VERTIGO Overtakes CITIZEN KANE in Sight & Sound Poll of the Greatest Films of All Time

     August 1, 2012


In case you hadn’t heard, we now have a new “Greatest Film of All Time.”  Every 10 years, BFI’s Sight & Sound magazine polls a number of film experts to come up with a definitive list of the greatest films of all time.  These experts include critics, academics, writers, and programmers, and this year 846 such people participated in the poll.  Citizen Kane has topped the list every time since 1962, but this year Alfred Hitchcock’s masterful Vertigo overtook Orson Wells’ opus to be named the new “Greatest Film of All Time.”

Sight & Sound also conducts a poll of filmmakers, and this year 358 directors (including the likes of Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and Edgar Wright) yielded a significantly different Top 10 list with Yasujiro Ozu’s 1953 pic Tokyo Story taking the top spot. Though lists of this sort are by definition subjective, these Top 10s are worth perusing and act as a great guide for film fans looking to deepen their cinematic palate.  Hit the jump to take a look at both lists.

vertigo-movie-posterBefore going forward, THR has a great rundown of exactly how the film experts and directors were asked to create their lists:

The ten-yearly survey aims to rule out fluctuations in taste and asked participants to interpret “greatest” in any way they chose to. That could mean whether or not the film was most important to film history, represented the aesthetic pinnacle of achievement or perhaps had a personal impact on their own view of cinema.

The Critics’ Top 10 Greatest Films of All Time:

1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
4. La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939)
5. Sunrise: a Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
8. Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927)
10. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)

Check out the full list of 50 films, including voter breakdowns, right here.

The Directors’ Top 10 Greatest Films of All Time:

1. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968) and Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941) (tie)
4. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
5. Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1976)
6. Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)
7. The Godfather (Coppola, 1972) and Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958) (tie)
9. Mirror (Tarkovsky, 1974)
10. Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)


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