The Criterion Collection

From Home Video


The Criterion Collection was originally founded in 1984 by Robert Stein, Aleen Stein and Joe Medjuck, who later were joined by Roger Smith and originally operated as a subsidiary of Criterion, Inc. The company's first two titles are Citizen Kane and King Kong, both on Laserdisc. The latter has an audio commentary track, a first in the history of home video. Following the success of these titles, Voyager Press acquired the majority of the company, with a majority stake handled by Janus Films, a classic film supplier.

With its eighth LaserDisc release, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Criterion introduced the letterbox format, which added black bars to the top and bottom of the 4:3 standard television set in order to preserve the original aspect ratio of the film. Thereafter, Criterion made letterboxing the standard presentation for all its releases of films shot in widescreen aspect ratios.

Although the only three Criterion videocassettes are The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes and The Third Man, the company mostly specialized in Laserdisc production. The company briefly dabbled in 1991 into television with the launch of Criterion Television Classics, which specialized in Laserdisc releases of classic TV shows, but sales flopped.

In 1997, Voyager Company was dissolved, and the remaining three partners, Aleen Stein, Becker and Turell begin to own the company, which had a relationship with Janus Films and Home Media Entertainment. In 1998, the company entered DVD production, and in 2008, launched Blu-ray content.

In 2005, Home Media was sold to Image Entertainment until 2013, when Sony Pictures Home Entertainment took over distribution of the titles.



Catalog number Title Country of origin Original year Length Version MPAA rating Film format Tape count Tape break placement (if applicable) Color Released Format Note(s)
1103Y The 39 Steps UK 1935 87 min TBD NR N/A 1 N/A Black-and-white December 9, 1985 VHS TBD
1104Y The Lady Vanishes UK 1938 97 min TBD NR N/A 1 N/A Black-and-white December 9, 1985 VHS TBD
1105Y The Third Man UK 1949 104 min TBD NR N/A 1 N/A Black-and-white December 9, 1985 VHS TBD