The best DVDs and Blu-rays of 2013

The year’s top home-cinema releases, from cult revivals to essential cinema box sets and restorations from the archive, as chosen by 22 international critics, curators and producers.

Sight & Sound contributors

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Ingrid Bergman in Roberto Rossellini’s Stromboli (1950), part of Criterion’s 3 Films by Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman box set.

Ingrid Bergman in Roberto Rossellini’s Stromboli (1950), part of Criterion’s 3 Films by Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman box set.

Web video-on-demand services may be finally getting their acts together – 2013 was the year our parent institute the BFI joined the likes of Lovefilm, Netflix, Mubi and Curzon Home Cinema in the fray with its BFI Player – but cinephiles with shelf space know DVDs and especially Blu-rays are still the best way of bringing home the movie mountain, in terms of quality, flexibility and contextual extras. And with back-catalogue authorities like Arrow, the BFI, Carlotta Films, Criterion, Flicker Alley, Masters of Cinema, Olive Films, Second Run and Second Sight digging ever more expertly into the mines of film history, these discs also offer as rich an adventure through cinema as many a repertory house, opening up seams from the lost to the leftfield, and from established classics to the newly minted.

As you’ll see if you browse our experts’ submissions in the drop-down menu at the foot of this page, this year’s poll has even more of a long tail and fewer consensus choices than ever, but that just goes to prove the diversity out there. Still, for your interest, we’ve counted up what we found, as follows…


4 votes

3 Films by Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman

includes Stromboli (Italy / USA 1950), Europa ’51 (Italy 1952) and Journey to Italy (France / Italy 1954); Criterion (USA, 3 Region A Blu-rays / DVDs)
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3 votes

The Fury

Brian DePalma, USA 1978; Arrow (UK, Blu-ray)
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Thorold Dickinson, UK 1940; BFI (UK, Blu-ray + DVD)
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Pere Portabella: complete works

includes No compteu amb els dits (1967), Nocturno 29 (1969), Lectura Brossa (2003), Vampir-Cuadecuc (1970), Play-back (1970), Acció Santos (1973), Umbracle (1971), El Sopar (1974), Poetes Catalans (1970), Aidez l’Espagne (1969), Miró l’Altre (1969), Miró la Forja (1973), Miró Tapís (1973), Premios Nacionales (1969), Informe General Sobre Algunas Custiones de Interés para una Proyección Pública (1976), Puente de Varsovia (1989), La Tempesta (2003), No Al No (2006), Plan Hidrológico (2004), Die Stille vor Bach (2007), Mudanza (2009), Uno de Aquéllos (2010); Intermedia (Spain, 7 DVDs)
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2 votes

Black Sunday

Mario Bava, Italy 1960; Arrow (UK, Blu-ray + DVD)
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Chronicle of a Summer

Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin, France 1961; BFI (UK, Blu-ray + DVD)
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Heaven’s Gate

Michael Cimino, USA 1980; Second Sight (UK, Blu-ray / DVD)
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Ikarie XB-1

Jindrich Polák, Czechoslovakia 1963; Second Run (UK, DVD)
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Out 1: Noli me tangere / Spectre

Jacques Rivette, France 1973 / 1990; Absolut Median / Arte (Germany, 5 DVDs)
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Safety Last!

Fred Newmayer & Sam Taylor, USA 1923; Criterion (USA, Blu-ray / 2 DVDs)
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Claude Lanzmann, France 1985; Criterion (USA, 3 Blu-rays / 6 DVDs)
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Pat Collins, Ireland 2011; New Wave Films (UK, DVD)
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Anthony Asquith, UK 1928; BFI (UK, Blu-ray + DVD)
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You’re Human Like the Rest of Them: the Films of B.S. Johnson

includes You’re Human Like the Rest of Them (1967), Paradigm (1968), The Unfortunates (DVD only, 1969), The Evacuees (DVD only, 1969), Up Yours Too Guillaume Apollinaire! (1969), Unfair! (1970), March! (1970), Poem (1971), B.S. Johnson on Dr. Samuel Johnson (1972), Not Counting the Savages (DVD only, 1972), Fat Man on a Beach (1974, all UK); BFI (UK, Blu-ray + DVD)
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French Masterworks: Russian Émigrés in Paris 1923-29

includes The Burning Crucible (Le Brasier ardent) (Ivan Mosjoukine, 1923), Kean (Alexandre Volkoff, 1924), Gribiche (Jacques Feyder, 1925), The Late Mathias Pascal (Feu Mathias Pascal) (Marcel L’Herbier, 1925) and The New Gentlemen (Les Nouveaux messieurs) (Jacques Feyder, 1928); Flicker Alley (USA, 5 DVDs)
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Lost and Found: American Treasures from New Zealand

includes Upstream (John Ford, 1927), 3 reels from The White Shadow (Graham Cutts, 1924), Won in a Cupboard (Mabel Normand, 1914), Famous Ride on a Runaway Train (Lyman H. Howe, 1921), Stetson’s Birth of a Hat (1920), The Love Charm (1928), Andy’s Stump Speech (Norman Taurog, 1924), The Happy-go-luckies (1923), five newsreel stories, an episode from Dolly of the Dailies (1914) and more; Image Entertainment (USA, DVD)
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