10 Years - 100 Movies | 2019 Movies on the Roof

Movies on the Roof is a private movie festival run by Laura Lanford and Thomas Rammer. We screen classic American cinema Tuesday evenings during summer on a rooftop in Printer's Row.

Thanks for a fanatastic premier!

Thank you so much to everyone who made it out to The Great Dictator on Tuesday! It was a wonderful way to kick off our season. Be sure to come early next week for Fail Safe - probably the most exciting, suspenseful, and thrilling film of our season. You DON'T want to miss it!!


Hey Moviegoers,

The Condo Board vote was tonight and we have great news:  MotR will continue!  

However, because of upcoming improvements (read: remodeling) of our roof, the 2017 season schedule will likely be shifted.  We will let you know via email, Facebook, and the website when we lock in dates for the movies, but for now they should be considered To Be Determined.  As soon as we can confirm the dates, we will let you know.

We’d also like to take the opportunity to express our love and gratitude to the many fellow residents who voiced their enthusiastic support for Movies on the Roof.  Without your help, we could not continue.  We are thrilled that our building has chosen to continue welcoming Movies on the Roof, and we’re beyond excited for the upcoming renovation.

See you (soon) on the Roof!

Laura & Tom

Email announcement

The mailing list announcement went out this morning (6/25, ~9:40am).  

We're trying out MailChimp for the first time this year. If you've previously been on the mailing list but didn't receive the announcement, please let us know!  If it ended up in your junk or spam folder you can add '' to identify future emails.

We hope to see you this summer!

Welcome (hopefully!) to the MotR 2017 Season!

Hello Moviegoers,

Welcome (hopefully) to the eighth year of Ramford House's Movies on the Roof! 

This year’s season is contingent on a vote by our condo board on July 5th.  We hope it will be in our favor, but please keep an eye on this website and Facebook page in case we’re forced to find another venue or (!) cancel this season.

Movies on the Roof is a private movie festival run by Laura Lanford and Thomas Rammer.   

We screen classic American cinema Tuesday evenings during the summer on a rooftop in Printer's Row.  After sunset we start our pre-show and presentation, giving our audience the mood and cultural context for the feature presentation.

This year's movies will explore the themes of politics, love, and leadership. Here is the summer's scheduled line-up for 2017!

Good stuff we're keeping from past years:

  • Curated pre-show with newsreels, shorts, cartoons and/or commercials from the year the movie debuted.
  • The offer to join us anytime after 5:30pm to enjoy the rooftop deck and a playlist of the top hits of the appropriate year.
  • Ice chest and grill available for those who would like to bring grillables or drinkables.
  • A chance to appreciate (and donate, if you feel like it) to our themed charity for each movie.

Movies on the Roof is absolutely free to attend. This is a labor of love: nothing is required beyond your invite and a willingness to have a good time!

Hope to see you soon,

Ramford House

Out with a Bang!

What an absolutely wonderful final night!

We are so lucky, with you as our amazing group of friends.

THANK YOU for coming, participating, drinking, dancing and generally being amazing people. For bringing your friends, contributing to our charities, and making new friends!


Until next year!

Week 7 Update

The weather is teasing today, predicting scattered storms into the early evening.

We have every intention of celebrating our Season 7 finale on the roof tonight, if at all possible!  We may move the pre-party to our indoor location (Unit 508) then move upstairs when the rain passes. 
If it doesn't pass, the Ramford 1 screen is fired up and available if the screening must be inside. 

Either way, consider the movie tonight to be a Mission From God - come rain or come shine!


Tomorrow night is the final screening of our 2016 season, and we're going out with a bang!  After years of impassioned requests from MotR regulars, The Blues Brothers will finally be on our big screen!

On the superslim chance that you don't know every line by heart, this is the quintessential Chicago movie. Opening at Joliet prison, this romping musical is chock full of rock and roll cameos, fantastic music, and plenty of in-jokes to share with the rest of the roof!

To get you pumped, please enjoy this Lego version of the chase through Dixie Square Mall.


We always like to include at least one 'hidden gem' classic, and "Sullivan's Travels" has been a contender for several years now.  Number 61 on the American Film Institutes "100 Years" Best Movies, this film was a source of inspiration for many contemporary directors, including the Coen Brothers and Robert Zemeckis.

The title was informed by Jonathan Swift's classic sorry "Gulliver's Travels", and the narrative takes a similarly wry look at a man's journey of self-discovery.

Writer and director Preston Sturges, a native Chicagoan, made seven movies in four years (!), including "Sullivan's Travels". At one point he was the third highest paid man in America for his work in Hollywood and enjoyed significant creative control over his movies.  However, ongoing disagreements with studio executives -- including the inclusion of Veronica Lake in Sullivan's Travels -- eventually undermined his career.


"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" is the most well-known and positive portrayal of interracial relationships at a time when many states (mostly Southern) still had "anti-miscegenation" laws on the books.  With an amazing cast, wickedly satisfying interactions, and gleeful social commentary, this dramatic comedy is a quintessential classic.

