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In Louis Malle’s captivating and philosophical My Dinner with André, actor and playwright Wallace Shawn sits down with friend and theater director André Gregory at an Upper West Side restaurant, and the two proceed into a confessional on love, death, money, and all the superstition in between.
A girl on the verge of womanhood finds herself in a sensual fantasyland of vampires, witchcraft, and other threats in this eerie and mystical movie daydream.
Twenty years after their brilliant cinema-theater experiment Vanya on 42nd Street, Wallace Shawn and André Gregory reunited to produce another idiosyncratic big-screen version of a classic play, this time Henrik Ibsen’s Bygmester Solness.
The Narrator Returns: “If you don't cry during this movie, then you have no fucking soul.”
The Narrator Returns: “I wasn't interested in it before, but lordy, those are a lot of great 70s cinematographers working on one movie.”
In one of the best performances of his legendary career, Robert Mitchum plays small-time gunrunner Eddie “Fingers” Coyle in an adaptation by Peter Yates of George V. Higgins’s acclaimed novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle.
Based on the novel by Rumer Godden, the film eloquently contrasts the growing pains of three young women with the immutability of the Bengal river around which their daily lives unfold.
Taking place largely over the course of one tense night, Carol Reed’s psychological noir, set in an unnamed Belfast, stars James Mason as a revolutionary ex-con leading a robbery that goes horribly wrong.
Jean-Pierre Melville began his superb feature filmmaking career with this powerful adaptation of an influential underground novel written during the Nazi occupation of France.
This comic masterpiece by Preston Sturges is among the finest Hollywood satires and a high-water mark in the career of one of the industry’s most revered funnymen.
With his trademark mixture of empathy and scrutiny, Errol Morris has changed the face of documentary filmmaking in the United States, and his career began with two remarkable tales of American eccentricity.
An intensely felt film that is one of Bergman’s most striking formal experiments, Cries and Whispers (which won an Oscar for the extraordinary color photography of Sven Nykvist) is a powerful depiction of human behavior in the face of death.
This landmark film, which documents the journeys of two remarkable families, continues to educate and inspire viewers, and it is widely considered one of the great works of American nonfiction cinema.
This bittersweet film from Jean Renoir, based on a story by Guy de Maupassant, is a tenderly comic idyll about a city family’s picnic in the French countryside and the romancing of the mother and grown daughter by two local men.
Tatsuya Nakadai and Toshiro Mifune star in the story of a wandering samurai who exists in a maelstrom of violence. A gifted swordsman plying his craft during the turbulent final days of shogunate rule in Japan, Ryunosuke (Nakadai) kills without remorse or mercy.
With a radical take on narrative, disturbing yet beautiful cinematography, and a highly sophisticated use of on- and offscreen sound, Martel turns her tale of a decaying bourgeois family, whiling away the hours of one sweaty, sticky summer, into a cinematic marvel.
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.
Seemingly off-the-cuff yet poetically constructed, these films are humane, sometimes wry, always engaging tributes to music, food, and all sorts of regionally specific delights.
In the late eighties, Aki Kaurismäki, a master of the deadpan, fashioned a waggish fish-out-of-water tale about a U.S. tour by “the worst rock-and-roll band in the world.”
Makavejev’s films about political and sexual liberation were revolutionary, raucous, and ribald. Across these first three films, he investigates love, death, and work; the legacy of war and the absurdity of daily life in a Communist state; criminology and hypnosis; strudels and strongmen.
A true artist who had deftly used the Soviet film industry to make statements both personal and universal, Shepitko remains one of the greatest unsung filmmakers of all time.
These elegant, bawdy films, made before strict enforcement of the Hays morality code, feature some of the greatest stars of early Hollywood, as well as that elusive style of comedy that would thereafter be known as “the Lubitsch touch.”
These three independent films showed off Samuel Fuller’s genre diversity, gutter wit, and subversive force, and pointed the way to a controversial career in studio moviemaking.
Over the past four decades, Belgian director Chantal Akerman has created one of cinema’s most distinctive bodies of work—formally daring, often autobiographical films about people and places, time and space.
From the very beginning of his incandescent career, the New German Cinema enfant terrible Rainer Werner Fassbinder refused to play by the rules.
Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun, Lola, and Veronika Voss—the BRD (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) Trilogy—would garner him the international acclaim he had always yearned for and place his name foremost in the canon of New German Cinema.
Years before Akira Kurosawa changed the face of cinema with such iconic works as Rashomon, Seven Samurai, and Yojimbo, he made his start in the Japanese film industry with four popular and exceptional works, created as World War II raged.
Amid Japan’s economic collapse and U.S. occupation, Kurosawa managed to find humor and redemption existing alongside despair and anxiety in this series of pensive, topical dramas.
Immediately suppressed by the Soviets in 1966, Andrei Tarkovsky’s epic masterpiece is a sweeping medieval tale of Russia’s greatest icon painter.
A mysterious writer of poison-pen letters plagues a French provincial town, unwittingly exposing the collective suspicion and rancor seething beneath the community’s calm surface.
One of the first French films to address the issue of collaboration during the German occupation, Louis Malle’s brave and controversial Lacombe, Lucien traces a young peasant’s journey from potential Resistance member to Gestapo recruit.
