Criterion Channel isn’t like most other streamers. While other streamers require you to dig through an overwhelming selection to pick out the gems that are worth watching, Criterion Channel has already been curated by cinephiles and compiles the great works of classic, indie, and foreign cinema. There’s really nowhere you can go wrong on Criterion because even if you land on a movie you don’t like, there’s still a case to be made for its historical or artistic significance.
The flip-side to this is that Criterion Channel can easily overwhelm a user. You open it up, and while there are curated programs built around specific eras, genres, or filmmakers, that can still be daunting. That’s where we’ve come in to suggest 20 films that are a good place to start with the service. These aren’t the “best” movies on the service because again, Criterion Channel’s selection is packed with excellent titles. Instead, these are places where you can start as an entry point and get comfortable with the service before adding deeper cuts to your watchlist.