Weekend Roundtable: What Blu-ray “Holy Grails” Are You Still Waiting For?

As you’ve no doubt heard, the ‘Star Wars‘ series has been officially announced for release on Blu-ray later this yet. Rumors are also running wild that the ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ franchises may be coming soon too. With that in mind, we’d like to know what other “holy grails” you’re still waiting to see released on Blu-ray.

Here are the staff’s wishes:

Josh Zyber

  1. Twin Peaks‘ – I could be snide here and say that I’m still waiting for the original ‘Star Wars’ Original Trilogy, but I think I’ve made my feelings about that perfectly clear already. Failing that, I desperately want the entire ‘Twin Peaks’ series in a high-def replication of Paramount’s “Definitive Gold Box Edition” DVD set. It must include the original broadcast version of the pilot episode, of course. (A seamlessly-branched version of the “European” alternate cut might be nice to have too, but is less important.) I’d pay any amount of money for this. Really. If I’m fantasizing here, I should say that I’d also like Paramount to license the ‘Fire Walk With Me’ film to put in the same box set, but that seems unlikely to happen. So we’ll need New Line/Warner to put that out separately. (The movie is currently available on Blu-ray in France, but unfortunately the disc is locked to Region B.)

Nate Boss

  1. The Passion of Joan of Arc‘ – This may sound lame, but with ‘Star Wars’ out of the way, my holy grail would have to be something else classic and epic, even if I’m dying for ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ on Blu-ray. My go-to would be ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc’, one of the greatest films ever made, and probably the best silent film ever, from director Carl Theodor Dreyer. Maria Falconetti’s performance as the titular character bests any other version of the French legend without question. It’s one of those once-in-a-generation moments in acting where a film becomes secondary to how truly great one performer is. Sadly, due to the state of the film (the degraded prints, variations in speed), I doubt this film will ever be one that Criterion sees worthy of re-remastering. Only so much can be done with what we already have, and this 83-year-old classic may never have a better print come forward than the one restored for the Criterion DVD released in 1999.

Mike Attebery

  1. The Woody Allen Collection: Sets 1-3 – As I’ve said in the past, I’m a Woody Allen fan. For my money, he’s the most talented writer/director since Billy Wilder – only Billy didn’t act, so Woody wins. So far, one fantastic Allen film has hit Blu-ray in the U.S., along with one disastrous misfire. I have yet to see the Wood-man’s most recent release, so I can’t speak for his February 15th Blu-ray special delivery. As is so often the case, I’m hopeful, but cautious in my optimism. In the past 20 years, I’d say that I’ve loved around 50% percent of his projects, enjoyed 30%, and been depressed by 20%. While I firmly believe there’s always something interesting in his work, I have to admit that a greater number of his recent films than I’d like to admit (usually the scripts that clearly sat in mothballs for a few decades) have been more than a bit underwhelming. Still, I’ll defend the man to the death. Whatever people’s opinions of Allen’s work since the personal and professional turning point of ‘Husband’s and Wives’, I’m sure they’d agreed that his most consistently great work came during his periods at United Artist and Orion Pictures. From 1971’s ‘Bananas’ to 1991’s ‘Shadows and Fog’, Allen produced a string of uncompromising movies in his signature style, filled with the kind of slapstick comedy, dry humor, fatalistic wit, and love of jazz for which Woody is so famous. With 1992’s ‘Husband and Wives’, Allen briefly moved to TriStar Pictures, endured the wildly public and professionally damaging implosion of his personal life, and began a still-ongoing game of hopscotch from one distributor to the next, often from picture to picture. While the past 20 years have been painfully uneven, the previous 20 were golden. It’s that collection of films, previously released on DVD by the always financially-troubled MGM, that I would love to see hit Blu-ray. Alas, such a move is looking increasingly unlikely these days, but I can always hope. Perhaps the film rights could be sold off to the Criterion Collection in a studio fire sale, so the best in the business can be preserved for posterity by… well… the best in the business. That would certainly make life worth living, along with, oh, Groucho Marx… Louis Armstrong’s recording of “Potatohead Blues”… Swedish movies, naturally… Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra… and High-Def Digest, certainly…

