Bruce Goldstein is the founder and co-president of Rialto Pictures and Director of Repertory Programming at New York’s Film Forum.
Goldstein founded Rialto in 1997 as a means to exhibit classics that were then not in distribution in the U.S. Actively involved in the marketing of the company’s releases, he has written and produced many of Rialto’s distinctive trailers for Breathless, Elevator to the Gallows, The Battle of Algiers and many others, and has served as art director on many of the company’s posters. He and partner Adrienne Halpern have also worked closely on editing the subtitles of every one of Rialto’s foreign language films. He personally wrote the subtitles for Mafioso (1962), Nights of Cabiria (1957) and Godzilla (1954).
In 1986, Goldstein created Film Forum’s now-iconic repertory format. Since then, he has produced four repertory calendars a year (“packed with eye-catching graphics, rare stills and [Goldstein’s] own purple prose, often as much fun as the flicks themselves,” raved Time Out New York) and has personally created over 400 film festivals, which are often emulated around the world. Among his proudest distinctions are his popularization of “Pre-Code” (films made before Hollywood censorship) as a distinct genre; his early series “Movies in Scope,” which helped create a public demand for the letterboxing of videos; and the reputation of Film Forum as flagship theater for new prints and restorations. In its 2010 movie issue, Time Out New York named Film Forum “New York’s Best Theater for Classic Films.” Time Out’s guidebook to New York named Film Forum the city’s #1 movie house.
At Film Forum, Goldstein has produced special evenings honoring in-person guests including Leslie Caron, Marni Nixon, Claire Bloom, Jules Dassin, Norman Lloyd, Eddie Bracken, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Christopher Plummer, Tony Curtis, Jane Powell and Dick Moore, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Carmen De Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder, Tab Hunter, Robert Downey Sr., French New Wave legend Anna Karina, Kurosawa star Tatsuya Nakadai, the Nicholas Brothers and many others.
Since 2013, he has programmed the weekly Film Forum Jr. series, a weekly selection of classic films for kids and their families, which New York magazine has called “the best movie series for kids.”
Goldstein is also known for his showmanship. He has produced live orchestra shows (with Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks) of Keaton’s The Cameraman (1928) and Sherlock Jr. (1924) and Borzage’s Lucky Star (1929) at Film Forum, Disney World, NYC’s Ziegfeld Theater, San Francisco’s Castro Theatre and Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre (as part of the TCM Classic Film Festival).
In 2013, also at the Egyptian, he re-created the missing soundtrack of Frank Capra’s first all-talkie, The Donovan Affair (1929), with a live cast of 10 actors (including himself) plus live music and sound effects as part of the TCM Classic Film Festival. This sold-out show was named one of the two most popular events at that year’s festival. A year later, he presented The Donovan Affair at the 1200-seat Castro Theater as part of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.
Goldstein has produced events for all of TCM’s film festivals and cruises. His talk on the Nicholas Brothers was named one of the highlights of the second TCM Classic Film Festival. At most of the TCM events, he has also hosted his own quiz show, “So You Think You Know Movies,” and has done popular talks on Pre-Code movies, character actors, vaudeville and Godzilla.
In 1991, Goldstein wrote and co-produced the award-winning documentary Nicholas Brothers: We Sing and We Dance, about the legendary dance team Harold and Fayard Nicholas. In addition to the brothers themselves, among those interviewed for the documentary by Goldstein were Bob Hope, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Maurice and Gregory Hines, Max Roach and Bobby Short.
Goldstein’s most recent filmmaking credits include Les Rues de Mean Streets, a short documentary on the New York neighborhood where director Martin Scorsese grew up, created for the French Blu-ray release of Mean Streets (1973); and In the Footsteps of Speedy (2015), a critically-acclaimed 30-minute documentary hosted by Goldstein himself on the making of Harold Lloyd’s 1927 silent comedy Speedy. The documentary, commissioned by the Criterion Collection, is included on the company’s Blu-ray release of Speedy.
Among Goldstein’s many specialties are the gimmick films of low rent director William Castle. He has presented festivals of Castle’s films (complete with buzzing seats and flying skeletons) at Film Forum in New York, the Egyptian in Hollywood and the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, as well as at venues in Munich (Germany), Neuchatel (Switzerland), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Glasgow, Dublin, Durham (North Carolina), Tel Aviv (Jerusalem) and on the Disney Magic cruise ship as part of the TCM Classic Cruise. In 2011, Cinema St. Louis invited him to present The Tingler (1959) in star Vincent Price’s home town, in honor of the actor’s “Vincentennial.”
Goldstein has been profiled in the Village Voice, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, Time Out New York, five times in The New York Times (most recently in August 2013) and twice in The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town,” among many other publications.
His programming has been called “the Best of New York” by both New York magazine and the New York Press. In 1997, Time Out named Goldstein one of the 101 essential people or places of New York, citing him “for keeping showmanship alive,” and, in 2005, “New York’s Finest Film Programmer.” In its 2012 “Best of New York” issue, the Village Voice called him “the Michael Jordan of Film Programmers.” Kent Jones’ profile of Goldstein in Film Comment was entitled “The King of New York.”
Among his many awards are a CableACE, two Telly Awards for the Nicholas Brothers documentary (which he conceived, co-produced and wrote) and a D.W. Griffith Award from the National Board of Review for “Visionary Film Programming.” In 1990, the New York Film Critics Circle presented him with a special award “for consistent and imaginative quality programming of repertory films.”
In 2007, Goldstein was honored by Anthology Film Archives for his work in film preservation, and in 2009 he was the recipient of the San Francisco Film Festival’s prestigious Mel Novikoff Award. In 2002, he received the French Order of “Chevalier” of Arts & Letters. In 2012, he was the recipient of the first Lifetime Achievement Award in Film ever given by George Eastman House.
In 2011, Dr. James Billington of the Librarian of Congress appointed Goldstein to the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB), which each year selects films for preservation in the Library of Congress. His first nomination, the Nicholas Brothers family home movies, was unanimously selected for inclusion on the Registry.