What is the Criterion Collection?

The Criterion Collection is a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films on home video. Our editions often include restored film transfers along with commentary tracks and other kinds of supplemental features, which we pioneered with the release of our first laserdiscs, Citizen Kane and King Kong, in 1984. Ever since, Criterion has been working closely with filmmakers and scholars to ensure that each film is presented as its maker would want it seen and published in an edition that will deepen the viewer’s understanding and appreciation of the art of cinema.

How do you decide which films receive the “Criterion treatment”?

We aim to reflect the breadth of filmed expression. We try not to be restrictive or snobby about what kinds of films are appropriate. An auteur classic, a Hollywood blockbuster, and an independent B horror film all have to be taken on their own terms. All we ask is that each film in the collection be an exemplary film of its kind. Of course, we can’t just pick movies and put them out. The process of getting the rights to release a film can take years. Even if we want a film, we can’t work on it unless the film’s owners grant us the rights to do so.

How do you decide which special features to include? And who contributes to them?

Each film release has a producer who oversees the entire process, from restoration to supplemental features to packaging. The producer researches available materials, conceives original supplements, and decides what features will truly add value to the appreciation of the film. We are fortunate enough to work with many great film directors, cinematographers, actors, scholars, and critics. We do not let market factors or an arbitrary number of supplements determine our inclusion decisions but make them on a case-by-case basis, with the aim of enhancing the viewer’s experience of a particular film.

Are all your releases presented in their original theatrical aspect ratio?

Every Criterion release features a section dedicated to technical information about how the film was prepared for home video. Here you will find its aspect ratio, along with information about the picture and sound elements from which it was transferred. We endeavor to present every film in its original aspect ratio (i.e., the image’s ratio of height to width), unless the filmmaker expressly requests a slightly different framing. What that means is that the Criterion brand is your guarantee that you’re getting the complete picture as the filmmaker intended it to be seen.

Do all of your DVD/Blu-ray releases include English-language subtitles? Do any of them include subtitles in other languages? Do any of them include Closed Captions or SDH (subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing)?

All features and supplements in languages other than English include optional English subtitles. With a few exceptions English-language features include optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH).

English subtitles and English SDH can be turned on/off while viewing the film by pressing the “subtitle” button on your player’s remote. If your remote does not have a “subtitle” button, subtitles and SDH are accessible in other ways—there may be a button for “audio,” “display,” or “subs,” or a menu option.

*These English-language features do not include English SDH:
By Brakhage
Fishing with John
Gimme Shelter
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (the Japanese is subtitled but the English is not)
Monterey Pop

What are the upcoming titles? How can I suggest a title?

We announce all our upcoming titles on our website as soon as we can make them public. Also, we announce upcoming titles in our newsletter, which we also encourage you to sign up for to get special offers and contest giveaways. Click here to visit our sign-up page for more information. If you would like to suggest a title, please write to suggestions@criterion.com. Though we are not able to personally reply to all suggestions, our acquisitions staff reads all of them and appreciates hearing from you.

What is the relationship between the Criterion Collection and Janus Films?

The companies have similar missions but focus on different markets. Criterion publishes DVDs and Blu-rays and spends most of its energy on the home video market. Janus handles theatrical and nontheatrical showings, as well as television and cable licenses. To learn more about Janus Films, please visit: janusfilms.com.

DVDs & Blu-rays

What is the difference between the Criterion Collection and Eclipse lines?

The Criterion Collection is dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in DVD and Blu-ray editions of the highest technical quality, with supplemental features that enhance the appreciation of the art of film. Eclipse is a selection of lost, forgotten, or overshadowed classics in simple, affordable DVD editions. Each Eclipse series is a brief cinematheque retrospective for the adventurous home viewer. Essential Art House is exactly that: movie-only DVD editions of the films you need to know, presented in beautiful digital transfers and accompanied by helpful liner notes. For the devoted cinephile, these are must-own fundamentals; for the novice film lover, this is precisely where to begin.

How many films are included in an Eclipse series? Are the films in Eclipse series available separately?

Every Eclipse series includes two or more films, and they are not sold separately.

Do you sell your DVDs and Blu-rays outside the United States? In which regions do they play?

Our discs are encoded Region 1 for DVD and Region A* for Blu-ray as our rights are limited to the United States and Canada. We are unable to sell outside these territories on criterion.com.

We publish select Region B Blu-ray releases for the UK market that can be purchased at amazon.co.uk, zoom.co.uk, and other vendors.

A complete list of Criterion Region B Blu-ray releases can be found here: UK Releases

*There are a select number of Blu-ray releases that are encoded for other regions:
Come and See - regions A/B
The Complete Films of Agnès Varda - regions A/B/C
Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema - regions A/B/C
The Irishman - regions A/B/C
Marriage Story - regions A/B/C
Roma (2018) - regions A/B/C
War and Peace - regions A/B

Will you rerelease your laserdisc collection, or any titles that have gone out of print, on DVD or Blu-ray?

We would love to be able to rerelease all our laserdisc titles; however, it isn’t always possible due to rights issues. We are continuously working on acquiring rights to films we want to include in the collection, and working to renew rights for films we previously released on laserdisc or as a DVD or Blu-ray edition that has gone out of print is part of that process. Whether we can acquire those rights again, however, depends a lot on the rights holder, and each film is a different case.

Whom do I contact if I have a problem with my packaging or a technical issue with my DVD or Blu-ray?

Please send an e-mail to Jon Mulvaney at mulvaney@criterion.com. We are happy to replace any defective DVDs or Blu-rays you have. And we appreciate hearing about any technical issues with our titles, as we care a lot about the quality of our products.

Why do Criterion releases often cost more than others?

Our prices reflect all the resources we put into making each release a special one. Each has a producer, who finds the best existing supplemental features to help further the appreciation of the film and often creates original content as well. Our technical staff ensures that we are working with the best original source materials and digital masters by performing rigorous visual and audio restoration processes.

How can I tell if a Criterion release is a bootleg copy?

For the reasons stated above, it costs a lot of money for us to make a good DVD or Blu-ray edition. We know Criterion discs are not inexpensive, but we feel they are a good value. If you can buy a Criterion disc at a price you think is absurdly low, it’s probably not a legitimate one. Good things to look for are our copyright and whether the specs for the DVD or Blu-ray’s audio, video, and features match those that appear on our website’s page for the film. Although these steps cannot definitively determine a disc’s authenticity, you can feel more secure if this information is consistent.

Do you have a loyalty program for people who buy directly from your website?

We appreciate the loyalty of our customers, and we do offer a loyalty points program. Here’s how it works: Every dollar you spend at the Criterion Store earns you a point. For every 500 points you earn, we will send you a $50 gift certificate. To take advantage of this, you must register for a customer account at checkout with a valid e-mail address, so we can keep track of your total and credit your account. Shipping fees, sales tax, and gift certificates do not count toward the loyalty program.

Whom do I contact if I want to sell your titles in my store or license your films for television, nontheatrical screenings, or clips usage?

Please send all sales inquiries to Jon Mulvaney at mulvaney@criterion.com. For other contact questions, please see our Contact Us page.

I’m seeing references to 4K on your website. Do I need a 4K player to play your films?
We do not currently release 4K Ultra HD discs. Select Criterion Blu-ray and DVD releases may feature either 2K or 4K digital transfers or restorations, and those discs are presented in a 1080 HD (Blu-ray) or 720 (DVD) resolution. Our Blu-ray and DVD releases will play on any standard Blu-ray player with the corresponding region code. They do not require a 4K player. Please note that Blu-ray discs will not play on a DVD player.