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Guillermo del Toro Shares His Top Criterion Collection Picks

Guillermo del Toro Shares His Top Criterion Collection Picks

Every time The Criterion Collection has one of their big surprise sales I rush to their website eager to spend way too much money, and every time I get there I’m frozen by the number of films they have available, many of which I know little about. When I rifle through their catalogue, I always wish I had an expert nearby to point out which ones I should be investing in. Fortunately that is just what Guillermo del Toro did for all of us by listing his top personal choices found at Criterion.

The Shape of Water director, who earned an Oscar nomination this year for the movie, was a guest on the FilmStruck podcast with Adam Savage, and he talked about the films that have inspired and influenced him. Via Criterion, the 11 works he included date back as far as 1931, with Jean Renoir’s La chienne (“Renoir is, above anything else, a humanist, and he doesn’t judge anyone. There is an all-encompassing good will toward humanity in his films.”), up to 1984’s Blood Simple from the Coen Brothers (“Blood Simple contains most, if not all, of the preoccupations the Coens will articulate throughout their career . . . It’s a perfect first movie.”).

At the risk of earning the ire of some of movie experts, the most recognizable titles on the list are Alfred Hitchcock’s 1934 hit The Man Who Knew Too Much, Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast from 1946, and 1981’s Time Bandits from Terry Gilliam. He also cites a number of foreign films that might only be familiar to the most devoted cinephiles, but that’s exactly what makes it so valuable.

I never have trouble finding the “famous” films at Criterion. Those are already in my personal collection. What I want to see are the movies that influenced my favorite directors, and who better to do that than one of my favorite directors himself. You can read his entire list at Criterion.

Which movie del Toro picked is your favorite? Which one you don’t know much about are you eager to see? Share your own list in our comments below.

Featured Image: Fox Searchlight/20th Century Fox

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