Sight & Sound Poll 2012: Top 10 Films of All Time

Above, Andrew Sarris’ handwritten Top 10 List from 1962, the first year the poll was devised: Ugetsu Monogatari (1953), Lola Montès (1955), La Règle du jeu [The Rules of the Game] (1939), L’Atalante (1934), The Great Dictator (1940), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Nuit et Brouillard [Night and Fog] (1955), Tirez sur le pianiste [Shoot the Piano Player] (1961) and A bout de souffle [Breathless] (1960).

Sight & Sound will be announcing their Top 10 poll very shortly. It’s rumored that Vertigo has displaced Citizen Kane as the critics’ new #1 film of all time. The poll is revised every 10 years, and S&S has hinted that this year critics and directors have voted for different #1 films. We’ll know any minute.

UPDATE:
#1 Vertigo
#2 Citizen Kane
#3 Tokyo Story.
#4: La Règle du jeu
#5: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans.
#6: 2001: A Space Odyssey.
#7: The Searchers
#8: Man with a Movie Camera.
#9: The Passion of Joan of Arc
#10: 8 1/2

DIRECTOR’S TOP 10 FILMS

1. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
=2 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
=2 Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
4. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
5. Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1980)
6. Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)
=7 The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)
=7 Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
9. Mirror (Tarkovsky, 1974)
10. Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)

Check out the BFI Top 50 films on page 2.

BFI Top 50 Film of all time

1. Vertigo
Alfred Hitchcock, 1958 (191 votes)

2. Citizen Kane
Orson Welles, 1941 (157 votes)

3. Tokyo Story
Ozu Yasujiro, 1953 (107 votes)

4. La Règle du jeu
Jean Renoir, 1939 (100 votes)

5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
FW Murnau, 1927 (93 votes)

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick, 1968 (90 votes)

7. The Searchers
John Ford, 1956 (78 votes)

8. Man with a Movie Camera
Dziga Vertov, 1929 (68 votes)

9. The Passion of Joan of Arc
Carl Dreyer, 1927 (65 votes)

10. 8½
Federico Fellini, 1963 (64 votes)

11. Battleship Potemkin
Sergei Eisenstein, 1925 (63 votes)

12. L’Atalante
Jean Vigo, 1934 (58 votes)

13. Breathless
Jean-Luc Godard, 1960 (57 votes)

14. Apocalypse Now
Francis Ford Coppola, 1979 (53 votes)

15. Late Spring
Ozu Yasujiro, 1949 (50 votes)

16. Au hasard Balthazar
Robert Bresson, 1966 (49 votes)

17= Seven Samurai
Kurosawa Akira, 1954 (48 votes)

17= Persona
Ingmar Bergman, 1966 (48 votes)

19. Mirror
Andrei Tarkovsky, 1974 (47 votes)

20. Singin’ in the Rain
Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly, 1951 (46 votes)

21= L’avventura
Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960 (43 votes)

21= Le Mépris
Jean-Luc Godard, 1963 (43 votes)

21= The Godfather
Francis Ford Coppola, 1972 (43 votes)

24= Ordet
Carl Dreyer, 1955 (42 votes)

24= In the Mood for Love
Wong Kar-Wai, 2000 (42 votes)

26= Rashomon
Kurosawa Akira, 1950 (41 votes)

26= Andrei Rublev
Andrei Tarkovsky, 1966 (41 votes)

28. Mulholland Dr.
David Lynch, 2001 (40 votes)

29= Stalker
Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979 (39 votes)

29= Shoah
Claude Lanzmann, 1985 (39 votes)

31= The Godfather Part II
Francis Ford Coppola, 1974 (38 votes)

31= Taxi Driver
Martin Scorsese, 1976 (38 votes)

33. Bicycle Thieves
Vittoria De Sica, 1948 (37 votes)

34. The General
Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman, 1926 (35 votes)

35= Metropolis
Fritz Lang, 1927 (34 votes)

35= Psycho
Alfred Hitchcock, 1960 (34 votes)

35= Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles
Chantal Akerman, 1975 (34 votes)

35= Sátántangó
Béla Tarr, 1994 (34 votes)

39= The 400 Blows
François Truffaut, 1959 (33 votes)

39= La dolce vita
Federico Fellini, 1960 (33 votes)

41. Journey to Italy
Roberto Rossellini, 1954 (32 votes)

42= Pather Panchali
Satyajit Ray, 1955 (31 votes)

42= Some Like It Hot
Billy Wilder, 1959 (31 votes)

42= Gertrud
Carl Dreyer, 1964 (31 votes)

42= Pierrot le fou
Jean-Luc Godard, 1965 (31 votes)

42= Play Time
Jacques Tati, 1967 (31 votes)

42= Close-Up
Abbas Kiarostami, 1990 (31 votes)

48= The Battle of Algiers
Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966 (30 votes)

48= Histoire(s) du cinéma
Jean-Luc Godard, 1998 (30 votes)

50= City Lights
Charlie Chaplin, 1931 (29 votes)

50= Ugetsu monogatari
Mizoguchi Kenji, 1953 (29 votes)

50= La Jetée
Chris Marker, 1962 (29 votes)

This caught me off-guard today, so I need time to think about my own list. Kane, Vertigo, Chinatown, The Conformist, The Godfather I & II… those are my personal favorite Top 5.

148 Comments on this Post

  1. I never really liked “Vertigo” very much. I´d prefer “Citizen Kane” to stay on top.

  2. My top 10 all-time would be:

    1. The Godfather Part II
    2. Casablanca
    3. The Godfather
    4. The Seven Samurai
    5. Intolerance
    6. Dr. Strangelove
    7. Persona
    8. The Tree of Life
    9. Stage Door
    10. (tie) Breathless, Le Cercle Rouge

  3. Phil Boroff

    My Top Ten of All Times:

    1. Citizen Kane
    2. Vertigo
    3. Singin’ in the Rain
    4. The Night of the Hunter
    5. Psycho
    6. Some Like It Hot
    7. Sullivan’s Travels
    8. 8 1/2
    9. Brokeback Mountain
    10. The Best Years of Our Lives

    When these titles turn up (or will turn up) on TCM, or wherever, I always say that I will not watch them again, but I always do.

  4. Andrea Ostrov Letania

    In no particular order:

    2001, Andrei Rublev, Magnificent Ambersons, Citizen Kane, Vertigo, Seven Samurai, Siberiade, Time of the Gypsies, Jules and Jim, Face of Another.

  5. Just like Back to The Future Part II isn’t one with Back to The Future, The Godfather Part II is a separate movie, with separate goals, themes, and plots.

  6. Question Mark

    And of Sight & Sound’s top ten, exactly zero of them won the Best Picture Oscar*, so we can stop

    * = Depending on how you classify Sunrise’s “best artistic production” Oscar at the first Academy Awards

    My top ten (only in alphabetical order)

    Chinatown
    Citizen Kane
    Dr. Strangelove
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    Fargo
    The General
    Pulp Fiction
    Rashomon
    Sunset Boulevard
    Three Colours Trilogy (if the first two Godfathers counted as one, these should count too)

  7. And this time, they are considered separate movies, where they weren’t in the past.

    Don’t have a link yet, but here are the results:

    Top 10 Movies by Directors:

    1. Tokyo Story
    2. 2001
    3. Citizen Kane
    4. 8 1/2
    5. Taxi Driver
    6. Apocalypse Now
    7. The Godfather
    8. Vertigo
    9. The Mirror (though I don’t know if it’s the Tarkovsky film or the Iranian film)
    10. The Bicycle Thieves

    Top 10 Movies by Critics:

    1. Vertigo
    2. Citizen Kane
    3. Tokyo Story
    4. The Rules of the Game
    5. Sunrise
    6. 2001
    7. The Searchers
    8. Man with a Movie Camera
    9. The Passion of Joan of Arc
    10. 8 1/2

  8. Looks like the critics had much more clout then, or is the list at the top of the page representative of the critics’ results solely?

  9. I don’t even like VERTIGO. Pfft.

  10. There’s no way I could comfortably do just 10. I had to do 30 and I’m still anxious about leaving so much out.

    In alphabetical order:

    2001: A Space Odyssey
    Annie Hall
    Back To The Future 1 and 2
    Being There
    Big Lebowski, The
    Blue Velvet
    Boogie Nights
    Capturing The Friedmans
    Chinatown
    Clockwork Orange, A
    Duck Soup
    Ed Wood
    Godfather, The 1 and 2
    Goodfellas
    Graduate, The
    Groundhog Day
    Hard Day’s Night, A
    One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
    Princess Bride, The
    Psycho
    Purple Rose Of Cairo, The
    Raiders Of The Lost Ark
    Shawshank Redemption, The
    Tampopo
    Taxi Driver
    This Is Spinal Tap
    Toy Story
    Trading Places
    Truman Show, The
    WALL-E

  11. rufussondheim

    Since I did some heavy thinking because of another thread so it wasn’t that hard for me to whittle it to ten and roughly rank them. I included reasons why I chose them. And those reasons have more to do with who I am than how well the movies are made.

