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Home > Five Films You Should Check Out On Criterion Channel Before They Leave

Five Films You Should Check Out On Criterion Channel Before They Leave

Check Out These Classics Before They Leave At The End Of This Month

The Criterion Channel has graced us with some truly great films. Most of these are from their own library but they also give us ones that aren’t in it and that’s refreshing to see. It’s always exciting to see what will get added when it becomes a new month. You often get access to films that you can’t watch on any other platform. Some are only available as physical media and often you’ll need a region free Blu-ray to watch them. That said, it’s nice that Criterion gives you a more accessible way to watch films from various parts of the world. 

Though at the same time, with each new month, you will also see what films will be leaving the channel. This can be both good and bad as you’ll know exactly what will be leaving, which not a lot of streaming services do, but at the end of the day, they’ll be gone for a while. You may not have had time to watch one that you just found out is leaving. This list should help with any last minute watches you want to get to. Here are five from the list of films that will be leaving the Criterion Channel this month that are absolutely worth your time.

Metropolis (1927) Directed by Fritz Lang

The quintessential German Expressionist film. This film has been influential for so many films, especially ones in the science fiction genre as it was one of the first. But nothing about it feels primitive even for a film that is nearing its 100th anniversary. The special effects are still very impressive and really make you question how they could be possible at that time. The film itself is also quite fascinating, taking place in a city where the rich live high above ground and the people running the city work underground doing hard labor to keep it afloat. A woman named Maria helps bring the children of the workers to the surface so they can see how the rich people live. But she gets captured and her face is put on a robot so it can control the workers since they see her as a revolutionary. It takes many twists and turns and is a film that should be watched by anyone who wants to work in the film industry.


Trouble in Paradise (1932) Directed by Ernst Lubitsch

Ernst Lubitsch’s, Trouble in Paradise, is a textbook example of what films were like before the Hays Code was put in place. On top of that, it is also a fantastic film and one a younger audience can latch onto because it feels quite modern despite being over 90 years old. The main characters of the film make their living by robbing people and because of this, they have become very wealthy. Without this, they would be extremely poor and they are painted in a sympathetic light because of it. This would be unheard of in films that came out after it for years to come. In today’s climate, this type of plot would not be too unusual. The film also features sex which was also something that you couldn’t really show in Hays code films and is not presented in a way that is meant to be shocking, but more comedic that comes across more naturally than how many films were portraying it at the time.


Written on the Wind (1956) Directed by Douglas Sirk

Douglas Sirk’s, Written on the Wind, is one of the many great melodramas he directed during the 1950s. It has a very intriguing opening with heavy winds blowing against this huge house causing leaves to come in and suddenly gunshot can be heard. A man walks out with the gun and falls to his death and a woman upstairs also collapses but we don’t know for sure if it’s also to her death. The strong winds blow through a window of the house causing a desk calendar to flip back several months before this incident happened revealing that it was a flash-forward scene. The majority of the film leaves us wondering what leads to this much like Sunset Boulevard. The film centers around four characters who all have a very complicated relationship with one another. The son of a Texas oil baron, Kyle Hadley, is in love with a secretary, Lucy Moore, who works for their company in Manhattan. She initially took an interest in geologist, Mitch Wayne, who also works for the company and is a childhood friend of Kyle. Kyle’s sister, Marylee, has been in love with Mitch since she was a child but he doesn’t feel comfortable with them being together due to their long history. It is an emotional roller coaster drenched in love, alcoholism, and betrayal.


Days of Heaven (1978) Directed by Terrence Malick

The last film Terrence Malick directed before he went on a 20-year hiatus. He had only made two films at this point which were Badlands and this film, and they are both considered some of the greatest American films ever made. If Malick had only made these two films, he would still be considered one of the greatest filmmakers. As for Days of Heaven itself, set in 1916, two lovers, Bill and Abbey, and Abby’s sister, Linda, travel to the Texas Panhandle to harvest crops for a rich farmer. The two lovers pretend to be siblings to avoid spreading gossip amongst the other workers. But this causes the rich farmer to fall in love with Abbey. Bill suggests that Abbey marries the farmer because he has an illness and only has one year to live. Once he dies they could collect his inheritance and be rich. So they both move in with him still acting as siblings but also can’t hide that they are lovers which of course creates friction in this love triangle. This along with Néstor Almendros’s cinematography, Ennio Morricone’s wonderful score, and Linda Manz’s completely improvised narration make for a film that is an absolute must-watch.

Heaven’s Gate (1980) Directed by Michael Cimino

Michael Cimino’s, Heaven’s Gate, was poorly received and a commercial failure when it was released back in 1980 but has gained critical acclaim over the years. This was mainly because of the initial cut which was not the definitive one. Fortunately, that isn’t a problem anymore as Criterion has released the 216-minute cut approved by Cimino himself. As for the film, it is a great Western epic that takes place during the 1890s about a war between wealthy cattle owners and immigrants living in poverty. The immigrants steal the cattle which is what causes this war to happen. The sheriff of the county, James Averill is not for this and happens to be part of a love triangle with one of the immigrants, Ella Watson, and Nate Champion, who is tasked with killing the immigrants that steal. It is a wonderful film that covers so much and takes the viewer to all sorts of places. 

You can watch all of these films on The Criterion Channel until May 31st.

Heaven’s Gate 1980 United Artists Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Robert Delfino is a writer based in San Jose, California. He loves films of all genres made by people who enjoy the craft of movie making.