It is pretty rare for a film company to make its entire catalog of films available to rent for free, but it’s downright exciting when that company is the Criterion Collection. Criterion has been archiving, restoring and reissuing some of the greatest films ever made for almost 30 years and have put out some of the best-looking Blu-ray discs available since the format was launched.
Criterion has also exposed film lovers to hundreds of films and directors who were relatively unknown outside of their respective countries – aside from some of the bigger names like Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Godard, Bergman, and Chaplin. Those of us who are old enough to remember used to wait each month with baited breath for each new release on laser disc.
Hulu has been offering part of the Criterion Collection for free to Hulu Plus subscribers for a while now, but this is the first time the entire collection of over 900 films will be available to subscribers. Not a subscriber? You can still take advantage via Hulu’s 7-day free trial and watch until your eyeballs fall out, assuming you haven’t burned through the trial already.
Blu-ray was a great development for Criterion Collection and it has been reissuing films at a great clip since 2008. The prices might seem high, but some of the older classics have never looked better, and very few of the 219 currently available (new films are released each month) are not worth owning. Criterion is focused on world cinema, but it also release more contemporary American films if the licensing works out (read if they can make money from it) and the diversity of the films guarantees something for everyone. There are more than 900 films in its collection.
Criterion also packs its reissues with bonus content that has been restored or shot specifically for its special releases.
Some of the more recent films on Blu-ray have included Quadrophenia, Brazil, Fish Tank, and even Eating Raoul. Fans of Michael Fassbender should check out Fish Tank as it’s one of his best roles.