    1) Longtime Companion – Growing up I had a fascination with disaster movies, particularly The Poseiden Adventure. This movie is essentially a disaster flick, we watch the characters flail simultaneously hoping to survive while trying to make sense of what is happening to them. Ultimately this is a movie about the only Longtime Companion you can count on to never leave you, and that’s grief. The final scene is a triumph over grief and it’s so impeccably filmed, so perfectly executed that I cry even if I imagine the scene in my head. This is an overlooked masterpiece that unfairly gets pigeonholed into the AIDS genre.

    2) Latter Days – This is probably the worst written, acted and directed movie in my top 100. But it must just be the most genuine. The unlikely coincidences that steer this movie toward its conclusions are, to me, an affirmation of a higher being, whatever that higher being may be. But what really sells this movie to me is the monologue the Mormon lead delivers before the emotional climax. The reunion of the two main characters in that scene is so realistically done, it moves me every time I see it.

    3) Once – I knew the song Falling Slowly well before I even knew of the existance of this movie and loved it dearly, but to see the two leads sing the song in the film brought new levels of enjoyment to it. That scene in the music shop is probably the best singly musical moment in movie history. It’s also the best scene of two people falling in love in history.

    4) Half Nelson – Oh Ryan Gosling, you are perfect indeed. He goes to Anthony Mackie to tell him to stop exploiting Shareeka Epps. But all it takes is an offer of free crack and we know who’s in charge here. You learn in the DVD commentary the bit with the cat as they enter the house is completely improvised. What makes it brillian is that it echoes the death of Gosling’s pet cat earlier in the movie, and symbolically shows what will probably happen to Shareeka Epps. But what makes this movie a masterpiece in my opinion is the look on Gosling’s face as Epps enters the motel room in the final minutes. It encapsulates so many different emotions and hopes and fears in just a few seconds, maybe the best single acting scene in film history.

    5) Chariots of Fire – Outside of the soaring scoring of the race scenes this movie tears me apart as it depicts two people searching for fulfillment in winning a race. What the viewer knows is that winning those races will only keep them happy for the briefest of moments. We as humans always want more. I love these two guys as they refuse to sacrifice who they are in their pursuits. The movie never shows you if either lead gains the happiness that so eludes them, but the moments when they win, they make you feel so much happiness for them that you feel good for days afterwards.

    6) Magnolia – It’s not gonna stop til you wise up. How true, how true. If you can’t find yourself in one or more of these characters you don’t know yourself very well.

    7) Vanya on 42nd Street – This is probably the most perfectly executed film in this list. From the perfect translation by David Mamet and the decision to put the cameras on the stage in this “rehearsal” every decision made in creating this film was the right one. And it shows one of the most heartbreaking plays ever written as we watch these characters forced to accept their fates.

    8) Priest – A scene midway in this film has Linus Roache practically cursing God because of his suffering and confusing “Do Something!” he yells at God. And what Roache doesn’t know is at that very moment the mother is going to discover her husband is sexually abusing her daughter. Yes, God does work in mysterious ways. This scene, to me, is as tense and thrilling as any scene in any action or suspense film.

    9) Capote – It’s impossible to say how great this film is. It’s certainly a perfect companion piece to In Cold Blood and now I can’t separate the two. Capote falls in love with a killer and he can’t even admit it to himself and it probably destroys his life. This might be the greatest real-life literary tragedy. To read Capote’s prose and then to watch Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal within days of each other, well, it just tears you apart.

    10) Field of Dreams – What list isn’t complete with the cheesiest most manipulative film of all time? Everyone who loves this film knows exactly why this film is great and we just look at the rest of you and say “You poor fools.”

  12. steve50

    Well, if I had to, I could get down to 11 I couldn’t live without, but no further:

    2001: A Space Odyssey
    Lawrence of Arabia
    Citizen Kane
    Brokeback Mountain
    Rules of the Game
    Battle of Algiers
    Wages of Fear
    The Passion of Joan of Arc
    Bonnie and Clyde
    8 1/2
    Chinatown

    and the order changes depending on the mood

    close behind: City Lights, Napoleon (Gance), Tree of Life, Seven Beauties, Hunger, and Nashville

  13. steve50

    Yes! one more – completely unapologetic inclusion of Field of Dreams in the “close behind” list.

  14. dudeabides

    1. Citizen Kane
    2. 2001: A Space Odyssey
    3. The Godfather
    4. Rear Window
    5. Apocalypse Now
    6. The 400 Blows
    7. 8 1/2
    8. The Seventh Seal
    9. The Thin Red Line
    10. Taxi Driver

  15. The Pope

    It’s easier for me to pick 3. After that, it’s got to be 300. And no less.

    The only reason why we go for ten is because we have two hands and five fingers on each.

    But it’s a healthy thing we have ‘new’ old films on the list. A lot to be said for DVD and Blu-Ray.

  16. i just can’t believe that 2001 is now the baby of the group… that movie came out almost 45 years ago… wow.

    i also adore the silent era— but 3 films? i dunno.

  17. I have always loved Vertigo, 2001, and Citizen Kane. So it’s really amazing to see those three films climbing to the top year after year. My top ten:

    1. Citizen Kane, Dir. Orson Welles
    2. Vertigo, Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
    3. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dir. Stanley Kubrick
    4. Singin’ in the Rain, Dir. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly
    5. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Director’s Cut (Extended), Dir. Peter Jackson
    6. Duck Soup, Dir. Leo McCarey
    7. The Apartment, Dir. Billy Wilder
    8. Lawrence of Arabia, Dir. David Lean
    9. Mary Poppins, Dir. Robert Stevenson
    10. My Neighbor Totoro, Dir. Hayao Miyazaki

  18. This top 10 list just reminds me how pathetic my film viewing catalog is. Shameful. But I’m curious as to why no film made in the past 40 years fail to make the top 10. Very peculiar. This list has inspired me to rent Vertigo from the library, I haven’t seen it since I was a kid.

  19. Close contenders: Star Wars, City Lights, Some Like It Hot, Castle in the Sky, The Philadelphia Story, The General, and The Gold Rush

  20. Atrthur Bainbridge

    Lawrence of Arabia
    The Man.who shot Liberty Valance
    Spartacus
    Rio Bravo
    Thr Ten Commandments(1956)
    Once upon a time in America
    Carry on Cleo
    A bridge too far
    The
    Jolson story
    The green berets

  21. My Top Ten (in no particular order). Boy, this was hard, because one has to narrow down one’s list and throw out some incredible films (in my case, I had to nix “A Very Long Engagement” and “The Age of Innocense, and “Bonnie and Clyde” to name a few):

    1. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
    2. Zefferelli’s Romeo And Juliet
    3. Anne Of The Thousand Days
    4. A Night To Remember
    5. The Lion In Winter
    6. Doctor Zhivago
    7. All About Eve
    8. Blade Runner
    9. Chinatown
    10. The Birds

  22. Vertigo is so overrated. I prefer Rear Window or Psycho than it. I really can not understand why they do not love Raiders of the lost Ark. Yes it is action, but true masterpiece.

  23. It’s hard to make a list like this because the voters came into it with different intentions: What was the most influential, what was the most enjoyable on an emotional level, an intellectual level, what holds up best, what works best on a technical level…The Sight & Sound polls seem to generally skew toward the influential/technical with their choices…

    My own list changes by the week, but…

    1. The Godfather I-II
    2. GoodFellas
    3. Citizen Kane
    4. Taxi Driver
    5. Casablanca
    6. Rear Window
    7. A Streetcar Named Desire
    8. Dog Day Afternoon
    9. Annie Hall
    10. Pulp Fiction

    The Deer Hunter usually makes this list and Annie Hall doesn’t but I saw Hall again a week ago and was absolutely floored. Hannah and Her Sisters, From Here to Eternity, The Great Escape, Chinatown, Almost Famous, American Beauty, Atlantic City, The Good the Bad & The Ugly, Sunset Blvd, The Graduate, Cool Hand Luke, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Shining and Clockwork, The Last Picture show….Jesus, all could have slid in there. Better to have too many choices than not enough.

  24. Reform the Academy

    So happy to see the over-rated Citizen Kane FINALLY displaced…but I would prefer if Rear Window took the spot instead of Vertigo.

  25. Interesting top choice, Keifer. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? has aged beautifully.

  26. lazarus

    So nice that instead of intelligent discussion and analysis of this historical consensus, we get a bunch of people posting their own personal lists.

    Can we ease off on the egocentrism for just a little bit?

  27. Chris138

    Interesting choice, although I don’t think Vertigo is even Hitchcock’s best film.

