After months of closures, there are only days left until cinemas can finally begin opening again across the UK – ready to welcome in socially-distanced moviegoers for all kinds of fresh cinematic adventures. As we prepare to re-enter the multiplexes, arthouses, independents and more, Empire presents a series of essays from the Greatest Cinema Moments Ever issue, featuring Hollywood’s finest opening up about about their most memorable big-screen experiences. Here’s Daniel Craig, writing a beautiful stream-of-consciousness piece on movies as varied as Frozen, Blade Runner, The Mummy, and Grease.
Escape To Witch Mountain with my sister.
Crying my eyes out at The Incredible Journey.
Dancing in the aisle throwing popcorn in the air as Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta dazzle on screen.
Hiding under the seat in front of me as Roy Scheider fought that shark.
Not even daring to go into the cinema for Alien or Exorcist.
Clutching the armrest, transfixed in Blade Runner, the tension unbearable.
Cheering as Roger Moore danced over alligators.
Blushing at Betty Blue.
Getting dizzy at Avatar.
That fucking big boat that sank.
The Mummy is one of my favourites.
For Christ’s sake, Frozen.
Throw in GoodFellas.
All of Alan Parker.
Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot.
Every arthouse movie and every arthouse cinema.
Ryan Reynolds in a tight red suit.
My God, Holly Hunter!!
And on and on and on.
It’s never-ending, and it never should.
Every one of these memories and experiences was shared with complete strangers; the lights go down, the projectors flicker, a hush descends or a cheer goes up.
Sometimes art needs a little ritual around it to awaken the magic. If movies stop being shown in cinemas they are diminished, and however big their budget is, each film will become smaller and smaller.
Collective experiences shape our lives and although I am clearly biased, movies bring us together.
Love story or space battle, if it is 30 feet across, it travels straight into my heart.
Originally published in Empire's March 2021 issue.