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In the midsixties, the maverick American director Monte Hellman conceived of two westerns at the same time. Dreamlike and gritty by turns, these films would prove their maker’s adeptness at brilliantly deconstructing genre.
11 Nov 2014
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Pier Paolo Pasolini’s notorious transposition of the Marquis de Sade’s eighteenth-century opus of torture and degradation to Fascist Italy in 1944 remains one of the most passionately debated films of all time,
Seeking a Pulitzer Prize, reporter Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) has himself committed to a mental hospital to investigate a murder. As he closes in on the killer, insanity closes in on him. Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor masterfully charts the uneasy terrain between sanity and madness.
Eddie Constantine stars as intergalactic hero Lemmy Caution, on a mission to kill the inventor of fascist computer Alpha 60, in Jean-Luc Godard’s irreverent, cockeyed fusion of science fiction, pulp characters, and surrealist poetry.
Drew Phillips: “I've got Dracula, I now need the companion because you don't know death until you've fucked life, in the gallbladder”
One of the great translations of literature into film, David Lean’s Great Expectations brings Charles Dickens’s masterpiece to robust on-screen life.
Before Psycho, Peeping Tom, and Repulsion, there was Diabolique, a heart-grabbing benchmark in horror filmmaking, featuring outstanding performances by Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, and Paul Meurisse.
Four desperate men sign on for a suicide mission to drive trucks loaded with nitroglycerin over a treacherous mountain route—a white-knuckle ride from France’s legendary master of suspense, Henri-Georges Clouzot.
In this fantastic voyage through time and space from Terry Gilliam, a boy named Kevin (Craig Warnock) escapes his gadget-obsessed parents to join a band of time-traveling dwarfs.
Middle-aged Mr. Badii drives through the hilly outskirts of Tehran, searching for someone to rescue or bury him, in Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami’s emotionally complex meditation on life and death.
Philip Kaufman achieves a delicate, erotic balance with his screen version of Milan Kundera’s “unfilmable” novel about a womanizing surgeon (Daniel Day-Lewis), his free-spirited mistress (Lena Olin), and his childlike wife (Juliette Binoche).
A frank exploration of voyeurism and violence, Michael Powell’s extraordinary film is the story of a psychopathic cameraman—his childhood traumas, sexual crises, and murderous revenge as an adult.
In this unsettling drama from Italian filmmaker Liliana Cavani, a concentration camp survivor (Charlotte Rampling) discovers her former torturer and lover (Dirk Bogarde) working as a porter at a hotel in postwar Vienna.
Drew Phillips: “Few films have ever had me openly weeping in them, but nearly all of them have been Bergmans. Ullman and Bergman are fueled by raw emotion”
By turns charming and inventive, René Clair’s lyrical masterpiece about the journey of a winning lottery ticket had a profound impact on not only the Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin but the American musical as a whole.
W.C. Fields stars as an unemployed, henpecked drunk who spends most of his time at the Black Pussy Cat café. Things take a turn for the absurd when he unwittingly captures a bank robber and lands a job as a security guard.
W. C. Fields’s prolific career placed him at the forefront of slapstick comedy. Gathered here are six gems that feature the comic genius at his peak.
Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, Sir Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet continues to be the most compelling version of Shakespeare’s beloved tragedy.
A stylish paean to female destructiveness, De Palma’s first foray into horror voyeurism is a stunning amalgam of split-screen effects, bloody birthday cakes, and a chilling score by frequent Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann.
In Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s stunningly photographed comedy, Wendy Hiller stars as a headstrong young woman who travels to the remote Scottish Hebrides to marry a rich lord.
A profoundly felt film about class and conformity in small-town America, All That Heaven Allows is a pinnacle of expressionistic Hollywood melodrama.
In one of Sturges’s most clever and beloved romantic comedies, a conniving father and daughter meet up with the heir to a brewery fortune—a wealthy but naïve snake enthusiast—and attempt to bamboozle him at a cruise ship card table.