Junie Ray

  1. God of Gamblers‘ – My holy grail is ‘God of Gamblers’. That, and any number of other Hong Kong action, Chow Yun-Fat, and kung-fu movies. Basically, I’m looking to replace my VHS collection of horribly low-res imports.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

  1. Jaws‘ – It’s one of the few essential Spielberg films that’s not already on Blu-ray and isn’t heavily rumored to hit high-def before the year’s out. We’re talking about the movie that defined what a summer blockbuster is. It also happens to top my All-Time Favorites list. ‘Jaws’, at least for my money, is perfect. More than a decade of reviewing has made me a pretty relentless nitpicker, but with ‘Jaws’, there’s not a role I’d recast, not a line I’d tweak, not a note in the score I’d change, and not a shot I’d reframe. ‘Jaws’ ranks right next to ‘UHF’ as the two movies I’ve watched and re-watched just about to the point of rote memorization. I don’t just want ‘Jaws’ on Blu-ray… I need it.

Aaron Peck

  1. The ‘Burbs‘ – Thinking back to my childhood in the ’80s and early ’90s, there were a few movies that became staples in my life – movies that I watched constantly while growing up. Most of those movies have recently received Blu-ray releases like the ‘Back to the Future‘ trilogy and ‘The Goonies‘. However, there is one movie that has so far eluded the format. That would be the comedic classic about how strange suburbia can get. That’s right, the movie I’m jonesing for on Blu-ray is ‘The ‘Burbs’, starring Tom Hanks and an insanely funny Bruce Dern. I can’t count the number of times I watched ‘The ‘Burbs’ while growing up. There may have been a few months there where I watched it at least once a week. I know that we’re all excited that ‘Star Wars’ is finally getting a Blu-ray release, but I won’t be truly happy until I see ‘The ‘Burbs’ in one of those little blue cases.

Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)

  1. ‘Lord of the Rings’ Extended Editions – For me, it has to be the ‘Lord of the Rings’ Extended Edition trilogy. I’m not a fan of double-dipping, but I think that New Line’s first high-def release of the theatrical-only versions of the films with lackluster transfers was unforgiveable. Bring us the full versions of the films, and actually put in some effort to make them look and sound as good as the format allows. If you remaster it… they will come.

Drew Taylor

  1. Ed Wood‘ – My outstanding “holy grail” movie is Tim Burton’s ‘Ed Wood’. It’s an odd choice, sure, but think about who’s choosing. Tim Burton is a well represented director when it comes to high definition, mostly because his movies are such consistent box office powerhouses. (I’m not really sure who was begging for the up-rezzed edition of ‘Big Fish‘, though.) Unlike, say, Brian De Palma or David Cronenberg – a pair of my favorite directors who have been egregiously overlooked on Blu-ray – Burton’s very-nearly-complete oeuvre is readily consumable. This makes ‘Ed Wood’, his greatest film, such a standout. I’ve been pretty outspoken about how madly in love I am with black-and-white movies on Blu-ray. The high definition makes the image look like it was cut from strips of velvet… and that is very good indeed! Or maybe I just want to hear Martin Landau, as a strung-out Bela Lugosi (a role for which he won an Oscar), bellow “Let’s shoot this fucker!” in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound. (And Howard Shore’s score? Forget about it!) I’m sure it will happen one day, when Disney figures out what to do with its more obscure back catalog. (Thankfully, it’s not a Miramax film, but was a Touchstone release.) I’ve got my Blu-rays grouped by director, and this is a pretty sizable hole for a movie that will eventually come in such a slim box.

Now that we’ve told you what we’re waiting for, which holy grails of yours have yet to be released on Blu-ray?


  1. nate boss

    great pick(s), Mike. with next month’s release, we’ll have 3 domestic and 2 import Woody Allen films, but absolutely NONE from the MGM sets. Might Aphrodite we may as well write off as NEVER coming to Blu-ray, considering the rights. quite a few OOP DVDs of his, on top of MA, make me sad, thinking we’ll never get ’em.

