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The Greatest Criterion Assortment Movies of All Time

The Criterion Assortment is a hallowed title for any self-professed film fan. Based in 1984, the corporate has overseen remastered variations of effectively over a thousand movies up to now three many years — together with classics courting again to the silent period.

With its fundamental viewers composed mainly of devoted cinephiles, Criterion has garnered a fame for re-releasing a number of the most essential movies in cinematic historical past. The variety of movies stocking the Assortment is aware of nearly no bounds, from the works of auteur administrators from the 1910s to newer worldwide releases of the previous few years.

From Italian neorealist dramas to French New Wave crime movies, from beloved silent classics to cornerstones of the American indie motion, listed here are 20 of the very best and most essential Criterion releases of all time, in addition to the place they’re presently streaming.

Stranger Than Paradise

Stranger Than Paradise 1 Samuel Goldyn Company MSN
Picture Credit score: Samuel Goldyn Firm

Willie (John Lurie) is a self-styled New York hipster stunned to search out his youthful Hungarian cousin (Eszter Balint) visiting him. As the 2 cousins spend time collectively, their mutual hostility in direction of one another slowly subsides, culminating in two highway journeys to Cleveland and Florida with Willie’s greatest buddy, Eddie (Richard Edson).

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The Starting of an Period

Stranger Than Paradise 2 Samuel Goldyn Company MSN
Picture Credit score: Samuel Goldyn Firm

Accompanied by a heavy dose of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” Stranger Than Paradise is usually thought-about the beginning of the indie movie scene within the US. The definition of a minimalist movie, Jim Jarmusch utterly subverted the standard movie construction, setting the stage for virtually each American filmmaker that adopted (Richard Linklater, Wes Anderson, and Steven Soderbergh, to call only a few).

Streaming on HBO Max.


Eraserhead 1 AFI Center for Advanced Studies MSN
Picture Credit score: AFI Middle for Superior Research

Henry Spencer (Jack Nance) is a mean man in an industrialist dystopian metropolis. Pressured to look after his deformed youngster which will or might not truly be human, Henry endures more and more weird hallucinations that appear to replicate his troubled mindset.

A crown jewel of the midnight film phenomenon, Eraserhead appeared just like the seamless bridge between the movies of Luis Buñuel and the later American indie movies of the ‘80s. Launched throughout a time when mainstream movies like Star Wars had been all of the craze, David Lynch’s breakout film remains to be simply as daunting and unusual because it was in 1977.

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A lot Reward

Eraserhead 2 AFI Center for Advanced Studies MSN
AFI Middle for Superior Research.

Most have praised it, a choose few have decried it, however there’s no denying Lynch’s penchant for developing an ambiguous narrative full of unforgettable imagery and a dream-like environment.

Streaming on HBO Max.


Breathless 1 Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios MSN
Picture Credit score: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

After killing a policeman within the countryside, a wannabe gangster who idolizes Humphrey Bogart (Jean-Paul Belmondo) journeys to Paris to persuade his American girlfriend (Jean Seberg) to run away with him to Italy.


Breathless 2 Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios MSN
Picture Credit score: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

Together with Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, Breathless is seen because the movie that kicked off the famed French New Wave. With its incessant cuts, terse dialogue, and borderline unlikable fundamental character, it’s one of the sensible and recognizable of Jean-Luc Godard’s movies, in addition to the film that made him a worldwide sensation within the early ‘60s.

Streaming on HBO Max.

In The Temper for Love

In the Mood for Love 1 USA Films MSN
Picture Credit score: USA Movies.

In early Sixties Hong Kong, two neighbors (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung) start to suspect their important others of getting affairs behind their again. Looking for solace in each other, the 2 slowly type a romantic attachment to one another — a love that may by no means be as they swore to maintain their relationship strictly platonic.


In the Mood for Love 2 USA Films MSN
Picture Credit score: USA Movies.

A romance as gripping and efficient as David Lean’s Transient Encounter, Within the Temper for Love is probably Wong Kar-wai’s masterpiece, although comparable arguments could be made for his different movies, like Chungking Specific and Fallen Angels (each of that are additionally within the Assortment). Regardless, it’s the first achievement in Hong Kong cinema, one of the stirring romance movies in latest many years.

Streaming on HBO Max.

