Hulu Plus Streaming The Criterion Collection

Films by Fellini, Kurosawa and Chaplin, and Others Now Available

Various movies contained in the Criterion Collection
Image provided by Criterion

Movie buffs, film students, and foreign and classic film lovers rejoice: The Criterion Collection of art house films are now available to stream on Hulu Plus. While Hulu has been known for its immediate availability of streaming TV shows, the inclusion of the Criterion collection is sure to draw more movie lovers to their premium service.

What Is the Criterion Collection?

Even if you have never heard of the Criterion Collection, you may have heard of many of the master filmmakers who have made these Film Noir and classic art films.

 Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Nicolas Roeg, Luis Buñuel, Bernardo Bertolucci, Orson Welles and many other brilliant auteurs helped to shape the future of filmmaking and cinema. 

In 1984, film distribution companies Janus Films and the Voyager Company joined forces and established the Criterion Collection, selling to cinema lovers in the United States and Canada what they described as "important classic and contemporary films.”  They began by distributing Laserdiscs, then moved on to DVDs and Blu-ray Discs.  In 2008, they partnered with Mubi to begin streaming the collection online. 

According to its mission statement, Criterion is committed to publishing "the defining moments of cinema" and making them accessible to as many people as possible. 

Great care is taken that each film is presented uncut and in its original aspect ratio. Criterion employs colorists and equipment to produce a pristine film-to-video digital transfer, even working with the original cinematographers and directors when possible.


In his blog, Peter Becker of Criterion describes the special care taken. He writes that the company uses "the latest technology to present [the films] in editions that will deepen viewers’ appreciation and understanding of the art of cinema."

The Criterion Collection Comes to Hulu Plus

Hulu and Hulu Plus have been known for their streaming of television shows.

With Hulu Plus, you can stream to a number of network media streaming devices, network TVs and network Blu-ray players. The addition of Criterion's vast collection of art house films will undoubtedly bring new subscribers to their  premium Hulu Plus service. 

Hulu has made it easy to find the Criterion Collection. It is listed as a category under "Movies." You can browse the collection alphabetically.

The simplicity of finding Criterion films on Hulu is in sharp contrast to the experience of finding them on Netflix. Numerous movie buffs have complained that it has been hard to find titles in the Netflix Instant Que streaming service. Hulu's choice to keep the classic films together was a large part of Criterion's decision to distribute the streaming movies through Hulu Plus.

It was explained on the Criterion Collection Facebook page:

"’Criterion’ is not even a searchable term [on Netflix]. Compare that with Hulu's willingness to develop a whole area of their site around us, brand the films associated with us, and develop the capability to show many of our supplements alongside our films. The energetic, independent, creative team at Hulu was willing to build their business around us in a way that just wasn't in the cards anywhere else."  

Becker mirrored that sentiment in his blog: "Hulu demonstrated a real commitment to the Criterion brand that persuaded us they would be the better home base for our streaming efforts." 

Starting today, there are more than 130 Criterion films available on Hulu Plus. Advertisements will run before the film starts; thereafter, the films are shown uninterrupted. For those who are not Hulu Plus subscribers, a few Criterion titles will be available but will be streamed with ad breaks.

Netflix Will Continue to Have Criterion Titles

While it has been reported that Criterion is pulling all of their titles from Netflix, this is not true. On the Criterion Collection Facebook page, they explain, "In today's world, it's not just a matter of either/or, it's both/and."

Steve Swasey, Vice President of Communications for Netflix, explained in an email to me that they have some Criterion titles available to watch instantly and "Netflix probably has all of the Criterion Collection on DVD."

More Than 800 Films in the Criterion Collection.

Over the coming months, Criterion's Hulu Plus video streaming will offer more than 800 films. Some of these films have been so hard to find that even many of the Criterion staff will see them for the first time when they become available on Hulu Plus.


Here are some samples of Criterion Collection movie titles and master filmmakers.

Note that although this is a list of the Criterion Collection films, some may not be available immediately.

  • Sergei Eisenstein films. Eisenstein began making films in the 1920s and is considered the father of the montage.
  • Charlie Chaplin's "Gold Rush," "Modern Times," "City Lights" and "The Great Dictator."
  • Film school favorites like "The Red Balloon," "Bicycle Thieves," "Seven Samurai," and such Fellini films as "8 1/2" and "La Strada."
  • Other film noir and auteur directors include Francois Truffaut, Jean Cocteau, Louis Malle, Michaelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard, Roger Vadim, Milos Forman, Rainer Fassbinder, Roman Polanski, Jean Renoir, John Cassavetes, John Huston and Sidney Lumet.
  • Classic film favorites from the 1960s to the 1980s include "Five Easy Pieces" ​and “Easy Rider” with Jack Nicholson, "Easy Rider," "The Last Picture Show," "Sid and Nancy," "Downhill Racer" with Robert Redford, and Wim Wender's "Wings of Desire."
  • Art house oddities including the 1958 sci-fi classic "The Blob," "Spinal Tap," Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits" and "Brazil," "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," Lasse Hallstrom's "My Life as a Dog," and such new films as "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."
  • Master filmmaker films include Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ," Peter Weir's "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and "The Last Wave," and Steve Soderbergh's "Traffic" and "Che." 

Many of the classic films will be available to stream immediately, and more movie titles will be added every month. The Criterion Collection's streaming on Hulu Plus makes it possible for everyone to experience the art of the cinema.

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