A streaming site on a laptop displaying various movies from the Criterion Collection.

University of Pennsylvania students, faculty, and staff can now stream more than 500 iconic films in the Criterion Collection through the Kanopy video platform. The Criterion Collection, established in 1984, is a continually growing array of award-winning and notable classic and contemporary films from around the world. 

“The Criterion Collection’s global scope and cultural importance make it an essential addition to our selection of streaming films available to Penn students, faculty, and staff,” says Brigitte Weinsteiger, Associate Vice Provost for Collections and Scholarly Communications at the Penn Libraries. 

Criterion selections are wide-ranging; the collection’s online materials state that each addition must only be “an exemplary film of its kind,” whether it is “an auteur classic, a Hollywood blockbuster,” or “an independent B horror film.” Films are presented as they were intended to be seen in their theatrical release, uncut and in their original aspect ratio. 

“The Criterion Collection is by far the most popular and most frequently requested category of films on the Kanopy platform,” says Charles Cobine, Cinema and Media Studies Librarian. With the addition of this collection to Penn’s Kanopy subscription, patrons can now view films from Jean-Luc Godard, Ingmar Bergman, Chantal Akerman, Satyajit Ray, Agnès Varda, and Rainer Maria Fassbinder, and titles including Paris is Burning, Grey Gardens, The Beatles’ A Hard Day's Night, David Lynch’s Eraserhead and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, My Dinner with Andre, Pedro Almodóvar’s Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down, and Nobuhiko Obayashi's House

Due to streaming license agreements, the selection of films available on Kanopy does not mirror exactly what is included in an individual home subscription to The Criterion Channel; in particular, new films are typically not available through Kanopy. 

This collection joins tens of thousands of other feature films and documentaries offered to the Penn community through platforms like Academic Video Online, Projectr EDU, and Docuseek. Patrons can also stream oral histories, video interviews, and other niche content through Franklin, the Penn Libraries’ catalog. 

Start Streaming 

Penn students, faculty, and staff are invited to start streaming films from the Criterion Collection on Kanopy using any of the following methods. You can stream at no additional cost to you, the viewer!  

Stream through the Franklin catalog: 

  1. Open the Franklin catalog and sign in using your Pennkey. 

  2. Enter “Criterion Collection” in the keyword search to find available Criterion Collection films. 

Stream through Kanopy in your browser 

We recommend starting by opening Penn’s custom Kanopy link for the Criterion Collection in your browser. 

  • If your device is connected to Penn’s internet, you’ll be able to stream immediately. 
  • If you’re connecting from home or elsewhere, you’ll be directed to a pass-through page where you will be asked to enter your Pennkey and password before streaming. 

If you start by navigating to the Kanopy homepage (www.kanopy.com) instead, you will need to respond to a series of prompts. 

  • Click “Get Started” on the Kanopy homepage  
  • Select “Find Your University,” then type in and select “University of Pennsylvania” 
  • Continue to either set up an account, which will allow you to save your watch history, or skip this step to stream immediately. 

Stream through the Kanopy app on mobile or TV 

The Kanopy app is available on iOS devices, Android phones and tablets, and most smart TVs.  

Please note that Kanopy access is restricted to current Penn students, faculty, and staff. Affiliated employees with PennKey access to other Penn Libraries electronic resources - from the University of Pennsylvania Health System (HUP, Pennsylvania, and Presbyterian Hospitals) and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia - are also eligible to create accounts. Alumni are not eligible to access this resource due to licensing terms. For more information, visit the Penn Libraries’ guide to accessing electronic resources