Prince Charles Cinema

Coordinates: 51°30′41.2″N 0°7′48.5″W / 51.511444°N 0.130139°W / 51.511444; -0.130139
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Prince Charles Cinema
Cinema frontage
Former namesThe Prince Charles Theatre
Location7 Leicester Place
London, WC2
United Kingdom
Coordinates51°30′41.2″N 0°7′48.5″W / 51.511444°N 0.130139°W / 51.511444; -0.130139
TypeIndoor cinema
Capacity300 (downstairs), 104 (upstairs)
Opened26 December 1962
ArchitectRichard Costain LTD

The Prince Charles Cinema (PCC) is a repertory cinema located in Leicester Place, 50 yards north of Leicester Square in the West End of London. It shows a rotating programme of cult, arthouse, and classic films alongside recent Hollywood releases – typically more than ten different films a week on two screens (300 velvet seats downstairs and 104 high back leather seats upstairs). It also hosts a sing-a-long version of The Sound of Music, as well as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Room. The cinema has achieved a cult status amongst fans, and is the only independent cinema in the West End.


Constructed between 1961 and 1962, the building was built by Richard Costain Limited for Alfred Esdaile and designed by Carl Fisher and Associates.[1] The building, named for then-Prince Charles, originally functioned as a theatre with a distinctive 'satellite dish' curve to the floor of the stalls, meaning that audience members are sat at an upwards angle as they face the stage. After a short period supporting the dramatic arts, the venue was reinvented as a porn cinema. During this period it hosted the UK's longest continuous run of Emmanuelle, as well as Caligula (1979).

The cinema was used as the setting for a number of stunts in the British sketch show Trigger Happy TV in the early 2000s. Filming was facilitated by the cinema having a balcony at the time from which aerial shots could be taken, which was later converted into a second screen in 2008.

During the UK launch of Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004), Uma Thurman recorded a special video introduction for a double bill of both movies being held at the cinema. In it she welcomed the audience to "Quentin's favourite UK cinema". Quentin Tarantino has said, "The Prince Charles Cinema is everything an independent movie theatre should be. For lovers of quality films, this is Mecca." and "The day Kill Bill plays the Prince Charles is the day Kill Bill truly comes home."[2] He further described it as London's "queen's jewel" of a grindhouse saying "I was so honoured when Reservoir Dogs hit so big there that they started playing it at midnight and all the lads would show up in the black suits with little squirt guns".[3]

In April 2007, the cinema opened an official Kevin Smith toilet cubicle, after the director held a question and answer session at the cinema. He said "I don't know, Quentin Tarantino has never turned up here and they name the bar after him, it's my second visit and they haven't even named a toilet after me!" The next day they screwed a framed picture of him to the first cubicle in the gents and he officially opened the toilet.[4] The Kevin Smith cubicle is now in the ladies toilets as the cinema swapped the ladies and gents in late 2013.

As a commitment to promoting environmental causes, the PCC screened the documentary An Inconvenient Truth every week of 2007.[5] Often the screenings have Q&As with special guests; previous speakers have included Tony Juniper, David Miliband and Sir Menzies Campbell.

The cinema and surrounding area was featured in the music video to "Golden Gaze" by Ian Brown. Peter Doherty, lead singer of The Libertines, worked at the cinema for several months in 1999 before being dismissed.[6]

In 2023, after the Coronation of Charles III, the cinema announced that it had no intention of changing its name.[7]


The canopy above the cinema is used for regular advertising for films, and sports cult film quotes or other obscure messages. Previous messages have cheered on England in the World Cup, proclaimed the cinema to be the ninth wonder of the world, after King Kong, and joked about other local cinemas.


  1. ^ Matthew Lloyd. "Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Place, London". Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  2. ^ Quentin Tarantino – The Prince Charles is Kill Bill's UK home! on YouTube
  3. ^ Duncan Campbell (3 October 2003). "Saint Quentin". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  4. ^ James Rawson (15 January 2013). "Cine-files: The Prince Charles Cinema, London". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  5. ^ "The Big Ask Cinema Night: 'An Inconvenient Truth' and question time with Environment Minister" (Press release). London: Friends of the Earth. 23 February 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  6. ^ The Books of Albion: The Collected Writings of Peter Doherty. Orion. 2007. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-7528-8242-0.
  7. ^ Griffiths, Robbie (4 May 2023). "'We won't change our name for King' says London's Prince Charles cinema". Evening Standard. Retrieved 19 February 2024.

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