On September 22nd, 66 Criterion Collection Films Will Expire From Netflix Watch Instantly [UPDATE 8/27]

[Update 8/27/10 – I went back to to check on the status of upcoming expiring Criterion films, and it appears that this entire list has disappeared from their listings. I checked on a few of the titles, and it looks like their streaming end dates have been extended! I will be updating this post later, with the correct dates, but it looks like something happened between this post going up, and now.]

Some sad news to report, on the streaming side of things today. I just learned, via the excellent website, that more than a few Criterion Collection films will be expiring from Netflix’s Watch Instantly service on September 22nd.

In total, 66 films from the Criterion Collection will be removed from the line-up, but don’t go canceling your account just yet. Over the past year, on several monthly occasions, a number of Criterion films were added, allowing viewers to stream some of the best titles that Criterion had at their disposal. Netflix has never claimed that everything on Watch Instantly would last forever, and there may be a number of reasons why these titles are going away. Some theories I’m kicking around:

  • Criterion and Netflix set up a deal, and that deal is coming to an end. Pretty simple.
  • Criterion may be looking at moving more of these titles to Hulu, where they may presumably make more money off of their ad-based model of streaming films.
  • Since Netflix is about to add several hundred titles from their recent deal with Epix, and they need the bandwidth / hard drive space.
  • Mubi is about to launch their Playstation 3 channel, and presumably Criterion will be able to cash in on that deal. There may also be some sort of exclusivity deal that Sony has regarding streaming these titles?

These are all speculations, I have no insider info regarding this upcoming event. I simply saw a huge chunk of films about to expire, and I’m making some educated guesses based on other news stories that we’ve been writing up.

Some final things to keep in mind when looking down this list, is that even though films do expire from Watch Instantly, they occasionally come back. Also, this is not all of the films in the Criterion Collection, that are available on WI, to see a complete list, check out our dedicated page here. And finally, don’t forget about those little round plastic discs that you can have Netflix mail you! I know, crazy, right? Netflix has not killed off their physical media arm yet, so take advantage while you can!

Now, onto the mega-list of Criterion Collection titles about to expire, on September 22nd. You only need to watch 2-3 a day and you’ll be fine. (I usually like including cover art and plot descriptions for these types of lists, but because of the size of the list, I figured it would dramatically slow down the loading of this page).

What are your thoughts on this sad piece of news? Have you even taken advantage of these, or are you a physical media die-hard?


Au Revoir Les Enfants

The Battle of Algiers

Beauty and the Beast

Branded to Kill

Breathless (listed twice in Netflix, one says “streaming coming soon” so that might be the newly restored edition.)

Burden of Dreams (Hulu)

Children of Paradise

Cleo From 5 to 7

Closely Watched Trains

Cria Cuervos


The Earrings of Madame de…

Elevator to the Gallows


Eyes Without A Face

F For Fake

Fanny and Alexander

General Idi Amin Dada (Hulu)

Grey Gardens (Hulu)

Harlan County, USA

Hearts And Minds

I Vitelloni

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Knife in the Water


La Bete Humaine

La Jetee

Late Spring

Le Corbeau

Lola Montes

M. Hulot’s Holiday

Mala Noche

Man Bites Dog

Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters

Mon Oncle

My Life As A Dog

A Nos Amours


Paris, Texas

The Passion of Joan of Arc

Picnic At Hanging Rock





Rome Open City

The Rules of the Game

Sans Soleil

The Seventh Seal


Smiles of a Summer Night

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

That Hamilton Woman

The Thief of Bagdad

Tokyo Drifter

Tokyo Story

Tout Va Bien


Umberto D.

The Virgin Spring

The Wages of Fear


Wild Strawberries

Wings of Desire


Feel free to repost this list on Forums and your Website, but please give us credit via a link, as it took a while to grab all of the direct Netflix links for all of the films.

Ryan Gallagher

Ryan is the Editor-In-Chief / Founder of, and the host / co-founder / producer of the various podcasts here on the site. You can find his website at, follow him on Twitter (@RyanGallagher), or send him an email: [email protected].


  • I’m a physical media die-hard (I own all but 10 of these DVDs and I like watching hi-res images on my big TV while sitting on my comfortable sofa more than sitting in front of my computer for two hours with all the distractions it offers) but I’m still interested in following this story of how Criterion chooses to distribute their films. I think I will try to take advantage of the opportunity to watch at least one or two of these just to see how it compares.

  • You don’t have to be at a computer to watch these titles. There are multiple ways to get streaming content to your PC especially from Netflix.

  • You don’t have to be at a computer to watch these titles. There are multiple ways to get streaming content to your PC especially from Netflix.

  • Thanks for this tip. I don’t have a wireless card for my TV yet, that may be an obstacle. What kind of resolution do you get through Watch Instant?

  • Hey Ryan, I just talked to Netflix customer service. The girl I spoke with said they didn’t have anything on the customer service side to explain why these movies were dropping out of instant, other than it probably has to do with standard studio negotiations. She also echoed what you said: movies drop in and out of instant all the time, and they’ll probably be back at some point. Of course, this may not be much help, as I doubt every rep is privy to what’s going on with negotiations behind the scene, but there you have it.

  • Hmmm, lets see; since the announcement of the price increase Netflix has lost a number of movies, including their Starz contract. This is regardless of the fact that they’ve got $22B in liquid assets and just raised their prices. Those of you foolish enough to stick around with this arrogant train-wreck of a company will get a new surprise also. Netflix has just started enforcing no multiple streams – in other words if you were used to watching one Netflix stream on your Apple TV and had your children watching another on their PC at the same time then you will no longer be able to do this. Netflix’s terms always forbid this but now they are enforcing it. So, lets recap – higher prices (60% increase), less streaming content, and you must pay for a different subscription for every TV/device in your house – gee, what a deal!