Criterion Movies that Made Me Love Film

by CalvinJohn

Created 08/29/12

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Five years ago, I almost exclusively only watched relatively modern, English language movies. Today, I find myself devouring film from all over the world, and from all of the last century. These are the top 10 Criterion Collection films I own that genuinely expanded my understanding of what movies could do.

  • Besides being one of the most gorgeous movies I've ever seen and a Valentine's Day staple for me, In the Mood for Long is the film that got me into both Hong Kong cinema and the Criterion Collection.

  • I've never seen a movie that invites me to lose myself quite so much as The Battle of Algiers. At times, particularly in the final scenes, it becomes worryingly easy to forget that I'm not watching a documentary.

  • Perhaps the best movie I've seen about how the responsibilities and social strictures of adulthood can bring tragedy to romance. Beautiful.

  • I can't believe how long it took for Army of Shadows to reach America, but it was unquestionably worth the wait.

  • It has great performances, quick, witty dialogue and a story that's still relevant today. It also happens to be one of the most rewatchable movies in my collection.

  • This might just be the most intense film I've ever experienced.

  • Before this, I had only seen a single silent film, and I hadn't really cared for it. I thought silent films couldn't match the wit or sophistication of modern movies. Modern Times showed me how wrong I was with one of the funniest movies I've seen in years.

  • Cronenberg's Videodrome is more than just a strangely prescient little horror film - it's horror for people who believe that movies have power.

  • That Branded to Kill only sometimes makes sense hardly matters - it has a gonzo energy to its action storytelling that I've never seen matched, let alone surpassed.

  • Like Citizen Kane, I avoided The Seventh Seal for years based on its fairly intimidating reputation. When I finally saw it, I was shocked by its warmth and humanity. I became a Bergman fan for life.

  • The Seventh Seal was my first Bergman, but Fanny and Alexander feels like it takes everything I like about Bergman's films and crams it all into one messy, wonderful television program.

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