Barnes & Noble

Poll: Which Blu-rays Will You Buy in the July 2018 Criterion Sale?

The Barnes & Noble summer Criterion Collection sale started a little early this year, and consequently I wasn’t ready for it at all. Forgive my lateness, but here’s our semi-annual update to help you with your shopping.

At each of these B&N sales, I try to compile a list of recent Criterion titles that are now eligible for the discount pricing. The following is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of every Criterion Blu-ray. This is merely a reference to those discs issued since B&N’s previous sale ended on November 30th, 2017. If you plan to buy older Criterion releases during this sale, vote “Other” and tell us which ones in the Comments section.

Starting last Friday, June 29th through August 6th, all in-print Criterion Collection titles are 50% off MSRP, both in stores and at The discounted price applies to upcoming titles that will be released through the end of the sale period, but not to any preorders scheduled for after the sale ends.

Which Blu-rays Will You Buy in the July 2018 Criterion Sale?

View Results

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If anyone’s been holding out for that massive ‘100 Years of Olympic Films’ box set, this may be the best price you’re going to see for it.

As usual, the list of Criterion discs I’d like to own far outpaces my budget for actually buying them. Factoring out the ones I already either bought previously or received for review, high interest titles for me include: ‘The Age of Innocence’, ‘The Awful Truth’, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’, ‘Midnight Cowboy’, ‘Mishima’, ‘Night of the Living Dead’, ‘Sex, Lies, and Videotape’, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’, ‘Tom Jones’, ‘The Virgin Spring’, and the Dietrick & von Sternberg box.

I’m also curious about ‘An Actor’s Revenge’, ‘Dragon Inn’, ‘Au hasard Balthazar’, ‘Dead Man’, ‘Elevator to the Gallows’, ‘King of Jazz’, and ‘Moonrise’.

Realistically, I need to prioritize just a few of these. ‘The Age of Innocence’ will be a must-buy in this round; I’ve been waiting for a good high-def edition of that for a long time. I’m still working on my ordering of the others.

What will go in your shopping cart during this sale?

Note: The blog will take Wednesday off for the holiday. Have a happy and safe Fireworks Day, everybody!


  1. njscorpio

    I used to buy several of these every sale, and I still have a fairly substantial Criterion Blu-Ray collection…but with the introduction of 4K Blu-Rays, I feel less like my investment in Criterion Blu-Rays are buying the end-all-be-all versions of these films. And this is coming from someone without a 4K display. Granted, I may not expect anything above a 2K scan for ‘High and Low’, but should I not anticipate a 4K version of ‘The Game’ at some point (from some publisher)? If Criterion got into the UHD disc game, then I’d return to my excessive Criterion purchases.

    • Aaron Ball

      Most of the new blurays are 4k upscaled. Only ones like black and white or some of the older films are 2k.

    • Criterion releases movies for film enthusiasts. Those with 4k equipment are film enthusiasts or those who like to brag. I would expect Criterion to test the waters soon, but probably with a well known title that they are sure will sell well, before starting with some random movie from their library.

      My first thought was that their first movie may be something like Godzilla, but I don’t think the 4k format would be a HUGE benefit to this film (key word – HUGE). So first film would probably be something visually breathtaking and very well known

      • NJScorpio

        Again, this is coming from someone who does not have 4k equipment at home…it is not the resolution I am most impressed with, it is the increased range of color. I would hope that Criterion would choose a title that known for use of color, like ‘Thief’. Odds are it would be something that they have yet to add to their catalogue.

        • Bolo

          The rumor has been ‘Chungking Express’. It was in their catalogue and went out of print. Now a new 4K restoration is making the rounds in cinemas. So it wouldn’t surprise me if that was among their first 4K releases. I would definitely buy it seeing as I missed buying it before.

          I remember Criterion being a relatively late adopter of blu ray. Even though they seem to be a company that targets a snobby customer base and prides themselves on providing the best possible presentation, they’re also cautious about the viability of new formats. They still sell their titles as standalone standard def DVD releases, so maybe their customer base isn’t as tech-obsessed as one might think.

          • Josh Zyber

            Chunking Express is a Studio Canal title, and Studio Canal is not on friendly terms with Criterion anymore. That catalog is currently distributed by Lionsgate in North America.

