The Criterion Collection | Alexander Street
The Criterion Collection

The Criterion Collection

The Criterion Collection, an imprint of Janus Films, ranks among the world’s most influential cinematic distributors. Their films—widely respected for both their scholarly and entertainment value—are ubiquitous for the study of cinema, history, and culture at large. But oftentimes these important films, if available, are scattered across multiple formats and locations, making it difficult for users to make full use of their content.

Discover over 400 must-have films for your library. Available for North American libraries only.

The Criterion Collection is an online collection that addresses these needs by delivering over 400 of Criterion’s most influential films on one optimized learning interface. In addition to relieving libraries of the time and costs associated with acquiring, shelving, and maintaining DVDs, it also provides a suite of deluxe features that encourage users to engage with this important content in unprecedented ways.

What’s included?

Content within The Criterion Collection covers the history of cinema throughout the 20th century, from early silent films like Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush (1925) to international classics like 8 1/2 and Seven Samauri to releases from contemporary filmmakers like Gus Van Sant and Jim Jarmusch. Other renowned directors within the collection include:
  • Ingmar Bergman
  • Luis Buñuel
  • Federico Fellini
  • John Ford
  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • Alfred Hitchcock
  • Akira Kurosawa
  • Francois Truffaut
  • Orson Welles
Alongside a wealth of feature films, The Criterion Collection from Alexander Street includes seminal documentary films such as Alain Resnais’s Night and Fog (1955), Jean Rouch’s Chronicle of a Summer (1961), and Albert and David Maysles’s Grey Gardens (1975). It also features works in popular subgenres of film including French New Wave, Italian Neorealism, and New German Cinema.
Libraries seeking to grow their holdings in select targeted areas can also choose from 21 different 15-film micro-collections within The Criterion Collection. Available micro-collections include:
American Documentaries
American Independents
American Mid-century Collection
Art Cinema of the 1980s and 1990s
The British Collection
Cult Classics
The Eastern European and Russian Collection
The Films of Ingmar Bergman
French New Wave Collection
The German Collection
The Golden Age of French Cinema: Volumes I and II
Italian Cinema
International Silent Cinema
The Japanese Collection: Volumes I–III
Modern French Cinema
Recent and Classic Cinema Volumes 1 and 2
Silent Films from Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd
World Documentaries

The breadth of content available, along with the flexible acquisition options, makes the collection relevant not only to students and scholars of cinema, but also to programs in world history, sociology, psychology, linguistics, gender and cultural studies, and more.


See an overview of the database with links to guides, tutorials, and more. Visit the Libguide.

Teaching power

Alexander Street is the only publisher that makes these acclaimed films available in high-definition on a deluxe learning interface. Dozens of advanced features that encourage in-depth exploration of these important materials include:
  • HD-quality video lets you stream films at up to 2.5 mbps
  • Synchronized scrolling transcripts alongside every title
  • Semantic facet indexing that encourages users to discover new content of interest
  • Cross-searchable interface that makes films available directly alongside related multimedia content—including film scripts, silent films, and global feature films—from Alexander Street’s other film studies collections
  • Shareable playlists—add your favorite films and clips into an online playlist, then easily share the link, or slide it into a syllabus or LMS

Product information

The Criterion Collection from Alexander Street is available in full and in 15-film micro-collections to academic libraries in North America via one- or three-year subscription.
*Collection available for North American customers only


With [Alexander Street's] Criterion Collection, we have seen 65 circulations in the first week alone. And with very little marketing to patrons!

Baltimore County Public Library

The ease of access made available through streaming, along with its robust search features, make this collection highly recommended for academic libraries, particularly those that support film studies programmes. It is also recommended for public libraries...

Sherri L. Brown, Information Services, Georgia Institute of Technology Library and Information Center Reference Reviews