The Night time of The Hunter

The Night of the Hunter 1 Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios MSN
Picture Credit score: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

In Nineteen Thirties West Virginia, a devoutly spiritual serial killer who poses as a preacher (Robert Mitchum) marries a widow (Shelley Winters) upon studying that her bank-robbing husband (Peter Graves) buried a fortune someplace on their property.

A Tragedy

The Night of the Hunter 2 Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios MSN
Picture Credit score: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

It’s nothing in need of a tragedy that legendary actor Charles Laughton solely directed one movie in his complete lifetime. An unbelievably spectacular debut, it bears all of the hallmarks of not solely a proficient director — however an ingenious one as effectively. Half fairy story, half Southern Gothic horror, there has by no means been one other movie prefer it.

Streaming on Philo (premium subscription required).

The Discreet Allure of The Bourgeoisie

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie 1 Rialto Pictures MSN
Picture Credit score: Rialto Footage.

Resolving to have a quiet dinner collectively, six bourgeois associates are repeatedly met with interruptions that forestall them from having fun with their meal — every of which is stranger and extra absurd than the final.


The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie 2 Rialto Pictures MSN
Picture Credit score: Rialto Footage.

Criterion affords a ton of surrealist motion pictures — however one can’t deliver up surrealism with out discussing Luis Buñuel, one of many pioneers of avant-garde movie within the first place. Lots of Buñuel’s different movies within the Assortment are actually price watching as effectively (particularly Belle de Jour), however Buñuel’s fierce tackle the higher class stands the check of time as one of the savage and humorous motion pictures of his profession.

Not presently streaming, however obtainable on VOD.

Tokyo Story

Tokyo Story 1 Shochiku MSN
Picture Credit score: Shochiku.

Touring to Tokyo, an aged retired couple (Chishū Ryū and Chieko Higashiyama) resolve to go to their grownup kids within the metropolis, solely to search out that their children now have seemingly little inclination to spend time with their mother and father.

A Coronary heart Breaker

Tokyo Story 2 Shochiku MSN
Picture Credit score: Shochiku.

Maybe one of the heartbreaking and meditative movies within the Assortment, Tokyo Story is Yasujirō Oz’s crowning achievement as a director. Melancholic and gutwrenching in so some ways, it’s a film that leaves you evaluating your personal relationship with family members — making you ask the all-important query, “Am I utilizing my time on this planet correctly with the individuals I really like dearly?”

Streaming on HBO Max.

Pather Panchali

Pather Panchali 1 Janus Films MSN
Picture Credit score: Janus Movies.

Within the 1910s Bengali countryside, younger Apu and his household should take care of their impoverished financial state of affairs. As their funds develop worse over time, the household resolves to help themselves and make do any means they will.

First of Three

Pather Panchali 2 Janus Films MSN
Picture Credit score: Janus Movies.

The primary movie in Satyajit Ray’s beloved Apu Trilogy, Pather Panchali is a kind of directorial debuts that bear no indicators it was made by a first-time filmmaker. As an alternative, it exists as a uniquely entire and fully-realized movie — a heartrending depiction of how a household’s mutual love and help can rise above probably the most dire of circumstances.

Streaming on HBO Max.

Dr. Strangelove

Dr. Strangelove 1 Columbia MSN
Picture Credit score: Columbia.

When an unhinged American basic (Sterling Hayden) orders planes carrying nuclear weapons to bomb Russia, the neurotic president (Peter Sellers) and his cupboard attempt to recall the planes earlier than it’s too late.

Criterion has slowly amassed an honest quantity of Stanley Kubrick’s movies over time. Whereas we’re additionally a fan of Paths of Glory or The Killing, Dr. Strangelove looks as if an essential milestone within the iconic director’s profession — a segue from his earlier profession to the extra genre-based movies from the late ‘60s onward.

Chilly Warfare

Dr. Strangelove 2 Columbia MSN
Picture Credit score: Columbia.

A pointy political takedown of the Chilly Warfare and nuclear arms race, it’s nonetheless eerily humorous now almost 60 years later, even at its most downbeat and miserable.

Streaming on Philo (premium subscription required).

Yi Yi

Yi Yi 1 Shinya Kawai MSN
Picture Credit score: Shinya Kawai.

