Five Older Movies That Look Amazing in 4K

4K transfers are giving physical media an overdue comeback. What classics look REALLY good in the format?

True Lies

Confession time: despite being a serious film buff, and preaching the gospel of physical media, I only recently upgraded to a 4K Blu-ray player. While I’ve been watching 4K for years on my Apple TV, I also upgraded my 4K TV to one with Dolby Vision built-in, and some of the results I’ve been seeing on restorations of my favourite movies have been blowing my mind. For those of you who maybe haven’t taken the plunge, here’s a list of five that have really knocked my socks off:

The Crow

The Crow (1994)

Our man Tyler Nichols was so impressed with the transfer on the recent 4K disc that he devoted an entire column to it last week. For me, this was one of the first movies I opted to pick up, as it’s never really looked all that great on DVD or Blu-ray. I’ve been lucky enough to see this in revivals in 35mm, and I never found home viewing did the movie justice – until now. The 4K transfer, which was painstakingly restored by Paramount, is sumptuous, with it doing justice (at last) to Dariusz Wolski’s noirish, largely Color-drained palate. It looks like it does in 35mm for the first time in its home video history.

True Romance

True Romance (1994)

This one comes from Arrow Video, who’ve done a terrific job with their catalogue releases of vintage titles on 4K, many of which come packed with thoughtful extras and gorgeous transfers. Tony Scott’s True Romance is a revelation in the format, with it carrying over all the good special features from the old DVD set (including scene-specific commentary by everyone from Dennis Hopper to Val Kilmer and writer Quentin Tarantino). Notably, the disc also contains the film’s original theatrical cut, which has been MIA for many years. While I prefer the more violent director’s cut, many purists want to replicate the original theatrical experience, so if you watch the theatrical in 4K with the Dolby 2.0 mix, you’ll get pretty close.


Jaws (1975)

So here’s a bit of a more controversial one. Jaws looks amazing in 4K, with the Dolby Vision transfer a sight to behold, but some might say it looks “too good” while it is meticulously restored frame-by-frame. Having seen a print of this on 35mm not too long ago, to me, this transfer is in the acceptable range of a restoration, as it looks like you’re watching a deluxe, 70mm version cut from the original negative.

True Lies

True Lies (1994)

The True Lies transfer has been controversial among home video aficionados. Some love it, while some think James Cameron has lost his mind. Whatever the case, it can’t be denied that even if this movie looks a lot different than it did in 1994, but for me, the effect is pleasing to the eye. The same can’t be said for the Terminator 2: Judgement Day transfer though, which seems overly polished.

flash gordon 4k

Flash Gordon (1980)

Another Arrow Video release, Mike Hodges’s Fellini-esque sci-fi epic is eye-popping in 4K. The film was notoriously shot in the most opulent way possible, and the production design and lensing have never looked anything like they do on this disc. The Queen soundtrack also sounds killer whatever mix you choose. One of the things I like is that Arrow always includes the original mixes, which, as a purist, is often how I prefer to watch a movie (one movie with a weird recent remix is Tim Burton’s original Batman, which replaced the sound effects). 

Which classics do you think look amazing in 4K? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.