  28. So the most recent films in the top 50 are:

    2000’s
    #24 – In the Mood for Love
    #28 – Mulholland Drive

    1990’s
    #35 – Satantango
    #42 – Close-Up
    #48 – Histoire du cinema

    1980’s
    #29 – Shoah

    There are 7 movies from the ’70s (three of which were directed by Coppola, two by Tarkovsky), but that’s pretty much it for “contemporary” cinema. Understandably, it is difficult for 400+ people to rally around titles when the films are so fresh and haven’t yet reached “classic” status (though this is arguable) but it’s nice to at least see a couple of films from the last 12 years make the cut.

  29. Dominik

    I´d clearly prefer “North by Northwest” over “Vertigo”, but it´ms all totally subjective, isn´t it?

    And also: If you want your film to be included in the Top 10 of such an elitist critics poll, you better not make a comedy. Because comedies aren´t good enough, as we know… ;-)

    But I wanna end with a positive remark: Great to see “In the Mood for Love” there!

  30. lazarus, stop being a sour apple and post your list!

  31. Robert A.

    Testing…I’m trying to figure out why my comments never show up on AD anymore. Have I been blacklisted? Am I using the wrong email address? Let’s see if this email address works.

  32. Robert A.

    Oh, there I am! I’ve been using the wrong email address.

    Well, I had a lovely post all written up and sent, but it never posted here and I’m too tired to rewrite it, so…um…carry on!

  33. @drake: You’re right, it’s odd that nothing made since 1968 made it on the critics’ list. As pioneering as the classics are, a lot of the conventions used in style and technique just haven’t survived into modern filmmaking. There are plenty of modern masterpieces that embody a more contemporary take on great storytelling – Pulp Fiction, Fargo, and Spirited Away come to mind.

  34. I must be the only person who comes here that also loves Tokyo Story. It’s been my favorite film since the day I saw it, probably 12 years ago. I’m so glad it still ranks at 3.

  35. Bryce Forestieri

    what the hell lets expose ourselves lol (no particular order)

    1.Godfather I&II
    2.2001
    3.Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
    4.Apocalypse Now
    5.Le Samourai
    6.Cries and Whispers
    7.Taxi Driver
    8.Ikiru
    9.My Own Private Idaho
    10.Battle of Algiers

    **i left out like 600 titles

  36. all these movies have the reputation of being great. everybody knows that. so, why is ranking so important? I can understand the lists of the best in one year but the best ever?!

  37. @ sam

    i agree sam. and i’ll also echo JS’s comment. i’m surprised at the lack of contemporary cinema (i at least thought the trend would be different- not trending towards more 1920’s films in the top 10. Anyways, i think the 1960’s may be the peak of international cinema (bergman, kurosawak, fellini, godard, truffaut, antonioni, etc, etc) but i’m surprised there aren’t films like “raging bull”, “blade runner”, “pulp fiction” “goodfellas”, “blue velvet” on this list. i feel like a consensus has already been well established on these films- the same way it has for (the even younger) “in the mood for love” and “mulholland drive”

  38. Robert, I’ll check the filter when I get back to the desk to be sure you’re not mistakenly on terrorist watch list.

  39. In no particular order, the films that raised me, and I could never do without:
    All About Eve
    The Apartment
    They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
    The Tree of Life
    Rear Window
    Grave of The Fireflies
    There Will Be Blood
    The English Patient
    Amelie
    Spirited Away
    East of Eden
    The Piano Teacher
    Ran
    The Red Shoes
    Rashomon
    Billy Elliot

  40. Jesse,

    Everytime I see “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They” I am amazed at the film technique used by director Sydney Pollack. You are right. I has aged beautifully (it could be released today exactly as is and still hold up. It is a hauntingly beautiful film – a microcosm of the whole world on one stage.

    I also liked your choice of “Goodfellas” and “Dog Day Afternoon”. Both brilliant choices. In a pinch, I would choose “Godfather Part II” over the original. I found Part II much more episodic and complex.

  41. Jake G!!!

    1)The Dark Knight Rises
    2)LOTR: Return of the King
    3)2001: A Space Odyssey
    4)The Godfather Part 1/2/3
    5)The Silence of the Lambs
    6)Apocalypse Now
    7)Rocky
    8)Pans Labyrinth
    9)The Shining
    10)Inception/Alien

  42. evelyn garver

    I don’t know the ages of the commenters. I’m almost 60 and saw VERTIGO when I was a teen on TV. It’s hard to imagine the impact of this movie in earlier decades. It is so nakedly formed around sexual obsession, and I remember being overwhelmed that icon Jimmy Stewart as Scottie was a sick man indeed. It’s remarkable. Give it another viewing. My list would also have to include: SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT, THE APARTMENT, ROSEMARY’S BABY, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, CHINATOWN, ALL ABOUT EVE, BOTH GODFATHERS, and from more recent years: L.A. CONFIDENTIAL and THERE WILL BE BLOOD.

  43. Scott (the other one)

    Finally!!! I’ve been arguing for “Vertigo” for so long!

  44. Richard E

    I think Bernard Hermann deserves some credit for numbers one and two. I think that Vertigo in particular owes a lot to its score.

  45. Knative

    I am glad that Taxi Driver made it to number 5. I think it’s way better than Raging Bull.
    My list:
    1.) The Wickerman
    2.) Taxi Driver
    3.) Cleo from 5 to 7
    4.) L’Avventura
    5.) Viridiana
    6.) The Long Good Friday
    7.) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    8.) Raise the Red Lantern
    9.) The Official Story
    10.) The Big Heat

  46. Derek G

    All those films deserve their placing but my top ten in no particular order are:

    Yankee doodle Dandy
    White Heat
    Casablanca
    The Cat and Canary (silent version)
    Phantom of the Opera (Lon Chaney)
    Hunchback of Notre Dame (Charles Laughton)
    All about Eve
    Some Like It Hot
    Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
    King Kong (Willis O’Brian and Ray Harryhausen 1930s)
    I know its pretty mixed and very subjective list but Its all my favourites

  47. I know the inclusion of so many Tarkovsky movies on the list has led some commentators on other websites to label the critics “dweebs”, but let me tell you, his movies got rented quite a few times at the last store I worked at (also, unfortunately, stolen), so it’s clear he still has a big fan base (though if you’re going to choose one of his, I’d pick SOLARIS).

  48. julian the emperor

    The bias against recent movies clearly illustrates how nostalgia and distance in time play a part when even the professionals are asked to merit artistic value. I see no reason why Mulholland Drive is an inferior film to Vertigo or why Magnolia is inferior to Citizen Kane. To me, they are definitely not. But that’s the name of the game, I guess.

    Oh, I would put Otto e mezzo at to, Persona at number two and Taxi Driver at number three.

    And; allow me to feel proud that my compatriot Dreyer (we are Danes, in case you were wondering) is represented not with one or two, but THREE movies in the top 50 (at 9,24 and 42). Wow! But no Von Trier? Just wait another 40 years and he will surely be included.

  49. My own:

    1. The Godfather Part II
    2. Network
    3. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
    4. Citizen Kane
    5. Taxi Driver
    6. The Godfather
    7. Dr. Strangelove
    8. The Lord of the Rings
    9. Pulp Fiction
    10. Rear Window

    11. Giant
    12. Raiders of the Lost Ark
    13. Back to the Future
    14. Blade Runner
    15. Annie Hall
    16. There Will Be Blood
    17. King Kong (original)
    18. Apocalypse Now
    19. The 400 Blows
    20. Rebecca

  50. Wholeheartedly agree, Julian. With a few exceptions, I find most films made before 1970 to be horribly dated. I don’t really care if they “did it first,” they’re just hard to watch more than once.

  51. steve50

    These lists ebb and flow constantly. The fact that this particular list has such an established pedigree and only occurs every ten years makes it an event. Is Vertigo really better than Citizen Kane? Easy answer – no. Is it better than #50 on the list, City Lights? Same answer.

    What these lists do (including our own) is ensure that great films are not forgotten. The order doesn’t matter. The Sight and Sound list could easily have been exchanged for any of a dozen posted here. It’s a healthy exercise, personally and culturally.

  52. As much as I like to argue a Top 10 list such as this, I can’t. The mentions are pretty much on point, give or take. Keep blogging, you seem to know a little about a lot of bits.

  53. 1. Inception
    2. Fight Club
    3. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    4. The Godfather(s)
    5. Pulp Fiction
    6. Lord of the Rings
    7. Dark Knight
    8. Taxi Driver
    9. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    10. Election
    11. Psycho
    12. Memento
    13. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    14. Requiem for a Dream
    15. Die Hard
    16. Wall-E
    17. Titanic (That’s right, I cry everytime! “Jack, Jack! Rooose!”)
    18. Shawshank
    19. Goodfellas
    20. The Departed

  54. tanfoi305

    In random order:

    sunless
    Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One
    the night of the hunter
    the thin red line
    persona
    Princess Mononoke
    Almost Famous
    my neighbor totoro
    The great dictator
    grave of the fireflies

  55. As a big Tarkovsky fan, ecstatic to see how well he has done on this list (and in the correct order imo). Mirror and Andrei Rublev are his 2 masterpieces, and Stalker at 29 is a nice suprise.
    Also loving that Close-Up snuck in there too.

