The Criterion Collection

...And the Pursuit of Happiness

In 1986, Louis Malle, himself a transplant to the United States, set out to investigate the ever-widening range of immigrant experience in America. Interviewing a variety of newcomers (from teachers to astronauts to doctors) in middle- and working-class communities from coast to coast, Malle paints a generous, humane portrait of their individual struggles in an increasingly polyglot nation.

400 Blows

François Truffaut’s first feature is also his most personal. Told through the eyes of Truffaut’s cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud),The 400 Blows sensitively re-creates the trials of Truffaut’s own childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, and petty crime. The film marked Truffaut’s passage from leading critic to trailblazing auteur of the French New Wave.

8 1/2

Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a director whose new project is collapsing around him, along with his life. One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (Otto e mezzo) turns one man's artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema. An early working title for 8 1/2 was The Beautiful Confusion, and Fellini's masterpiece is exactly that: a shimmering dream, a circus, and a magic act.

A Brief History of Time

Errol Morris turns his camera on one of the most fascinating men in the world: the pioneering astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, afflicted by a debilitating motor neuron disease that has left him without a voice or the use of his limbs. An adroitly crafted tale of personal adversity, professional triumph, and cosmological inquiry, Morris's documentary examines the way the collapse of Hawking's body has been accompanied by the untrammeled broadening of his imagination.

A Dancer's World

One of the great artistic forces of the twentieth century, performer, choreographer, and teacher Martha Graham influenced dance worldwide. Criterion presents a sampling of her stunning craft, all collaborations with television arts-programming pioneer Nathan Kroll. A Dancer's World (1957), narrated by Graham herself, is a glimpse into her class work and methodology.

A Day in the Country

While on a day trip to the countryside with her parents, a young woman falls in love with a local boy.

A Generation

Stach is a wayward teen living in squalor on the outskirts of Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Guided by an avuncular Communist organizer, he is introduced to the underground resistance — and to the beautiful Dorota. Soon he is engaged in dangerous efforts to fight oppression and indignity, maturing as he assumes responsibility for others' lives. A coming-of-age story of survival and shattering loss, A Generation delivers a brutal portrait of the human cost of war.

A Hard Day's Night

Meet the Beatles! Just one month after they exploded onto the U.S. scene with their Ed Sullivan Show appearance, John, Paul, George, and Ringo began working on a project that would bring their revolutionary talent to the big screen. A Hard Day's Night, in which the bandmates play cheeky comic versions of themselves, captured the astonishing moment when they officially became the singular, irreverent idols of their generation and changed music forever.

A Lesson in Love

In this precursor to comedies like Smiles of a Summer Night, Ingmar Bergman tells the story of a marriage on the rocks.

A Man Escaped

With the simplest of concepts and sparest of techniques, Robert Bresson made one of the most suspenseful jailbreak films of all time in A Man Escaped. Based on the account of an imprisoned French Resistance leader, this unbelievably taut and methodical marvel follows the fictional Fontaine's single-minded pursuit of freedom, detailing the planning and execution of his escape with gripping precision.

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