13 Breathtaking Cinemas From Malta's Past

Can we get the drive-in back?

Bongu Hi Orrajt 2

Although Malta has less than 10 cinemas in all, we used to have nearly one cinema per town in the past. Today, we're going to take a look at some of these once-glorious movie theatres.

Most of these photos were made available to us through Vassallo History, which is an awesome place for all things old and Maltese.

1. Odeon

Odeon Ticket

The Odeon was one of Ħamrun’s multiple cinemas. It used to operate in the 50s and 60s, and is nowadays converted into apartments. The sign however still hangs over the entrance, which is pretty cool given that this piece of invaluable history lives on.

2. Pandora

The Pandora Theatre in Żejtun still exists today. However, it has seen some extensive makeovers throughout the years and nowadays it's home to Teatru Malta.

3. Lazaritz Cinema

This was an old military theatre in Manoel Island. Its main purpose was to be used by the British military who resided in the barracks there.

4. Viceroy

Little is known about this theatre which has survived in writing, and only this one photo is available. This cinema was in Żabbar Road, Paola.

5. Savoy

The Savoy is known today as the shopping complex in Valletta, however some readers will be surprised to known that this charming building was once actually a cinema. It's a pity to see how only two cinemas remain in the capital nowadays.

6. Radio City

The Radio City Cinema in Ħamrun was very popular back in the day. It was originally built to be an Opera House which was used after the Royal Opera House in Valletta was destroyed during the Second World War.

It spent many decades being so, however in the 70s, as operas were slowly losing popularity, it was converted into a Cinema — as well as the occasional boxing and wrestling ring.

7. The Naval Cinema

The Naval Cinema was installed by the British in Fort St. Angelo in the early 20th Century. It was used mostly by the servicemen. Plans were made in the 80s to convert that part of the Fort into a hotel, but thank God that has not happened (yet).

8. Mercury Drive-In

This drive-in cinema in Gżira is abandoned and left in ruins. Can we please bring the whole drive-in thing back? Please?

9. Stoll Cinema

The Stoll Cinema in Senglea dates way back to the late 20s and early 30s. It is said that this cinema still has its original balcony and other features, however in later years it was used as a storage room for the social club.

10. Royal Cinema

There seems to be no information whatsoever about this very strange-looking cinema. What we do know however is that it's in Gozo and that it must've been the talk of the town way back when.

11. Embassy

The Embassy is still standing to this day, and a cinema can still be found on the shopping centre's top floors. However, this titan used to be way more glamorous than we know it to be today. The exterior of the cinema shown in these pictures looks like the most Art Deco thing ever.

12. Orpheum Theatre

The Orpheum of Gżira is known for hosting The Black Sabbath back in '95. Although a couple of odd gigs are still organised, it's nowadays been reducted to tombla and nostalgic rants. Can we try and revamp this old theatre to host more big names in the future? A Sabbath reunion, perhaps?

13. Rialto Cinema

This Bormla cutie is nowadays the home of the HSBC branch of the area. It is built in the Arte Modern style. It was shut down back in the 80s, but one can still admire its pretty façade.

Tag someone who'd love to visit these cinemas and let us know about some of your favourites around the island!

READ NEXT: This Post-War Adult Theatre In Valletta Is Slowly Evolving Into Malta’s Only Cinema-Bar


Written By

Chiara Micallef