After enjoying a fifty year run as the greatest film ever made, Citizen Kane has finally been toppled, giving its title to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. At least, according to the latest BFI Sight and Sound critics poll, which every ten years takes votes from over
2,000 800 critics worldwide and compiles them into the ten films that represent something like a consensus of the greatest films ever made.
As Andrew and Ryan indicated in their recent Top Ten podcast, making such a list is kind of a fool’s activity, but when this many critics are polled, at the very least what emerges is a snapshot of the general critical climate and what today’s critics consider the most important films ever. It’ll never be definitive, but it’s a fun process, and the results do tell us something about what’s considered necessary to be cinematically literate – at least to Sight & Sound magazine and the critics they include in their poll.
Here’s the new list (source):
1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
4. La Regle 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)
And for reference, here’s the previous list, from 2002:
1. Citizen Kane
3. La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game)
4. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II
5. Tokyo Story
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
7. The Battleship Potemkin
7. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
10. Singin’ in the Rain
So, The Godfathers are out (perhaps because of a new rule requiring them to be voted for separately instead of together), Battleship Potemkin gets booted, and Singin’ in the Rain, the only musical on the list, is nowhere to be seen. In their place, two silents – Man with a Movie Camera and The Passion of Joan of Arc, and one of 2002′s runner-ups, John Ford’s The Searchers.
The new list contains five American films, one Japanese film, one French film, one Soviet film, one Danish film, and one Italian film. The newest film on the list is 1968′s 2001: A Space Odyssey. See the Top 50 List for a bit more variety.
What do you think of the new list? Better than the old one? Worse? Both out of touch with reality?
*edit: sorry, I had the wrong number of critics, thanks to reading too quickly. My bad.