Bob Hoskins (who snagged an Oscar nomination for his performance) plays George, a small-time loser employed as a chauffeur to an enigmatic, high-class call girl in writer-director Neil Jordan’s brilliant, noir-infused love story.
In Luis Buñuel’s wicked adaptation of the Octave Mirbeau novel, Jeanne Moreau is Celestine, a beautiful Parisian domestic who, upon arrival at her new job at an estate in provincial 1930s France, entrenches herself in sexual hypocrisy and scandal with her philandering employer.
Hollywood director Joel McCrea, tired of churning out lightweight comedies, decides to make O Brother, Where Art Thou, a serious, socially responsible film about human suffering. After his producers point out that he knows nothing of hardship, he hits the road as a hobo.
Drew Phillips: “Can someone tell my why all of my favorites are OOP? I think Studio Canal is conspiring against me...”
Benjamin Christensen’s legendary silent film uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the Middle Ages suffered the same hysteria as turn-of-the-century psychiatric patients. Häxan is a witches’ brew of the scary, gross, and darkly humorous.
Poetic realism reached sublime heights with Children of Paradise, widely considered one of the greatest French films of all time.
In Peter Weir’s The Last Wave, Richard Chamberlain stars as Australian lawyer David Burton, who takes on the defense of a group of aborigines accused of killing one of their own.
A tender and humorous look at a young woman’s journey from the first pangs of romance to its inevitable disappointments, Loves of a Blonde immediately became a classic of the Czech New Wave and earned Milos Forman the first of his Academy Award nominations.
A milestone of the Czech New Wave, Milos Forman’s first color film, The Firemen’s Ball (Horí, má panenko), is both a dazzling comedy and a provocative political satire that chronicles a firemen’s ball where nothing goes right.
One of the all-time comedy classics, René Clair’s À nous la liberté tells the story of Louis, an escaped convict who becomes a wealthy industrialist. Unfortunately, his past returns (in the form of old jail pal Emile) to upset his carefully laid plans.
In René Clair’s irrepressibly romantic portrait of the crowded tenements of Paris, a street singer and a gangster vie for the love of a beautiful young woman. An international sensation upon its release, Under the Roofs of Paris is an exhilarating celebration of filmmaking.
One of the CIA’s top international operatives, Miles Kendig (Walter Matthau) suddenly finds himself relegated to a desk job in an agency power play. Unwilling to go quietly, Kendig writes a memoir exposing the innermost secrets of every major intelligence agency in the world.
With Solaris, the legendary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky created a brilliantly original science-fiction epic that challenges our conceptions about love, truth, and humanity itself.
When thief Gaston Monescu (Herbert Marshall) meets his true love in pickpocket Lily (Miriam Hopkins), they embark on a scam to rob lovely perfume company executive Mariette Colet (Kay Francis). Legendary director Ernst Lubitsch’s masterful touch is in full flower in Trouble in Paradise.
When Katharina Blum spends the night with an alleged terrorist, her quiet, ordered life falls into ruins. Suddenly a suspect, Katharina is subject to a vicious smear campaign by the police and a ruthless tabloid journalist, testing the limits of her dignity and her sanity.
I Am Curious—Yellow, one of the most controversial films of all time, is presented here for the first time with its companion piece, I Am Curious—Blue. This landmark document of Swedish society during the sexual revolution has been declared both obscene and revolutionary.
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Drew Phillips: “If Jean-Luc Godard directed Nashville...”
In Richard III, director, producer, and star Laurence Olivier brings Shakespeare’s masterpiece of Machiavellian villainy to ravishing cinematic life
Considered one of the greatest films ever made, The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu), by Jean Renoir, is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners.
A young provincial in search of adventure stumbles into the subterranean world of sadomasochism when he is implicated in a burglary of a Paris apartment in Barbet Schroeder’s Maîtresse.