          • Bolo

            What a pity. Lionsgate will probably let ‘Chungking Express’ sit on the shelf and instead release a 4K edition of ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’ or something.

  2. Deaditelord

    I still need to pick up Silence of the Lambs and Scanners, but I may have to wait until next sale as, like William, I need to pay my tuition for fall classes this week. I also invested in a NAS and six 6 TB hard drives to start the (likely) arduous process of converting my collection to lossless mkvs.

    • If you have a system that can handle HEVC, I highly recommend that – it takes a while to encode, even with GPU acceleration, but saves a ton of space without loosing quality (50 gig Blu-Rays (not just movies but extras) will sometimes be reduced to under 15 gig.) You will want to play with the settings to see what works for you, especially if you have an NVidia CPU.

      I’ve been debating on going with a NAS, especially as I am running out of SATA ports in my desktop (I have one left – may have to pick up a PCI SATA controller, although I could always just start stacking USB3 drives next to the tower). However, there is that cost thing. I also am low on disc space and was looking at picking up another 8 tb, but last night, one of my 6TBs got a couple of bad sectors on it, so that will probably have to be replaced in the next couple of months as well. 🙁

        • Yes, you can. This is why UHD uses HEVC instead of H.264 like Blu-Ray does. That was the whole point of my post – convert from h264 to HEVC can SOMETIMES result in big reduction in file size without loss of quality. HEVC can be quite processor intensive, though, hence why we see quad core 64 bit processors in UHD displays and players.

      • Deaditelord

        I picked up a Synology DS918+ with the five additional bay slots so I have 9 slots available. After doing a lot of research, I decided to pair Kodi with an Nvidia Shield Pro since the Shield is supposed to be able to handle 4K HDR if I decide to convert my UHD discs too. I’m on the fence about doing that given the file sizes, but I have the extra slots if I do. My plan is to test/convert everything on my PC first, get that working well, and then move everything over to the Shield Pro.

        I really don’t want to compress the files, even if that does result in large file sizes. If I’m understanding correctly, I should be able to strip out the extras I don’t want along with the non-English subtitles from my mkv. That should help a little bit, although I’m assuming not much.

        • Right, I was just stripping out extras at first, then started converting extras to HEVC, then the entire movie to HEVC. HEVC is the format UHD uses and is a much more efficient codec, so you drop file size without sacrificing quality (like I can throw a maximum bitrate of 38400 kbps at it, and the file that comes out may still max at 10000kbps). The Shield handles HEVC and HDR just fine IF you remember to set your Profile Level to 5.1 or lower (stupid StaxRip keeps defaulting back to Profile 6 or unspecified – got to make sure to keep an eye on that).

          Anyways, been having issues with never having enough disc space, so converting more and more stuff over to HEVC.

          As for ripping your UHD discs, they seem to currently be able to rip the video with HDR just fine, but for some reason cannot rip Atmos and are only able to get the Dolby TrueHD tracks. I have seen several people rip the Atmos sound from the Blu-Ray and just mux it into the UHD rip, providing the Blu-Ray has it. Here’s to hoping they are able to crack that one soon.

          That DS918+ looks like it might be what I am looking for – my biggest complaint is that home NAS units just do not have enough drive bays – most I have seen would not even hold all the drives I have now. That expansion bay looks like it might be what I need. I have been thinking of setting up an Unraid system instead so i could put my own hardware in there, but no matter how I look at it, the costs are pretty much that of building a whole other computer, which is why, for the time being, I keep looking at how I can expand my desktop

      • Deaditelord

        I hear you about the cost issue. I spent WAY more than I anticipated for the initial setup and the jump in price from 6 TB to 8 TB caused me to settle on 6 TB hard drives.

        • Truthfully, if it was easier to find a way to hook up all the drives, I would be buying 4TBs as you can sometimes get them for around $80, and almost always under $100. But yeah, I am buying mostly 6TBs myself. My last drive was an 8TB, though, as I am running out of space to put the drives.

  3. Chris B

    I bought The Silence of the Lambs with some birthday last month so my most wanted CC disc is now on my shelf. If I had any money in the budget for the sale I’d probably grab Kwaidan, NOTLD and Carnival of Souls. I don’t though so I’ll be sitting this one out. Maybe I’ll grab a few in November…..