  2. besch64

    -Star Wars theatricals
    -Lord of the Rings extended editions
    -Twin Peaks
    -Six Feet Under (seriously, please give me this HBO)

    And a lot of others I just can’t think of for some reason.

  3. ilovenola2

    Spielberg’s JAWS, E.T., and EMPIRE OF THE SUN– the latter with the great documentary that’s on the dvd and a follow-up with the director and hopefully soon-to-be-Oscar’d Christian Bale.

  4. Tony

    Good call on The Burbs, Aaron – I love that one.

    I’m looking forward to Lawrence and Raiders on Blu.

  5. Jane Morgan

    Jurassic Park
    West Wing
    Pulp Fiction
    Glengarry Glen Ross
    Shakespeare In Love
    Team America World Police

    • nate boss

      there are Region A, English friendly releases of Once, Amelie, and Shakespeare in Love, playable in any player (no 1080i/50 shenanigans), from the UK, Canada, and France, respectively.

      Pulp Fiction is also out in a few Euro countries, as well as Hong Kong.

      you can land Once for about 10 to 13 bucks (cheaper than it would be here!), and i landed 2 copies of SIP for about 7 bucks each. if you don’t care about country of origin, you have a few options, Jane.

      • Josh Zyber

        The ‘Once’ disc from the UK is 1080i50, if I recall correctly.

        There are two different Blu-ray editions of Amelie available in Canada. One is meant for the French-speaking market in Quebec and has no English subtitles. I believe the following is the one that’s English friendly:


        The movie was also released with English subtitles in Australia.

      • Jane Morgan

        I read about the foreign blu-rays of Once, Amelie, Shakespeare, and Pulp. All money-grabs with weak transfers and other questionable qualities.

        These films did solid box office in the US and deserve classy American blu-ray releases. Until it happens, I will hang onto my dvds and pout.

        There’s nothing sadder than an average quality blu-ray. Could we get Criterion Collections of ‘Hannibal’ and ‘Ronin’ and ‘Dracula’ too, please?

        • nate boss

          Josh, according to squid, Once is 1080p/24. additionally, it plays on my ps3, which HATES 1080i/50 and won’t do shit with it.

          Jane, Once is not a bad disc, really. i haven’t viewed S-I-L yet, but i’ve heard from numerous sources it’s not a bad release. if it got a canadian release, then yes, totally.

          Pulp from hong kong is a bit less solid than the denmark release, which also doesn’t have forced subs like the frenchy. but they may be considered cash grabs, yes. still, Once is cheap, and not a bad disc.

          • RBBrittain

            Once is indeed region-free 1080p/24, though some of its extras are in PAL and might not be playable on some US equipment.

            I have Alliance’s Canadian Region A-locked version of Shakespeare in Love; it’s 1080i/60 with no extras, though with the correct aspect ratio (unlike their similar version of The English Patient). It looks pretty good, but if you can’t wait for the new Miramax to do a proper release I’d now get the region-free Universal version released outside the US & Canada (about to drop in the UK, IIRC); it’s 1080p/24 and has all the extras. (DVDBeaver just reviewed the Japanese release of this version.)

            I’d wait for the new Miramax to release Pulp Fiction in the States (supposedly a top priority); reportedly all the foreign versions have significant limitations.

          • RBBrittain

            Actually, Josh, the Alliance version of The English Patient is slightly trimmed to 1.78:1–not much, yes, but still not *true* OAR. (It was probably a made-for-cable HD transfer.) On a 16:9 set calibrated with zero overscan, a true 1.85:1 transfer should see very slight black bars at top & bottom; some sets with significant overscan may hide them.

          • Josh Zyber

            The difference between 1.85:1 and 1.78:1 is only a few scan lines, and almost always involves opening up the mattes from the top and bottom of the frame rather than cropping the sides. Major studios like Warner and Paramount transfer all 1.85:1 movies to video at 1.78:1 as a matter of policy.

