Buying a movie from the Criterion Collection is like getting a free semester at an elite film school.

Wait a minute. What’s that? You’ve never heard of the Criterion Collection?! Take a seat, boys and girls, and get ready to learn.

The Criterion Collection (Amazon affiliate link; this site receives a small portion of sales from Amazon links).is a video distribution company that has a long history of working with filmmakers and film scholars to ensure that a classic film looks the way the director would want when it’s released on disc.

The company, which has been involved in film distribution and remastering since the LaserDisc days, won’t issue a new release unless it’s been thoroughly vetted by some of cinema’s top authorities.

See top-selling Criterion Collection Blu-ray titles here.(Amazon affiliate link)

That’s not to say that your average, run-of-the-mill studio release is of poor quality. But the Criterion team spends more time and resources on quality control. It’s their trademark.

Plus, a Criterion Blu-ray release will include supplemental material that you can’t find anywhere else. For example, the Criterion Blu-ray disc of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, which will be released as a Criterion disc on November 24, features the following:

  • New 4K digital master, approved by Scorsese
  • Newly edited conversation among Scorsese and actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci
  • New documentary about the making of the film
  • New video essay by film critic Farran Smith Nehme
  • A program on the visual effects created for the film
  • Archival interviews with Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran and Jimmy Hoffa

As you can see, the Criterion release is for the true movie lover. Not only do you get to watch the movie in crystal-clear high-def, you get a chance to learn about its history, why it was made and what was done in the production process.

However, like that aforementioned elite film school, you have to pay for the privilege of learning. Criterion Blu-rays almost always cost more. For example, the Criterion Blu-ray of The Irishman can be pre-ordered today at Amazon for $29.49, which is $5-10 more than the average price for most new Blu-ray releases. That’s quite a difference. But if you’re really into movies — particularly that movie — it’s worth it.

By the way, the top three selling Criterion Blu-rays at Amazon today are: The Irishman, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca, and A Hard Day’s Night with the Beatles. You can see the top 100 selling Criterion Blu-rays here. (Amazon affiliate link)

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