Over the course of 1 12 months, a Taiwanese household endures quite a lot of private points of their personal lives — from downtrodden patriarch NJ (Wu Nien-jen) and his spiritually reborn spouse Min-Min (Elaine Jin) to their emotionally unsure daughter (Kelly Lee) and laconic, film-obsessed son (Jonathan Chang).


Yi Yi 2 Shinya Kawai MSN
Picture Credit score: Shinya Kawai.

An introspective but sprawling have a look at the every day lives of an more and more disconnected household, Yi Yi is a taut, minimalist movie that’s simply as beautiful to take a look at as it’s to emotionally expertise.

Not presently streaming, however obtainable on VOD.

Do The Proper Factor

Do the Right Thing 1 Universal MSN
Picture Credit score: Common.

As the most popular day of the 12 months raises rigidity between the inhabitants of a Brooklyn neighborhood, an escalating battle between the white house owners of a pizzeria and their Black clients ultimately culminates in racially-charged violence.


Do the Right Thing 2 Universal MSN
Picture Credit score: Common.

Do the Proper Factor was the movie that propelled Spike Lee from indie sensation to Hollywood stardom. Unconventional in its narrative construction and unmatched in its fierce social message, it’s one of the carefully studied American movies there’s. It continues to rank extremely as one of many definitively greatest American movies of the ‘80s — and sure among the best of all time.

Streaming on Paramount+ and Starz.


M 1 Nero Film A.G MSN
Picture Credit score: Nero-Movie A.G.

As a brutal youngster assassin (Peter Lorre) runs rampant in Berlin, the town’s occupants — together with high police investigators and their legal counterparts — be part of forces to catch the killer.

Launched throughout the remaining days of the German Expressionist motion, M is Fritz Lang’s magnum opus, boasting a career-defining efficiency from Lorre and a number of the most clever course of Lang’s profession.

Human Monster

M 2 Nero Film A.G MSN
Picture Credit score: Nero-Movie A.G.

Reverse the ‘30s Common horror movies, M confirmed the world that it wasn’t Dracula or Frankenstein we would have liked to be afraid of — the worst monsters are sometimes people who move by us unseen within the streets.

Streaming on HBO Max.

Bicycle Thieves

Bicycle Thieves 1 Corinth Films MSN
Picture Credit score: Corinth Movies.

After his bicycle is stolen — jeopardizing his possibilities of holding down a job — a determined father (Lamberto Maggiorani) and his younger son (Enzo Staiola) got down to discover the thief and reclaim the all-important bike.

Not A lot

Bicycle Thieves 2 Corinth Films MSN
Picture Credit score: Corinth Movies.

What The 400 Blows or Breathless is to the French New Wave, Bicycle Thieves is to Italian neorealism. Largely uneventful in its plot, Vittorio De Sica’s father and son story reveals you don’t want an action-laden script to make a compelling movie. Typically, the easier the story, the extra the viewers can relate.

Streaming on HBO Max.

Metropolis Lights

City Lights 1 Warner Bros MSN
Picture Credit score: Warner Bros.

Falling in love with a blind flower lady (Virginia Cherrill), a homeless Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) tries to boost the cash essential for an operation that might grant the lady her sight again, main him to an eccentric, depressed, alcoholic millionaire (Harry Myers) for assist.


City Lights 2 Warner Bros MSN
Picture Credit score: Warner Bros.

It’s price mentioning that each one of Charlie Chaplin’s most notable movies are in the Criterion Assortment. Nevertheless, few are as celebrated because the 1931 traditional, Metropolis Lights. Each bit as humorous as Chaplin’s different movies, it additionally incorporates his strongest main efficiency. (It’s not possible to not effectively up seeing his face when he spots his love curiosity by way of the store window on the very finish of the movie).

Streaming on HBO Max.

The Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal 1 Janus Films MSN
Picture Credit score: Janus Movies.

Upon their return from the Crusades, a philosophical knight (Max von Sydow) and his misanthropic squire (Gunnar Björnstrand) journey by way of Sweden because the bubonic plague rages round them. Enjoying a sport of chess with Loss of life (Bengt Ekerot), the knight positive aspects a brand new perspective on life after assembly a troupe of actors making an attempt to outlive the chaotic panorama.


The Seventh Seal 2 Janus Films MSN
Picture Credit score: Janus Movies.