A timeless evocation of childhood innocence corrupted, René Clément’s mythical and heartbreakingly real Forbidden Games tells the story of a young girl orphaned by war and the farm boy she joins in a fantastical world of macabre play.
With its lewd abandon and sketch-comedy perversity, Makavejev’s cult staple Sweet Movie is a full-throated shriek in the face of bourgeois complacency and movie watching.
In Seijun Suzuki’s tragic love story, Harumi, volunteering as a “comfort woman” on the Manchurian front, where she is expected to service hundreds of soldiers, is commandeered by the brutal Lieutenant Narita but falls for the sensitive Mikami, Narita’s direct subordinate.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s controversial, fifteen-hour-plus epic follows the hulking, childlike ex-convict Franz Biberkopf (Günter Lamprecht) as he attempts to “become an honest soul” amid the corrosive urban landscape of Weimar-era Germany.
Richard E. Grant is the endlessly suave Dennis Bagley, a high-strung advertising executive whose shoulder sprouts an evil, talking boil. This caustic satire reunites the talented team behind the cult classic Withnail and I to create a tour de force of verbal jousting and physical comedy.
Reggae superstar Jimmy Cliff is Ivan, a rural Jamaican musician who journeys to the city of Kingston in search of fame and fortune in The Harder They Come, which brought the catchy and subversive rhythms of the Rastas to the U.S. in the early 1970s.
The Narrator Returns: “A masterpiece of modern cinema. The scene in which the child asks if Schwarzenegger has a tumor will stay with me forever.”
Shotgun weddings, kidnapping, attempted murder, emergency dental work—the things Don Vincenzo will do to restore his family’s honor! Pietro Germi’s Seduced and Abandoned was the follow-up to his sensation Divorce Italian Style, and in many ways it’s even more audacious.
Maverick filmmaker Paul Morrissey’s Flesh for Frankenstein reevaluates the horror film, infusing it with satiric wit and sexuality. Morrissey’s tale of the mad Baron Frankenstein and his perverse creative urges was heavily edited upon initial release; this is the restored director’s cut.
In Paul Morrissey’s brash mixture of humor, horror, and sex, Blood for Dracula, the infamous count searches Italy for virgin blood.
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.
In his three fiction features—Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, Mr. Freedom, and The Model Couple—William Klein skewers the fashion industry, American empire, and governmental mind control with hilarious, cutting aplomb.
The Man Who Fell to Earth is a daring exploration of science fiction as an art form. The story of an alien on an elaborate rescue mission provides the launching pad for Nicolas Roeg’s visual tour de force, a formally adventurous examination of alienation in contemporary life.
In a revelatory film debut, the dynamic, fresh-faced Sandrine Bonnaire plays Suzanne, a fifteen-year-old Parisian who embarks on a sexual rampage in an effort to separate herself from her overbearing, beloved father. À nos amours is one of Maurice Pialat’s greatest achievements.
These three groundbreaking films helped usher in the Polish School movement and have often been regarded as a trilogy. But each boldly stands on its own—a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the struggle for personal and national freedom.
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.
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.
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.
Louis Malle’s critically acclaimed Murmur of the Heart gracefully combines elements of comedy, drama, and autobiography in a candid portrait of a precocious adolescent boy’s sexual maturation. Both shocking and deeply poignant, this is one of the finest coming-of-age films ever made.
A Nazi U-boat crew, headed by the ruthless Eric Portman, is stranded in Canada during the thick of World War II in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s quick-witted wartime thriller, 49th Parallel.
In Bernardo Bertolucci’s stunning debut, the brutalized corpse of a Roman prostitute is found along the banks of the Tiber River. The police round up a handful of possible suspects and interrogate them, one by one, each account bringing them closer to the killer.
Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, Nights of Cabiria is the tragic story of a naive prostitute searching for true love in the seediest sections of Rome.
In Pietro Germi’s hilarious and cutting satire of Sicilian male-chauvinist culture, Baron Ferdinando Cefalù (Marcello Mastroianni) longs to marry his nubile young cousin Angela (Stefania Sandrelli), but one obstacle stands in his way: his fatuous and fawning wife, Rosalia (Daniela Rocca).
At an Austrian boys’ boarding school in the early 1900s, shy, intelligent Törless observes the sadistic behavior of his fellow students, doing nothing to help a victimized classmate—until the torture goes too far. Young Törless is adapted from Robert Musil’s acclaimed novel.
The Narrator Returns: “StudioCanal had to take the best titles, didn't they?”
Tom Courtenay is Billy Fisher, the underachieving undertaker’s assistant whose constant daydreams and truth-deficient stories earn him the nickname “Billy Liar.” Deftly veering from gritty realism to flamboyant fantasy, Billy Liar is a dazzling and uproarious classic.
An inspired rendering of Jim Thompson’s pulp novel Pop. 1280, Bertrand Tavernier’s Coup de torchon (Clean Slate) deftly transplants the story of an inept police chief turned heartless killer and his scrappy mistress from the American South to French West Africa.
In Luis Buñuel’s deliciously satiric Oscar winner, an upper-class sextet sits down to dinner but never eats, their attempts continually thwarted by a vaudevillian mixture of events both actual and imagined.
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.