100 Best Blu-Ray Discs Best Restoration

Best Restoration

Dr. No
Could James Bond’s first adventure really be almost 50 years old? You’d never guess it from this remarkable high-def restoration. The wizards at Lowry Digital have given new life to the movie with a fresh 4k scan and painstaking clean-up work. The picture is bright, sharp, and so clear you’ll feel like you’ve just visited Jamaica. The Blu-ray looks amazing even by the standards of films produced this year, much less one released in 1962.

(Warner Brothers)
This Hollywood classic has never looked better. Not every shot is a gem—dark scenes don’t come off particularly well, which is a likely flaw in the source material. But at its best, particularly in the first 15 minutes and the early scenes in Rick’s Café, you’ll marvel at how spectacularly crisp and three-dimensional the black-and-white 1942 cinematography could look. The mono sound has been cleaned up as well: It doesn’t have any of the scratchiness that’s common to films of the era.

Gone with the Wind 70th Anniversary Collector’s Edition
(Warner Brothers)
Warner meticulously restored Gone with the Wind’s three-strip Technicolor photography from a new 8k scan. Dirt and age defects have been cleared away. Although much of the movie was shot in an intentionally diffuse style, detail and textures are much better resolved than any previous home video edition. The ornate sets and costumes are easier to appreciate than ever. This classic has never looked better.

North by Northwest 50th Anniversary Edition
(Warner Brothers)
Warner used all that modern technology has to offer to turn the depleted remains of Hitchcock’s zany classic into something new. This edition has been restored to pristine new condition. Warner painstakingly transferred each frame into the digital domain at 8k for the restoration. The results are breathtaking. This is as close as most of us will ever get to seeing this classic in the theater in 1959. We couldn’t ask for more.

Sleeping Beauty 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition
Disney dug into the vaults for this one and used the original negative to source a new 4k digital transfer. Presented for the first time in its original 2.55:1, the results are the prettiest Beauty we’ve seen. While the original sound effects are a smidge brittle, Disney unearthed the original stems from the Berlin Symphony Orchestra’s score, and the results are a new DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack. This is a whole new Sleeping Beauty.

Star Trek The Original Series Seasons 1–3
Around its 40th anniversary, Paramount and CBS meticulously restored the original 35mm print one frame at a time and struck new HD masters for preservation. In a controversial move, they also updated the special effects using modern technology and included images from the Hubble Space Telescope. In addition to the new CGI, they rerecorded the theme music using the original arrangements with impressive results.

The Godfather Collection The Coppola Restoration
Paramount has released the most quintessential of all titles. The new restoration is nothing short of brilliant. The master was sourced from original negatives that have been scanned at 4k, and the color timing is dialed in perfectly. This results in an impeccable film presentation. These films have always had a bit of a washed-out look, but the new editions feature stark contrasts with deep blacks and slightly blown-out whites that preserve the film’s intended look.

The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Edition
(Warner Brothers)
This classic has seen its fair share of restorations over the years, but the wizards at Warner have set a new standard with this edition. They’ve taken the original camera negatives and scanned them at 8k, then used improved ultra-resolution software to align the RGB elements pixel by pixel. The land of Oz has never looked better, with impeccable fine detail and breathtaking color saturation, and the Kansas scenes’ sepia tones have never looked clearer.

The Third Man
(Criterion Collection)
One of the popular refrains from people who won’t admit that DVD’s day is done is, “What difference does high def make for my old black-and-white movies?” Well, The Third Man is an emphatic answer. This movie has tremendous resolution and a palpable film-like feel with a remarkable living grain structure. We don’t know if any studio is doing more right by black-and-white classics than Criterion. Gorgeous stuff.

Pinocchio 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition
From the looks of this restoration, the visuals in this timeless Disney film might have been created yesterday. There are no visible scratches or dirt anywhere. The colors are bright and clear, the noise levels are low, and the details are sharp as a proverbial tack. In fact, the only visible clue to the film’s age is its 4:3 aspect ratio. Pinocchio is a genuine classic that belongs in any collection of great animated features.