Like many administrators we’ve mentioned on this checklist, Ingmar Bergman has quite a few noteworthy movies lining the Criterion Assortment. But his most well-known is that this, his existential medieval drama that stays grounded sufficient for all viewers to attach with. It’s a life lesson wrapped in a movie, as haunting and starkly lovely as any movie you’ll find within the Assortment.

Streaming on HBO Max.

The Wages of Concern

The Wages of Fear 1 Cinedis MSN
Picture Credit score: Cinédis.

In determined want of labor, 4 European migrants settle for a harmful, near-suicidal job transporting nitroglycerine-filled vans by way of the Mexican countryside, navigating throughout slender, pothole-scarred filth roads that might imply catastrophe at any second.


The Wages of Fear 2 Cinedis MSN
Picture Credit score: Cinédis.

A lesson on how you can create suspense, The Wages of Concern is greater than only a thriller. Henri-Georges Clouzot affords an evaluation of greed, redemption, and the boundaries of friendship. The ensuing movie — nail-bitingly gripping all through — speaks for itself.

Streaming on HBO Max.

The 400 Blows

The 400 Blows 1 Les Films du Carrosse MSN
Picture Credit score: Les Movies du Carrosse.

Ignored by his mother and father and always discovering himself in hassle at college, 14-year-old Antoine (Jean-Pierre Léaud) regularly spends his time stealing, mendacity, and devoting himself to petty crime in Nineteen Fifties Paris.

French New Wave

The 400 Blows 2 Les Films du Carrosse MSN
Picture Credit score: Les Movies du Carrosse.

The film that ushered within the French New Wave, few administrators have ever completed what Francois Truffaut did with The 400 Blows. A research of adolescent and youthful angst, it’s the cinematic equal of A Catcher within the Rye, each bit as compelling as Salinger’s oft-taught novel.

Streaming on HBO Max.

8 ½

8 ½ 1 Cineriz MSN
Picture Credit score: Cineriz.

Going through mounting stress to disclose what his new venture shall be, a profitable filmmaker Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) has to beat a crippling artistic block, all of the whereas coping with numerous points in his private life — together with associates begging for work and previous romantic relationship that went nowhere.

Greatest Effort

8 ½ 2 Cineriz MSN
Picture Credit score: Cineriz.

Federico Fellini’s different accoladed movies — Amarcord and La Strada — additionally deserve reward and a focus, however 8 ½ stays the director’s greatest effort. Hanging a fantastic center floor between a sensible narrative and extra loosely-plotted surrealist piece, it’s an intimate have a look at a creative thoughts at work: mysterious, tough to interpret, and not possible to totally perceive.

Streaming on HBO Max.

Magnificence and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast 1 Janus Films MSN
Picture Credit score: Janus Movies.

After her aged father is sentenced to dying for choosing a rose within the mysterious Beast’s (Jean Marais) backyard, the attractive younger Belle (Josette Day) agrees to take her father’s place. As time attracts on, the Beast turns into more and more infatuated with Belle, with Belle herself slowly drawn to the Beast, despite his temperament and animal-like habits.

Excluding a choose few filmmakers, Magnificence and the Beast confirmed that the remainder of the world’s administrators had been enjoying in a sandbox whereas Jean Cocteau constructed castles. It’s a visually gorgeous movie and one of the influential in French cinematic historical past — the proper instance of how you can make a mainstream surrealist movie with out overwhelming your viewers.

Streaming on HBO Max.

Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai 1 Toho MSN
Picture Credit score: Toho.

In 1586, a peasant village hires seven rōnin to guard them from bandits preying on their crops.

Such a Contribution

Seven Samurai 2 Toho MSN
Picture Credit score: Toho.

There isn’t any mentioning the Criterion Assortment with out mentioning that world-renowned Akira Kurosawa. Some of the famed administrators in world cinema, the technical improvements Kurosawa launched in his profession are unrivalled, his contributions immeasurable.

On this, his three-hour seminal work, he used each trick within the guide, together with quite a lot of he created himself, to move viewers again to medieval Japan, all of the whereas creating the primary fashionable motion movie. It actually is a one in all a sort masterpiece.

Streaming on HBO Max.

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This text was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Richard Chachowski is a contract author primarily based in New Jersey. He loves studying, his canine Tootsie, and just about each film to ever exist (particularly Star Wars).



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