Bruce Goldstein is Repertory Programming Director of New York’s Film Forum, editor of its popular repertory film calendar, and founder of Rialto Pictures. Under Goldstein’s direction, Film Forum’s repertory division has premiered virtually every major film restoration of the past 25 years, making it the country’s preeminent theater for classic cinema. As founder and co-president of Rialto, he has reissued over 60 classic films in cinemas across the U.S. Rialto is now the U.S. representative of the 2,000-film Studiocanal catalogue. Rialto’s most popular re-releases have included Godard’s Breathless (1960), Renoir’s Grand Illusion (1937), Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers (1966), Melville’s Army of Shadows (1969) (released for the first time ever in the U.S. by Rialto), and Godzilla: The Japanese Original (1954), which had its U.S. premiere in 2004.
In 1987, 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 singlehandedly created over 400 film festivals, which are often emulated around the world. Among his proudest distinctions are his creation 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 (over 1,000 new 35mm prints have been unveiled there since 1990). In its 2010 movie issue, Time Out New York named Film Forum “New York’s Best Theater for Classic Films.” In the latest edition of Time Out’s guide to New York, the magazine listed it as the city’s #1 moviehouse.
At Film Forum, Goldstein has produced special evenings honoring Leslie Caron, Marni Nixon, Claire Bloom, Jules Dassin, Norman Lloyd, Eddie Bracken, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Jane Powell and Dick Moore, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and Kurosawa star Tatsuya Nakadai.
In 1997, Goldstein founded Rialto, a distributor specializing in classic reissues. Described as “the gold standard of reissue distributors” by the Los Angeles Times, Rialto distributes films by Federico Fellini, Jean Renoir, Jules Dassin, Vittorio De Sica, Luis Buñuel, Costa-Gavras, Carol Reed, Alain Resnais, Akira Kurosawa, Mel Brooks, French crime specialist Jean-Pierre Melville, and many others. Rialto’s 2006 release of Melville’s 1969 Army of Shadows was its U.S. premiere. The most critically acclaimed film of 2006, Army of Shadows won the New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year and was named Best Film of the Year by The New York Times, Premiere, and many other publications. Restorations of Godzilla, Breathless, and other Rialto releases have premiered at the TCM Classic Film Festival. Rialto’s new restoration of Jules Dassin’s RIFIFIwill be unveiled at this year’s edition.
2007 marked Rialto’s tenth anniversary, a milestone that was celebrated with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, with similar tributes held in Washington, D.C., Seattle, and other cities. In honor of the company’s anniversary, The Criterion Collection issued a special gift box set, 10 Years of Rialto Pictures. In 2012, the Film Society of Lincoln Center honored Rialto with a 15th anniversary retrospective.
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, as well as at NYC’S Ziegfeld Theater, San Francisco’s Castro, Disney World, and at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, where in 2013 he also 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) at the Egyptian Theater, which was named one of the two most popular events at the festival. At Film Forum, he recently produced a new edit of Orson Welles’ 1938 film Too Much Johnson, presented for the first time ever as Welles had originally intended: with a live production of the play it was based on.
Goldstein has produced events for all of TCM’s film festivals and cruises, including a tribute to the dancing Nicholas Brothers, 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!”
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 and the Cinémathèque Française, as well as at venues in Munich, Neuchatel (Switzerland), Ljubjana (Slovenia), Glasgow, Dublin, Durham (North Carolina), Tel Aviv, and in Hollywood at the TCM Classic Film Festival.
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’ recent profile of Goldstein in Film Comment was entitled “The King of New York.”
Among his many awards are a CableAce and two Telly Awards for a documentary on dance legends The Nicholas Brothers (which he 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 2000, the National Society of Film Critics awarded Rialto a special “Heritage Award” for its re-releases of The Third Man (1949) and Grand Illusion and the following year the New York Film Critics Circle awarded Rialto a special award for its re-release of RIFIFI(1955), which was presented to him by Jeanne Moreau. Rialto received recognition from the New York Film Critics Circle for its release of Army of Shadows in 2006.
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.