It’s our annual list of the Top 10 Ultra HD Blu-ray discs of the year! These are discs that are must-have for anyone with a 4k Blu-ray player and 4k HDR TV.
There were about 175 new 4k Blu-ray titles this year (over 260 if you include retailer exclusives) so it was really hard to break it down to only 10. And, it should be known that we did try to include different genres from different decades to mix it up a bit.
Keep in mind this list is subjective. If we missed a title or you disagree with our choices we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! You might even refer to our list of 2019 4k Blu-ray releases to refresh your memory. And, be sure to check out our complete list of 4k Blu-ray Discs since 2016.
10. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
The Spider-Man series with Tom Holland has been a refreshing take on the character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko for Marvel Comics. Spider-Man: Far From Home, the second of two Spider-Man films starring Holland, completed Phase 3 of the MCU film franchise. Story aside, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a great-looking film on 4k Blu-ray that is enhanced by Dolby Vision. The shots of Spidey dismantling Quentin’s projection system are one of the highlights of the display possibilities. ‘Far From Home’ is great-sounding too. With a Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel soundtrack the audio ranges from sharp and crisp dialogue to room-shaking explosions during battle scenes. The 2-disc combo also includes over an hour of bonus features such as deleted scenes, bloopers, easter eggs, and the short film “Peter’s To-Do List.” The 4k Blu-ray looks much better than the Apple 4k version, by the way. Buy on Amazon
9. Aquaman (2018)
This is one gorgeous looking film on 4k Blu-ray, and not a bad script either! The 4k Blu-ray edition of Aquaman from Warner Bros. features Dolby Vision & HDR10 for a wider color depth that is really evident in the shots underwater, providing depths of color that at times resemble a beautifully lit aquarium. The Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel soundtrack is full of details not possible on inferior formats. And, there are plenty of extras to dive deeper into the making of the film. The scene where Aquaman and his dad are engulfed in the ocean’s rage is a highlight, and the flashbacks to Aquaman as a boy learning to swim are also not to be missed. It’s another Disney title mastered in 2k, but a real showcase for color range. Buy on Amazon
8. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Even though Avengers: Endgame was mastered in 2k like many Disney and contemporary titles, the output to 4k is good enough to have made our Top 10 list. The 4k Blu-ray presents Avengers: Endgame in 2160p with HDR10 High Dynamic Range and Dolby Atmos audio. This film is chock full of incredible imagery that’s enhanced with the 10-bits HDR10 allows. The audio is definitely one of the best parts of this release with a wide range dynamic range that is well-balanced throughout. At 181 minutes, this movie is a marathon that has multiple mood changes. Those of you who want to extend the run can watch plenty of extras such as deleted scenes, a gag reel, “Remembering Stan Lee” featurette, and more. Buy on Amazon
7. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)
This disc presentation is slick. But not slick in the way you might call Avengers: Endgame or Alita: Battle Angel, but slick in terms of being a very clean looking film on 4k Blu-ray with slightly muted colors that resemble the film and photography of the late 60s. The scene at nighttime when Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) cruises home at night is remarkably sharp, vibrant, and cinematic looking considering the amount of light available. And the daytime scenes, while much flatter in lighting, have a subtle range of values that almost makes this look like restored 35mm film. The soundtrack is also clean sounding in 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. As far as extras, there are 25 minutes for fans of the film to enjoy including additional scenes and production featurettes. Buy on Amazon
6. Game of Thrones: Season 8
You had to know we’d include it in this list, didn’t you? The eighth season of Game of Thrones was disappointing for many in terms of storytelling, but the technical achievements are awesome. The six episodes on 4k Blu-ray are rich with details in 2160p resolution that weren’t visible in the television broadcasts, as HDR allows more range of values in shadow and bright areas. Most importantly, there was no banding found in the 4k Blu-ray presentations. In our review of Game of Thrones: Season 8 we talk about how 4k, HDR, and Dolby Atmos make this disc a must-own for anyone who wants to see the show in the best presentation possible. That’s why it made this list and Season 1 made last year’s list as an honorable mention. Buy on Amazon
5. Apocalypse Now (1979) – Final Cut
Presented in Dolby Vision with Dolby Atmos, Apocalypse Now is not only a classic film but a must-own on 4k Blu-ray. The original film negatives, including what was used in the Final Cut and Redux versions, were rescanned and remastered to 4k for this release. Over 2,700 hours spanning 11 months was spent cleaning the frames. What’s more, the soundtrack features a new Dolby Atmos mix that takes advantage of object-based audio mixes. The results are a huge improvement over the previously released 1080p editions. The 2019 edition of Apocalypse Now is also a value. The 6-disc set includes 4k Blu-ray versions of the Final Cut, Redux, and Original 1979 cut, along with the same versions on Blu-ray and two additional Blu-rays with bonus features. Buy on Amazon