    As for Vertigo, love the film, would make my Top 40 (Kane would be around the same mark), however best film of all-time I dont really agree with.

    My favourite 10 films are;

    1. Alien
    2. Once Upon a Time in the West
    3. The Godfather Part II
    4. Brief Encounter
    5. Apocalypse Now
    6. Runaway Train (my oddball entry)
    7. Chinatown
    8. Barry Lyndon
    9. Mirror
    10. Bladerunner

    HM: The Deer Hunter, Salvador, The Terminator, Andrei Rublev

  56. christiannnw

    I’ve never understood the clout of vehement praise that has surrounded many of Hitchcock’s films, particularly in regards to “Psycho”, “Rear Window”, and “Vertigo”; they’re all technically immaculate but barely register on an emotional level. I prefer lighter Hitchcock fare such as “The Lady Vanishes” or “Shadow of a Doubt”.

    But I like this list a lot, and many of the choices outside of the top ten are quite dear to me. I still haven’t approached “Citizen Kane” yet, but maybe this status bump might encourage me to check it out.

    Lo and behold! My Top 10 List:

    1. Three Colors: Red (1994, Krzysztof Kieslowski)
    2. The Godfather Part II (1974, Francis Ford Coppola)
    3. Broadcast News (1987, James L. Brooks)
    4. Fanny and Alexander (1982, Ingmar Bergman)
    5. Before Sunset (2004, Richard Linklater)
    6. The Rules of the Game (1939, Jean Renoir)
    7. Nashville (1975, Robert Altman)
    8. The Thin Red Line (1998, Terrence Malick)
    9. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927, F.W. Murnau)
    10. The Piano (1993, Jane Campion)

    Outliers: Dawn of the Dead (1978, George A. Romero), Stalker (1979, Andrei Tarkovsky), Secrets & Lies (1996, Mike Leigh), Late Spring (1949, Yasujiro Ozu), Repulsion (1965, Roman Polanski), Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984, Hayao Miyazaki), Clueless (1995, Amy Heckerling)

  57. Regarding no recent films making the Top 10, I can relate a little bit. There have been hundreds, if not thousands of good films made in recent decades. However, I just looked at my all-time list, and the earliest post-80’s films in my list arent until around the 25 mark (Children of Men and Tree of Life). I have only seen The Tree of Life twice, so it’s hard to guage where it sits, it’s probably too soon to place it in a Sight & Sound Top 10, but of all films in recent decades, it probably stands the best chance.

    So, whilst recent decades have hundreds of classics, maybe they are largely devoid of out-and-out masterpieces. Im only 23 as well, so im not just an oldie biased against the new stuff.

  58. julian the emperor

    Where we might not agree, tonyr, is that you include 19 English-language productions in your top 20. Safe to say, I wouldn’t be so inclined…:)

  59. moviewatcher

    @tonyr: 1970? Have You seen Lawrence of Arabia? Have you seen A Streetcar Named Desire? Have you seen Gone With The Wind? Have you seen any James Stewart movie, for crying out loud?! Yes, there was a different way to make movies back then. A more “theatrical” approach to acting, but I mean come on! Who doesn’t remember the scene with the woman in the bush in “It’s a Wonderful life”? Or the very final scene of Sunset Boulevard? Or… [insert 20 more great scenes from before 1970]. I mean, stop being so close minded! There are many, many great movies from AFTER 1970 that are great, many of which are on my top 20 list. But to completely disavow any movies made before that date of any value or merit is crazy! The great movies always address universal themes, which are timeless and never change.

  60. Wlliam F

    My top ten:

    1. Citizen Kane
    2. The Godfather I & II
    3. 2001: A Space Odyssey
    4. Some Like It Hot
    5. I Married a Witch
    6. Raise the Red Lantern
    7. Spirited Away
    8. Titanic
    9. Sans Toit Ni Loi
    10. Network

  61. lazarus

    I’m a big Christopher Nolan fan, but for fuck’s sake, if you’re putting any (let alone TWO) of his films on a Best Of All Time list, step away from the computer and Watch. More. Movies.

  62. Walt Gamble

    I always feel like a philistine when I compare a list like that to my own personal choices and have to strongly fight the urge to fill out my list with more ‘respectable’ films. My tastes definitely skew more towards popular entertainment, but I guess that’s just who I am.

    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Fargo
    Unforgiven
    Sunset Blvd.
    Groundhog Day
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    The General
    Bringing Up Baby
    The Apartment
    The Bridge on the River Kwai

    Of course of any given day the list could be almost com

  63. tombeet

    I’m quite happy with the inclusion of Mulholland Dr and In the Mood for Love in the list

    A bit upset with Seven Samurai ranking (had hoped it been in top 10)

    Surprisingly lacks of Bergman’s features (only Persona in the top 50)

    Common, Pulp Fiction deserves to be in top 50.

    Vertigo is also not my favorite Hitchcock, but i’m okay with that

    Actually, the top 10 critic’s list is solid and features wide range of genres.

  64. Wow vertigo number 1, I’m so happy I could cry. This movie is so amaze balls! Lord the score, and when Kim comes through that fog I almost fell off my chair!

  65. ChrisFlick

    In no particular order, excepting the first three:
    Dodsworth
    Lifeboat
    Written on the Wind
    Casablanca
    How Green Was My Valley
    Rear Window
    Norma Rae
    All About Eve
    Sunset Boulevard
    The Apartment

    Glad to read the unexpected admiration for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They. It’d hover somewhere in my next ten.

  66. Tero Heikkinen

    This is impossible, but I try something:

    1. The Silence of the Lambs
    2. Au revoir, les enfants
    3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    4. Ladri di biciclette
    5. Schindler’s List
    6. Taxi Driver
    7. 2001: A Space Odyssey
    8. Fanny & Alexander
    9. The Tree of Life
    10. Casablanca

  67. I have quite a controversial list only for the fact that it contains numerous recent films. I understand how influential and important the films of Bergman and Tarkovsky are but I wouldn’t rank any of them in my top ten

    1. Inception
    2. The Thin Red Line
    3. Pulp Fiction
    4. The Godfather
    5. Vertigo
    6. Citizen Kane
    7. Days Of Heaven
    8. 12 angry men
    9. Taxi driver
    10. The Dark Knight rises
    I will probably be called numerous names by numerous people, but I appreciate cinema and this is my list.

  68. gratefultiger

    1.La Regle du Jeu
    2.The Colour Of Pomegranates
    3.Tokyo Story
    4.L’Atalante
    5.Balthazar The Donkey
    6.Ordet
    7.Mirror
    8.Ikiru
    9.Shoah
    10.La Grande Illusion

    i could name a stack more but this list does me.

  69. steve50

    I kept wondering what would have been the factor that knocked Kane out of #1 position after so many decades. I’m thinking that the use of the Vertigo soundtrack in The Artist nudged that film from the backs of the voters minds, maybe even enticing more recent viewings.

    So something we all bitched about could have actually served the original film well, in the long run.

  70. Tero Heikkinen

    Made me think about The Artist as well.

  71. GOOD point, steve50. Vertigo’s been hot for awhile now in terms of high critical appraisal but I’m sure the Novak rape comment pushed voters into checking it out again.

    @Walt Gamble: Never apologize for an honest list, man. Yours is one of the more diverse I’ve seen. Your mentioning of respectability and feeling like potential philistine brings up the interesting contrast between film as an intended medium for mass appeal and the very narrow “type” of films that this top 10 represents.

  72. Are you guys doing favorites or what you think are “the best” movies of all time? I’ve got my list of 100 all time favorites on my lj and I tweek it every once and a while, but I wouldn’t just throw my top ten up as the ten best movies of all time. That’s a completely different thing, imo.

  73. Are you guys doing favorites or what you think are “the best” movies of all time?

    I have the sort of ego that makes me unable to see any difference between my favorites and the best.

  74. @Antoinette: Mine’s an objective attempt that ends up playing favorites. Hard to define even a favorite, though, since some movies are really re-watchable and other floor me with 1 viewing. Then again, something like GoodFellas or The Godfather accomplishes both.

    Not to be an asshole, but would anyone chose The Man With the Movie Camera as one of their FAVORITE films?

  75. rufussondheim

    I’m not arrogant enough to think that I can discern the best films from the worst films, especially when you look at my list.

