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46 voters

The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel

Updated September 9, 2020 1.2k votes 46 voters 1.6k views102 items

If you're interested in watching some great films, you've come to the right place, because we're going to recommend the best movies on Criterion Channel. The streaming service is an offshoot of the Criterion Collection, a brand that puts out high-end DVDs and Blu-rays of "important classic and contemporary films." In other words, Criterion is associated with first-rate quality. The company has become so popular that they created this new online channel to further make these motion pictures easily available to the public.

There are well over 1,500 titles available. So how do you choose the most essential Criterion movies to watch? We've selected them based on a variety of factors. Some of the titles on this list are beloved, certified classics, like Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai or Federico Fellini's 8 1/2. The beauty of Criterion, though, is that they recognize greatness in all genres. For that reason, you will also find examples in horror, comedy, documentary, and even animation. The final factor was buzz value. Several of the films included are edgy, challenging movies worth watching and discussing. Every effort was made to give this list a nice balance. 

As for the best Criterion movies, that will be up to you to decide. Vote up the ones you think are the most vital, regardless of genre or when they were released. 

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  • 1
    Seven Samurai
    22
    2

    Seven Samurai

    Akira Kurosawa

    ActorsToshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Eijirō Tōno, Seiji Miyaguchi, Daisuke Katō

    Released1954

    Seven Samurai is a 1954 Japanese Jidaigeki adventure film co-written, edited, and directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    Citizen Kane
    23
    7

    Citizen Kane

    Orson Welles

    ActorsOrson Welles, Alan Ladd, Agnes Moorehead, Joseph Cotten, Arthur O'Connell

    Released1941

    Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film produced by, co-written by, directed by and... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    The Third Man
    20
    5

    The Third Man

    Carol Reed

    ActorsOrson Welles, Trevor Howard, Joseph Cotten, Carol Reed, Alida Valli

    Released1949

    The Third Man is a 1949 British film noir, directed by Carol Reed and starring Joseph Cotten,... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    Grey Gardens
    20
    5

    Grey Gardens

    Albert Maysles, David Maysles

    Released1975

    Grey Gardens is a 1975 American documentary film by Albert and David Maysles. Ellen Hovde and... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Stranger Than Paradise
    22
    8

    ActorsRichard Edson, Rockets Redglare, Sara Driver, Tom DiCillo, Rammellzee

    Released1984

    Stranger Than Paradise is a 1984 American absurdist/deadpan comedy film. It was written and... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Battleship Potemkin
    18
    4

    Battleship Potemkin

    Sergei Eisenstein

    ActorsSergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov, Andrei Fajt, Beatrice Vitoldi

    Released1925

    Battleship Potemkin, sometimes rendered as Battleship Potyomkin, is a 1925 silent film... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    M
    19
    7

    M

    Fritz Lang

    ActorsPeter Lorre, Theo Lingen, Georg John, Theodor Loos, Gustaf Gründgens

    Released1931

    M is a 1931 German drama-thriller film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Peter Lorre. It was... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    All About My Mother
    19
    7

    All About My Mother

    Pedro Almodóvar

    ActorsPenélope Cruz, Fernando Fernan Gomez, Antonia San Juan, Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes

    Released1999

    All About My Mother is a 1999 Spanish comedy-drama film written and directed by Pedro... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Chungking Express
    16
    5

    Chungking Express

    Wong Kar-wai

    ActorsTony Leung Chiu Wai, Faye Wong, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Valerie Chow, Brigitte Lin

    Released1994

    Chungking Express is a 1994 Hong Kong drama film written and directed by Wong Kar-wai. The... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    City Lights
    16
    5

    City Lights

    Charlie Chaplin

    ActorsCharlie Chaplin, Jean Harlow, Virginia Cherrill, Hank Mann, Harry Myers

    Released1931

    City Lights is a 1931 American romantic comedy film written by, directed by, and starring... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    The 39 Steps
    14
    2

