Rev Your Engines for These Iconic Drive-In Movie Scenes

Drive-in movie theaters have long been a part of American culture, and their unique atmosphere has inspired many films. With so few drive-in movie theaters today, you can at least get your fix with these 12 films that celebrate the nostalgia and magic of drive-in theaters.

1. Twister (1996)

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

This disaster movie follows a group of storm chasers as they attempt to deploy a new tracking device into a powerful tornado. Among the thrilling chase scenes and breathtaking special effects, the film features a memorable scene where the characters take refuge in a drive-in theater as a twister bears down on them.

2. Grease (1978)

grease 1978
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

This beloved musical captures the nostalgia of teenage romance in the 1950s. One of its most memorable scenes takes place in a drive-in theater, where the gang gathers to watch a movie and sing along to classic tunes. It's a fun and lively sequence that captures the joy and energy of going to the drive-in with friends.

3. The Outsiders (1983)

the outsiders 1983
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Based on the novel by S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders is a coming-of-age drama that follows a group of teenage boys as they navigate the social hierarchy of their small town. The film features a poignant scene set in a drive-in theater, where two characters share a heartfelt conversation about their struggles and dreams. It's a powerful moment that captures the intimacy and vulnerability that drive-ins can bring.

4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 2019 Columbia Pictures 2
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a love letter to the film industry of the 1960s. The movie follows the lives of an aging actor and his stunt double as they navigate the changing landscape of Hollywood. The film features several scenes set in drive-in theaters, showcasing the era's popular movies and advertising tactics. It's a fascinating look at a bygone era that still holds a special place in our hearts.

5. Back to the Future Part III (1990)

back to the future part 3 1990
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Back to the Future Part III takes us on a time-traveling adventure to the Wild West. Among the film's many exciting escapades, Marty McFly discovers a drive-in theater and witnesses the earliest known example of 3D cinema. It's a fun and imaginative scene that perfectly captures the spirit of drive-in movie theaters.

6. Drive-In (1976)

drive in 1976
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Drive-In is a documentary that takes us behind the scenes of the drive-in theater industry during its peak in the 1970s. The film explores the various challenges and innovations of running a drive-in, from technological advancements to community engagement. It's a fascinating deep dive into a beloved institution.

7. The Monster Squad (1987)

the monster squad 1987
Image Credit: Taft Entertainment Pictures Keith Barish Productions.

The Monster Squad is a horror-comedy that follows a group of kids as they try to stop a group of classic monsters from taking over their town. Among the film's many nods to classic horror movies is a scene set in a drive-in theater, where the characters witness the monsters on the big screen before facing them in real life. It's a fun and playful tribute to the horror genre.

8. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

scary stories to tell in the dark 2019
Image Credit: Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

This horror film is based on the popular book series of the same name and follows a group of teenagers as they try to unravel the mystery behind a cursed book that brings their fears to life. In one particularly spine-chilling scene, the characters visit a drive-in theater and watch in terror as one of the cursed stories comes to life on the screen, haunting them in real life.

9. That Darn Cat (1965)

that darn cat 1965
Image Credit: Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc.

There is a hilarious scene where a couple is at the drive-in, and the lady doesn't realize the cat is in the back seat, while one guy throws a rock at the lady to get her attention to tell her the cat is there. But unfortunately, things continue to go comically go downhill from here.

10. Cecil B. Demented (2000)

cecil b demented 2000
Image Credit: Artisan Entertainment.

This satirical comedy from director John Waters follows a group of guerrilla filmmakers who kidnap a Hollywood star and force her to act in their underground movie. In a scene set in a drive-in theater, the group stages a chaotic public screening of their film, complete with outrageous stunts and over-the-top violence.

11. The Cider House Rules (1999)

the cider house rules 1999
Image Credit: Miramax Films.

Based on the novel by John Irving, this drama follows a young man who grows up in an orphanage and becomes conflicted about his place in the world and his sense of morality. In a poignant scene set in a drive-in theater, the protagonist confronts the complexities of his personal and professional relationships, as he struggles to come to terms with the choices he has made.

12. Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985)

pee wees big adventure 1985
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

This whimsical comedy follows the quirky and eccentric Pee Wee Herman as he embarks on a cross-country journey to find his beloved stolen bike. Along the way, he finds himself in a chaotic chain of events that leads him to a memorable scene set in a drive-in theater. Pee Wee's antics in the theater, including his signature laugh and bizarre dance moves, add to the film's unique charm and humor.

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.