    I get tired of these “official” lists that always seem to favor the old over the new. This happens with music and literature as well. I realize old items get more play for many reasons, most of all I think they are safe choices, no one will look stupid if they choose them. Also I think they are the most studied, whether it be in film schools or just in readily available essays. I would wager most of the people who chose these as the best films were simply told when they were young that these were the best films, and so the tradition continues since they are definitely some great films.

    But, still, this list is boring and dull and I really don’t care too much about it. Heck, if I’ve gone 44 years without seeing some of them, I can probably go another 44.

    But I wish I would see more lists from people like myself, people who like film but haven’t studied film. More lists from people who haven’t been told what’s great and what’s not great. More people who choose lists from their hearts and not their brains. I just find such lists more interesting. I think a person’s ten best list should be as identifiable as a hairstyle or a laugh or a kiss on the beach at midnight. Lists shouldn’t be designed to impress but to inform.

  76. Not to be an asshole, but would anyone chose The Man With the Movie Camera as one of their FAVORITE films?

    Miss Swan issues Sight&Sound Poll clarification:
    “Okay okay, I tell you evryting. He look-a like-a Man with a Movie Camera.”

    (apologies to twitter followers who already saw me try to make that joke work, but I’m not giving up till somebody says ‘LOL’)

  77. I’ll give you a ‘LOL’ for breaking out a decade old Mad TV reference, sure.

    I saw The Man With the Movie Camera and damned it doesn’t live exactly up to its title. Sort of like that on-the-nose Simpsons* bit where the family watches a show called “People Who Look Like Things.”

    *staying with the Fox references for the moment

  78. Okay. I’ll think for a couple of minutes lol and try to come up with the ten BEST movies that I’ve seen. My favorites are here so you can see if I cheated. What I think a list like this needs but often ignores is the popularity and influence. I think what a movie inspires in others is what makes it great. So if we look at the family trees of our favorite movies I think the ones that are the roots are the “best”.

    1) Citizen Kane
    2) The Wizard of Oz
    3) The Godfather II
    4) The Seventh Seal
    5) The Godfather
    6) Ran
    7) Annie Hall
    8) Star Wars
    9) A Hard Day’s Night
    10) Pulp Fiction

    There. I fixed it. :P

  79. rufussondheim

    Glad to see Wonder Boys on your list. I’ve recently reread the book (like in the last month) and I’ve decided it’s one of those rare movies where the movie is actually superior to the book. I love the book, but love the movie even more.

  80. Reform the Academy

    Ok, I’ll list my Top 10 as well, but first some parameters. In order for a film to be considered among the greatest I think we should look at these 4 parameters…

    -High Quality Production (essentially a well made film from top to bottom)
    – Universal Appeal (able to resonate with all gender, race, age, etc)
    – Longevity (still widely known and appreciated after 30, 40, 50+ yrs)
    – Rewatchable (if it’s THAT great, it should be worth watching twice…at least)

    Rear Window
    Casablanca
    Some Like It Hot
    It Happened One Night
    To Kill A Mockingbird
    The Apartment
    Singin’ in the Rain
    Vertigo
    Psycho
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    The Philadelphia Story
    The Wizard of Oz
    Gone with the Wind
    A Streetcar Named Desire
    The Graduate
    It’s a Wonderful Life
    West Side Story
    Star Wars
    Raging Bull
    12 Angry Men
    The Killing
    The Godfather
    Citizen Kane
    Wild Strawberries
    Modern Times

    Sorry, I wasn’t able to limit to 10 :p Oh, and if age isn’t a factor (as it clearly is for the Sight & Sound folks) then I would throw the following into the mix…

    Saving Private Ryan
    The Lord of the Rings
    Forrest Gump
    The Shawshank Redemption
    American Beauty
    Unforgiven
    Rain Man
    Memento
    Inception
    Beauty and the Beast
    The Lion King
    Good Will Hunting
    Donnie Darko
    The Titanic
    Field of Dreams
    The Insider
    Gladiator
    Children of Men

  81. This is too hard.

    Cries and Whispers
    Dekalog
    Nashville
    Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    The Evil Dead
    The Big Lebowski
    Los Olvidados
    Wild at Heart
    Once Upon a time in America
    Airplane

    It’s sad to see Potemkin not there. Is this the first time (maybe I should myself) The list seems to have changed a bit over ecent decades.

  82. @rufussondheim Wonder Boys is the bees knees. It stays fresh after multiple viewings.

    A lot of you guys like Field of Dreams. I think I only half watched it way back in the day. I’ll have to make it a point to watch it completely.

  83. Having had the advantage of reading all these amazing lists, the only films I can think to add – Reds, Modern Times, Blow Up, The Wild Bunch, A Place in the Sun, Aguirre Wrath of God and Manhattan.

  84. Mine goes like so:
    1. WALL-E
    2. (500) Days of Summer
    3. It’s a Wonderful Life
    4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    5. The Fountain
    6. Casablanca
    7. Annie Hall
    8. 2001: A Space Odyssey
    9. Psycho
    10. There Will Be Blood

  85. Wow. The differences in taste and range in these comments are quite striking.

    I don’t care about “high quality production” so much – especially if it’s in the service of something daft or predictable or boring – you know, like Christopher Nolan’s stuff. It would be more accurate to say I like films that are in fact visionary – have a sense of the inevitable about them. And I’m not sure “universal appeal” is very important to me – Titanic was pretty much the definition of a film with universal appeal, and I loathe that maudlin garbage. As for longetivity – it’s weird, but most of the films I really love and consider great are from a comparatively narrow time period, at least according to this off the top of my head list below. It’s more a “save in the bomb-proof vault” list, or “top of my shelf” list than an actually carefully considered best films ever list. There’s 22. No reason than that’s how many came to mind.

    Stalker
    Satantango
    Idi i smotri (Come and See)
    The Ascent
    El sol del membrillo (Quince Tree of the Sun)
    Blade Runner
    Eraserhead
    Walkabout
    Werckmeister Harmonies
    Mirror
    Spirit of the Beehive
    Landscape in the Mist
    Do the Right Thing
    Ordet
    Winter Light
    Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
    Cache
    Solaris
    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    The Gleaners and I
    Why Does Herr R Run Amok?
    Let the Right One In

  86. Reform the Academy

    LOL, yeah ok Dan, whatever…just mark my words, Nolan will be considered with the likes of Hitchcock and Kubrick when all is said and done (already has garnered some deserving comparisons actually)

    Nolan is what now…8 for 8? I wonder if he’ll ever make a bad film…

  87. Reform the Academy

    Question is, where does Nolan go from here?

  88. “Question is, where does Nolan go from here?”

    Blaxploitation?

  89. steve50

    “The list seems to have changed a bit over recent decades.”

    You said it, Mattoc.
    Re: Potemkin
    1952 – 4th place
    1962 – 6th
    1972 – 3rd
    1982 – 6th
    1992 – 6th (in a 4 way tie)
    2002 – 7th
    2012 – gone

    Vertigo didn’t enter the list until 1982 – 30 years after the first list.

    Citizen Kane was #1 since 1962 – every year it made the list, until this year. Freakishly, it was only a runner-up for the first list in ’52.

  90. The Dark Hitch Rising:
    1982: Vertigo #7
    1992, Vertigo #4
    2002, Vertigo #2
    2012, Vertigo #1

  91. steve50

    Should add – only one film made every list since ’52 – Rules of the Game (since it crosses generations, maybe this stalwart is really the best filem ever made?)

  92. My list (as of now)
    1. Pennies From Heaven
    2. Casino
    3. Woman Under the Influence
    4. Dancer in the Dark
    5. Magnolia
    6. The Godfather / Part II
    7. Rosemary’s Baby
    8. Alien
    9. Wizard of Oz
    10. Requiem for a Dream
    11. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They
    12. Session 9
    13. Cabaret
    14. The People Vs. Larry Flynt
    15. Pulp Fiction
    16. The Piano Teacher
    17. Goodfellas
    18. Bullets Over Broadway
    19. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
    20. Tyrannosaur

  93. rufussondheim

    Nolan is 3 for 8 – (Memento, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) – And, no, he will never be talked of in the same breath as Kubrick and Hitchcock. At least by people who are smart.

    Probably the current filmmaker with the best track record is Ang Lee. And he’s only like 9 for 13.

    David Fincher has like 9 films but I’ve only enjoyed like 4 of them, but haven’t seen Ben Button or Dragon Tattoo.

    I’m only five for 21 with Scorcese (not counting the documentaries, that’s a rough count)

    I’m only 6 for like 14 with the Coen Brothers (but I haven’t been very good at seeing their latest movies like No COuntry for Old men, True Grit and A Serious Man)

    James Cameraon is a surprisingly good 5 for 8, and I haven’t seen one of his films.

    People like Tarantino, Aronofsky I’ve only liked their work sparingly so no I didn’t exclude them.

    But there is one director I am 3 for 3 – and that’s Kelly Reichardt.