4. The Shining (1980)
Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining based on the novel by Stephen King is a wonderful 4k upgrade from the original 35mm negatives. The aerial perspective views of the roads to the Overlook Hotel in the Rocky Mountains reveal incredibly beautiful scenery in 4k with HDR. The seamless shot of Jack’s walk through the lobby and into the office of the hotel has a rich color palette that enhances the camerawork by Cinematographer John Alcott. Images of Wendy Torrance (Shelly Duvall) and her son Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd) are vibrant and incredibly sharp for a film of this age. The soundtrack is offered in DTS-HD 5.1 channel (not 7.1 or DTS:X) and is one reason why this release is not higher on the list. It also could have included the original mono track, but unfortunately does not. However, these downfalls shouldn’t detract from the very clean and impactful soundtrack that makes this film so memorable. Buy on Amazon
3. Alien (1979)
If there is one film that benefits from a 4k restoration and upgrade to Blu-ray it’s Ridley Scott’s Alien. The 4k presentation is so good it’s like watching the movie for the first time. And, because the script is so good it’s hard to get bored for even just a second. We did a more thorough review of Alien on 4k Blu-ray and found HDR10 to really bring out details that were never visible in Blu-ray and DVD presentations. And, even though super grainy at times, the 4k Blu-ray upgrade is the sharpest we’ve ever been able to view Alien. Like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), and Blade Runner (1982), Alien (1979) is a sci-fi classic that deserves to be in your 4k library. Buy on Amazon
2. Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
Alita: Battle Angel is one film that is guaranteed to show off your 4k home theater and sound system. Available also on Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray, the 4k print of Alita: Battle Angel reveals sharpness, color, and details in the shadow areas not possible with its inferior formats. On 4k Blu-ray, the film is also one of the first to offer Dolby Vision and HDR10+, the latest HDR10 format that can dynamically change throughout the video stream. And, the Dolby Atmos/DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 audio provides an immersive underscore to this action-filled film. Alita: Battle Angel also has a great script based on the Japanese manga series from the 1990s. And, the movie comes in a rare 3-disc edition with Blu-ray, 4k Blu-ray, and 3D Blu-ray! Buy on Amazon
1. Glory (1989)
Glory is not only a great movie (winning 3 Academy Awards with 5 nominations), it’s 10x better at home with this 4k upgrade. The Edward Zwick film celebrated its 30th Anniversary this year with a new 4k master from the original negatives that’s enhanced with HDR10. It’s so great seeing actors like Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, and Morgan Freeman in super-sharp 2160p. There are times when watching Glory in 4k is like seeing it for the first time, and with a Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack it’s like hearing the film for the first time. This is one movie that not only presents a riveting story about the Civil War but looks amazing on the latest 4k TVs, especially those that support HDR. Buy on Amazon
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum looks and sounds great on 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray. The film has a beaufiful quality that may resemble a graphic novel and soundtrack that has a lot of punch. But it’s hard to rank this movie a must-have when the plot is so lacking in substance. Buy on Amazon
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Another great Spider-Man movie that looks great on 4k Blu-ray! Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is so colorful and rich with detail that it’s hard to walk away from this film. Add to the video quality a fantastic soundtrack and fun story and you’ve got another must-have for your library. Buy on Amazon
The Daniel Craig Collection
The Daniel Craig Collection offers the first time any James Bond film has been printed to 4k Blu-ray, although some of the franchise’s films have made it already to Digital UHD. If we were to review Spectre only it probably would have the Top 10. Unfortunately, the other three titles in the collection add some sharpness but not much more. Buy on Amazon
The new 4k print of Batman (1989) presents a huge improvement over previous 1080p versions with a high bit-rate 4k presentation in HDR10. And, both the 4k Blu-ray and Blu-ray were given new Dolby Atmos soundtracks. If you were to buy one 80s/90s Batman film on 4k Blu-ray this would be the one. Buy on Amazon
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
A very good looking film on 4k Blu-ray with a solid soundtrack, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is incredibly sharp in the closeups but exhibits a consistent grain in the background. The sunlit portions of the film hold together nicely with Dolby Vision and is refreshing when compared to more CGI-created works. Buy on Amazon
Also see our list of Top 10 4k Blu-rays of 2018.