is a scene where a couple of the girls drive past an old drive-in that is used as a hang out for the "cool" high school kids. It's called "The Court" in the movie and all I could see was the marquis. (VHS, DVD)

One Crazy Summer: (Comedy, 1986) John Cusak, Demi Moore, Bobcat Goldthwait. There is a scene in this movie at a drive-in where a cheesy horror film is playing. The theater appears to be a real one with speakers for the cars to use. (VHS, LASER)

Our Man Flint: (Action, 1966) James Coburn. This James Bond spoof has a small scene with a fake drive-in theater. There are several fake cars with speakers on the cars. Couples were "making out" in each of the cars. There's nothing actually playing on the screen. (VHS, LASER, DVD)

Outsiders, The: (Drama, 1983) Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise. Movie about troubled teenagers in 1960's Oklahoma as seen through the eyes of a boy. (VHS, LASER, DVD)

* Proof: (Drama, 1992) Hugo Weaving, Genevieve Picot, Russel Crowe. This is an Aussie film about a blind guy who befriends a young Russel Crowe. (VHS, LASER)

Red Dawn: (Action, 1984) Patrick Swayze, Lea Thompson. Russians invade the United States and take over a small town. Many of the townspeople are imprisoned at the drive-in theater and propaganda films were run on the screen. (VHS, LASER, DVD)

Ruby: (Horror, 1977) Piper Laurie, Stuart Whitman. Gangster's spirit posses a deaf-mute girl's body and sends her on a killing spree at a drive-in theater run by former gang members. (VHS)

Scooby Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf: (Animated, 19??). Shaggy and his girlfriend go to a drive-in theater with Scooby Doo and Scrappy in the back seat. And, of course, a bad horror film playing on the screen. Yep, they even put speakers in the cars. (VHS, DVD)

Spies like us: (Comedy, 1985) Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase. This movie is not only funny, it features the best use of a drive-in besides movie viewing. The screens are actually part of a weapon system used for shooting down missiles. They bounce the energy beam off of the screens and at the missiles. (VHS, LASER, DVD)

The Sugarland Express: (Drama, 1974) Goldie Hawn and her husband are on the run from the law and hide in an RV on a used car lot. They watch a movie together from the RV at night and he tries to "make" the sound to a cartoon they are watching. (VHS, LASER)

Targets: (Horror, 1968) Boris Karloff is a horror movie star who plans retirement. Contains a shootout that happens at a drive-in theater. (VHS)

** That Darn Cat: (Comedy, 1965) Haley Mills, Roddy McDowall, Frank Gorshin. Comedy about a cat who helps the FBI find a kidnapped woman. (VHS, LASER)

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (Action, 1974) Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, George Kennedy +. After robbing a vault, they enter a drive-in theater to get away from the police. Ends in a car chase through the theater. The marquis reads "Midnight Double Feature" and cartoons are playing on the screen. (VHS, LASER, DVD)

** Tin Men: (Comedy, 1987) Richard Dreyfuss, Danny DeVito. (VHS, LASER)

Twister: The movie "The Shining" is playing at the Galaxy Drive-in when a tornado demolishes the theater in the middle of the feature. The marquis reads "A night of Horrors" and the movies are "The Shining" and "Psycho". The screen is torn apart and the marquis is thrown through the side of a building where our hero's are hiding. After the tornado passes, a news reporter on the television can be heard saying that a drive-in theater was blown away. This movie is a must see! (VHS, LASER, DVD)



Thanks to the following:

* Thanks to John Wilson for these titles.

** Thanks to Tim Thompson for these titles.

*** Review directly from Leonard Maltin's 1999 Movie & Video Guide.

**** Thanks to Doug Gordon.

+ A movie with George Kennedy and it's NOT a disaster film!

++ Thanks to A.J. Hakari

+++ Thanks to Aaron S.

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