Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reel News...Sight & Sound 2012 Poll

Citizen Kane is a second-rate film. I’m only joking of course, but actually sort of serious.

 For the first time in 50 years, Welles’ celebrated masterpiece has been knocked out of its familiar standing as the “Greatest Film of All Time” in Sight  & Sound’s decennial poll. The defeat came by way of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 thriller Vertigo which surpassed Kane by a mere 34 votes.

Statistically speaking and with a hint of hindsight, it seemed only a matter of time for Vertigo to someday take the top spot.  Slowly and steadily the film has made its way upwards in the BFI poll since its inclusion as the seventh best film of all time back in the 1982.  In 1992, Vertigo was fourth and 10 years later it would move up to number two right behind Citizen Kane. This year of course, we see that's the other way around.

Citizen Kane has and always will be heralded as a masterpiece and for good reasons too. The film was voted number one in both the AFI’s Top 100 list and the previous five BFI Sight & Sound polls.  I am not one to stir up controversy but we can agree this is comes as an upset seeing the high and mighty Kane debunked by Vertigo or any film for that matter.  I love both movies equally and consider them both very deserving of their honors.  

[I wish I could be taken seriously with this statement but when it comes to Hitchcock I prefer The Birds above all, and that includes Vertigo. Unfortunately I doubt anyone wanted to embarrass themselves and vote for it this time around but I’ll be waiting in 2022. :) ]

+For comparison, I've also included the last Sight & Sound top 10 which took place back in 2002.

2012 Sight & Sound results                                                         2002 Sight & Sound Top 10

#1 Vertigo [1958]                                                                           #1 Citizen Kane [1941]

#2 Citizen Kane [1941]                                                                  #2 Vertigo [1941]

#3 Tokyo Story [1953]                                                                  #3 La Règle du jeu [1939]

#4 La Règle du jeu [1939]                                                            #4 The Godfather I, II [1972,1974]

#5 Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans [1927]                                 #5 Tokyo Story [1953]

#6 2001: A Space Odyssey [1968]                                            #6 2001: A Space Odyssey [1968]

#7 The Searchers [1956]                                                           #7 Battleship Potemkin [1925]

#8 Man with a Movie Camera [1929]                                       #7 Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans [1927]

#9 The Passion of Joan of Arc [1928]                                        #9 8 ½ [1963]

#10 8 ½ [1963]                                                                         #10 Singin' in the Rain [1952]

11. Battleship Potemkin

12. L’Atalante
13. Breathless
14. Apocalypse Now
15. Late Spring
16. Au hasard Balthazar
17. Seven Samurai
17. Persona
19. Mirror
 20. Singin’ in the Rain
21. L’avventura
21. Le Mépris
21. The Godfather
24. Ordet
24. In the Mood for Love
26. Rashomon
26. Andrei Rublev
28. Mulholland Dr.
29. Stalker
29. Shoah
 31. The Godfather Part II
31. Taxi Driver
33. Bicycle Thieves
34. The General
35. Metropolis
35. Psycho
35. Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles
35. Sátántangó
39. The 400 Blows
39. La dolce vita

41. Journey to Italy

42. Pather Panchali
42. Some Like It Hot
42. Gertrud
42. Pierrot le fou
42. Play Time
42. Close-Up
48. The Battle of Algiers

48. Histoire(s) du cinéma

50. City Lights
50. Ugetsu monogatari

50. La Jetée


  1. I can live with Vertigo as no 1, endlessly rewatchable, and my favorite Hitchcock. The Searchers [1956] however I thought was dull.

    Why have you marked several in bold?

  2. Couldn't have put it better myself- endlessly re-watchable. Believe it or not, Vertigo comes in at number 4 for me with Hitch- Psycho, The Birds, Rope, then Vertigo, although those last three could all tie for second place. Psycho is unquestionably certainly my favorite.

    I also thought The Searchers was a little slow. The first and only time I saw it was in a Native American film class, so I was initially was disgusted by the racism. Its been a while though and I probably need to re-visit it from a new perspective.

    Weird how you say some of them are in bold as I don't see that on my browser. If some of them are, it wasn't my doing.

  3. in google chrome there is no problem. With internet explorer: 11, 41, 48, 50 are in bold.

    I figured it was because those were the titles you hadn't watched yet or something. Now you are aware of it, anyway