  94. moviewatcher

    @rufussondheim: 3 for eight? Inception, hello? I’ve yet to see a couple of his earlier thrillers, but Inception is freaking amazing.

  95. rufussondheim

    Nope, Inception is terrible. I tried three different times to watch the DVD before I sent it back. I got about 80 minutes in the last time I tried.

    It fails for me because the characters are completely one-dimensional. I had no empathy for Leo or his situation, after all it was his own creation.

    The dialogue is terrible.

    And the plot, well, let’s just repeat what I’ve said elsewhere. I don’t care for plots that are this inorganic. It was kind of like sitting through a dry science lecture. You need to learn A and B and C and when you put them all together – Voila! – you get D. Who cares?

    It was just terrible.

  96. moviewatcher

    Well, it’s not for everybody that’s for sure. But it’s a great, stunning, amazing movie for me at least.

  97. “Nolan is 3 for 8 – (Memento, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) – And, no, he will never be talked of in the same breath as Kubrick and Hitchcock. At least by people who are smart.”

    Well you just mentioned him in the same breath (a.k.a. the paragraph for speaking). And the logical conclusion is . . .

    (Sorry that was too easy)

  98. rufussondheim

    I don’t breathe while I type.

  99. rufussonheim

    Oh I can see how Inception is much-loved. The visuals are stunning and it’s great to see CGI used for something other than space and alien movies.

    There are certain directors who have a boatload of talent, but they need to realize their shortcomings. Nolan needs to give his story ideas over to someone who can write a more polished script and then he would probably deservedly belong in the greats. His technical skill is probably unequaled at this point.

    And on the converse, someone like Kevin Smith can write a great script, but his skills are a director are suspct at best.

    I understand that some people wish to have complete control over their creative output, but to be truly great, you need to learn your faults and you need to find a way to overcome them.

  100. tombeet

    “Are you guys doing favorites or what you think are “the best” movies of all time?”

    => I think that’s the main difference between critic’s list and director’s list. Often critics choose films that they the best movies, directors just go for their favorites.

    Case in point here was last time (2002) Michael Haneke voted the hard-hitter Salo as 1 of his best 10 films. I don’t think many critics would go for that film.

    => For me, my favorite films = the best films in my opinion (and about 5 out of top 10 from the 00s). I would not hesitate to say Paprika would be in top 5 best films in my version.

  101. I took a film history course in 1990, and we watched Vertigo. I remember I was in my Hitchcock phase then when I was watching as much as possible. So I had some interest when the instructor directed our attention to Vertigo (not my favorite Hitchcock film either).

    He was mentioning that it was going through a rebirth of sorts amongst Cinema scholars. We talked ad nauseum about the psychosexual overtones. He brought in a Psychologist to discuss obsessiveness. I really felt we went through therapy discussing it. I can see why it has caught on over the past few decades.

    On a side note, that instructor really got discussions going. He brought in a psychologist for Vertigo, Vietnam Vets for a discussion about Full Metal Jacket, a Neo Realism scholar for The Bicycle Thief (who I offended when I called the film a boring piece of crap, an opinion I still hold), and about 60 students from two or three African American Studies courses for Birth of a Nation (and for this white boy I have never been so uncomfortable watching a film). It was an interesting course to say the least.

  102. Ruffusonheim:

    Re “Inception”

    I agree with a lot of what you wrote. The big problem I had with this movie is the amorality of the premise of the film. Not one single character – nobody – questions whether what they are doing is morally correct. They all think it’s okay to fuck over this guy’s mind. And I found that so disturbing throughout the movie. It is NOT okay to brainwash somebody. Case in point “Manchurian Candidate”.

    Yes, I enjoyed the visuals and the hardware of the film, and it does have an interesting story line(s). Ultimately, however, it’s all about Leo and nobody else. What makes Leo and his co-horts any better than the guy whose mind they controlled? The script never even attempts to delve into that subject.

  103. rufussondheim

    Your point about the amorality of the film is well-taken. I recall having those thoughts when watching it, but haven’t thought about them since.

    But I will counter that sometimes in a film, watching all of the characters do amoral things and having the film not judge them is part of the pleasure of watching a film. It is the audience’s responsibility to bring morality in the mix.

    But I don’t that was Nolan’s intent here. I think he just fell so in love with a concept here and all he wanted to do was to illustrate it.

  104. Sidenote, before my list: wow finally saw Dark Knight Rises and I have to say it’s better than I expected though I have a huge list of gripes that I won’t bother on here, including how the big reveals didn’t seem so surprising…so unsurprising in fact that I think many of us already saw it as soon as they announced the cast.

    2012 me has a different list than 2002 me, an 18 yo who when he bought that sight & sound issue, and educated by (my local video store) Kensington Video, Turner Classic Movies, and Livejournal groups.

    2012:

    1. Histoire(s) du Cinema (Godard)
    2. The Intruder (Claire Denis)
    3. The Long Day Closes (Terrence Davies)
    4. Lord Love a Duck (George Axelrod)
    5. L’Argent (Bresson)
    6. Opening Night (Cassavetes)
    7. Intentions of Murder (Imamura)
    8. Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray)
    9. News from Home (Chantal Ackerman)
    10. Goodbye Dragon Inn (Tsai Ming Liang)

    2002:
    1. Band of Outsiders (Godard)
    2. Marat/Sade (Peter Brook)
    3. Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk)
    4. Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton)
    5. Faster Pussycat Kill Kill (Russ Myer)
    6. Sans Soleil (Chris Marker)
    7. Badlands (Malick)
    8. The Palm Beach Story (Sturges)
    9. In a Year of 13 Moons (Fassbender)
    10. Lifeboat (Hitchcock)

  105. julian the emperor

    Completely agree with rufus on Kelly Reichardt! To me, the finest auteur in American cinema today (next to PTA). There is not a weak moment in any of Reichardt’s films. It is organic, living, breathing cinema of the finest order.

    Nolan? He needs a good writer first and foremost. He should sack that brother, for one. His scripts are one-dimensional, flat, in-organic, preposterous. TDKR being especially a sore point. The worst script of the year in a major movie? By a mile. (Even though Prometheus runs it a close second, but there is one charming and therefore redeeming quality about that script; Fassbender’s David Lean-fascination, a nice, human touch.)

    Vertigo and Citizen Kane? To me , the problem with those two movies are that they are technically flawless and innovative, but they don’t ring true to me on an emotional level. Citizen Kane was ground-breaking (the narrative approach, the deep-focus and low angle shots etc.), but the story? Doesn’t speak to me. Vertigo is interesting for the way it uses a female character as a way of saying something important (potentially un-settling) about the male protagonist, but I don’t connect to it. It is like a parody of a good story. I don’t see any real feeling invested in it. Psycho is much more real to me (but a genre bias against “horror” naturally excludes it from a list like this).

  106. Reform the Academy

    “rufussondheim / August 2, 2012

    Nolan is 3 for 8″

    Err, check your stats again. Last I checked Nolan is one of the only filmmakers with an entirely certified fresh filmography. If we go by critical consensus he’s 8 for 8. In addition nearly all of his films are in the Top 250.

  107. julian the emperor

    Top 250 on IMDB? I would feel entirely proud and entitled if I was excluded from that list as a filmmaker, to be honest.

  108. Reform the Academy

    “Antoinette / August 1, 2012

    Are you guys doing favorites or what you think are “the best” movies of all time? I’ve got my list of 100 all time favorites on my lj and I tweek it every once and a while, but I wouldn’t just throw my top ten up as the ten best movies of all time. That’s a completely different thing, imo.”

    I don’t think there should be any distinction between “favorite” and “best”. I mean when you say these are MY Top films I’m expecting to see a personalized list and not just what you think other “cinephiles” expect to see. I don’t know if anyone else is familiar with the site Flickchart but it’s handy for formulating a favorites list that is tailored to your specific taste in film.

  109. Reform the Academy

    “julian the emperor / August 2, 2012

    Top 250 on IMDB? I would feel entirely proud and entitled if I was excluded from that list as a filmmaker, to be honest.”

    Then you would be excluded from quite a prestigious list that consists of Hithcock, Kubrick, Scorsese, Spielberg, Capra, Hawks, Welles, Wilder, Polankski, Ford, Coppola, Curtiz, Chaplin, Lumet, Kurosawa, Cukor, Kazan, Fellini, Eastwood, Leone, Weir, Howard, Cuaron, Bergman, Darabont, Mendes, Fincher, and Nolan just to name a few…

  110. Reform the Academy

    Unfortunately the list is becoming increasingly diluted by newer films every year though…I’ll give you that much :p

  111. Are you guys doing favorites or what you think are “the best” movies of all time?

    I wonder if all individual Top 10 lists should rightly be a list of personal favorites.

    And then when several hundred of these unique Top Lists are aggregated to see where they overlap, the movies that most people agree are great then become what’s known as “Best.”