Though in this film the prejudice is race-based, the discussion of the generational transition away from bigotry is relevant to other biases.  Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (in his final role) play liberal parents who have to come to terms with the uncomfortable hypocrisy of parents who succeed in raising a child with the values they taught but hadn't internalized.  Hepburn's real-life niece, Katharine Houghton, plays her daughter, alongside Sidney Portier as her too-perfect-to-have-any-problem-with-unless-you're-a-bigot fiance.

The film was nominated for an impressive 10 Academy Awards, winning in Best Leading Actress (Katharine Hepburn) and Best Screenplay Written Directory for the Screen (William Rose)


The 1926 silent film "The General" is both the earliest film MotR has shown and one of the greatest silent comedies.  Based on a real incident from the Civil War, the railroad agreed to let Mr. Keaton use the locomotive from the original incident...until they found out the movie would be a comedy. The real incident -- in which Union soldiers sabotaged Confederate rails -- was not considered comedic material by the depot in Tennessee where the locomotive was kept.

Though not a critical or box-office success when released, it is now #18 on the The American Film Institutes "100 Years...100 Movies" greatest films list.

MotR Fun fact: Keaton's "The General" won out over Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" to avoid hitting too close to home this election year.


One of the few MotR movies not on the American Film Institute's top 100 list, Moonstruck is #17 on their "Greatest Love Stories" list. This movie is delightfully full of surprise, especially the unexpected and inspired casting choices including Nic Cage and Cher. 

Another surprise was the nomination of Moonstruck for six Academy Awards, winning three of them: Cher and Olympia Dukakis won for Best Leading Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. John Shanley also won for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.

Though some might consider it overrated (ahem...Premier Magazine), MotR thinks it's just too weirdly charming to turn our noses up at.


Based on the novel of the same name, "Strangers on a Train" is a one of those Hitchcockian noir films that MotR just adores -- full of beautifully shot, sordid, shadow-y intrigue. Though now #32 on the AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills list, it was not a commercial success initially and received only one (unsuccessful) nomination for an Academy Award in 1951.

The novel "Strangers on a Train" was Patricia Highsmith's first novel, published the year before (1950). Hitchcock bought the screenplay rights to the novel anonymously to keep the price down and paid just $7500. Ms. Highsmith (who also authored "The Talented Mr. Ripley") was not amused by the rouse when she discovered the identify of the purchaser.

This movie includes a real life stunt that Hitchcock claimed was the "most dangerous [stunt] ever performed under his direction". The stunt takes place at a carnival carousel, where a man climbs under the moving ride. It was performed not by a professional stuntperson but a regular carnival employee. Afterwards Hitchcock said he would never allow a stunt that dangerous to happen again.

We're making the call

Tonight's screening will be on the roof.  Yay!

The chance of precipitation continues to fall so please join us anytime after 5pm on the Moser Roof. 

Hope to see you soon!


Weather update for week 1: The Lion King

Hello Moviegoers!

Our MotR Meteorologist (thanks, Mike!) is giving a 50% chance of showers tomorrow.

It'll be a shame if our first movie of the season is rained out, but luckily there is a contingency plan! 

In the event that we can't screen on the roof, we invite you to join us in Unit #508 to watch on our Ramford 1 screen.  Signs on the doors will point you to the right place.

Please watch this page or the Facebook page for updates.  We'll send one more email once we've made the final call.

Rain or Shine, hope to see you tomorrow evening!


Hello Moviegoers,

We are so excited to see you all again for the first screening of our SEVENTH Movies on the Roof season!  For those of you joining us for the first time, 1. Welcome!  and 2. Here's what you can expect:

The movie starts at sundown, usually around 8pm, but people usually arrive anytime after 5pm to grill, drink, and socialize.  Everyone there will be neighbors, friends, or friend's guests so it's a wonderful group of friendly people to hang out with!  We'll be playing the top billboard hits of the year of the movies release for your entertainment.

There is a grill, large ice chest, and various cups / utensils / condiments available for everyone, along with the (first come, first served) themed homebrew and all the fresh popcorn you can eat! 

We have a limited number of seats and tables, and many people opt to bring a fold out chair for themselves.  If the weather gets too chilly, we'll also bring up hoodies and sweaters for people to borrow.

The MotR 2016 trailer will signal the start of the show, followed by a short talk about the cultural significance of the film, then a preshow of news, cartoons, and shorts from the year the movie was released to set the context.  Then the movie!

The first week is often popular: we recommend coming early to save your seat and bask in the awesome music of 1994.

The Lion King is a stunningly beautiful movie, mixing hand-drawn and computer generated animation to create an epic mix of dramatic landscapes with impressively complex scenes of hundreds of moving animals (and, sigh, the first animated flatulence).  Though inspiration for the 'original' storyline is credited to  Shakespeare's Hamlet, the story closely matches the Mali fable of the Malian founder Sundiata Keita.

It is the first Disney cartoon to be set in Africa, and the first animation to be dubbed into Zulu for its African release. Holding its own at #4 on the American Film Institutes's best animated films, The Lion King also claims to be the best selling video tape of all time with more than 55 million copies sold.

Year Seven begins!

Hello Moviegoers,

Welcome to the SEVENTH year of Ramford House's Moves on the Roof! We hope you will join us for a season that roams to the plains of Africa, across the dust bowl, hops a train, peeks into an insane asylum, and finally brings up back home sweet home.

Please see our schedules or events pages for more information!

MotR 2019