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Gloriously cinematic despite being made on a tiny budget, Orson Welles’s Othello is a testament to the filmmaker’s stubborn willingness to pursue his vision to the ends of the earth.
With its parade of oddball characters, quotable, Oscar-nominated script, and eclectic soundtrack of vintage obscurities, Ghost World is one of the twenty-first century’s most fiercely beloved comedies.
Melding melodrama with screwball farce, this Academy Award–nominated black comedy was Pedro Almodóvar’s international breakthrough and secured his place at the vanguard of modern Spanish cinema.
Melodrama casts noirish shadows in this portrait of maternal sacrifice from Hollywood master Michael Curtiz, featuring an iconic performance by Joan Crawford.
The cornerstone of director Richard Linklater’s career‑long exploration of cinematic time, this celebrated three-part romance captures a relationship as it begins, begins again, deepens, and strains over the course of almost two decades.
An uncommonly naturalistic view of a seamy underworld, this gritty crime classic painstakingly depicts the calm professionalism and toughness of its gangster heroes while evincing a remarkable depth of compassion for their all-too-human fragility.
The tender and provocative Heart of a Dog continues Laurie Anderson’s five-decade career of imbuing the everyday with a sense of dreamlike wonder.
Delivering stylish thrills and a body count that defies belief, Lone Wolf and Cub is beloved for its brilliantly choreographed action sequences as well as its tender depiction of the bonds between a parent and a child.
Unfolding in a series of eight mythic vignettes, this late work by Akira Kurosawa was inspired by the beloved director’s own nighttime visions, along with stories from Japanese folklore.
This Cannes-award-winning romantic comedy channels the spirit of classic Hollywood and the whimsy of Jacques Tati into an idiosyncratic ode to the delirium of new romance.
Shot in Super 16 mm and featuring a quartet of nuanced, understated performances, this comic and poignant drama, peppered with autobiographical elements, deftly captures the heartache and confusion of a fracturing family.
This is a western like no other, combining the mythological scope of that most American of genres with the searing naturalism of a performance by Marlon Brando—all suffused with Freudian overtones and masculine anxiety.
Drawing inspiration from a rich variety of sources, from Alfred Hitchcock to Francisco de Goya, these gothic-infused stories collected here—populated by vampires, ghosts, and a fairy-tale princess—make evident why del Toro is considered the master cinematic fabulist of our time.
Allowing us to watch people age on film with documentary realism while gripping us in a fictional narrative of exquisite everydayness, Boyhood has a power that only the art of cinema could harness.
Epic in scale yet meticulously observed, Short Cuts interweaves the stories of twenty-two characters as they struggle to find solace and meaning in contemporary Los Angeles.
This masterwork by Krzysztof Kieślowski is one of the twentieth century’s greatest achievements in visual storytelling.
This captivating, long-overlooked adventure—which features Paul Henreid and a clever screenplay by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, best known for writing Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes—is a deftly concocted spy game that could give the Master of Suspense a run for his money.
Blending elements from pulp fiction and low-budget horror flicks, Blood Simple reinvented the film noir for a new generation, marking the arrival of a filmmaking ensemble that would transform the American independent cinema scene.
Transgressive and outrageous, this big-studio version of a debaucherous midnight movie is an addictively entertaining romp from one of cinema’s great outsider artists.
Cutthroat careerism, wild sex, and fierce female protagonists are all on offer in this adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s sensational and wildly popular novel.
With its fascinating flawed characters, evocative cinematography by the great Vilmos Zsigmond, innovative overlapping dialogue, and haunting use of Leonard Cohen songs, McCabe & Mrs. Miller brilliantly deglamorized and revitalized the most American of genres.
This singular vision of early seventeenth-century America from Terrence Malick is a work of astounding elemental beauty, a poetic meditation on nature, violence, love, and civilization.
A young woman in a small Kansas town survives a drag race accident, then agrees to take a job as a church organist in Salt Lake City. En route, she is haunted by a bizarre apparition that compels her toward an abandoned lakeside pavilion.
A sophisticated supernatural Hollywood comedy whose influence continues to be felt, Here Comes Mr. Jordan stars the eminently versatile Robert Montgomery as a working-class boxer and amateur aviator whose plane crashes in a freak accident.
This multilayered, immensely entertaining drama from the great contemporary French director Olivier Assayas is a singular look at the intersection of high art and popular culture.
A Hollywood studio executive with a shaky moral compass (Tim Robbins) finds himself caught up in a criminal situation that would be right at home in one of his movie projects, in this biting industry satire from Robert Altman.
