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Holiday Gift Guide: Try these top-rated DVDs

Holiday Gift Guide: Browse our list of 2004’s comedy, drama, TV, and musical DVDs that got As from Entertainment Weekly’s critics, and read the reviews

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Elijah Wood, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Pierre Vinet

Holiday Gift Guide: Try these top-rated DVDs

Entertainment Weekly’s Rachel Orvino calls the new The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Special Extended Edition DVD ”truly precious.” It may be hard to believe after sitting through all those endings in the theater, but director Peter Jackson actually had a longer movie in mind — 50 minutes longer. Added scenes include the Fellowship’s showdown with Saruman, the Witch King’s attack on Gandalf, and a Legolas-Gimli drinking game.

Return of the King is just one of a select few discs to make our holiday gift guide. Every DVD listed here received either an A or A- — representing the very best of the year in DVD according to EW’s critics — from collections of films by Ingmar Bergman and John Cassavettes to the fourth season of South Park.

Select a genre below, or continue to the next page for the entire list. (To read reviews, click the DVD titles.)

Action
Adventure
Animated
Crime
Collections
Comedy
Documentary
Drama
Foreign
Horror
Music
Musicals
TV Shows

Gift Guide: Every DVD that got an A in 2004

Action

The Great Escape Grade: A
(Steve McQueen, James Garner)

Kill Bill — Vol. 2 Grade: A-
(Uma Thurman. David Carradine)

Adventure

Around the World in 80 Days Grade: A-
(David Niven, Cantinflas)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Grade: A-
(Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen)

Animation

Aladdin Grade: A
(Robin Williams, Scott Weinger)

The Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Vol. 2 Grade: A-
(Mel Blanc)

The Triplets of Belleville Grade: A

Crime

GoodFellas Grade: A
(Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro)

The Untouchables Grade: A-
(Kevin Costner, Sean Connery)

Collections

The Ingmar Bergman Collection Grade: A-
Ingmar Bergman (director)

The Jack Paar Collection Grade: A-
(Jack Paar)

John Cassavetes: Five Films Grade: A
John Cassavetes (director)

The Monster Legacy Collection Grade: A

Shadows, Lies, and Private Eyes: The Film Noir Collection, Volume 1 Grade: A

That’s Entertainment!: The Complete Collection Grade: A-

The Up Series Grade: A-
Michael Apted (director)

Comedy

Chump Change Grade: A
(Stephen Burrows, Traci Lords, Jerry Stiller)

Dr. Strangelove: 40th Anniversary Special Edition Grade: A
(Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, James Earl Jones)

Mean Girls Grade: A-
(Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert)

The Saddest Music in the World Grade: A
(Isabella Rossellini, Maria de Medeiros)

Slacker Grade: A-
(Richard Linklater)

Documentary

Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer Grade: A-

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls Grade: A-

Fahrenheit 9/11 Grade: A-
(Michael Moore)

King of Bluegrass: The Life & Times of Jimmy Martin Grade: A

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism Grade: A-

Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time Grade: A-

Spellbound Grade: A-

Step Into Liquid Grade: A-

To Be and To Have Grade: A

The Weather Underground Grade: A

Drama

21 Grams Grade: A-
(Sean Penn, Naomi Watts)

Angels in America Grade: A-
(Meryl Streep, Al Pacino)

Bonjour Tristesse Grade: A-
(Deborah Kerr, David Niven)

Coffee and Cigarettes Grade: A-
(Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett)

Cold Mountain Grade: A-
(Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger)

Dogville Grade: A
(Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Grade: A
(Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet)

Girl with a Pearl Earring Grade: A-
(Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth)

Gone With the Wind Grade: A
(Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh)

The Grapes of Wrath Grade: A
(Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell)

In America Grade: A-
(Samantha Morton, Paddy Considine)

Long Day’s Journey Into Night Grade: A-
(Katharine Hepburn, Jason Robards)

Lost in Translation Grade: A
(Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson)

The Lower Depths Grade: A
(Toshio Mifune, Isuzu Yamada)

The Magdalene Sisters Grade: A
(Geraldine McEwan, Anne-Marie Duff, Nora-Jane Noone)