            The difference is negligible, and doesn’t affect the compositional intent of the photography. No director or cinematographer has ever complained about this.

            See here for more details:


            There’s just as much variance in “scope” movies, some of which are transferred at 2.35:1 while others are transferred at 2.40:1.

        • Josh Zyber

          Once is probably not going to get much better than the existing UK disc. The movie was shot with consumer video cameras, mainly in natural lighting. It looked like complete ass when I saw it in the theater. The source material is a huge limitation there.

          Any eventual American release of Amelie will suffer from Miramax’s dumbed-down and typo-ridden English subtitles. The Australian disc looks pretty good and has the proper theatrical subtitles. (I can’t speak for the Canadian release.) This was one of the first movies to use a complete start-to-finish DI, from which any video transfers will be sourced. So there shouldn’t be terribly much variance in picture quality from one release to the next, other than bit rate.

          • Jane Morgan

            Josh, the Australian ‘Amelie’ has proper Sony-style subtitles, lower line in the black.

            Nate, my concern with the ‘Once’ blu-ray is the 2.0 sound, but maybe that’s the best we’ll ever get.

          • Josh Zyber

            Yes, the Amelie subtitles are in the black bar, but my OPPO player will let me bump the position up into the picture.

            Once was a very low-budget production. According to IMDb, the original sound mix was Dolby-SR, not 5.1. Remember also that this is a movie that was made by musicians, who are used to mixing in stereo. I’m sure that it was probably mixed on the same console that they do their albums with.

          • Jane Morgan

            I don’t have an OPPO. Do you know if the PS3 can bump up subtitles?

            Thanks for all the info about ‘Once.’ I am persuaded.

            You guys should do more full reviews of popular blu-ray imports, so that this kind of info is in the database and not buried in the blog/forums.

        • Had this issue with Life Is Beautiful. Hasn’t been released in the US, but Blu-Ray.com did a review of the Canadian import. Its not a BAD transfer, but I bet its not dramatically better than an upconverted DVD. But it was a reasonable price, and I only had the movie on VHS…

  6. Lahrs

    Lord of the Rings Extended Editions is at the top of my wish list, but I have to add The Wonder Years as well. Realistically, I do not see the series coming out due to not having the music licensing rights, and for that reason, they really are the unobtainable Holy Grail.

  7. Shayne Blakeley

    The complete sets of Buffy and Angel top my list of most coveted blu ray releases. Runner up, Doom Generation.

    • Shayne Blakeley

      Other things I’d love to see:

      Nowhere (not as much as Doom Generation, but considering this never even got a dvd release…)
      All of John Waters’ films
      Night of the Demons (Original)
      Howard the Duck (yes seriously)
      The People Under the Stairs
      Better off Dead
      High Fidelity

      • Shayne Blakeley

        Also, I really wish we could see more fill in terms of sequels. Like the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Hellraiser, Ghostbusters 2, Gremlins 2, etc. I hate having the first on blu ray and the rest on dvd.

  8. motorheadache

    Mortal Kombat. Yes, you read that right.

    I’ve been tempted to buy the Alliance version from Canada, but I’m holding out for a legitimate domestic release. Please?

    Also of course the obvious stuff already mentioned: Jaws, Pulp Fiction, original cuts of Star Wars, Indy, and Lord of the Rings EE.

    • Kizzle

      Agreed 100% on Mortal Kombat. It’s visually pretty damn stunning and with time put into the transfer it could be a definite showpiece. I’m hoping the upcoming game will jumpstart the franchise a bit and we actually get this.

      Besides Pulp Fiction I’d want Jackie Brown as well.

      Random, but I wish they’d do Karate Kid III, mainly because I hate having incomplete film series on a format. Really annoying.

