The Criterion Collection is a curated series of films released on Blu-ray and DVD (formerly on LaserDisc). You can think of it as a list of movies you’d probably watch in film school.
Criterion says, “All we ask is that each film in the collection be an exemplary film of its kind.” Serious film lovers appreciate that Criterion movie releases are lovingly restored and have extra features, but what if you just want to stream the films, restored or not?
We’ve compiled a list of sixty of the best films from the Criterion Collection available on streaming services other than the Criterion Channel, the online subscription service Criterion launched in 2019. Because who needs yet another streaming service! You can find many Criterion films on services you might already subscribe to or can get for free.
- The Most Dangerous Game (Ernest B. Schoedsack and Irving Pichel, 1932). Predecessor of movies like Battle Royale, Hunger Games, and The Maze Runner. HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, Pluto TV
- Police Story (Jackie Chan, 1985). Don’t miss the fight scene in the shopping mall. HBO Max.
- Godzilla (Ishirō Honda, 1954). The original. HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video with Shout! Factory TV
- Hard Boiled (John Woo, 1992). Hong Kong gangsters and slo-mo shots of birds. YouTube.
- This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984). Rockumentary mockumentary. HBO Max.
- Chasing Amy (Kevin Smith, 1997). Jay and Silent Bob. HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video
- Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze, 1999). Portal into John Malkovich’s body. Peacock
- Moonstruck (Norman Jewison, 1987). Cher tells Nicolas Cage to “Snap out of it!” Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Tubi, Pluto TV
- Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993). Last day of school for teenagers in Texas in 1976. A breakout role for Matthew McConaughey. Peacock
- Monty Python’s Life of Brian (Terry Jones, 1979). Always look on the bright side of life! Netflix
- Bottle Rocket (Wes Anderson, 1996). Anderson’s first feature film. Amazon Prime Video.
- Rushmore (Wes Anderson, 1998). Featuring Bill Murray who has been in every movie Anderson has made since. Cinemax Go
- The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner, 1987). “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Hulu, Disney+
Crime, Mystery & Thrillers
- The Harder They Come (Perry Henzell, 1972). Jimmy Cliff stars. Excellent reggae soundtrack. Hulu with Showtime
- The Irishman (Martin Scorcese, 2019). De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci. Netflix
- Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975). Schoolgirls go missing on a field trip. HBO Max
- Charade (Stanley Donen, 1963). Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant in a movie you’ll think Hitchcock made, but he didn’t. Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, Pluto TV, Vudu
- For All Mankind, (Al Reinert, 1989). Made from original footage of NASA moon missions with the soundtrack from Brian Eno. HBO Max
- Gimme Shelter, (Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, 1970). Famous disaster at a Rolling Stones concert. HBO Max
- Buena Vista Social Club (Wim Wenders, 1999). Cuban music. HBO Max
- Hoop Dreams (Steve James, 1994). High school basketball players in Chicago. HBO Max, Showtime, Showtime Anytime
- Harlan County, USA (Barbara Kopple, 1976). Coal miners vs. the power company. HBO Max
- Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty, 1922). How to make an igloo. HBO Max
- Minding the Gap (Bing Liu, 2018). Skateboarders in Rockford, Illinois. Hulu
- Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989). It’s hot in Brooklyn and tensions are flaring. Hulu with Starz, Amazon Prime Video with Starz
- Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019). Adam Driver stars in and has never watched this movie. Netflix
- Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola, 1999). Teen sisters unravel. Hulu, Paramount+
- A Room with a View (James Ivory, 1985). Travel romance based on the novel by E. M. Forster. HBO Max
- Lord of the Flies (Peter Brook, 1963). Marooned boys will be boys. HBO Max
- Jules and Jim ( François Truffaut, 1962). French love triangle. Oo la la. HBO Max
- Metropolitan (Whit Stillman, 1990). Manhattan socialites get to know middle class Tom Townsend. HBO Max
- Au Revoir, Les Enfants (Louis Malle, 1987). French boarding school provides asylum to a Jewish boy in 1943. HBO Max
- Night on Earth (Jim Jarmusch, 1991). Taxi drivers and their passengers on one night in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome, and Helsinki. Soundtrack by Tom Waits. HBO Max
- Autumn Sonata (Ingmar Bergman, 1978). Mother and daughter rehash their relationship. Dad wisely stays out of it. HBO Max
- The 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959). Troubled Parisian boy is troubled. HBO Max
- Great Expectations (David Lean, 1946). Of the countless adaptations of the book by Charles Dickens, this one is top-notch. HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Tubi
- Taste of Cherry (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997). Not much happens in this minimalist film, but it’s strangely compelling. HBO Max
- Black Orpheus (Marcel Camus, 1959). A retelling of the Greek myth and set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval. HBO Max
- Downhill Racer (Michael Ritchie, 1969). Sports film about skiing. Watch for Sly Stallone’s first film appearance as an extra. Crackle
- Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau, 1946). Definitely not the Disney version. HBO Max
- Time Bandits (Terry Gilliam, 1981). Little Kevin travels through time and meets historical figures. HBO Max
- The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman, 1957). Medieval knight plays chess with Death. HBO Max
- The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel, 1972). Surreal dreams-within-dreams. Amazon Prime Video
- Diabolique (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955). Strange things happen after the murder. HBO Max
- Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey, 1962). Roger Ebert said this film is like a “lost episode of The Twilight Zone.” HBO Max, Tubi, Pluto TV, Vudu
- Funny Games (Michael Haneke, 1997). It’s an idyllic lakeside vacation home. What could go wrong? HBO Max
- Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954). Samurai vs. bandits. Kurosawa’s finest film. HBO Max
- Yojimbo (Akria Kursawa, 1961). Crime lords try to recruit the ronin. HBO Max
- Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (Hiroshi Inagaki, 1954). Fugitive and his friend. HBO Max
- Kill! (Kihachi Okamoto, 1968). Former samurai turned yakuza gang member. HBO Max
- Robocop (Paul Verhoeven, 1987). Police robots in Detroit. Showtime
- The Blob (Irvin Yeaworth, 1958). Steve McQueen pokes a meteorite and wishes he hadn’t. HBO Max
- Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972). Scientists on a space station aren’t feeling so hot. Amazon Prime Video with Filmbox Live
- First Man Into Space (Robert Day, 1959). Astronaut’s rocket brings something bad back to Earth. HBO Max, Tubi, Pluto TV
- Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg,1988). You do not want to be a patient at this clinic. Amazon Prime Video
- The 39 Steps (Alfred Hitchcock, 1935). Espionage in London. HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video
- House of Games (David Mamet, 1987). Shrink gets way too involved in her patient’s problems. Tubi
- The Parallax View (Alan J. Pakula, 1974). A political thriller about the assassination of a presidential candidate. Amazon Prime Video, Pluto TV
- M (Fritz Lang, 1931). The hunt is on for the child murderer. HBO Max
- The Lady Vanishes (Alfred Hitchcock, 1938). An old lady disappears from a train. But was she ever there to begin with? HBO Max
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