    That’s pretty much how the Oscars work, right? Most individual Academy members choose the movie that’s their favorite. The movie that’s the favorite of the most people gets crowned “Best”

    That’s why we’re going to have a poll where you’ll be invited to pick your 10 or 20 favorite movies of all time. And we’ll see which of those movies are the Best according to AD readers.

    …Of course, you’ll have to choose from 150 titles that we give you :)

  112. rufussondheim

    I would never go to Imdb’s top 250 or any other list for validation while making a list of my favorite movies. Nor would I go to it to disparage or praise someone else’s list. And I pity those who do.

    I find film to be a profoundly personal medium, almost as much as literature. Yes, there are films that try to reach a broad audience and become as generic and as crowd-pleasing as possible. But there are also a ton of films that are perfectly satisfied finding a small audience to tell a personal story. I obviously prefer the latter and, well, those films will rarely find a broad audience.

    I stand by what I like and what I dislike, and I don’t expect anyone to agree with me. Sometimes I can articulate what I like and dislike, but oftentimes I cannot, at least not in a way that all people will be able to understand.

    Let’s look at Old Joy, a marvelous film from Kelly Reichardt. This film chronicles two people who have fallen out of touch as they go on an overnight camping trip. There are no bear attacks, no gangsters, no crazed killers, no sexy blondes trying to seduce them, and, happily, there are no alien invasions. And neither falls into a crevasse and has to chew off his hand.

    What there is are two people going into the experience with different expectations. Of course neither character articulates what they want over the course of the evening, but we soon learn that Kurt (Will Oldham) is very interested in rekindling the friendship and that Mark (Daniel London) is less so. We see Mark tell his wife that they were once good friends and we see Mark tell his wife that he’s going as much out of curiosity as anything. Of course we don’t know Mark’s relationship with his wife so we don’t know the truthfulness of that comment.

    Midway through the film, the relationship is becoming more clear. We see Kurt try too hard to bring back the intensity of the old friendship and we see Mark learn that he’s moved on and no longer needs the relationship. It’s truly painful to see Kurt realize this truth and try even harder. The film has a few moments where we’re not completely sure how this will play out, but it does play out and we eventually know what’s in store for the future.

    This film is so beautifully subtle, it never states its intentions and it never gives us emotional release, and it definitely stays neutral on which character we should empathize with (I choose both!) What this film does is make you thnk back on the nature of friendship and how these crucial relationships form and disintegrate and sometimes reform as we try to balance them with everything else in our lives. It’s a heartbreaking portrayal of what happens when one person needs someone else more than the reverse.

    I fucking love this movie. But I know not many people will. Even people who like this style of filmmaking might not love this film. And that’s OK, it wasn’t made to be a huge success. But because of that, I think the film is a huge success. And it’s nowhere to be found on imdb’s top 250. Go figure.

    (On a sidenote, Will Oldham gives a great performance as Frank. He’s an actor that you may or may not know. I suspect he’d probably be better known if he wasn’t a fantastic singer-songwriter that operates under the name Bonnie “Prince” Billy.)

  113. rufussondheim

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9fwsiMRVeE

    This might be Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s best song. It’s so elegant and restrained and when the chorus comes around, achingly beautiful. Sorry to bring music into a film discussion but I couldn’t help myself.

  114. My top 50 films of all time are

    1. E.T.

    2. Avatar

    3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

    4. The Dark Knight

    5. The Avengers

    6. Lion King

    7. Lord of the Rings

    8. Star Wars Episode 1

    9. Cast Away

    10. Hugo

    11. The Muppets

    12. Rush Hour

    13. Tha Karate Kid (also the one starring Will Smith’s son)

    14. Ghost

    15. Forrest Gump

    16. Quiz Show

    17. Cool Runnings

    18. The Replacements

    19. Good Will Hunting

    20. Simon Birch

    21. The Blind Side

    22. Beethoven

    23. Men in Black

    24. Home Alone

    25. Spiderman

  115. Okay since literally everyone shared their Top 10 all time favorites, i guess i’ll do them too.

    1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
    2. The Godfather 2
    3. The Godfather
    4. Schindler’s List
    5. Tokyo Story
    6. Raging Bull
    6. Silence of the Lambs
    7. Dr Strangelove
    8. Psycho
    9. Annie Hall
    10. Taxi Driver

    i am going to make my Top 50 list a Top 200 list towards the end of the year.

  116. moviewatcher

    I still have to watch a LOT of movies from before 1960, but I’ve got four of them on my top 20. I’d like to say i have a very intelectual and artistic taste but…
    Anyway here it is… my top 20 list as it stands.

    American Beauty (1999)
    Apocalypse Now (1979)
    Apollo 13 (1995)
    A Beautiful Mind (2001)
    Casablanca (1942)
    Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
    Forrest Gump (1994)
    Gladiator (2000)
    Gone With the Wind (1939)
    Inception (2010)
    It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
    Lawrence of Arabia (1963)
    The Lord of the Rings (2003)
    Magnolia (1999)
    Moulin Rouge! (2001)
    Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
    The Philadelphia Story (1940)
    Schindler’s List (1993)
    A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
    Titanic (1997)

    But there are so many more… The Silence of the Lambs, Rain Man, The Dark Knight, Bonnie & Clyde, Pulp Fiction, Barton Fink, The Truman Show, All About Eve, Platoon, Scent of a Woman, Revolutionary Road, Doubt, The Aviator, Pollock

  117. SCLUB8OFFICIAL

    @OCO300 Wow those movies are great, still kinda upset that HP: DH 2 got snubbed at not only at Oscars, but also the Academy snubbing it out of the BP Oscar for no good reason.

    Simon Birch….man I haven’t seen that movie in years. Now that was a great movie.

  118. @OCO300 – I agree. Pity he didn’t list the other 25 of his top 50. Now that would have been something…

  119. rufussondheim

    read the book, A Prayer for Owen Meany, which is among my top 10 favorite books of all time

  120. I don’t think I’ll understand Tokyo Story until I reach middle age. I typically appreciate deep character dramas, but Tokyo Story put me to sleep and really didn’t seem to strike any emotional chords with me, nor expound much on its central theme.

  121. rufussondheim

    flickchart is my new way to waste hours of my life

    It’s so diabolical. It keeps giving me one awful movie after the next and then suddently it gives me two great movies that would probably rank in my top 100.

  122. Reform the Academy

    “Ryan Adams / August 2, 2012

    That’s pretty much how the Oscars work, right? Most individual Academy members choose the movie that’s their favorite. The movie that’s the favorite of the most people gets crowned “Best”

    Well, yes and no; far as I understand they don’t do a total points system like say MPV or Cy Young voting, so the most mentioned film may not be the winner. They just look for #1 votes right? So in the case of the nominees last year a film like Tree of Life may have snuck in with a passionate 5% even if everyone else hated it. This clearly makes no sense and you can see why a total points system with a designated # of pts earned for each respective placement is the better way to go :)

    Anyways, I look forward to your guys’ poll…that sounds fun!

  123. Reform the Academy

    rufussondheim / August 2, 2012
    flickchart is my new way to waste hours of my life
    It’s so diabolical. It keeps giving me one awful movie after the next and then suddently it gives me two great movies that would probably rank in my top 100.

    Yeah, you’re welcome, lol. When I first signed up back when it was in beta mode I recall ranking films for about 6 hours straight. A few years later I’ve recorded close to 9,000 rankings.

  124. Reform the Academy

    Actually, screw the rankings and pts thing…I’d just be curious to see which films receive the most mentions. Basically, does it matter if a film is ranked 1st or 20th in your list? Not really. It was good enough to make the list and that’s all that matters. Then we see how many others placed it on their list. Just do a straight tally.

  125. 1. Pride and prejudice-1980
    2. Spirited away
    3. Rear window
    4. The best years of our lives
    5. Flesh and the devil
    6. My fair lady
    7. Singin in the rain
    8. Crouching tiger hidden dragon
    9. Casablanca
    10. Vertigo

    It’s so hard to pick a top 10, there are so many films I love!

  126. Mark F.

    Top Ten (for today anyway)

    Citizen Kane
    Fanny & Alexander
    Lawrence Of Arabia
    All Quiet On The Western Front
    Barry Lyndon
    Casablanca
    Groundhog Day
    Vertigo
    Tokyo Story
    The Godfather, Part 2

  127. 1. The Godfather
    2. The Godfather Part II
    3. Pulp Fiction
    4. The Dark Knight
    5. The Empire Strikes Back
    6. 2001
    7. Goodfellas
    8. City of God
    9. Apocalypse Now
    10. Citizen Kane

  128. Top ten (alphabetically)

    City of God
    The Dark Knight
    Dr. Strangelove
    Fargo
    Into the Wild
    Little Miss Sunshine
    Once
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    The Social Network
    The Usual Suspects

  129. Reform the Academy

    As a precursor to the poll that Ryan mentioned, I compiled and sorted all our lists into an Excel spreadsheet and this is what I’ve come up with for our Top 25 so far.

