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

[Update 8/27/10 – I went back to InstantWatcher.com 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 InstantWatcher.com, 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.

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