A lifetime officer and an educated scion of an old military family battle each other to win the loyalties of a peacetime Scottish battalion. Ronald Neame’s portrayal of the rigid hierarchy of military life also examines the institutional contradictions and class divisions of English society.
In a dusty California resort rown, a naïve Southern waif finds her role model in a fellow nurse, but her hero-worship evolves into something stranger and more sinister than either could have anticipated. Robert Altman’s dreamlike masterpiece careens from the humorous to the chilling to the surreal.
An epic on the grandest possible scale, Visconti’s opulent masterpiece stars Burt Lancaster as an aging prince watching his culture and fortune wane in the face of a new generation during the tumultuous years of Italy’s Risorgimento.
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Director Jean-Luc Godard’s sly, playful “neorealist musical—that is, a contradiction in terms” finds his signature wit and intellectual acumen applied to the story of an exotic dancer attempting to have a child with her unwilling lover.
Near the end of his long and celebrated career, master filmmaker Jean Renoir indulged his lifelong obsession with life-as-theater and directed three majestic films infatuated with the past, love, and artifice.
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Based on the original play by Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone, and starring Philip Baker Hall in a tour de force solo performance, Robert Altman’s Secret Honor is a searing interrogation of the Richard Nixon mystique and an audacious depiction of unchecked paranoia.
At his secluded chateau in the French countryside, a brilliant, obsessive doctor (Pierre Brasseur) attempts a radical plastic surgery to restore the beauty of his daughter’s disfigured countenance—at a horrifying price.
Ingmar Bergman intended Fanny and Alexander as his swan song, and it is the legendary director’s warmest and most autobiographical film, a four-time Academy Award–winning triumph that combines his trademark melancholy and emotional intensity with immense joy and sensuality.
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Trickery. Deceit. Magic. In F for Fake, a free-form sort-of documentary by Orson Welles, the legendary filmmaker (and self-described charlatan) gleefully reengages with the central preoccupation of his career: the tenuous lines between illusion and truth, art and lies.
Deceased playboy Henry Van Cleve presents himself to the outer offices of Hades, where he asks a bemused Satan for permission to enter the gates of hell. Henry proceeds to recount a lifetime of wooing and pursuing women, his long, happy marriage to Martha notwithstanding.
Leigh’s depiction of England’s underbelly is an amalgam of black comedy and doomsday prophecy that took the best director and best actor prizes at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.
Part thriller, part comedy, part tragedy, Shoot the Piano Player relates the adventures of mild-mannered piano player Charlie (Charles Aznavour) as he stumbles into the criminal underworld and a whirlwind love affair.
A poet dreams of three women—a mechanical performing doll, a bejeweled siren, and the consumptive daughter of a famous composer—all of whom break his heart in different ways. Powell and Pressburger create a phantasmagoric marriage of cinema and opera in this one-of-a-kind classic.
Dennis Price is sublime as an embittered young commoner determined to avenge his mother’s unjust disinheritance by ascending to her family’s dukedom in one of Ealing Studios’ greatest triumphs, and one of the most wickedly black comedies ever made.
One of the great American independent films of the 1990s, the surprise hit Metropolitan, by writer-director Whit Stillman, is a sparkling comedic chronicle of a young man’s romantic misadventures while trying to fit in to New York City’s debutante society.
Deep within the woods and canyons of California, four teenagers happen upon an ancient book containing the secrets of a strange, malevolent world that coexists with that of mankind. This $6,500-budget wonder from Dennis Muren is an homage to the creature features of yore.
Set amid the tumult of World War II, yet with a rhythm as delicate as a lullaby, Powell and Pressburger’s classic follows three modern-day incarnations of Chaucer’s pilgrims waylaid in the English countryside en route to the mythical town of Canterbury and forced to solve a bizarre village crime.
Alfonso Cuarón made his mark on Mexican cinema with the lightning-quick Sólo con tu pareja. Don Juan–ish yuppie Tomás Tomás spends his nights juggling so many beautiful women that he can’t keep their names straight—until a spurned nurse gives him a taste of his own medicine.