Purple Rain: 20th Anniversary Grade: A-
(Prince, Apollonia Kotero, Morris Day)

Rain Man Grade: A-
(Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise)

The Rules of the Game Grade: A
(Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost)

Scenes From a Marriage Grade: A
(Liv Ullman, Erland Josephson)

Schindler’s List Grade: A
(Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes)

Shattered Glass Grade: A-
(Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard, Chloe Sevigny)

Showgirls Grade: A
(Elizabeth Berkley, Kyle MacLachlan, Gina Gershon)

The Station Agent Grade: A-
(Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson)

Thirteen Grade: A
(Holly Hunter, Evan Rachel Wood, Nikki Reed)

Gift Guide: Every DVD that got an A in 2004

Foreign

The Battle of Algiers Grade: A
(Brahim Haggiag, Jean Martin)

City of God Grade: A-
(Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino)

La Dolce Vita Grade: A-
(Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg)

The Leopard Grade: A-
(Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale)

Osama Grade: A-
(Marina Golbahari, Arif Herati)

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring Grade: A
(Yeong-su Oh, Ki-duk Kim)

Horror

Dawn of the Dead Grade: A
(David Emge, Ken Foree)

Eyes Without a Face Grade: A-
(Pierre Brasseur, Edith Scob)

Music

1987-1991: Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste Grade: A-
(Galaxie 500)

Elvis: The ’68 Comeback Special Grade: A
(Elvis Presley)

Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon Grade: A
(John Lennon, Yoko Ono)

The Who: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 Grade: A
(The Who)

Wattstax Grade: A-
(Isaac Hayes, Richard Pryor, Jesse Jackson)

Musicals

The Apple Grade: A
(Catherine Mary Stewart, George Gilmour)

Footloose Grade: A
(Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer)

Meet Me in St. Louis Grade: A
(Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien)

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Grade: A-
(Jane Powell, Howard Keel)

The Singing Detective Grade: A
(Michael Gambon., Patrick Malahide)

TV Shows

Chappelle’s Show: Season One Uncensored! Grade: A-
(David Chappelle)

Cheers: The Complete Second Season Grade: A-
(Ted Danson, Shelley Long)

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete First Season Grade: A
(Larry David)

The Dukes of Hazzard Grade: A-
(Tom Wopat, John Schneider, Catherine Bach)

Freaks and Geeks Grade: A
(Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Martin Starr, Samm Levine)

Friends: The Complete Seventh Season Grade: A-
(Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston)

Magnum P.I.: The Complete First Season Grade: A
(Tom Selleck, John Hillerman)

Monk: Season One Grade: A-
(Tony Shalhoub)

The O.C.: The Complete First Season Grade: A-
(Peter Gallagher, Benjamin McKenzie, Mischa Barton, Adam Brody)

The Office Grade: A
(Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Lucy Davis, Mackenzie Crook)

Playmakers: The Complete Series Grade: A-
(Omar Gooding, Marcello Thedford)

Reno 911!: The Complete First Season Grade: A-
(Cedric Yarbrough, Niecy Nash, Ben Garant)

SCTV Network 90 Volume One Grade: A-
(John Candy, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Catherine O’Hara)

Seinfeld: Seasons 1 & 2 Grade: A
(Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Michael Alexander)

Sex and the City: The Complete Fifth Season Grade: A
(Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall)

The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season Grade: A
(Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith)

Six Feet Under: The Complete Second Season Grade: A-
(Peter Krause, Frances Conroy, Rachel Griffiths, Lauren Ambrose)

South Park: The Complete Fourth Season Grade: A-
(Trey Parker, Matt Stone)

South Park: The Passion of the Jew Grade: A-
(Trey Parker, Matt Stone)

Starsky & Hutch: The Complete Second Season Grade: A-
(David Soul, Paul Michael Glaser)

The West Wing – The Complete Third Season Grade: A
(Allison Janney, Rob Lowe, Stockard Channing, Bradley Whitford, Martin Sheen)

Wiseguy: Mel Profitt Grade: A-
(Ken Wahl)

Wiseguy: Season 1 Part 1 Grade: A
(Ken Wahl)