By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s the grand-daddy of Baltimore’s summer outdoor film festivals, and it starts tonight.

The popcorn is free, so grab a lawn chair and head down to Little Italy where it’s time for movies and a whole lot more, WJZ’s Ron Matz reports.

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“Moonstruck,” a film about an Italian-American widow played by Cher, always kicks off the eight-week run of the festival.

This is the 17th year that crowds will flock to the corner of High and Stiles streets for the Baltimore tradition.

The late John Pente made it all possible. The projector was put in his house in a third floor bedroom, a perfect 108 feet from the screen across the street.

“Seventeen years ago restaurants in the neighborhood approached Mr. John Pente and told him we wanted to show movies,” said Mimmo Cricchio, of the Da Mimmo Restaurant. “We thought it would be good for the community. That sold Mr. John. He said ‘If it’s good for the community, let’s do it.'”

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“It brings people down here, it brings awareness to Little Italy,” says Phill Zoppo, of Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop. “We’re keeping up the tradition.”

The full list of films for this year is as follows:

July 8 – “Diner”
July 15 – “The Sound of Music”
July 22 – “More Than A Miracle”
July 29 – “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly”
August 5 – “Star Wars”
August 12 – “Goldfinger”
August 19 – “The Great Escape”
August 26 – “Cinema Paradiso”

More information can be found at

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