Nick James’ introduction to the Sight & Sound poll results gives us some insight into their methodology:
As a qualification of what ‘greatest’ means, our invitation letter stated, “We leave that open to your interpretation. You might choose the ten films you feel are most important to film history, or the ten that represent the aesthetic pinnacles of achievement, or indeed the ten films that have had the biggest impact on your own view of cinema.” Each entry on each list counts as one vote for the film in question, so personal rankings within the top tens don’t matter.
The Playlist and others have been poring over the S&S Poll issue now on newstands and have culled some of the more interesting Top Ten lists compiled by the filmmakers themselves. Whether you like to think of these as the top 10 favorite movies of your favorite directors, or the top 10 greatest films according to our greatest directors, either way I’m glad to see they’re all over the map.
“Bicycle Thieves” (1948, dir. Vittorio De Sica)
“The Seventh Seal” (1957, dir. Ingmar Bergman)
“Citizen Kane” (1941, dir. Orson Welles
“Amarcord” (1973, dir. Federico Fellini
“8 1/2″ (1963, dir. Federico Fellini)
“The 400 Blows” (1959, dir. Francois Truffaut)
“Rashomon” (1950, dir. Akira Kurosawa)
“La Grande Illusion” (1937, dir. Jean Renoir)
“The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie” (1972, dir. Luis Bunuel)
“Paths Of Glory” (1957, dir. Stanley Kubrick)