1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Warner)
Now that HD-DVD is toast and Blu-Ray has won (until downloads take over), start your new collection with Stanley Kubrick, the only auteur with more than a few films available in the format.
Post 2001: The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, and Full Metal Jacket.
2. Planet Earth (BBC)
Most movies look a little better in Blu-Ray, but David Attenborough’s nature series is the format’s killer ap. Puffed-up birds of paradise have never been more seductive.
More Weird Worlds: Blue Planet, Galapagos, Blade Runner, Pan’s Labyrinth.
3. Superbad (Sony)
Why do people get so serious when they go HD, scooping up dystopic sci-fi and classics? You don’t have to justify it: Just relax, enjoy yourself, and laugh—a lot—at this disc’s hilarious extras.
More Comedy: Blazing Saddles, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
4. House of Flying Daggers (Sony)
Guys buy sci-fi to show off their systems—but effects-driven films can actually look worse on a better TV if you can see the pixelated CGI. Not a problem in Zhang Yimou’s outrageously oversaturated chop-socky.
More Martial Arts: Kung Fu Hustle, Enter the Dragon.
5. The Last Waltz (MGM)
Scorsese’s classic record of the Band’s last gig showcases Blu-Ray’s crisp sound—and a guest list that includes Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young.
Make It a Triple-Feature With: Scorsese’s GoodFellas and The Departed. Or Prince’s Purple Rain and Elvis’s Jailhouse Rock.
… and the rest …
6. The Searchers One of the best-looking films on Blu-Ray. 7. Dog Day Afternoon One of the best films, period. 8. Reservoir Dogs. 9. The Host The ultimate modern monster flick (sorry, Cloverfield). 10. The Lives of Others 1984, set in East Germany. 11. Ratatouille Rodentastic. 12. The Fly The only Cronenberg on Blu-Ray. 13. Close Encounters of the Third Kind The only Spielberg. 14. Volver The only Almodóvar. 15. Rescue Dawn The only Herzog. 16. Casino Royale The only Bond. 17. The Prestige Christopher Nolan’s underrated magic movie. 18. Edward Scissorhands. 19. Rocky. 20. The Devil Wears Prada So crisp you can read the labels.