Finally, Another Criterion 50% Off Sale!

It feels like it’s been forever since Barnes & Noble ran its last 50% Off Criterion Collection sale. The retailer does this twice annually, in July and November. This year’s first sale starts tomorrow. What will you buy?

The past six months must seem so long because Criterion has considerably ramped up its Blu-ray production in that time. Since the last sale ended on November 21st, the studio has released no less than 38 new titles, including such essentials as Henri-Georges Clouzot’s ‘Diabolique‘, Louis Malle’s ‘Au revoir les enfants‘, David Cronenberg’s ‘Videodrome‘, Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator‘, Ingmar Bergman’s ‘Smiles of a Summer Night‘, Federico Fellini’s ‘Amarcord‘, and the outstanding ‘America Lost and Found: The BBS Story‘ box set. That’s of course in addition to all the titles released earlier.

The sale ends August 1st. If the same rules hold true as previous B&N sales, the discount will also apply to any pre-orders scheduled for release during the sale period. That would mean ‘Naked‘, Jean Cocteau’s ‘Beauty and the Beast‘, ‘The Music Room‘, ‘High and Low‘, ‘Léon Morin, Priest‘, and ‘Life During Wartime‘.

A member of the SlickDeals forum offered up these coupon codes that you may be able to stack onto online orders:

L7C8F9D – Exp. 7/12, 15% Off one Item
C7R4R3T – Exp. 7/24, $5 Off $50 or More

AAA members should be able to get an additional 10% discount (on top of the 50% off) by shopping through this link. However, I don’t believe that you can stack the above coupons with the AAA discount.

Even at 50% off, I’m not going to have the budget to get everything I might like this time. I’m going to prioritize ‘The Great Dictator’, ‘Diabolique’, ‘High and Low’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Broadcast News‘ and ‘Cronos‘. How about you?

The sale starts tomorrow both in brick & mortar stores or online at


  1. EM

    The sale comes at a bad time for my budget. If I encounter a windfall, I’ll get The Great Dictator, Diabolique, and Beauty and the Beast. I think I’m caught up with the older releases of interest.

    • I agree, I just lost my job last monday, although I am in the hiring process for another one. However, a sale on The Great Dicator and on Au Revoir Les Enfants is really tempting. I need to see if Blockbuster has any of these for rent – there are several that sound interesting that I have never seen.

  2. CK

    I really shouldn’t get anything, not having the money or the time, but ‘Diabolique’ and ‘High and Low’ are very tempting. I may have to figure out a way to do something stupid.

  3. Jared Chamberlain

    I’m eye-balling The Magician, The Thin Red Line, and possibly Fear and Loathing, but should probably not spend any money. Sadly, I too am poor.

  4. EM

    It must be yet another sign of the times that budgets restrict so many from taking advantage of an attractive sale on highly desirable titles.

    • This is another reason I will probably put off buying movies like this for a while. I finally sat down and put all my movies into DVD profiler, then checked out which ones I haven’t watched yet, then figured out how often I watch movies, and did the math. Figured it would take a year to just catch up on what I haven’t opened yet. This has caused me to rethink my spending – especially in this economy, to take my Netflix down from 4 out at a time to streaming only, and to go with one disc out at a time with Blockbuster.

      The one question I have to ask people like Nate is – do you seriously have time to watch all of those? Or to rewatch – to justify the price of buying over just renting? Because I know how big my library is, and many of those movies that I planed to watch multiple times are still in their shrink wrap.

      • EM

        I share your curiosity, William. I think my collection is large compared to average people’s, but it runs small in the world of enthusiasts (e.g., people who are active at The Bonus View). As I’ve stated elsewhere, I make a point of viewing (at least partially) my new DVDs and Blu-rays shortly after acquisition; my mind boggles at the idea of making 26 acquisitions at once. As it is, I have a backlog of 26 discs and disc sets that I consider “insufficiently” viewed, meaning that I have watched a main feature or the main feature at least once but still need to get through additional main features (as in a multi-movie or multi-episode set) and/or bonus features. Realizing that I have not been getting as much out of my collection as I should, I recently downgraded my Netflix subscription from 2 discs at a time to 1 disc at a time (this was before Netflix’s major plan restructuring from yesterday). I’ve also considered suspending my Netflix service for a month or so to help me catch up, but so far I’ve been too tempted by the joy of exploring even more movies and shows that I may end up wanting to acquire. 🙂

  5. Ryan

    This month should set me back about $300. I’ve been planning for this sale since November. High priorities: High and Low, Smiles of a Summer Night, Fear & Loathing, Solaris, and Beauty and the Beast.

  6. paramedic0112

    Just bought Che and The Thin Red Line. The 15% off coupon worked for me but the $5 off $50 one didn’t work so I just got the two movies. I plan on making another order on the 21st. I’m thinking about Mystery Train, Gimmie Shelter, Monteray Pop, Repulsion, Solaris, Cronos, Charade. I probably can only get two or three of those so I will have to think about it…

  7. besch64

    Just scored Yojimbo/Sanjuro, The Double Life of Veronique, Robinson Crusoe on Mars and The Night of the Hunter. I plan on picking up Kagemusha and Smiles of a Summer Night on my next run, and I might grab Repulsion and Days of Heaven before the sale ends.

  8. Russell

    My buying habits might be similar to Nate’s. I spent about $400 at B&N yesterday buying most of the Criterion releases that came out since the last sale, and a few older Japanese titles that I let slide back when I thought I wouldn’t want them. I have a modest income, but DVDs are my priority. I buy them instead of going out with friends, Starbucks, etc. I’m 46, and look at my dvd/blu-ray collection as an enjoyable, respectable investment. Any time – tomorrow even – I can stop buying if I need to, and truly have a lifetime’s entertainment and education stockpiled. Renting, Netflix, etc. are not for me. I feel I’ve wasted money that could have gone toward the purchase. In the rare occasions that I regret buying something, I almost always can recoup most of my money by selling it used. If I lose a few bucks here and there, isn’t that off-set by getting all those Criterion Blu-Rays at B&N for $18 each? I don’t have a cell phone, thank God, and imagine that the money not wasted on that covers most of my dvd collecting. Here’s where I”ll probably lose credibility: I’ll admit I’m also distrustful of the enticement of Hula and other “cloud”-based forms of watching/renting/ownership . . . . What if they change the rules on us? What if these things are just unplugged and dissolved. All the investment of cloud-based ownership would be gone, and you’ve got nothing. If that happened tomorrow, I have over 3500 carefully selected dvds and blu-rays, most of which are unopened. I own things like near-complete runs by obvious people like Bergman, Herzog, Godard, Fellini, etc., plus lots of Ken Russell, Guy Maddin, Soderbergh, Varda, etc., etc.

    • EM

      I agree: dependence on the cloud makes for a cloudy future. I’m worried enough that DVD and Blu-ray technology might someday go defunct and make it difficult or impossible for me to enjoy my existing library once my players break down.

    • paramedic0112

      I’m the same way about cloud based stuff. In addition to films, I’m really into music. Vinyl primarily, but I also do alot of digital files for convienience, lossless when possible. This news about Spotify makes me nervous. I want to own my music, not subscribe to it. I hope it doesn’t effect physical or even download retailers.