    The Godfather 17
    Citizen Kane 14
    2001: A Space Odyssey 12
    The Godfather Part 2 12
    Casablanca 10
    Taxi Driver 10
    Pulp Fiction 8
    Vertigo 8
    Apocalypse Now 7
    Rear Window 7
    Annie Hall 6
    Chinatown 6
    One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest 6
    Psycho 6
    The Apartment 6
    The Lord of the Rings 6
    All About Eve 5
    Dr Strangelove 5
    Goodfellas 5
    Lawrence of Arabia 5
    Blade Runner 4
    Inception 4
    Singin in the rain 4
    Some Like It Hot 4
    The Dark Knight 4
    The Thin Red Line 4
    There Will Be Blood 4

    Oh btw, 17 of those are in the Top 50 on IMDB, so nice job guys, you conform quite nicely :p

  130. Reform the Academy

    Oh yeah, I probably should have mentioned that there’s actually 27 there since quite a few tied with 4 mentions. Also, I was quite surprised by the lack of support for the following…

    12 angry men 2
    Gone with the Wind 2
    Raging Bull 2
    Shawshank Redemption, The 2
    The Philadelphia Story 2
    The Graduate 2
    Dog Day Afternoon 1
    It Happened One Night 1
    Modern Times 1
    The Shining 1
    To Kill A Mockingbird 1
    West Side Story 1

  131. Reform the Academy

    Looking at this Top 25 (27) list I’ve seen all but Apocolypse Now, Annie Hall, Lawrence of Arabia, and The Thin Red Line…oh and can I say that the love for Taxi Driver and Pulp Fiction baffles me?

  132. Tero Heikkinen

    Well, I’m surprised that The Silence of the Lambs is not getting the love. Look at the 90’s and it should be right up there. Most influential, too. Well, so many omissions – Jaws, anyone? But I didn’t have Jaws on my top ten either, had to place Schindler’s List higher.

  133. Reform the Academy

    Silence of the Lambs had 3 mentions…and speaking of that’s another I’ve yet to see…

  134. Tero Heikkinen

    Do that first and then Apocalypse Now. And let us know.

  135. Reform the Academy

    I meant to watch it last Halloween (sounds like a film you gotta be in a certain mood to watch) but never got around to it…

  136. Reform the Academy

    BTW, you also spoke of Schindler’s List Tero…that also had 3 mentions and is one I need to watch (though again it sounds like a film that requires a certain mood)

  137. Kid_Critic

    This is my top 10. It’s a shame to see that so called “critics” give the cold shoulder to great movies like these, and just make a list out of stuff no one has heard of so they can feel smart when really there dumb. A few of them are good like The Godfather and Psycho but I don’t see how anyone can pick them over real beautiful movies like Avatar or Titanic.

    1. Avatar
    2. The Hunger Games
    3. The Dark Knight
    4. The Harry Potter Series
    5. Transformers
    6. The Lion King
    7. Titanic
    8. Forrest Gump
    9. Saving Private Ryan
    10. The Lord of the Rings

  138. Tero Heikkinen

    Silence of the Lambs doesn’t require any kind of mood. You just go for it anytime and you are hooked from the first minute. It’s as engaging as any great film can be.

    Schindler’s List may need that certain “mood”.

  139. @Mattoc well since you want to know

    26. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (#2 favorite of HP films)

    27. Not Quite Human

    28. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (you know when those TMNT films were realising in theaters, those snack bars (in movie theaters) should’ve sold alot of pizza instead of popcorn to watch those movies).

    29. Teen Wolf

    30. The Longest Yard (man why did Chris Tucker’s character had to die in the film).

    31. Lost City of Atlantis

    32. Shrek

    33. Just Go with It

    34. Coming to America

    35. Law Abiding Citizen

    36. Twins (1988)

    37. House Party

    38. Addams Family

    39. Stripes

    40. The Sixth Sense

    41. Locked in Silence (1999)

    42. Meet the Parents

    43. Gladiator

    44. Mr. Deeds

    45. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

    46. Pirates of the Caribbean

    47. Star Wars Episode 5

    48. Indiana Jones

    49. The Big Chill

    50. The Ice Storm

  140. Tero Heikkinen

    Scott, watch SotL very very soon. Do it for me. I’m anxious to hear what you have to say. I placed it at #1, because it is the one I’ve seen the most. Well over 100 times, for sure.

  141. Too many American films, and almost exclusively English language films, to take any of this seriously as a “best” list – not even the IMDB top 250 is so overwhelmingly skewed that way.

  142. SCLUB8OFFICIAL

    @Kid_Critic Me, OCO300, and a lot of people know how u feel?

  143. @moviewatcher…might want to be a little bit more studious before you write up a knee-jerk reaction. My top 20 list happens to be positioned right above my comment about older flicks that you took such umbrage with, and if you’ll READ it…there are films from before 1970, including one Jimmy Stewart flick. I have not seen Lawrence of Arabia (I need to, I know) or Streetcar (no interest), and Gone with the Wind would be in my top 50 all time. Again, if you READ, my comment included “with few exceptions.” There are films from before 1970 that I love, but compared to after, I’m just not as smitten with as many of them. As you mentioned, the theatrical performances, the (for lack of a better phrase) overall fuddy-duddyness of many of them. They just don’t grab me like Taxi Driver or Network or Apocalypse Now. But I do love a few here and there very much.

    @Julian

    I must admit I simply havn’t seen many foreign films, much less older ones. The ones I have seen from the last ten years are great, but for whatever reason I have no desire to watch classics like Yojimbo or Seven Samurai or even 8 1/2. These days I’m interested in films that comment on or dissect today’s culture and issues. So if I’m going to steep myself in non-English-speaking films, it’s going to be those made in the last decade.

  144. steve50

    “These days I’m interested in films that comment on or dissect today’s culture and issues.”

    Holy crap, tonyr. Human beings haven’t changed in thousands of years and whatever language they happen to speak has no effect whatsoever on human nature.

    8 1/2 is about artistic stagnation clouded by narcissism. You can’t tell me that isn’t a prevalent issue today. The Passion of Joan of Arc is probably the best representation of, in modern terms, sticking to your guns in the face of adversity as was ever committed to film. Rules of the Game and Tokyo Story speak very clearly for themselves regardless of the original language of the filmmaker. Far from “fuddyduddiness” (what an archaic term, by the way)

  145. Orfeas Vallatos

    My top-50 would be something like this: 1. Lancelot du lac (Bresson) 2. La dolce vita (Fellini) 3. Velvet goldmine (Haynes) 4. Hiroshima mon amour (Resnais) 5. Ugetsu monogatari (Mizoguchi) 6. Sasom i en spegel (Bergman) 7. Le petit soldat (Godard) 8. Flesh (Morrissey) 9. Le lit de la vierge (Garrel) 10. Ai no corrida (Oshima) 11. Tabu (Murnau) 12. Belle de jour (Bunuel) 13. Vertigo (Hitchcock) 14. Teorema (Pasolini) 15. Freaks (Browning) 16. Rouge (Kieslowski) 17. Topio stin omihli (Angelopoulos) 18. City lights (Chaplin) 19. Shichinin no samurai (Kurosawa) 20. L’eclisse (Antonioni) 21. Nobi (Ichikawa) 22. Jeux interdits (Cleman) 23. The searchers (Ford) 24. Morte a Venezia (Visconti) 25. Marketa Lazarova (Vlacil) 26. Suna no onna (Teshigahara) 27. Son frere (Chereau) 28. Igy jottem (Janczo) 29. Elephant (Van Sant) 30. Andrey Rublev (Tarkovsky) 31. A clockwork orange (Kubrick) 32. Le samurai (Melville) 33. Touki Bouki (Mambety) 34. Le regle du jeu (Renoir) 35. Merry-go-round (Rivette) 36. Citizen Kane (Welles) 37. Onibaba (Shindo) 38. Bronenosets Potyomkin (Eisenstein) 39. Jeanne Dielman (Akerman) 40. Paris. Texas (Wenders) 41. Narayama bushiko (Imamura) 42. Seppuku (Kobayashi) 43. Germania anno zero (Rossellini) 44. Yeelen (Cisse) 45. Jules et Jim (Truffaut) 46. They live by night (Ray) 47. Le bonheur (Varda) 48. A Torinoi lo (Tarr) 49. Gertrud (Dreyer) 50. La pianiste (Haneke)

  146. My top ten ( no particular order)

    Casablanca
    Cinema Paradiso
    The Hours
    Some like hot
    The apartment
    Pan’s labyrinth
    Buch Cassidy and the Sundance kid
    Crash
    Secrets of the heart
    The artist
    The Barbarians invasions

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