  9. BostonMA

    Nate i didn’t know that you were as big a fan of The Passion of Joan of Arc as you say you are. good stuff. it’s one of my “holy grails” as well, although i don’t see it coming to Blu-ray for a very long time, if ever.

    in addition to that, i need:

    Vertigo (and the rest of Hitchcock’s essential films)
    Once Upon a Time in the West
    Taxi Driver
    the films of David Lynch, particularly Mulholland Dr., Blue Velvet, Fire Walk With Me, and Wild at Heart

    i’d also very much like:

    The Insider (Michael Mann)
    the films of Orson Welles

    hopefully they’ll all be released soon…

    • nate boss

      i is, yo. i is. beyond superb.

      orson welles on BD, we all know that Citizen Kane is supposed be a UCE, maybe this year.

      • BostonMA

        yeah, so they say.

        as for TPOJOA, it’s so far the ONLY silent film i have seen that is so much above the seemingly inferior barrier that blocks in silent film vs. the greatness of talkies.

        after i saw it, i had to seriously consider if silent cinema was better than what followed, since i look at the film being 82 minutes of pure climax, one that’s just as intense as any of the best we’ve seen in dialogue filled movies, from the 5 minute Mexican standoff in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly to the revelation in your beloved Empire Strikes Back.

  10. BostonMA

    ^^ Pulp Fiction as well and with that release an Lynch’s, i want American ones. the ones out now in Europe are shit and PF is minus extras

    • Josh Zyber

      I don’t have the disc. I’ve heard the quality is solid but not exceptional. The disc is locked to Region B, unfortunately. No deleted scenes or anything special of that nature, either.

  11. EM

    Most wanted:

    • The “Star Wars” films I saw in 1977–1983
    • “Plan 9 From Outer Space”
    • “The Iron Giant”
    • “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) [which I understand is already available for the UK]
    • “H.P. Lovecraft’s Re-Animator”
    • “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial”
    • “The Haunting” (1963)
    • “Tron”

    I could go on, but eight is enough (no, I do not want the TV series by that name). Frankly, I’m surprised that so many of my wants have already made it to Blu-ray.

  12. jgslima

    I would like to see Schindler’s List in a good blu-ray transfer, although it is not a movie I would watch over and over again.

  13. hurin

    Lawrence of Arabia

    It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World

    Taxi Driver

    Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

    Birth of a Nation

  14. mh

    The entire collection of Fox roadshow films produced in Todd-AO. Judging from the results we have already from SOUTH PACIFIC and THE SOUND OF MUSIC, the transfers would likely be dazzling.

  15. that1guypictures

    My most anticipated title is the 1986 musical Little Shop of Horrors. I’m hoping that maybe they might finish the alternate ending, or at least restore the film for it’s 25th anniversary this year. The music was recorded digitally, and should sound amazing in DTS-HD MA. A close second would be My Fair Lady, and also the Fox R&H musicals, Oklahoma, and King and I.

    Also, Josh…FYI, I have the Once disc from the UK, it is 1080p24, with 2.0 DTS HD MA sound. (The box states 1080i, with 5.1 sound…so wrong on both counts.) However the special features on the disc are Not compatible with US players/TV’s.

    • EM

      Good call on Little Shop of Horrors; I would have mentioned it myself if I hadn’t sensed my list getting too long.

      I’m not sure we’re ever going to see the film with a proper presentation of the original alternate ending, but we can hope. Don’t feed the plants…

  16. Hastor

    Pink Floyd: The Wall
    Lots of opportunity for great PQ and AQ for a great overall disc. Would love to see Criterion get this one.

  17. Patrick A Crone

    I’d love to see ‘Strange Brew’ and ‘Better off Dead’ in high def. I’d also love to see ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ eventually, including all the shorts produced afterward.

  18. Charles Johnstone

    I’m really waiting for the original cuts of the Star Wars franchise (and I’ll wait until Lucas dies or comes to his sences). I am also waiting for the Raiders of the Lost Ark series on BR. I have the latest movie (Crystal Skull), but the early movies were really great and made a lasting impression on me.

  19. Steve

    Indiana Jones Trilogy
    Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion
    Jaws and Jaws 2
    Toy Story trilogy on BluRay 3D
    Friday the 13th (remaining Paramount ones including a new full color 3DBD for Part III)