When a gifted but washed-up screenwriter with a hair-trigger temper—Humphrey Bogart, in a revelatory, vulnerable performance—becomes the prime suspect in a brutal Tinseltown murder, the only person who can supply an alibi for him is a seductive neighbor (Gloria Grahame) with her own troubled past.
Experience four of the greatest films by the Master of Suspense in this deluxe box set from the Criterion Collection.
One of the most beloved American films of all time, The Graduate earned Mike Nichols a best director Oscar, brought the music of Simon & Garfunkel to a wider audience, and introduced the world to a young actor named Dustin Hoffman.
The rare film that takes aim at the frenzy of the McCarthy era while also being suffused with its Cold War paranoia, The Manchurian Candidate remains potent, shocking American moviemaking.
Electrified by crackling dialogue and visual craftsmanship of the great Howard Hawks, Only Angels Have Wings stars Jean Arthur as a traveling entertainer who gets more than she bargained for during a stopover in a South American port town.
An astounding array of talent came together for the big-screen adaptation of John Fowles’s novel The French Lieutenant’s Woman, a postmodern masterpiece that had been considered unfilmable.
This Technicolor spectacular, directed by Zoltán Korda, is considered the finest of the many adaptations of A. E. W. Mason’s classic 1902 adventure novel about the British empire’s exploits in Africa, and a crowning achievement of Alexander Korda’s legendary production company, London Films.
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.
This affectionate farce from François Truffaut about the joys and strife of moviemaking is one of his most beloved films.
When a suburban teacher and father (James Mason) is prescribed cortisone for a painful, possibly fatal affliction, he grows dangerously addicted to the experimental drug. This Eisenhower-era throat-grabber, shot in expressive CinemaScope, is an excoriating take on the nuclear family.
Winner of both the Academy Award for best foreign-language film and the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus (Orfeu negro) brings the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to the twentieth-century madness of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
Speedy is an out-of-control love letter to New York that will have you grinning from ear to ear.
Made up of intimate, revelatory footage of the singular author and poet filmed over the course of five years, Howard Brookner’s 1983 documentary about William S. Burroughs was for decades mainly the stuff of legend.
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.
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.
A work of meticulous journalism and gripping drama, it recounts the disturbing tale of Randall Dale Adams, a drifter who was charged with the murder of a Dallas police officer and sent to death row, despite evidence that he did not commit the crime.
With its relentless pace, expressive cinematography by the great Russell Metty, and punchy, clever script by Charles Lederer and Ben Hecht, this is an overlooked treasure from the heyday of 1940s film noir.
A masterpiece from Nicolas Roeg, Don’t Look Now, adapted from a story by Daphne du Maurier, is a brilliantly disturbing tale of the supernatural.
This multilayered comedy from Sydney Pollack follows the elaborate deception of a down-on-his-luck New York actor who poses as a woman to get a soap opera gig.
With a background in music hall and mime performance, Tati steadily built an ever-more-ambitious movie career that ultimately raised sight-gag comedy to the level of high art.
yourmrjones: “"I think the guy in the hat did something terrible..." is one of the great lines of modern cinema. Thanks Criterion!”
A trademark Cronenberg combination of the visceral and the cerebral, this phenomenally gruesome and provocative film about the expanses and limits of the human mind was the Canadian director’s breakout hit in the United States.
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.
A startling and courageous film, Peter Davis’s landmark 1974 documentary Hearts and Minds unflinchingly confronted the United States’ involvement in Vietnam at the height of the controversy that surrounded it.
A Hard Day’s Night, in which the bandmates play cheeky comic versions of themselves, captured the astonishing moment when they officially became the singular, irreverent idols of their generation and changed music forever.
yourmrjones: “The Scottish play is now Japanese! But has the curse been removed- or is it turning Japanese too?!?!”
The writer-director-star achieved new levels of grace, in both physical comedy and dramatic poignancy, with this silent tale of a lovable vagrant falling for a young blind woman who sells flowers on the street (a magical Virginia Cherrill) and mistakes him for a millionaire.
The most cherished work from French master Max Ophuls, The Earrings of Madame de . . . is a profoundly emotional, cinematographically adventurous tale of deceptive opulence and tragic romance.
yourmrjones: “Come for the seventies kitsch, stay for the great Fantastic Four analogies.”
Four years after Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard reimagined the gangster film even more radically with Band of Outsiders. In it, two restless young men (Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) enlist the object of both of their fancies (Anna Karina) to help them commit a robbery—in her own home.
Charlie Chaplin plays shockingly against type in his most controversial film, a brilliant and bleak black comedy about money, marriage, and murder.
Suffused with dread and paranoia, this Fritz Lang adaptation of a novel by Graham Greene is a plunge into the eerie shadows of a world turned upside down by war.