Here's How to Stream 30,000 New and Classic Films Free
More than 400 Criterion Collection films are part of the New York Public Library's partnership with Kanopy.
The famed Criterion Collection—home to classics from Fellini to Lynch—had been relatively difficult to find online until the launch of Filmstruck last year. Now, thanks to a new partnership between the New York Public Library (NYPL) and Kanopy, anyone with a free NYPL card can stream up to 10 of the classics each month, along with thousands of other indies, international films, and top documentaries. (If you haven't heard of Kanopy, it's because the service is not direct-to-consumer; it services public and university libraries.)
The breadth of films available is truly impressive and will give you access to a veritable film school of movements, from French New Wave to Italian Neorealism to Kurosawa's greatest hits. The collection is also thoughtfully curated, reminiscent of video stores of yore, with pop sections like "Films Starring Actors from 'Game of Thrones'" to an excellent Staff Picks collection that includes some of our recent favorites, like Raoul Peck's outstanding doc I Am Not Your Negro.
Anyone with a free NYPL card can stream up to ten films each month.
How does it work?
Any New York Public Library cardholder aged 13 or older can sign up at Kanopy and enter a valid NYPL card number and PIN to get started. Once you're signed up, you can start streaming up to 10 films per month. (You have three days to watch each film once you start it.) Videos are also accessible with captions, transcripts, and compatibility with assistive technologies.
Do I have to be a New York resident?
Anyone anywhere can sign up for a New York Public Library card by applying online or through the SimplyE app for e-books. Here's the catch: to access advanced features like movie streaming, you have to upgrade in person at a local New York Public Library branch.
Update: our community member Shen pointed out that several libraries have similar programs available, and you can check if yours is on the list here.
Which films, exactly, are available?
Check out the full catalog at Kanopy. Might be time to book that visit to New York.