  4. The only one I was interested in was the 100 Years of Olympic films but 1) I can’t afford it even at 50% off, and 2) it is out of stock online and at most stores in a 100 mile radius – the only store carrying it is 50 miles from me.

  5. MovieWatcher

    I picked up Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Game, Badlands, and Blood Simple. I was tempted by Mulholland Drive, as it’s the only Lynch film I don’t own, but I didn’t enjoy it like his others, either.

    For anyone that doesn’t own their release of Silence of the Lambs, you need to buy it. It’s an amazing transfer.

  6. Csm101

    I checked a few, but when I go to the actual store, sometimes I change my mind. I’ll have to see when I get there. I’m more than likely picking up Virgin Spring, but not 100% sure on anything else.

  7. Paul J Anderson

    The Virgin Spring
    Picnic at Hanging Rock
    Dead Man
    Au Hasard Balthazar
    The Age of Innocence
    A Brighter Summer Day
    The Passion of Joan of Arc
    3 Women
    Five Easy Pieces
    Midnight Cowboy
    Good Morning

    Have been added so far. I will most likely plunk down for The Complete Tati and von Stenberg/Deitrich before the sale ends. I sometimes get a little out of hand during these sales.

  8. As always there are more titles on my wish list than I can afford, and there are quite a few titles I wish Criterion would release in HD on Blu-ray (Red Beard, Tunes Of Glory, Henry V, Those Who Step On The Tiger’s Tail, Spartacus) even so, I will take advantage of the sale to pick-up a few titles, including The Naked Prey. (Yes, it is not yet available in HD on Blu-ray, and I may be replacing this with an HD version later…)

    I do understand the reluctance of some to purchase, with the advent of 4K. (I still have quite few Criterion titles on Laser Video Disc — remember those. Now, while I do have both a 4K player and monitor along with a couple of titles in both HD and UHD, and while I do see some improvement in video quality, I am not yet convinced to upgrade my entire collection to 4K. The move from DVD to Blu-ray was a clear jump in quality, but the step up to 4K is not big enough to compel me to do so — not yet.

    So I will take advantage of the sale, and continue to hope that Criterion will release more of their older titles in HD on Blu-ray.

  9. Robert Spreitzer

    I grabbed Don’t Look Now. Would have also considered Silence Of The Lambs, but money is tight! Still have time though to come up with some before sale ends.

  10. Erik Walsh

    I bought Silence of the Lambs, Lady Snowblood, Yojimbo, and Sanjuro last Friday when the sale started. I will either order online or find in store The Virgin Spring in the next couple of weeks. That will leave about a dozen more for future sales.

  11. Scott

    Heaven’s Gate for my Dad. Midnight Cowboy because of it’s status on the AFI top 100. Already had Silence of the Lambs. I usually only buy movies on the AFI list unless it’s something I really want and then usually only enough to qualify for free shipping so as to stay on budget.

  12. EM

    I’m looking forward to the releases of Dragon Inn (next week) and A Matter of Life and Death (July 24) but would like to have a better idea of the PQ before a purchase decision. Dragon Inn is also coming to DVD at the same time (first time for Region 1/A), and I might stick to just the DVD. I already have A Matter of Life and Death on gorgeous DVD, but I’m certainly willing to upgrade if the upgrade is an upgrade.

    Of the other selections in the poll, I previously picked up Night of the Living Dead and The Passion of Joan of Arc when they were fresh releases. I’m at a loss to contemplate whom Night of the Living Dead is too pretentious for.

  13. Round one:

    The Awful Truth
    Punch Drunk Love
    The Virgin Suicides
    The Virgin Spring

    I’ll be coming back for ‘A Matter of Life and Death’, and I’m sure I’ll grab some films noir and perhaps fill in the Kurosawa and Bergman gaps in my collection.

  14. Scott

    I was going to buy five or so. Then however I decided that I really did want the Olympic 100 years set and so that blew up my budget. I got that one and Manila in the Claws of Light.

    Really looking forward to diving into the Olympic set, hope my wife will watch most of it with me too.

  15. David Hollingsworth

    I already bought Sex, Lies & Videotape & A Matter of Life and Death. For the second batch, I’ll try to get Stagecoach, Paths of Glory, and maybe Pasolini’s Trilogy of Life box set.

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