    The 39 Steps

    Alfred Hitchcock

    ActorsAlfred Hitchcock, Madeleine Carroll, Robert Donat, Peggy Ashcroft, John Laurie

    Released1935

    The 39 Steps is a 1935 British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Robert... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    The 400 Blows
    18
    9

    The 400 Blows

    François Truffaut

    ActorsJeanne Moreau, Jean Piere Leaud, Jean-Claude Brialy, Jacques Demy, Albert Rémy

    Released1959

    The 400 Blows is a 1959 French drama film, the debut by director François Truffaut; it stars... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Night of the Living Dead
    12
    2

    Night of the Living Dead

    George A. Romero

    ActorsGeorge A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman, Karl Hardman, Judith O'Dea

    Released1968

    Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American independent zombie horror film directed by George... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    A Hard Day's Night
    12
    2

    A Hard Day's Night

    Richard Lester

    ActorsPaul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Phil Collins, Ringo Starr

    Released1964

    A Hard Day's Night is a 1964 British black-and-white comedy film directed by Richard Lester... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Eraserhead
    15
    6

    Eraserhead

    David Lynch

    ActorsJack Nance, Jeanne Bates, Jack Fisk, Charlotte Stewart, Judith Anna Roberts

    Released1977

    Eraserhead is a 1977 American experimental body horror film directed by David Lynch. Henry... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Bicycle Thieves
    15
    7

    Bicycle Thieves

    Vittorio De Sica

    ActorsEnzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Lamberto Maggiorani, Fausto Guerzoni, Gino Saltamerenda

    Released1948

    Bicycle Thieves, is a 1948 film directed by Vittorio De Sica. The film follows the story of a... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    The Manchurian Candidate
    9
    0

    The Manchurian Candidate

    John Frankenheimer

    ActorsFrank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh, Laurence Harvey, Henry Silva

    Released1962

    The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American Cold War suspense thriller directed by John... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    The Seventh Seal
    14
    5

    The Seventh Seal

    Ingmar Bergman

    ActorsMax von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Nils Poppe, Erik Strandmark

    Released1957

    The Seventh Seal is a 1957 Swedish drama-fantasy film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman.... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Modern Times
    16
    9

    Modern Times

    Charlie Chaplin

    ActorsCharlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Edward LeSaint, Chester Conklin, Richard Alexander

    Released1936

    Modern Times is a 1936 comedy film written and directed by Charlie Chaplin in which his iconic... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Amarcord
    12
    4

    Amarcord

    Federico Fellini

    ActorsCiccio Ingrassia, Magali Noël, Pupella Maggio, Maria Antonietta Beluzzi, Gianfilippo Carcano

    Released1973

    Amarcord is a 1973 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Federico Fellini, a... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    In the Mood for Love
    10
    1

    ActorsMaggie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Roy Cheung, Alien Sun, Rebecca Pan

    Released2000

    In the Mood for Love is a 2000 Hong Kong film directed by Wong Kar-wai, starring Maggie Cheung... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Down by Law
    9
    1

    Down by Law

    Jim Jarmusch

    ActorsTom Waits, Ellen Barkin, Roberto Benigni, Rockets Redglare, John Lurie

    Released1986

    Down by Law is a 1986 black-and-white independent film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch.... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Big Deal on Madonna Street
    12
    5

    ActorsClaudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni, Vittorio Gassman, Totò, Renato Salvatori

    Released1958

    Big Deal on Madonna Street is a 1958 Italian criminal-comedy film, directed by Mario... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Hoop Dreams
    13
    7

    Hoop Dreams

    Steve James

    Released1994

    Hoop Dreams is a 1994 American documentary film directed by Steve James and written by James... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Belle de Jour
    12
    5

    Belle de Jour

    Luis Buñuel

    ActorsCatherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, Michel Piccoli

    Belle de Jour is a 1967 French drama film directed by Luis Buñuel. A frigid young housewife... more on Wikipedia