The Criterion Collection is having a flash sale right now! All in-stock titles are 50% off until noon EST tomorrow with the use of the promo code INGRID in the checkout section. Obviously there are countless titles worth owning, but here are five that I recommend as essential to any collection.
1.) Seven Samurai
My favorite film of all time for many reasons and then some, it’s a perfect summation of the kind of films Criterion loves to distribute. An epic film with exciting action, heartbreaking drama, and a great deal of humanistic truth, it’s a must-own for any lover of samurai cinema, Akira Kurosawa, or film in general.
2.) Modern Times
The Criterion Collection is currently putting Charlie Chaplin’s films on Blu-ray, and this one is a perfect introduction to a genius of silent cinema. Blending hilarious slapstick comedy and a moving love story, it tells the tale of a man just trying to get by in an ever-changing industrial landscape. It also features the first time Chaplin ever spoke on screen, and it’s fitting that it would be a song in an entirely made-up language.
3.) The Thin Red Line
With legendary filmmaker Terrence Malick now are the forefront of an unusual burst of productivity, now’s the time to check out his triumphant return to cinema after a 20-year absence that followed Days of Heaven. Perhaps his greatest film, The Thin Red Line observes soldiers in the battle for the Guadalcanal during World War II as they live through the hell of war. More a film about the human species than any one person or characters, it is a tone poem of epic proportions, and Criterion’s Blu-ray might feature the best audio and video transfer I’ve ever seen.
4.) Dazed and Confused
This one might not seem to fit with the others, but it’s an essential title. Richard Linklater’s honest and humane portrait of a group of high school kids in Texas is warm, funny, and always on point. It would be worth owning for Matthew McConaughey’s star-making performance alone.
Considered by our friend David Ehrlich of Film.com to be the greatest film ever made, Abbas Kiarostami’s mind-bending look into the life of a man who impersonated a filmmaker is impossible to describe in anything other than vague impressions. Nonetheless, it represents a supreme achievement in cinema, asking us what exactly film means to people, and how art changes our perceptions of the world. If you’ve never seen it, now is the time. Dense yet accessible, it could be the best blind-buy you ever make.
This is just a sampling of a massive collection. What are your essential titles?